NPR Training
Storytelling tips and best practices

Acting on analytics: Using data to make editorial decisions

If you publish to a website, you probably have access to some sort of analytics dashboard where you can see which posts are performing well — and which ones aren’t.

But what actions can you take with that information? This document will help you use metrics data to make informed editorial decisions. (Print it out!)

A story is suddenly experiencing a surge in traffic

  • Determine the source of traffic
  • Assess sources for engagement possibilities and alert relevant reporters/editors
  • Consider promoting the story on other platforms
  • Consider “beefing up” the original story build with additional web elements
  • Theorize why it spiked and share your hypothesis with your social media team

A story from the archives is spiking in traffic

  • All of the above listed under “a story is suddenly experience a surge in traffic”
  • Republish the original story
  • Re-promote the original story
  • Write a follow-up story
  • Revisit other old and relevant stories

My story isn’t getting any traffic

( … compared to similar stories.)

  • Write the window title for SEO effectiveness
  • Write the main headline for social friendliness (check out this headline guide for more tips)

My story has been shared by an influential person or account

  • Thank that person on social

My audience is not growing or it’s declining

  • Evaluate your publishing frequency 
  • Consider mixing up the types of stories you’re creating
  • Design or refine a social media strategy
  • Research the potential size of your target audience

My audience is growing rapidly

  • Are you doing something different? Do it more and let your team know
  • Identify the source and try to amplify the effect
  • Find ways to keep the new audience engaged

Serri Graslie is the former Senior Digital Strategist on the NPR Training team.