Content marketing is the buzzword of the moment; everyone is doing it but not everyone is doing it right. Ultimately about building a rapport with a high-value and relevant audience, content marketing is a means of generating a two-way conversation with potential customers. Creating content, or stories, is a means of providing a more human experience to establish genuine relationships with the people who visit your business online.
Building this rapport is one of the biggest challenges faced by content marketers. With millions of articles posted every day and unlimited information at their fingertips, website users are bombarded with content. How can you ensure that your content is seen? How you can you make it resonate with the right people and generate engagement? How can you ramp up your conversion rates through content creation? The answer is simple: use data to refine your strategy.
“Too few marketers truly use a data-driven content marketing strategy. Setting clear goals and using data as your guide ensures that you are developing the right type of content, getting it in front of the right audiences, and understanding its impact in a way that lets you continually optimize your strategy.” – Brad Messinger, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Rise Interactive
Monitoring the success of previous posts is an important facet of the content creation process and marketers are getting better at it. Google Analytics is a treasure trove of actionable data and insights. Analyse the success of previous articles and make a note of which content performed best.
Don’t just consider the standalone titles – look at which formats work best:
- White papers
Also acknowledge which frameworks generated the most engagement, such as:
- How-to guides
- News agenda pieces
With a plethora of available data, you need to decide on the key performance indicators that will help you measure the value that exists in the various statistics. These KPIs are likely to centre around customer conversions, brand awareness, customer retention and engagement. If part of your content strategy is to increase traffic from search engines then you will also want to scrutinise your Search Console data in conjunction with Google Analytics and set KPIs such as earning links.
Social media is a crucial performance metric in establishing which content has historically performed best. What generates high visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPS) may not necessarily be the content that takes off on social. For this reason, you need to integrate both angles into your content marketing strategy. Consider which channels trigger the most traffic to your posts and use the native tools available through the social platforms to understand the engagement metrics on your posts.
We’re all busy and none of us have time to monitor trends on a 24/7 basis. This is why social listening tools like Buzzsumo exist. Use these to uncover trending topics and wade in on popular conversations happening on the web. Buzzsumo orders content according to the number of social shares it has received. This kind of information is invaluable for providing an overview of what kind of content works. Finally, don’t forget to analyse when the best time to post is (available via most social analytics tools), as this will help increase the organic visibility of your content.
“When it comes to content marketing, a lot depends on when and where you place your messages. Many marketers realize the hard way that bad timing can lead to even the best content being ignored.” – Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group
Creating content in conjunction with SEO best practices is absolutely essential if you want your posts to be seen on Google, which you of course do. Once you’ve gained an idea of the current trends and conversations via a social listening tool, it’s time to do some keyword research. There are plenty of tools available but the most accessible is Google’s Keyword Planner. This research should revolve around long-tail keywords that will help you frame your content in the most SEO-friendly way.
By carrying out comprehensive keyword research, you can ensure that the content you are producing is what people are actually looking for. You may be ranking in the top spot for a given keyword but if it has no monthly search volume then is there much point? Use your keyword research to help you choose the most popular topics and phrases, which will substantially increase the organic reach of your content. You will also want to take into account factors such as competition (or ‘opportunity’ as Moz’s Keyword Explorer describe it) so that you can catch that lower hanging fruit first.
Stay tuned for part two where we will share further tips for supercharging your content marketing with data.