Content creation is a vital part of marketing but many of us are still not using data to influence our content strategy and decision making. What are we waiting for? With over 2 million blog posts being published every day we need to start relying on a little more than luck in order gain attention and traction with everything else we are competing with on the web.
Data can really transform the content you are producing by helping you build a strategy, measure results, and help shift content from noise and into personalized messages for consumers.
Are you ready for this content transformation?
Leave Your Intuition Behind
When your brand rolled out content marketing you were intuition-driven. You might have been tracking things like social shares and page views -even though those results had no impact on lead generation or making a sale. You created endless amounts of spreadsheets, tracking everything but were still unable to justify your content marketing budget. You measured your teams’ performance based on pieces of content that were created off of a hunch or feeling it would work rather than facts. All-in-all you had no idea what was working, how content was impacting the purchase funnel and how your intuition could be so wrong!
Sound familiar? Sounds like something you may still be doing… Well, it’s time to stop this madness and create a plan that is data-driven.
The best thing you can do from here is to give yourself a clean slate, don’t try to salvage what has been done. Let the past be the past and start from scratch with a new framework of how content will be created by using these three pillars:
- Content Strategy – What is your plan? What are your goals?
- Content Production – What types of content will you make? On what platforms? And who will create it?
- Content Promotion – How will people find your content? Will you put any spend behind it?
And to understand this foundation better you need to have key metrics picked out, defined and agreed on by your team.
Those metrics need to measure:
- Consumption – Where are people finding your content? On what device are they consuming it? When are they reading it and for how long?
- Engagement – How are they interacting with your content? Are their comments and conversations in the blog page comment section? Or are these conversations happening on social- maybe Twitter?
- MQL – Are you building a list of marketing leads from your content? How do you qualify theses leads?
- Retention – Are people subscribing to your newsletter? Reading another blog post? Requesting more content? Filling out lead gen forms?
- SQL – Where do people fall within your sales funnel?
- Sharing – Are your followers sharing and promoting your content? What types of content are getting the most shares?
Tracking metrics that align with the six categories listed above will help you understand your content marketing ROI and build the foundation for your Strategy, Production, and Promotion routines.
The final data-driven step may be the most important one, evaluating the success of your content performance. Remember, you aren’t using that gut feeling anymore to make content marketing decisions so it’s now time to use the data you have been gathering to understand your results.
Just because you are gathering data does not mean all your problems will be solved but data helps you gain a better understanding of what is and is not working. Data helps you understand who wants to read you content, when, how and where they want it. That is huge! It takes the guesswork out of determining your success but these answers also don’t come over night. Through analysis, you can identify key insights, set benchmarks against current segments and use this information to accelerate decision making.
Now that you have data available it is also important that you are constantly testing. Marketing doesn’t stay still and neither should you. Make sure you are trying new things, performing A/B tests and thinking of new distributions methods that are beyond your current owned channels. The data you’re collecting doesn’t just have to qualify the things you are currently doing, it can also help you determine where you want to go in the future.
Wrap It Up
The most successful content marketing campaigns don’t just happen by chance. Marketers use the wealth of data at their disposal to make informed decisions on their Strategy, Production and the Promotion of their content. They have ditched intuition-driven marketing and are using data to develop content that leads to engagement and conversions.
Content marketing can be difficult, costly, and hard to measure. But when you use data (instead of luck) you have a solid base and the opportunity for big rewards!