Tag Archives: Content Marketing Strategy

What is data driven content marketing and how to use it to grow your business

Data driven content marketing strategy

Data driven content marketing strategy

Content marketing in its current avatar is not considered very scientific. It works on perception, experience, sometimes even guesswork, and mostly estimation.

Data driven content marketing on the other hand, can be more precise and more scientific. Data, as they say, does not lie.

What is data driven content marketing?

What do you understand by data? Data is information in the form of numbers. If you say that out of every 100 visitors that come to your website 2 buy from you, that is data.

If you know that out of every 500 visitors to your website every day, 245 enter your website via your services web page and out of these 245, 10 do business with you, and then you try to create content to replicate the success of your services web page and then try to promote that content to the sort of people that enter through your services web page, that’s data driven content marketing.

When you depend on data to create content and distribute it, you are no longer guessing.

Data driven content marketing means knowing exactly what your audience is looking for using all the available web analytics tools, and then tailoring, formatting, and timing your content accordingly.

The easiest real-world example that comes to my mind is the way modern email marketing services allow you to create segments based on the behavior of your email recipients.

One day you send an email campaign to all your recipients.

Then you wait for a week. MailChimp (I use MailChimp, you might be using another service) tells you how many people opened your message from your entire mailing list.

You send a new message to only those people who opened your previous message, the new message completely tailored according to the previous message read by them.

This is data driven marketing.

Analyze data to improve content marketing strategy

Analyze data to improve content marketing strategy

How to use data driven content marketing to grow your business

Before we proceed, let me be clear: data in itself means nothing. Data in itself is just a collection of numbers.

It is when you analyze the data and draw intelligence out of fit, it begins to have some meaning for you.

So, basically, the actual form of content marketing that you should be focusing on is, intelligence-driven content marketing, but, since all this intelligence is derived from data, let’s just stick to data driven content marketing.

Data is everywhere. Google Search Console gives you a treasure trove of data. Twitter gives lots of data. You can get good data from LinkedIn. Facebook, sure. Most of the contemporary email marketing services. There are numerous third-party tools that can go through your existing content and tell you what sort of people are mostly consuming your content.

So, how does data driven content marketing help you grow your business better than the usual, haphazard content marketing?

Data driven content marketing helps you channelize your efforts and cost towards a more productive and meaningful exercise.

Creating and publishing quality content takes effort and money, right? Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what content to publish rather than simply go on publishing whatever comes to your mind and then hoping that some of it will generate business for you?

You feel bad that you publish 50 blog posts and only 5 of them get you the results that you seek.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you become stingy when publishing content. You cannot start gathering data from the word go. It may take you many months before you have some decent data to analyze. And, this data cannot be gathered if you don’t have enough content to analyze.

Initially, you will have to depend on your intuition, on guesswork, on research that is not data-based, but, as you publish greater amount of content and as that content generates greater amount of user feedback, you will have plenty of data to play around with.

Data driven content marketing isn’t as “nerdy” as it may seem initially. In its simplest form, it means using the intelligence that you can derive out of the data that you have, to create, publish, and distribute your content.

Why publish content for people who are never going to appreciate it?

Why not publish lots of content for people who have a use for it, who are looking for it, or who may need it in the near future without even realizing it? And the good thing is, you have access to that needed intelligence.

Even if you are simply using Google analytics you can get lots of information about the people who search for your content on Google and social networking platforms.

The Google Search Console also tells you what sort of devices people use to access your content and where most of your visitors are situated.

Data driven content marketing primarily has two stages:

  1. Post-publishing-distribution content effectiveness metrics/data
  2. Publishing-distribution of new content based on the metrics/data gathered above

Gathering and analyzing data after you have published and distributed content

How do you know the effectiveness of your content?

To know the effectiveness of your content you need to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve.

Suppose you have published a new case study on your website. You want people to download your case study. Since it contains valuable, useful information, you want people to first sign up for your newsletter and then download the case study.

Many people sign up for your newsletter and then download your case study.

What was the purpose of publishing the case study? Was it to encourage more people to sign up for your newsletter updates? Or was it to convince people into doing business with you?

Sometimes businesses publish e-books and case studies just to use them as an incentive for their email subscription.

If this is not the case and you have published the case study to reach out to more people and explain how you deliver your product or service, you can try something else.

After a couple of months, you allow people to download your case study directly without having to sign up for your newsletter.

What do you observe after two months?

Are lesser number of people subscribing to your email updates? Are more people downloading your case study? Are more people contacting you for work than previously?

The data will tell you and then accordingly you can publish your subsequent case studies and decide whether you want to offer your next case study as an incentive for email subscription or you directly want to allow people to download it.

