03.16.17 | Is Data-Driven Content Marketing The Future?
We all know that data is fast becoming the most valuable commodity in business. It’s data that allows us to make sensible decisions about where to spend our marketing dollars and it’s data that enables us to understand what consumers want.
The world of business has changed a lot since back in the day. Back then, being successful in business was all about meeting people, getting to know them, building trust and doing deals. But many companies today don’t ever meet with their customers, and yet somehow they’re supposed to generate rapport and loyalty.
The key to doing this today is through a data-driven content marketing campaign. Campaigns should be “data-driven” so that marketers know that they are connecting with the right people in the right way. And they should be based on content since inbound marketing is now widely accepted as the best way to build sustainable customer relationships.
Today’s top up-and-coming businesses are all using big data to their advantage. Arby’s, for instance, is using data to highlight relevant cultural events to improve its online marketing efforts. And Kohl’s is using data to help personalize content to individual users. Here are some approaches your business needs to take to make its content marketing more data-driven.
Regularly Measure and Test
No matter how much content you’re producing, you’ll never know whether it is effective or not unless you take measurements. Think of your content marketing as a kind of scientific experiment. Ask yourself what happens to your engagement if you change the style or topics of your posts? Does engagement go up or go down? Taking measurements allows you to be more innovative and creative than if you are working blind. By taking measurements, you can actually test whether or not your ideas have the intended effect or whether you need to rethink your strategy. Collecting data allows your company to take more risks and test the water.
You also want to measure where you’re having the most impact. Do you get more conversions if you post to Twitter, or are your customers more interested in what you’re doing on Instagram? Knowing which platforms are most effective is important in making sure that you’re using your time in the most efficient manner possible.
Don’t Let Big Data Stunt Your Creativity
Is it possible for companies to be “too data-driven?” The Content Marketing Institute think so. They’ve argued that businesses that obsess over data wind up losing their creative flair and their marketing turns stale. Everything becomes about maximizing keyword throughput and dwell time, rather than creating something that is truly innovative, interesting or useful. It’s a good idea to use data and learn from it, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that drives content creation. There’s still room for human ingenuity.
Use User Data for Content
The data you collect will throw up lots of information about your clients. This, in turn, will allow you to create dozens of unique buyers, all with their own personas that you can target. Because of changes to the rules on data security, companies need to make their marketing GDPR-compliant. But so long as you’re following the rules, you’ll be able to use user data to your advantage. It’s no longer sufficient to focus only on the age and gender of a person and call that an online persona. Instead, you need to cast your net wider and measure things like purchasing patterns and location-based marketing to include local things of interest.
Use Content to Build A Community
Some companies have all the data in the world, but they’re unable to turn this data into a meaningful, real-world conversation. And if they can’t generate meaningful, real-world conversations, then they’ve collected all those data for nothing.
The best way to make sure that you are engaging your audiences is to ensure that every contributor to your blog is following a set of clearly defined guidelines. The purpose of these guidelines shouldn’t be to stifle creativity and flair: instead, they should be aimed at making sure that the content is relevant to your audience, according to the data you’ve collected. One way of doing this is to create a handbook, explaining to contributors exactly what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re targeting.
Sometimes it can be difficult to build external relationships with writers for your content. And so it’s a good idea to host regular Hangouts meetings with them online to explain the sort of thing that you want. This will give them a chance to give you their thoughts, allowing you to fill out your editorial calendar.
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