Does Your Content Marketing Strategy Need to be More Data-Driven?

By By Paroma Sen, MarTech Series

There are limitless ways for marketers of today to plan their content marketing strategies. Despite the growing number of channels, methods and even technologies available to drive content marketing efforts, content marketing by itself is still a tricky space to conquer.

A good content marketing strategy is one that is constantly evolving and adding value to every prospect and customer that visits your website or social media channels online. In today’s heavily clogged online marketplace, every content marketing strategy should be backed by data and out of the box messaging for better impact.

Creating a well-researched piece of content takes time. This is all the more a reason for marketers and content teams to optimize what content they choose to develop by using data to drive their plans, decisions and even final publishing standards and processes.

A data-backed content marketing strategy will not only optimize the whole content writing and content marketing process, it will improve distribution efforts and boost content consumption metrics.

Here are a few basic best practices that help set the pace for a better data driven content marketing strategy:

Understanding Who Your Audience is

The whole process of creating content without knowing who you’re creating it for is a waste of time. Marketers of today have access to data to help them understand who their prospects are, who their regular visitors are, even what type of content resonates most with them.

Some of the world’s leading marketers use data to drive decisions on what type of content will be the focus for the next few months, what type of topics would be the key focus, which distribution channels would take a priority over others, etc.

Marketing teams and content teams who use data to understand who their audience is, what kind of persona they are writing for, what type of content they like and which channels they are most active on will be able to cater content types and topics to meet these content consumption patterns. This will help pique the interest of a target audience base a lot earlier in the buying journey.

Using this as a basis to drive content creation and content marketing efforts can help build a more fail-proof plan.

Breaking Down Your Own Website Visitor Data

Your brand’s website can be a goldmine for your prospecting and content marketing efforts, if used smartly. Content teams should work closely with the rest of their marketing counterparts to do detailed SEO analysis of their website, to identify which topics are getting the most traction from new users and actual target users.

Gathering data related to content consumption metrics across all areas of the website (whitepapers downloads, webinar views/downloads, blog and podcast consumption rates, etc) will help content teams know what type of content is actually adding value and what needs to be optimized.

A Deep Dive into Competitor Content Marketing Practices and Top Content Trends Surrounding Your Niche

Buyers and prospects today have endless amounts of information at their fingertips. To know more on what your target audience and industry is reading about, it is crucial to do a deep drive into trending industry topics, types of blogs or articles that your target audience is consuming from other sources, a detailed research into top content types and topics in your niche across web, social, forums, etc will help determine what you need to focus on creating and doing differently to capture your audience’s interest.

Adding more to this layer of data – it helps to acknowledge what leading brands and competitors in your niche are doing for their content marketing. This can help build your own plans that stand apart and look different.

Content marketers who analyse popular or top ranked content topics in their niche will be able why a certain type of content or topic worked versus others. It will help formulate content plans that are then a better match for reader interest.

Aligning your SEO strategy to incorporate insights into what kind of keywords are trending related to your niche can further help improve and inform what categories to write about in the near-term.

Determining Your Content Delivery Methods

Creating content is not enough. Knowing where to broadcast them using different methods (audio, video, infographics, etc) is just as important. Also knowing when besides what is the best way to deliver your content to your audience is crucial to determining overall success.

This is where data can help identify where your customers are most active and when, whether it would be more feasible to send a marketing email or news on latest blog at 09 am or 10, etc.

Different content marketing channels and social media platforms will have different preference timings based on your audience demographics.

Knowing What to Analyze in Your Content Marketing Performance

Content marketers have a lot of metrics to breakdown. But the difference lies in prioritizing metrics based on your own immediate marketing or content goals (are you creating brand awareness for your new products,  versus, are you trying to boost online conversions with informative content?).

Most marketers and content teams follow standard formats to understand their content marketing performance but these basics aren’t enough to inform and drive better ROI driven efforts. As market trends and customer expectations change, so do their content consumption habits.

Besides simply tracking elements like bounce rates, number of users and repeat visitors or levels of engagement with key pieces of content, content marketers have to keep updating their content plans to meet current business and social trends and changing social media patterns.

End Note – Every Brand Needs a Data-Driven Content Strategy Today

Without a data-driven content marketing strategy, content teams and content marketers are as good as flying blind. Moreover, as martech trends and content management systems keep evolving, content marketers will have different kinds of insights and data with which to inform their content marketing efforts.

While the fundamentals remain the same, in order to stay above the noise and boost content marketing ROI, it is now crucial to determine what kind of data and focus areas need to be prioritized to deliver effective results.

Article originally appeared on MarTech Series.

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