How to Use Data to Inform Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content and Coffee Podcast
 

‍You can listen on iTunes here and Stitcher here

This time around, our podcast recording was a bit different than usual. Sean who is based out of Vancouver and usually calls in; is actually in the Ghostit office today which will hopefully can bring out a little extra in our podcast.

To start, I want to talk about the first step of using data in order to structure content marketing. Many of our customers ask me if Ghostit uses data to inform our strategies, as well as how specifically that data is applied. 

This is a completely justified question in terms of making sure that your money is going to good use. If your content marketing strategy is not being built on collected data and research, it won’t be able to power you forward. You should make sure whoever is in charge of your marketing is not just throwing darts in the dark and using your content as a guinea pig to test out their theories.

Take An Iterative Approach

Find out what type of content people are already engaged with. 

Whether that’s a type of content such as a video, list, podcast or article, and optimize your content for more like that piece. Look at engagement through your Google Analytics, or any analytics tool. Never ignore when a piece of content is doing exceptionally well. If a social post is doing better than 90% of your other social posts, it’s silly to assume that that’s just a stroke of luck.

See how much longer time on page is for this post vs other pages. Our readers tend to like strategy based posts.

Page view time and bounce rate are two metrics to judge how engaged people are in your content.

Look at the data gathered from each piece of content. Whether that’s overall time, over the last year or over the last month. Make sure you’re checking across all time spans.

Be an iterator for Content by posting your content across different mediums.

This podcast and blog post was spawned out of a popular Quora question that has over 1500 views. Because we know people are actively searching for the answer this is a good opportunity to rank for the answer and show it to people who are in-market for content marketing services.

Whats Trending?

And I’m not talking about Buzzfeed, or Twitter hashtags either. 

If you find something that's working, treat that as an approach. So if you’re looking at your data, and there are multiple pieces of content that did exceptionally well, look for patterns and trends that will help you determine what it is that’s actually working. Is it the style, the voice, the format, the type of content, the topic, or the way it’s targeted?

Once you find that pattern or trend, you’ll be able to focus more on what will work. Do every two weeks, every month, and gradually on an iterative basis your content marketing gets more effective, and you get a higher return on investment and return on time.

Look At Your Competition

If you haven’t already, do some research into businesses that are providing similar services or products as you, particularly in the same area. Pay attention to the ones that are doing particularly well.

What you’re looking for are their metrics. You can find out how much traffic they get to their website, their site engagement if they have comment sections. Analyze how much engagement they get across their social media profiles while paying attention to which medium has the most and why.

 

Which blog or post has the most likes and shares? Once you determine their trends, patterns and what’s working for them try and produce similar content. People always think you have to reinvent the wheel for something to take off but there is nothing wrong with modeling your business and content marketing strategy after another company.       

                                                                                                                                                                    

Once you begin doing that, you can start tweaking on what works for you by adding your own uniqueness to it.

Remember, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. If it's working for them it will probably work for you.

Use Forums To Find Topics

If you want to know what people are currently engaged in, take a look at forums like Quora and Reddit. Search in specific Subreddits. You can find a top search query or a search term topic that people are interested in because they’re upvoting it that specific topic.

For example, if I want to look up the topic question in prospects subreddit on Reddit, it is “How do I fill the pipeline and how do I do better prospecting?”

If you have a sales company, this is the topic people are engaged in.  Even easier, if you go to topics the websites break these down by category. Go to the top FAQ search which shows what people are looking for.

 

Keyword Research

If you do some solid keyword research, you know that people are actually searching for those terms in Google. Planning content around the most search terms is brilliant for your content marketing strategy.

In this blog post, a key-phrase we are trying to rank for is "content marketing strategy" and "data-informed content marketing strategy". These keywords may be harder to rank for but over time they are valuable because of their intent-driven search.


Taking a look at our initial keyword research, "content creation strategy" may be good to try and rank for at first glance but if you look closer it is only getting 249 searches per month. "Content marketing manager" is getting 1309 searches a month and is also easier to rank for.

If you are selling services related to what a content marketing manager might do this would be an excellent keyword to rank for.

