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Aaron BakerAaron Baker, Digital Analytics Lead at Harvard University, is one of the 12 presenters of the 2018 Higher Ed Content Conference.

In this 3-question interview, Aaron tells us about the best content advice ever, content performance measurement and a favorite content tool.

1) What is the best advice you’ve ever been given when it comes to content?

The best advice I’ve been given when it comes to content is, “Why not both?” Whenever you feel stuck between writing something one way, or writing it another, try both ways in an A/B test to prove which option works best. When I update the Harvard homepage my goal is to send the most engaged traffic to our news content. By testing various combinations of headlines, descriptions, and calls to action using A/B or multivariate testing, and setting the goal to an engagement metric (like scroll depth for example), I can know which combo is best at attracting quality traffic.

2) How is the performance of your content measured/evaluated at your school?

For news content we value engagement metrics like time on page and the percentage of pageviews that scrolled to the end. We also collect attribution channel, pageviews, bounces, device, and location to help provide context to the engagement numbers. We use the data to talk about how content is being distributed across platforms, what worked in terms of how we put the piece together or the format used for telling the story (e.g. Q&A or photo gallery), and use data from all stories to set a baseline benchmark for performance (what is typical?).

3) What is your favorite content tool?

My favorite tool (for just about everything) is Google Analytics, though some wouldn’t call it a content tool. It can be very useful when you give it even more information about the content you’re writing and how you intend for it to be used. In the case of news content we add content category, word count, and tons of interaction data to add more dimensions to Google Analytics, which is just a fancy way of saying we get more context about our traffic and engagement data. We use it by sharing stats for all stories with everyone so we all get a better idea of what works. Our goal is for content to be SEO friendly, look good and read well on social, all while telling an amazing story. No pressure, right?

A conference focusing on higher ed content?

The Higher Ed Content Conference is a must-attend event for higher ed content professionals and teams looking for new ideas and best practices.

Read below what a few of your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Content Conference say about the experience.

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