A sidenote observation by the way: I discourage my clients from using an incentive for subscription. People should download your case study, e-book or white paper simply because they want to access the information. In the same vein, people should subscribe to your updates not because they want to download your case study, e-book or white paper but simply for the valuable information that you will be giving them.

Coming back to the topic, you can use a keyword research tool to know whether the keywords and search terms you are trying to target are actually used by your target audience or not.

Often my clients demand content for which there is no demand. They waste time, money and effort on chasing shadows.

Even if you don’t want to use a third-party tool, you can use the Google Search Console to know which keywords and search terms are driving traffic to your website or blog the most, and then tailor your content accordingly.

The study and data analytics of your existing content can tell you about:

  • How many people visit your blog or website?
  • What is your bounce rate?
  • How much time on an average your visitors spend on your individual blog posts and web pages?
  • How many comments do your blog posts attract?
  • How many times people share your content on their social networking profiles?
  • How many inbound links your content attracts?
  • How many leads content generates within a particular time frame?
  • What is its conversion rate?

Publishing and distributing content according to the data you have been able to gather and analyze so far

Remember the key to a successful content marketing strategy is providing the right content to the right audience at the right time using the right channel. Yes, lots of “right”.

Your data will be able to tell you what content your audience prefers.

It tells you what format is most suitable to the needs of your audience.

The data will tell you on which days of the week your content is accessed the most.

The data will also tell you through what channels (your blog, search engines, website, external websites, social networking platforms, mobile apps) people access your content the most.

For example, my content analytics tell me that most of my traffic comes from search engines with occasional spikes from LinkedIn. Almost zero traffic from Twitter and Facebook.

Does it mean I should try harder to improve my search engine rankings further and create more visibility on LinkedIn, or should I ignore these channels and focus more on Twitter and Facebook from where my traction is almost nil?

Depends on what I want to achieve, but this bit of information can certainly help me decide and carry on my content marketing accordingly.

What sort of data you should pay attention to for a successful data driven content marketing strategy?

Here are a few things you can look out for when trying to figure out what sort of content you should publish and how you should market it.

  • How do customers react to your existing content?
  • What format of content – blog posts, web pages, case studies, newsletter updates, images, videos, white papers, e-books, social media updates – is preferred by your target audience?
  • How do people mostly discover your content?
  • What keywords and search terms people use when they are able to find the content that you have? Or the content you are planning to publish?
  • What sort of content your competitors are publishing and what is the degree of success?
  • How does your content perform vis-à-vis generating leads and more business?
  • What changes do you notice when you alter the way you publish your content?
  • Does your audience prefer long content or short content?
  • Particularly for your business, does quantity work or quality?
  • Do people access your content mostly on desktop or mobile?
  • Should you focus more on paid media, owned media or earned media?

Frankly, these are just random questions that come to my mind when I’m writing this. Every business has its own unique data and user behavior patter.

It’s not that suddenly you have to change your content marketing strategy and start worrying about data. If you pay close attention to a few metrics and then try to create content accordingly, you are already using data driven content marketing for your business. If not, you should perhaps, from now onwards, start paying close attention to at least the Google Analytics data to know what sort of traffic your content is attracting.

7 Features of Successful Content Marketing Plan

Creating a successful content marketing strategy

Creating a successful content marketing strategy

Guest post

There are a number of companies and businessmen that have created content marketing plans with little success. A number of possible reasons exist for why a content marketing campaign does not hit the intended goal. This could be because the content lacks quality, or the wrong type of content is used.

In this article you’ll learn the top tips for a successful content marketing plan. Therefore, you’ll avoid the common mistakes of others that have failed before you. With the list of tips mentioned below you’ll realize that implementing a successful content marketing plan can be a straightforward process.

Understand the audience

It’s important to figure out who your audience is and cater the content to them. For example, consider the type of problems they have, what kind of hobbies they take part in and their financial status. The more information you can find out about the demographics of your audience the more relevant the content will be.

Writing content that the audience can relate to allows for high rates of engagement. They are more likely to stick around to the end of the blog post and see the call to action.

Call to action

The point of content marketing is to generate new leads for your business. However, without a CTA the conversion rate for each piece of content is going to be minimal. You need to include the CTA in a variety of locations. For example, if you’re trying to get new subscribers to your email newsletter, then at the end of every piece of content tempt the viewer to sign up.

You can also have the CTA in the middle of the content if it’s in the flow of the writing. This might increase the conversion rate of your content marketing campaign even higher.

Solve a problem

The type of content you put out should aim to solve a problem for the audience. Not every piece of advice that you give should be behind a pay wall. By offering free and helpful information the customer is more likely to buy from you.

