7 minute read
Data: The missing link in your content marketing plan
Updated on March 3, 2021 by Daniel Bishop
Since the dawn of time, marketing and advertising has been about one thing: content. What you want to say and how you want your audience to receive and interpret that message. There’s a fundamental difference between creating content for the sake of having content and creating content that inspires action, spurs sales conversations, or simply gets you the response you want.
Despite the importance of content, research shows that as much as 60% of B2B content marketers see the production of engaging content as the top marketing challenge they have to face on a daily level.
One of the main reasons marketers struggle to come up with engaging content is the lack of a data-driven approach. In order to create content that your target audience will find interesting and valuable, it’s not enough to have a talented and energetic team of writers.
You also need access to crucial customer data and tools that can collect and interpret these data. This needs to be the basis of a solid content strategy and a starting point for every piece of content that your team produces.
A data-driven approach can help marketers not only deliver shiny content pieces but also make sure your audience is engaged in your brand's conversation. Here’s how.
Get to know your audience
You can’t create engaging content for a certain target group if you know nothing about their needs, desires, and problems. Obviously, you’ll always have some general idea about who your customers and prospects are, but in order to make them truly interested, you’ll need to get to know them in more detail.
You can do this by analyzing their online behavior. Your website and your social media accounts are indispensable sources of information about your potential audience. By using the most basic social media analytics and a decent CRM system you can find out things like:
- Personal characteristics
Some more advanced tools, like heatmaps, session replays, or exit reports can uncover the exact places on your website where visitors normally dwell or identify when and why they leave your website. It also helps determine what type of content makes them the most engaged.
You’ll also need to perform a thorough keyword analysis. Once you know which industry-related terms users most frequently search for, you can use these exact terms in your articles to make them more visible for search engines. Also, it’ll help you with coming up with new topics to write about.
And don’t forget that your sales and customer support teams can also provide you with some vital info about what your customers are looking for or complaining about. Once you have all this data at your disposal, you can turn to content creation.
Types of data-driven content
Before you sit down and start churning out blogs, consider the following:
- Who is your target audience?
- What industry trends are taking place?
- What brand image do you wish to build?
These three questions will serve as a foundation for your blog ideas. Feel free to revisit them periodically as your answers may change over time.
From a more general standpoint, your website should represent your company’s reputation in a positive light, showcase all of your online marketing activities, and embody your entire content strategy.
When it comes to specific blog posts, your keyword research is critical. By the time you start writing, you should have pinpointed the most frequent search queries related to your brand, your product, or your competitors’ products. This is the easiest way to find out which problems your target audience faces and which questions they ask. Pay attention to the context and the users’ actual intent, and try building pieces of content around these specific issues and topics.
Most blog articles serve the following purposes:
- Attract people who are unaware of your brand. If you provide content that answers questions they tend to ask Google, they may end up reading your article. Hint: check Google’s “frequently asked questions” section for ideas.
- Actually help people. Once you have their attention, it’s vital that your article can actually help them. This way you’re establishing your brand as helpful, attentive, and trustworthy.
- Conversion. Of course, the final step is to try to make them convert. Tools like heatmaps, clickstream data, or scroll analytics can be useful for determining which parts of pages users tend to look at and/or click at. These are probably the ideal places to insert a subtle, but visible CTA button.
It’s not easy to convince people to buy from you or sign up to your email list with just one piece of content. That’s why a solid recommendation engine can play a very important role in persuading them to stay on your website and roam around for a bit. Predicting which topic a reader will find relevant based on their previous behavior and recommending it or linking to it in the article can result in increased conversions and decreased bounce rates.
It’s critical to remember that you need to stay on task even after a piece of content is published. Continue collecting data such as:
- Measure its efficiency
- Identify the flaws
- Analyze it continuously so you can fix it, update it or use this knowledge for future content production
Quality data can help you come up with fresh content for your social media. Every social network has different dominant age or gender groups and different established practices. When looking at social media, it is always important to think of your posts in terms of the type of channel you’re using.
For example, Facebook is a very popular social network and it also happens to be the most popular one when we are talking about business. It has well over 2 billion active users, making it, most likely, the best way to reach out to a wider audience that your company can afford. The current average age of a Facebook user is 32 and the average gender balance is 51% female and 49% male.
Moreover, social networks can be very useful for distributing and promoting your company blog and the content you upload to your website. There are certain times of a day or a week when your audience is the most active, so sharing your articles at these exact times can boost their reach, as well as engagement rates.
Today, “personalization” has become the magic word in digital marketing. Thanks to modern tools and software, it’s possible to direct visitors to the exact kinds of content they’re looking for once they arrive at your website. Creating multiple landing pages for different groups of users tends to improve search ranking and client retention at the same time as each landing page can be customized for a different demographic.
For instance, you can build different landing pages for people coming from various countries and write tailor-made copy conceived specifically for them. Furthermore, people who come to your website for the first time will look for different types of info than those who are well-familiar with what you do, so designing separate pages for these two groups can significantly improve your UX and CX.
Finally, people who end up at your website by clicking on an ad should be shown info relevant to their needs and expectations. This means they should come across different sorts of content on the pages they land on, and you may even use different language and vocabulary for different chunks of your target audience.
Your content strategy should be data-driven not only when it comes to content creation, but also when it comes to distribution. Influencer marketing can be a very powerful weapon for your digital marketing efforts, but finding the right influencers to promote your brand should be heavily based on hard, solid data.
In short, you shouldn’t go for the most popular person around, but you should look for those that your customers find relevant and credible. So finding influencers whose audience overlaps with your own is of vital importance. Especially given that most influencers tend to create their own content and don’t let brands interfere too much. This way you can be confident that this content will be suitable and engaging for your audience, even though it’s not created by your own marketing team.
Good data is an excellent tool for content planning and production, but you’ll also need to go beyond that. You’ll want to spend time researching influencers in your industry, seeing what angles they cover and what they like to share. You’ll also want to pay attention to the words that people are using in their social media posts and the types of content they tend to engage with.
Creating content is not an exact science. Use the data points discussed in this blog as a base for your creativity. All this data amounts to nothing without a good creative team with knowledge, skills, and innovative ideas that will set you apart from your competition and maintain a positive online reputation.
Content marketing FAQs
What types of content should I create to establish my online reputation?
Create the following types of content to establish your online reputation: blog, social media posts, landing pages, influencer content.
What data should I collect to improve my content marketing efforts?
Collect data on your target audience, such as demographics, personal characteristics, interests, and passions. This will help create more personalized content for your target audience.
How can I find the best influencers to work with to promote my brand?
You shouldn’t go for the most popular person around, but you should look for those that your customers find relevant and credible. So finding influencers whose audience overlaps with your own is of vital importance