Why Data-driven Content Marketing is Essential for Business Growth

Traditionally, content marketing was all about combining experience, gut feeling, and a spot of market research to craft campaigns that persuaded customers to open their wallets. It was like looking for a treasure with cryptic clues written on moth-eaten parchment; there was a sense of general direction, but most brands guessed their way to success. Digital marketing and its data have changed all that!

 Now, we have super-targeted data, pointing us to the hearts and desires of the customers, transforming the old map into GPS coordinates to the hidden chest of coins. With data-driven content marketing, you get the direct, most effective route to your goal: more customers and more profit.

So, what exactly is data-driven content marketing?

In today’s mature digital arena, consumers are often on the receiving end of a lot of pointless communication and messages. This overwhelming amount of content usually ends up doing the opposite of what the brands and marketers want; confusing consumers while wasting the brands’ resources and budgets. Imagine an army of content creators and marketers working away to create content that no one remembers. Adding data insights to this process can change the game.

Data-driven marketing relies on data insights and analysis as the primary source of all marketing activities. It involves collecting information about a company’s ideal customer profile to create content and make distribution decisions that can attract the target audience more effectively.

Benefits of data-driven content marketing

Here is a deeper look at how data-driven content marketing can be used by small and medium-sized companies to gain more customers:

Improve audience targeting

Rather than spraying content all over the internet, marketers can follow the data to create and disseminate content with laser precision.

Demographic data, which includes information such as age, gender, location, and interests, can be used to divide your target audience into smaller segments. This segmentation enables you to create customized content that is better suited to specific groups, increasing the likelihood of attracting and converting those audiences.

Enhance content effectiveness

Parsing history data allows marketers to gain insights into their prospective consumers’ interests, wants, and priorities, which they can then leverage to create content that resonates directly with each customer group.

With data, content can be personalized in terms of topics, tonality, format, visuals, style, and channels, giving the audience the content they are most likely to consume and engage with. 

For example, a baseball fan might enjoy watching a video analysis of the latest match on YouTube or Instagram, while a sports manager might prefer to read a detailed blog about the winning strategy of the same game on LinkedIn.

Inform decision making

Content marketing doesn’t stop at creating and publishing a piece of content. It is a continuous process, and data helps focus marketing efforts at each stage of that process. 

From deciding on the theme and the form of the content to selecting the right channels, data can help marketers make confident decisions at each step while also giving them real-time insights to tweak and course-correct all through the process.

Measure ROI

Apart from using data to define the content’s pre-production and production phases, marketers can also learn a lot from its journey and performance in the virtual world after it has been disseminated.

Tracking performance, engagement metrics, and conversion ratios can be exceedingly useful in understanding how audiences react to content pieces. This information can be invaluable to building better campaigns and squeezing higher ROIs from marketing budgets.

Build customer loyalty

By catering consistently to your audience’s tastes and needs, brands can also position themselves as experts in the field and build a relationship that can result in continued business and word-of-mouth popularity.

For example, a marketing guru providing free tips and tutorials will come across as a selfless and helpful expert. A reputation that will help him or her connect with decision-makers more positively during business negotiations.

Understanding key metrics for content marketing

The data insights can be wielded by marketers for dual purposes – to create better content and to track and understand the performance of content once it is sent out into the world. Let us look at the metrics that can be useful for both of these stages:

Customer data

First and foremost are the various data points that can help marketers segment their audiences and create customer personas based on their current life situations and pain points:

  1. Demographics and Behaviour

Age, gender, location, income level, and similar information form the foundation on which brands can build the bare bones of their content strategies. Layering this information with insights into how your customer segments behave online gives you a rich source to develop content plans that are sure to appeal to potential consumers in formats they like and in places they visit.

For example, if a high-end fitness studio wants to increase signups, then a geo-specific video series with local influencers and satisfied customers could be the way to attract similar enthusiasts. Adding gender or income data can further help them place their content in channels where this segment frequently spends time online.

  1. Customer Feedback and Reviews

Examining previous customer reviews of products and services can help brands steer clear of mistakes. It enables them to craft content that effectively addresses common concerns that have left customers dissatisfied while also emphasizing aspects that have garnered consistent praise.

Market research data

  1. Industry Trends and Insights

Apart from focusing on the customers themselves, content strategies can benefit enormously from understanding, incorporating, and following industry trends. Marketers can shift to stay abreast of new ideas and position the brand to be relevant to new consumer demands.

Taking forward the example in the earlier point, a fitness studio can pivot to include new diets and workouts that are becoming popular and offer them to their clients before they seek them elsewhere.  

  1. Competitor Analysis

Along with market trends, it pays to keep an eye on your competitors. Peer data offers marketers a peek into what is working for their successful rivals or finds gaps in their strategies, ultimately tweaking their own strategies to exploit these opportunities.

For example, if a competitor’s at-home fitness video series is gaining traction online, then better-produced, more in-depth videos could help the brand attract these viewers to their websites as well.

  1. Keyword Volume and Competition

Keyword research and analysis—of the industry in general and your competitors, particularly—is another powerful tool to focus your content marketing for greater visibility and conversion. We recommend marketers run an SEO audit to analyze keywords and their surrounding methodology.

