The best content marketers think like data scientists

Big data and analytics are transforming the way companies of all sizes and industries do business, especially when it comes to creating a strong marketing strategy.
4 April 2018

It is not enough for your marketing strategy to consist of just great storytelling and compelling design. Though many advertising and content marketers are often referred to as “creatives”, engaging content is not the only ingredient for a successful content marketing campaign. The ingredient that can really add some fantastic flavor to a marketing strategy is data.

Data-driven content marketing can be described as the leveraging of statistics, surveys, market research and public data to inform and create a content strategy.

Through this data, you can gain insights into current trends dominating the market, as well as gaining a better understanding of your audience in relation to location, age, income, education, preferences and more.

A data-driven strategy also takes a look at your existing analytics to determine which of your current marketing content and efforts are working and which should be re-thought.

This kind of marketing is the key to success in today’s competitive global economy. In fact, 53 percent of businesses believe that data makes them more consumer-centric and 88 percent use third-party data in order to gain a greater understanding of their customers.

So with this in mind, what are the steps you need to take in order to unlock the wonderful benefits of data?

Dive into your data

The first step requires you to get up close and personal with your data. Really get familiar with your existing content on your site and how it is performing. What are your most popular pages and posts? Where are people spending the most time on your site? These simple metrics will give you an idea of which topics and content format your audience prefers.

If you’re lacking in existing data to look at, don’t fret- there are other useful ways in which to gather information. For instance, many businesses find that creating ‘audience personas’ is a useful exercise in profiling your target audience; exploring what kind of content they’re after and where they typically go to get that content.

As well as this, consider keeping a vigilant eye on your competitors’ websites, blogs, and social media to discover what kind of topics they’re covering, which content type, and where they’re getting the most engagement.

It is also useful to see which industry-related topics are trending on the web. Tapping into platforms such as Google Trends and NewsWhip’s Spike can give you information on what is currently trending as well as predictions of what could trend in the future.

Which content formats

Is your audience more inclined to read about your latest research findings in a long-form article or peruse an infographic? Do they engage more with video or blog posts?  Are they using mobile devices or desktop to view your content? Delivering your content to your audience in the formats and on the platforms they prefer is pretty much as essential as the topics covered.

Discovering information about what devices and platforms your customers prefer will enable you to better engage with them. Source: Shutterstock

Research from content marketing software company Curata has found that long-form blog posts, on average, generate eight times more page views, three times more social shares, and nine times more leads than short-form posts.

However, the preferred content can also depend on a variety of factors including demographics and industry. For instance, research from Animoto found that 60 percent of millennials prefer to watch a company video than read a newsletter, and are three times more likely than baby boomers to watch a video on their mobile device.

Platforms such as Google Analytics will give you an idea of this type of data.

Content marketing isn’t just about where, but also when

Once you determine which type of content your audience tend to prefer as well as where they spend their time online, it is crucial to discover when they’re spending time there as well.

CoSchedule, compiled the data from over 20 studies who looked into the best times to post in order to increase traffic, engagement, and followers.  Among other findings, it was found that when it comes to Facebook, posting at three pm will get you the most clicks, while posting at one pm will get you the most shares.

Source: Coschedule

Tools such as HootSuite, SproutSocial, and Google Analytics will help you in determining what the best time would be to post on social media for your business.

Analyze, test, repeat

The key to a successful content marketing strategy is to test, tweak, and then test some more. You need to consistently measure the performance of your content through tools such as Google Analytics as well as delving into your social analytics.

You should use success metrics such as visitor engagement, number of views, average time spent on site, likes, shares, retweets, and mentions to identify which areas are working well and which need improving.

Tracking your performance and regularly reviewing it to make necessary improvements will ensure a successful content marketing strategy that attracts the most engagement.

In a digital era where data is driving everything, content marketing can no longer be a guessing game.