For example, if your website is about weight loss, then you could give advice on how to avoid putting on weight during a vacation. Actionable advice that’s targeted is always great for a content marketing strategy.

Consistent output

Regardless of how great your content is, an infrequent posting frequency will not work. Audiences expect regular content to digest – this ensures they will be coming back for more – even expecting it before it arrives.

The best approach is to send out daily content so that followers have a reason to visit your website on a daily basis. Once you have built up a large library of content you’ll also receive a large volume of traffic from the search engines.

Measure the performance

To understand what’s working and what isn’t, the performance of content should be measured. A breakdown of different statistics for every piece of content should be noted and organized. This includes the bounce rate, number of new subscribers, traffic and social shares.

Over time you’ll begin to see a pattern regarding what type of content receives the highest amount of attention. This means you can increase the ROI of your content strategy by focusing on what works. Before coming to conclusions ensure the amount of data gathered represent a decent sample size. Perhaps 1,000 visitors are enough to see how well a piece of content is performing.

Optimize for the search engines

If you are going to create content, then you might as well make the most of it by optimizing for the search engines. The common SEO principles to adhere to is the use of relevant keywords, optimization of meta tags and backlinking to other pages of your website within the content.

The last point is SEO friendly and it also improves the usability for the end user.

Repurpose your content

Working smarter always outperforms working harder. With that thought in mind repurposing your content is a great idea. For example, after writing a blog post you can use a portion of the content for an email or social media post.

This ensures that you are able to make the most of each piece of content created. You can then add a link to the original piece of content if they wish to read the entire piece.

Conclusion

The combination of the 7 tips for a successful content marketing strategy can increase the profitability of your campaign. You’ll see that by using these common marketing tactics the process is simplified. You can even outsource the entire operation to professionals.

Ensuring that your content marketing strategy hits targets is important to the overall success of your business. A well-implemented strategy can be the difference between achieving a consistent flow of many customers, and struggling to get any at all.

4 attributes that make your content marketing successful

4-attributes-of-content-marketing-success

Successful content marketing rests on 4 attributes

  1. Alignment with your organizational goals: What exactly do you want to achieve through content marketing?
  2. Team collaboration: All the people who are responsible for content marketing use the same tools, use the same language and communicate the same message. They also know what are the success metrics.
  3. Content distribution: Content publishing should always be complemented with content distribution so that your target audience can access your content and respond accordingly. If there is no method of content distribution, your job is half done.
  4. Ongoing analytics: Always know what you’re doing and what you are achieving, and this can be best done by analyzing your effort and results.

How do you keep track of these four attributes for successful content marketing?

You need a documented content marketing strategy.

The word “strategy” may seem like a highfalutin word, but it is not. In the realms of content marketing it means

1
Clearly articulating, in writing, the overall aim of your content marketing. What do you want to achieve ultimately? In how much time?

2.
Whom are you going to target? This is very important. For whom are you going to publish and distribute your content. How should they react? What should they do after getting exposed to your content?

3.
What sort of content you want to create? Do you want to establish yourself as an expert or an authority figure? Do you want to become an information hub? Do you want to educate people? Do you want to make people aware of a new technology or a better way of doing something? Do you want to provide better support to your existing customers and clients?

4.
What content format your audience prefers? Does your audience prefer blog posts? Infographics? LinkedIn? Slides? Videos? E-books? White papers and case studies? Email newsletters?

It is very important to know where to focus your energies otherwise you will be wasting lots of time on creating content that people are not interested in, or don’t want to access simply because they don’t like the format.

5.
Content creation process and scope. In many organizations, especially larger organizations, individual employees are supposed to create content and take care of it. In some organizations there are dedicated content teams.

In multi-layered content marketing teams there are content creators, content editors, content publishers and content distributors. Assign the right people to the right jobs for successful content marketing.

6.
Editorial calendar. Once you set your content marketing in motion you will need to stick to a schedule. Publishing consistency is very important. If you publish two blog posts every week, you must publish two blog posts every week. If you publish one infographic every 15 days, you must publish one infographic every 15 days.

An editorial calendar also allows you to prepare a list of topics that you can cover in the coming days, weeks and months. This way you are never at a loss. You always have something to publish.

7.
Content distribution. The high-quality content that you are publishing needs to reach the right audience to be effective. You have to proactively promote and distribute your content. You can use your social networking profiles. You can make sure that your content is search engine optimized so that people can easily find it on Google and other search engines.

8.
Tracking ROI and analytics. This is one of the most important aspects of a documented content marketing strategy. You need to constantly track your ROI and analytics.

Is your content marketing helping you achieve your goals? Are you attracting the right traffic? Are people doing the right thing when they are on your website or blog? Is the level of engagement fruitful on social media and social networking websites?