For a fitness studio, understanding how and where their potential customers are searching online to find fitness programs is essential to positioning itself as a search result for their queries.

Content performance data

  1. Website Analytics

Website analytics tools such as Google Analytics are a treasure trove of data on traffic sources, page views, bounce rates, and conversion rates.

Studying this information will give marketing teams a better idea of how their website content is performing once the viewer lands on it. Details of which pages are holding people’s attention, which lead to more conversions, and which are seeing high dropout rates can help focus time and attention in the right places.    

  1. Social Media Engagement Metrics

 Social media analytics play a similar role. A huge variety of content pieces are circulated via social media platforms, and understanding how they perform on these mediums and whether they drive traffic down the funnel is critical to fine-tuning your content strategy and production. 

Key metrics to track are likes, shares, comments, and click-through rates.

How data can drive your content strategy

Now that we have explored the types of data that can be pressed into service to enhance content marketing outcomes, let’s go a step further to see how you can utilize data at different stages of a brand’s content strategy.

Analyzing and collecting data

Before we get to the analyzing stage, we have to ensure we collect and sort the data that is relevant to the business. There is no scarcity of data points, in fact, there is too much of it! All of it is different, and a wealth of details are hidden under various tabs.

 Hence, the first step is to define what you want to know from your data mountain. Frame your benchmarks and build a set of questions you want to answer to improve your content marketing strategy.

Here are some key questions you should be asking: 

  • Definitional Questions: These questions help you establish a clear understanding of what specific information or insights you seek to extract from your data. For example, “What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) we need to track in our content marketing strategy?”
  • Benchmarking Questions: These questions focus on setting benchmarks or standards against which you can measure your performance. An example would be, “What are the industry standards for engagement rates in content marketing, and how does our current performance compare?”
  • Action-Oriented Questions: These questions are designed to guide your content marketing strategy based on the insights gained from data analysis. For instance, “How can we tailor our content to better meet the needs and preferences of our target audience based on the data we’ve collected?”

 With a clear set of objectives, identify the metrics you want to track, and find tools that will support your needs. Popular tools include Google Analytics, social media analytics platforms, email marketing software, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Content Ideation and Creation

Once you set up your analytics dashboard(s), it is time to channel the insights into action! The core of data-driven content marketing is understanding your audience’s intent and aligning your content goals with theirs.

 Audience research can build one type of data pipeline that can inform content creation. From the best times to post and preferred consumption channels to favourite influencers, data can help make content more interesting to target groups.

When you add SEO data, such as keyword research, competitor analysis, and SEO rankings to audience behavioural data, you can sharpen your content strategy to be more interesting and discoverable.

While collecting data and building your content strategy, consider using the services of data experts to parse the information. External content marketers can provide deeper insights into your target audience and industry trends and help you craft more creative ways to execute your content marketing goals.

Content Distribution

Making good content is just one half of the marketing game; the second, and equally important, part is to make sure you deliver it to the right audience.

Use your past performance data to pinpoint the most effective channels to publish your content. Your content marketing strategy could contain a mix of email marketing, social media, guest blogging, or third-party industry content platforms. Posting to garner maximum views and engagement can also factor in data points that point you toward peak days and times when your audience is most active online.

Once the campaign hits the ether, you can plug into analytics to track its performance in real-time, helping your content spread further on platforms that show traction and tweaking where it needs help.

Challenges of Data-Driven Content Marketing and How to Overcome Them

Here are some other challenges that you shoul consider when committing to putting data at the centre of your content marketing game.

Data Privacy and Ethics

The days of open, unrestricted access to data are behind us. With increasingly stringent privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA coming into play, it is important to ensure compliance and transparency to keep your business on the right side of the law.

We recommend investing in data security protocols and maintaining open and clear communication with customers who interact with your content.

Data Quality and Accuracy

Despite the maturity of the data analytics ecosystem, the virtual marketplace is a long way from streamlining disparate data pipelines. 

Even now, social media analytics dashboards don’t always report the same metrics, making it hard to unify their numbers into a single source of truth. Additionally, there are other issues such as fraudsters manipulating engagement numbers, human error, data duplication, and inaccurate information given by users.

Regular data cleansing, validation, and updates are absolutely essential to maintaining accuracy over time. Don’t take numbers at face value; try to understand their context and logic to see if they make sense.

Balancing Data with Creativity

Often, the black-and-white world of data acts as blinkers that force us to stay on a narrow, safe path, stifling creativity along the way. Trying to fit in keywords, customer preferences, and market trends leaves little room to experiment.

It is important to remember that marketing is all about grabbing attention and standing out from the clutter. Harmonizing data and creativity is a must to create fresh, beautifully crafted campaigns that resonate with the audience. It can be a challenge to walk the tightrope between the two, but successful marketers can make it seem effortless.

Ready to switch on your GPS to success?

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed at the end of this article, then you are not alone. Blending data and content marketing isn’t a simple or one-time process; it requires a deep understanding of both fields as well as time and resources to plan and execute.

So, if you need a data-driven content strategy that sets you apart but are unsure how and where to start, contact us.

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