Why Data can (and should) drive your Content Marketing Strategy

Let’s face it – writing a blog post is not easy. It takes time, research, thought, and effort. Why would you waste those resources creating something that no one will want to read?

The same is true for an email blast or e-newsletter. Why would you waste your time writing articles and designing an email that will sit unopened, trashed, or unsubscribed?

Or social media. Why spend your time posting and sharing if your audience is uninterested?

Maybe this all seems like guess work. Maybe it’s impossible to know if a blog will be a hit or a miss before you press “Publish,” or if your social content will go viral, or if your readers will unsubscribe or read every word of your next email. While there is no guarantee that your content will be a success, there is a pretty good way to improve your strategy: analytics.

Using Analytics to develop your Content Marketing Strategy

There is no “one size fits all” approach to content marketing. Your audience is not the same as your neighbor’s audience. Your business is unique, your customers are unique – your content strategy should be unique too.

Data Driven MarketingPay attention to what works and what doesn’t work in your marketing mix. A few key measures can provide a lot of insight into your customers and your content strategy:

  • Email open rates indicate whether or not your audience was interested in the subject of your email. A person will decide whether or not to open your message based on the subject line (and maybe a few lines of previewed text) and that’s all. You may have a killer article, but if the subject line doesn’t draw them in, they will never read the article.
  • Click-through rates gauge insight into what your customers want to read more about. Of course, this means you need to include links. Link to related content inside your article. Or use the handy “Read more” hyperlink to lead to a larger article. By clicking on the link, the reader is letting you know what they actually want to learn more about.
  • Website page visits show you where visitors end up on your website. If one or two pages have substantially higher sessions or longer time spent on the site, you’ll have a good idea what your customers are looking for. Build more content based on that page, explore related topics, and link back to the original page.
  • Engagement on social media may be the best way to find topics your customers care about. You can easily test out a variety of subjects, with near immediate results. Curate content on subjects you are considering and share links to articles on your social platforms. Likes, shares, retweets, and comments let you know if your customer is interested.

Need inspiration? Dig deeper into the data…

Analytics doesn’t just have to be responsive. Look beyond what happens after you hit publish – but where do you look? Social Media.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google + collect copious amounts of data about their users. And the best part, people are freely giving it away. People share their likes, interests, and thoughts online. Just look to your own followers for insight about content they care about.

What do they like? What do they comment on? What other brands do they follow? What do they share? Look for common threads, shared interested, and weave these into your strategy when possible. Build your content for your audience – you’ll see the difference!

trending-iphoneBut maybe you want to look beyond your current followers – look at trending topics. Most social media platforms let you explore public content and even offer suggestions based on what others are discussing. Hashtags link content into easily accessible interest groups. People are talking about the new iPhone? Share a few related social posts, or write a quick blog about how you will (or why you won’t) use the latest tech in your business. Join in these conversations, sharing your expertise and insight, and reach out to potential followers.

Pay attention to what your customers care about, and develop content about those topics. Write blog posts, email blasts, articles, and posts on topics customers are seeking out, on trends they care about, on interests they publicly endorse.

Data can, and should, drive your content marketing strategy. All the information is there – it’s ready and waiting for you to find it, to use it, and to benefit from it.