Thursday Thoughts: Utilizing Data Insights to Create Better Content
WHAT IS A DATA-DRIVEN CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY?
A data-driven content marketing strategy uses data to inform and alter the content strategy. This involves capturing and analyzing data at all stages of planning, creating, evaluating, and designing for analysis. Depending on what type of data you compile and care about, once analyzed it can help influence which channels (email, website, social media) to post on, what specific content should be posted on each channel, what audience segment should be targeted, and much more. Some data can even help dictate page structure, word count, and tone of voice.
Overall, this type of content marketing strategy helps to bridge the gap between a marketing expert’s thoughts and suggestions and a user’s wants. By using data to create better content, you can boost traffic to your channels, improve your conversions, and ultimately increase your ROI.
TURNING DATA INSIGHTS INTO ACTIONABLE TACTICS
Data helps marketers learn what is and is not working with their content marketing strategy. More importantly, it helps marketers learn what their audience wants. Here are some suggestions for how to turn your data insights into actionable strategies:
- Focus on which content types resonate with which topics, audiences, and channels, then repurpose that content and test it again. This applies to length of article, as well as if it includes graphics or not. For example, if an infographic receives more audience engagement for a topic than a long-form blog post does, make your content regarding this topic more visual. Other times, it may be a toss-up; if that’s the case, do both and gather more data.
- Analyze impressions and open rates to determine what is working or not working, then promote or remove the topic from your repertoire as needed. If the impressions/open rate is high for a campaign, promote the topic more. If the results are pretty average, consider reworking how the content is laid out, make it more or less visual, or try to publish the content on a different channel that alternative data may suggest the topic could resonate with. If the results are poor, potentially remove the topic from your repertoire completely.
- Review click data from applicable channels (i.e. email or web), then determine how best to manipulate the design of your piece. By looking at where most users clicked on an email, you may realize that most clicks were on the banner at the top. If that’s the case, make sure to put the best applicable link in that area for future email sends of similar emails. In contrast, if you receive no clicks on an email or webpage, rework the design/layout. Your new design should be influenced by data from previous emails or other webpages that received better results.
- In general, analyze all metrics, then question if your audience segmentation is correct and if the specific audiences are being sent the best content for them. For example, we segment our clients’ audiences and use those specific ‘lists’ for email marketing. Certain segments get certain emails. After each email is sent, we look at the analytics by audience segment to see if the segment engaged with the email more or less than previous emails they were sent, but we also compare the engagement rates of each segment against the other ones. We ask questions similar to: How is the prospect list doing compared to the client list? Which topics do the audience segments like? Why is the client list not opening as much as they used to?
Choose metrics that matter to you and your clients. Set goals for what you are trying to accomplish and then determine which metrics you want to track, based on those goals. There is an endless amount of data that a marketer can gather, so make sure to find where you specifically want to focus for your KPIs.
THE DIFFICULTIES OF DATA ANALYSIS
Having too much data is in fact a thing. Data mining can be extremely difficult; it is challenging to know where to begin and what is important in the long-run for your KPIs. However, data is clearly influential in providing direction for your content marketing strategy. The key to collecting and analyzing data is knowing what your goals are, what data you need to develop your strategy, and what tools provide that data for you.
With so much available data, humans begin to rely too much on the data and not as much on the insights gathered from the data. Don’t be afraid to take a step back, look at the ‘bigger picture’, and put yourself in the customers’ shoes.