Creating a data-driven content marketing strategy

We have more insightful data at our fingertips than ever before. But how can we use these findings to drive a stronger content marketing strategy?

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The rise of IoT, smartphones, wearables, social media, and constant connectivity to the online world has opened the door to a shed load of shiny new data for marketers to sink their teeth into.

This allows us to build a more accurate picture of exactly what those modern, savvy, tech-obsessed consumers want from our brands, and think about how we can best utilise these findings to drive an even stronger content marketing strategy.

Understanding the target audience

Content marketing done properly will bring audiences and brands closer to one another. If you only need one reason to dive into data and develop a content marketing strategy, then it’s building a better understanding of your target audience.

Taking the time to root through data will help to answer some of the following questions about the personas of your audience:How do they react to existing content?

  • How do they react to existing content?
  • What content types and styles do they like or dislike?
  • What are their preferred communication methods?
  • What online channels do they use?
  • What are their browsing habits?

This should lay a solid groundwork for building up your content marketing strategy, supported by insightful data, rather than assumptions.

Discovering new content ideas

Coming up with fresh and frequent content ideas is not always easy, but data can help to ease some of that burden in three ways:

1) Keyword research

The benefits of keyword research for SEO are well cited. But this process can also reveal a lot of detail about audience search habits, and help you to unveil some juicy new topic ideas that can form a successful part of the content strategy.

2) Content performance

Your existing content can help to guide your future content. Check over analytics – Do lengthy articles outperform short listicles? Do your readers stay engaged for longer with image-heavy content? What grabs more attention on social channels? Could you rework your most popular pieces into different formats? How can you amplify the best performing content to get more from it?

3) Monitor latest trends

Taking a look at the bigger picture can sometimes also help you to draw up content ideas that are relevant to your own brand. Dig into Google Trends, trending topics on Facebook and Twitter, and the daily news headlines and see how your audience is reacting to these and whether you can find a hook to put your own spin on something.

Distributing content

Creating good content is a single piece of the overall content marketing puzzle. You also need to find ways to distribute and amplify that content. Again, data can come in handy here.

Some channels worth exploring include;Owned media (your own website, blog, social content)

  • Owned media (your own website, blog, social content)
  • Paid media (PPC and social media advertising)
  • Shared media (referral traffic and influencers)
  • Earned media (PR, mentions)

Content distribution can be challenging because there are so many options to try out and not all of them are going to work for every piece of content you create. Reviewing existing performance data will allow you to work out which avenues are worth exploring.

Measuring success

According to the Content Marketing Institute, analytics platforms are the most popular tools for dictating future content marketing strategies, with 79% of marketers using them to measure performance and track KPIs. Despite this, Curata reports that only 30% are actually confident that their content marketing is influencing movement toward the sales funnel.

Here are some fundamental metrics that every content marketer should regularly review and evaluate ;

  • Views on blog
  • Time spent on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Inbound links and mentions
  • Press coverage
  • Number of comments, shares, likes
  • Number of leads
  • Number of conversions

Humans not bots; the future of content marketing

Taking a data-driven approach to your content marketing strategy will inevitably begin with analysing existing stats, but it’s important to apply these findings into actionable steps in order to progress forward.

Application of these numbers is exactly what sets humans apart from bots, and keeps the process focused toward real people and real results.This means translating statistical data into a language that meets the needs of your customers, with your company’s goals in mind.

With more and more data becoming available to us, marketing is at risk of becoming all about analysing numbers. It’s vital that creative expression is not lost along the way, and a truly successful content marketer needs to meet that blended balance between their creative ideas mixed with an analytical approach.

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