Forget data analysts, content marketers should be using data to build a strong, results-focused content strategy.
Jacaranda FM and East Coast Radio are strong commercial radio brands in South Africa, and their websites rank in the top five for most visited radio station websites.
While I love mentioning this to anyone who will listen, what I also point out is that the stations have achieved 100% UB growth by letting data be their deciding factor when it comes to the content marketing decisions.
Both stations have learnt that building an online brand reputation is next to impossible without data-driven content marketing.
Making a real success of content marketing is far from easy. For any brand, you need to use data to:
- Identify target audiences
- Set content marketing strategy goals
- Analyse your market and competition
- Distribute content via the right channels
- Analyse data marketing performance
Here’s how you can create a data-driven content marketing strategy to increase your conversions.
1. Know your audience
Let’s say you sell baking goods, and you think your ideal customer is a female, urban professional, married with kids under 12 years. You can use Google Analytics to confirm or disprove that hypothesis. Click the Audience tab, followed by Overview. You can click-through to each sub-section using the navigation menu, and begin to learn more about who’s visiting your site.
Knowing as much about your potential customers as possible is crucial to your data-driven content marketing strategy. You will need to understand habits, preferences, and needs.
As a start, with Google Analytics you can learn more about customer demographics such as:
- The type of content your audience likes and shares
- Communication channels they prefer
- Their buying habits and cycles
Social Baker explains you can build out personas based on keywords, search terms and audience bios.
This customer data will help you build data-driven buyer personas and form the basis of your content strategy.
2. Survey your audience
You’ve drafted-up a list of profiles, which include names, ages, email addresses and interests. What happens next? Apart from officially being an excel genius, you have nothing to really work with.
Surveys (and polls) are a fantastic way to ensure your content marketing strategy is data-driven and created for a specific audience. Anything you want to know about your target audience, you can put in a question format and submit to your social followers, Whatsapp fans and email subscribers. The only hurdle is that you may have to incentivize participation with a prize but imagine the insights you will get in return. Vertical Response gives some great suggestions for questions to ask.
3. Tap into your CRM
Export all customer and purchase details from your sales CRM, and find whether there are any common denominators. Chat to your sales team as well to build a buyer persona. These people interact with clients and buyers on a daily basis and have a good idea of who your brand is speaking to. Marketing Donut says: “A good knowledge of your customers enables you to develop marketing strategies that target their specific needs – and increase your sales.”
4. SEO and keyword analysis
You think you are creating award-winning content but you have no clue if your target audience feels the same way?
Perform a detailed SEO analysis of your website using a tool of your choice. Do a deep dive through your site to find which content topics and types are popular among your audience. Take a closer look at your social media platforms and analyze the most popular content to decipher why it worked. Remember to include all forms of content – podcast, video, infographics, competitions, text, picture galleries. It will help you create the content ideas that are most likely to resonate with your audience.
Similarly, collect as much data about trending keywords. This will help you come up with relevant and trending topics by building a data-driven keyword strategy.
5. Competitor analysis
Browse through your competitors’ websites and social media profiles to find out what their content strategy looks like. However, avoid copying your competitors. No-one wants a lawsuit to deal with or being labelled a copycat. Many entertainment brands have gone down this road and learnt the hard way.
6. Get the distribution channels right
The right content will generate a better impact if it is delivered at the right time and on the right platform. Use the data on when, where, and how long your audience stays online.
Check out when your Facebook audience is most engaged verus when your Twitter audience is most active. Also remember the different age groups. From my experience with different brands, people younger than 25 are more active in the late evenings and early mornings, while the over 25s are active from early mornings to late afternoons. It could have something to do with lifestyle patterns but you be the judge.
Try this guide from Socialbaker on the best times to post on social media. However, if you don’t have any historical data, you will have to try sending out the content at different times instead of using industry benchmarks.
7. Monitor content performance
You will need to measure your content performance regularly to ensure your strategy is working effectively.
- User behaviour
- Time spent
- Bounce rate
- New vs repeat visits
- Exit pages
- Engagement (how many shares, likes, social mentions your content is getting)
I can’t think of any business right now not interested in saving money, time and efficiency. A data-driven content marketing strategy will definitely help.
Charis Apelgren-Coleman is the market engagement manager at Kagiso Media Radio. She has worked with small and large local organisations as well as large multinational organisations, while managing specialist content teams.
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