As a content marketer, you’re probably reading posts by Content Marketing Institute, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Moz, and so on. So, why do you do so? The answer is simple - you want value and these sites can offer it to you.
On the other hand, this is something you need to provide your readers with, as well. Your content needs to high-quality, trustworthy, and authoritative. Most importantly, it should never, ever bore them. To create content that resonates well with your target audience, you need to build a data driven content marketing strategy.
In other words, you need to analyze the demands of your industry, keep track of the latest digital marketing trends, understand your readers’ preferences, and tailor your content according to these factors. No matter if you’re a newbie copywriter or an experienced content producer, here are a few techniques that will make your data work for you.
Know Your Target Audience
With the rise of digital marketing techniques, such as email marketing or social media marketing, reaching out to a wider group of people and promoting your content online has never been simpler. Unfortunately, being present online is not just about creating your social media profiles and sharing content randomly to the people that may not even be interested in reading it.
Sometimes, digital marketers focus on the number of Facebook likes or Twitter shares. What they forget is that these numbers make you feel great about your achievements, but don’t have any actual impact on your content’s performance. No wonder why they’re called vanity metrics. You can find many more digital marketing KPIs to work with.
What you should really care about is the number of people who really click on your article, read it from beginning to end, and get motivated to perform the desired action. This is why you need to create a piece of content that “sells itself”. Content that offers value to your readership. Content that is tailored to the preferences of your target audience. And, the first step in achieving all this is to know who your target audience is and build your buyer personas.
By doing a detailed target audience segmentation, you can get an invaluable insight into:
- Your customer’s engagement with the existing content.
- What content they like the most.
- Their preferred communication and engagement channels.
- Their browsing habits.
- Their buying habits.
Research the Existing Content on the Web
Many inexperienced marketers believe that coming up with a list of awesome topics is the easiest part of content creation. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. Namely, choosing the right topic is the foundation of creating a relevant piece of content, thus you cannot afford to fumble. Even though you should stay on top of trending topics, finding an in-demand topic to write about is just the first of numerous steps you need to take. Making the post appealing is another factor. Insert infographics, free to use business images, videos or other visuals. The next step is doing a thorough research, take a look at the authoritative content in your niche, and see what’s not being talked about.
This practice is not only useful in SEO. It can also help you come up with relevant content ideas, go beyond trending terms and target topics that are highly engaging and yet not too predictable. With a plethora of keyword research tools, this process is made much simpler. All you need to do is enter the keyword you want to search for and these tools will offer you all the articles containing it.
Keeping track of what your competitors post is another best practice of a data driven content marketing strategy, and may significantly improve your efforts. What are the most popular topics they’ve been writing about? What content formats do they use? What is their tone of voice? Even though you should not copy their content strategy, researching their posts may help you get a better insight into your niche and discover your own approach to content creation.
Be As Specific As Possible
Once you do your research and decide on what to write about, you should make your topic as specific as possible. For instance, if you want to write about ecommerce SEO, a title such as “Ecommerce Marketing for Beginners” or “Ecommerce Marketing 101” is not that catchy. Why?
First, there are at least 100 articles with the same or similar title. Second, there is nothing special about topics like these. Finally, it doesn’t say what your article is about. If you want to focus on writing about promoting an online business via social networks, then include this fact in your title.
To get the most of this process, you should focus on 3 basic steps every content developer should have in mind when doing their research. You should have a topic (a subject matter you want to dig into), a point (a major idea your article conveys) and a slant (your specific viewpoint). Let’s see how this works on the aforementioned example of ecommerce marketing:
- A topic: Ecommerce marketing
- A point: Marketing an ecommerce via social networks
- A slant: Where, when and how to promote an ecommerce
Mind Your Authority
To create a data-driven article, you cannot simply include every statistic and information you come across. You need to do your research and see what pieces of information are relevant to your article and will prove your point.
Build quality links
To give your data driven content marketing strategy a boost, you first need to learn a lot about building quality backlinks. When looking for guest post opportunities, keep in mind that Google hates poor, unnatural, and spammy links. Not to mention paid ones. If your backlink portfolio is made up of the links like these, this is an instant red flag, which means that you will get penalized sooner or later.
The same goes for interlinking. This is an amazing practice, but only if it’s done properly. When writing a new post, you should link to a few older ones to pass their link juice to it. Still, you should do so only if your previous articles are semantically and topically related to what you’re writing right now. This practice will not only boost your rankings, but also improve user experience with your content.
Include relevant information only
You should add credible statistics, quotes, findings, and stories to your post to boost its authority. However, when doing so, you need to be careful. All these pieces of information need to come from relevant sources. Namely, if your article links to the suspicious sites, your readers will think less of it.
For instance, all .edu or .gov sites are highly authoritative. If you’re planning to link to an article from .com site (or a site with a different domain extension), you should read it carefully, as well as pay attention to its publishing date, PA, DA, and so on.
Also, don’t rack your brains about your article’s length. Lengthy articles are always recommended, but you shouldn’t force them. Throwing facts and statistics around to make a 2000-word article might indicate that you haven’t done your research properly.
Measure Your Content’s Performance
Creating and publishing a beautiful, authoritative, and data-backed piece of content doesn’t mean that you’re done with it. Namely, to find out how your target audience feels about it and how it influences your bottom line, you need to keep track of its performance regularly. This practice gives you the opportunity to blend your creative and analytical side and see what ideas work for you. Here are some of the most important metrics every content marketer should keep track of:
- Metrics showing user behavior, such as page views, an average time spent on a page, the number of unique visitors, pages per session, the bounce rate, the number of new and returning visitors, and the most engaging traffic sources.
- Metrics showing user engagement, such as their likes, shares, comments, mentions, incoming requests, and republications.
- Metrics showing how well your content is optimized for search engines, such as your organic traffic, dwell time, backlinks to your site, and keyword rankings.
- Metrics showing your revenue, such as the number of existing leads that have interacted with your content, conversion rates, the number of new leads, your ROI, and cost per acquisition.
For relevant data driven content marketing, you need to analyze your data first. Once you have published it, you still need to keep monitoring it. Only this way will you be able to see what works for your target audience and adapt your posts accordingly.
Creating data-driven content may be a tedious task that requires continuous learning. Still, with a data analysis tool for the study and test part, and your inventiveness for the creative part, you will manage to deliver valuable content, which will speak to both your readers’ needs and your business’ goals.
Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.