The good thing about tracking constantly is that if some structural and directional changes need to be made, they can be made in a timely manner.

So, these are the eight vital components of a documented content marketing strategy that can ensure the success of your content marketing.

The importance of visual content in your content marketing

importance-of-visual-content-in-content-marketingWhen I started providing content writing and content marketing services more than 10 years ago, content marketing mostly constituted of publishing blog posts, broadcasting a newsletter and publishing articles and blog posts on other websites and blogs. People were quite happy writing lots of stuff. We were writing articles, tutorials, how to’s, and in the process, attracting decent amount of traffic to our websites.

Then a new breed of content marketers started experimenting with visual content. I remember, initially they used attractive graphics and imagery along with textual content. Gradually, in fact, not gradually, but quite fast, they started replacing textual content with infographics. They started presenting useful, insightful information, with the help of very attractive and slick visuals.

Along with visuals, videos also became an integral part of content marketing. GIF files for some time appeared here and there, but they lost to videos, but then again, they are in vogue with the advent of giphy.com.

In fact, visual content has become so mainstream that recently I came across a keyboard that types just emojis. There is an instant messaging app that just allows you to send emojis instead of text messages.

All mainstream instant messaging apps like Snapchat and Instagram heavily depend on images and videos. On Facebook and Twitter, updates that contain images and videos get more views and likes compared to the updates that contain just text.

So yes, visual content is as important, if not more, as textual content for your content marketing. Text is important, as of now, because it is down to earth, and not everybody wants to see just images and videos. Sometimes you just want to read text so content writing isn’t going to be replaced very soon.

In fact, most business websites depend on content writing for their content marketing needs. Whereas visual content requires some sort of platform, content writing can be accommodated almost everywhere. Even the images need to contain some sort of text to convey a message. This is why, no matter how much importance visual content gains, content writing for content marketing is indispensable.

But this blog post is about the importance of visual content for content marketing.

Visual content is everywhere these days due to many reasons. It’s way too easy to notice an image or video in your rapidly changing timeline than text. According to these insightful statistics on importance of visual content for content marketing, 51% B2B marketers preferred to publish visual content in 2016. Here is another very useful blog post on the importance of visual content and how it is gaining traction compared to textual content.

There is a misconception that creating visual content is difficult compared to content writing. Of course it is, comparatively, difficult, it is not as difficult as it is perceived.

For example, there are many online image editing tools available that allow you to create very attractive graphics. Videos can be created using an average mobile phone. GIF files can be created using giphy.com. Simple text messages can be created using image files. You can create PowerPoint slides and then export them into video files and then upload those videos on YouTube. Later on, you can convert certain portions of those YouTube videos to GIF files.

If you have been ignoring visual content for content marketing simply because you think that it will be difficult to produce, just start with shorter images and videos. You will be surprised to know how easy and interesting it is to create them.

Content marketing should be fun, not stressful

Content marketing is no longer fun, stressful

There is a reason why content marketing should be fun, not stressful. I will come back to this after briefly sharing with you what my Guruji often says (he is my vocal music teacher):

When you are performing, you are communicating an emotion. In order to communicate that emotion, it needs to exist within you – you need to transmit it to your audience. If you are not enjoying your singing, neither will your audience. So if you want your audience to enjoy your performance, enjoy your performance yourself.

Coming back to content marketing, after all, it is a communication. It is in expressing art. Whether you are writing as a content writer or creating a graphic as a visual artist or creating a video as a videographer, you are expressing, you are communicating a thought or an idea, and your attitude, your inner psychology, mostly unbeknownst to you, permeates your creation.

So if your content marketing is stressful, if it is becoming painful, if you are not enjoying it, your target audience too will not enjoy it.

This Forbes blog post opines that if content marketing for you isn’t fun, maybe you’re overthinking it. Maybe you don’t have a strategy that gives you focus and peace of mind (that comes with a sense of clarity and purpose). Maybe you’re not targeting properly. Whatever are the reasons, your content marketing is no longer fun, it is stressing you out and it shows in whatever you do.

So what should you do to make your content marketing more fun and less stressful?

Personally I would suggest, find a purpose. You will no longer feel stressful if you know what you’re doing, what you are trying to achieve and whom you want to help, and why. Have a documented content marketing strategy so that at every stage you know what you’re doing and what you are accomplishing and accordingly, what you should do.

Also, this I can say as a writer, develop a conversational style. A pedantic style would be boring and uninspiring and it will eventually stress you out. Have conversations with people you are writing for. Keep yourself loose (no, I don’t mean become uncouth). By the end of the day, it will only be effective if your content marketing is fun.