Structure Content Differently

Different people search in different ways. They could be using a desktop computer, mobile device or even through voice-activated search. To accommodate this, you should be structuring your content differently. Knowing what your audience will most likely use to search for content will help you in the creation of the content strategy. If they are using voice-activated, it could be that they are looking for short pieces that don’t require using their hands. They might be occupied so a short video or audio file would be best for them. Use your analytics tool to see how your users are finding you and optimize for that.

If you know that your audience will primarily be on their smartphones, don't create large and rich paragraphs on your blog. This will only be harder to read for your audience due to the lack of breaks. Break your paragraphs into smaller chunks to digest.

 

With desktop, you can have a lot more information, but you just want to be cognizant of where your audience is coming from. You can use Google Analytics to determine the percentage of each stream of traffic, whether their coming from mobile or desktop.

Find Where Your Referral Traffic Is

If you're getting traffic to your website from another, for example, Instagram, you are getting what is called “referral traffic” from Instagram. 

Start pushing more content to those platforms that are bringing you traffic. Engage with your audience on those platforms. Make sure the content on your website is cohesive or flows well with the type of content on those platforms that are bringing traffic. 

What you don’t want is to have a different voice and style on a platform that is engaging very well, only to have them land on a website that is completely different from what brought them in. You want to take into consideration how long people are staying on the page. This would be an indicator of whether or not your site content is cohesive with the content pushed on social media platforms.

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How to Use Data to Inform Your Content Marketing Strategy

How to Use Data to Inform Your Content Marketing Strategy

Author :

Stephanie Brown

 

‍You can listen on iTunes here and Stitcher here

This time around, our podcast recording was a bit different than usual. Sean who is based out of Vancouver and usually calls in; is actually in the Ghostit office today which will hopefully can bring out a little extra in our podcast.

To start, I want to talk about the first step of using data in order to structure content marketing. Many of our customers ask me if Ghostit uses data to inform our strategies, as well as how specifically that data is applied. 

This is a completely justified question in terms of making sure that your money is going to good use. If your content marketing strategy is not being built on collected data and research, it won’t be able to power you forward. You should make sure whoever is in charge of your marketing is not just throwing darts in the dark and using your content as a guinea pig to test out their theories.

Take An Iterative Approach

Find out what type of content people are already engaged with. 

Whether that’s a type of content such as a video, list, podcast or article, and optimize your content for more like that piece. Look at engagement through your Google Analytics, or any analytics tool. Never ignore when a piece of content is doing exceptionally well. If a social post is doing better than 90% of your other social posts, it’s silly to assume that that’s just a stroke of luck.

See how much longer time on page is for this post vs other pages. Our readers tend to like strategy based posts.

Page view time and bounce rate are two metrics to judge how engaged people are in your content.

Look at the data gathered from each piece of content. Whether that’s overall time, over the last year or over the last month. Make sure you’re checking across all time spans.

Be an iterator for Content by posting your content across different mediums.

This podcast and blog post was spawned out of a popular Quora question that has over 1500 views. Because we know people are actively searching for the answer this is a good opportunity to rank for the answer and show it to people who are in-market for content marketing services.

Whats Trending?

And I’m not talking about Buzzfeed, or Twitter hashtags either. 

If you find something that's working, treat that as an approach. So if you’re looking at your data, and there are multiple pieces of content that did exceptionally well, look for patterns and trends that will help you determine what it is that’s actually working. Is it the style, the voice, the format, the type of content, the topic, or the way it’s targeted?

Once you find that pattern or trend, you’ll be able to focus more on what will work. Do every two weeks, every month, and gradually on an iterative basis your content marketing gets more effective, and you get a higher return on investment and return on time.

Look At Your Competition

If you haven’t already, do some research into businesses that are providing similar services or products as you, particularly in the same area. Pay attention to the ones that are doing particularly well.

What you’re looking for are their metrics. You can find out how much traffic they get to their website, their site engagement if they have comment sections. Analyze how much engagement they get across their social media profiles while paying attention to which medium has the most and why.

 

Which blog or post has the most likes and shares? Once you determine their trends, patterns and what’s working for them try and produce similar content. People always think you have to reinvent the wheel for something to take off but there is nothing wrong with modeling your business and content marketing strategy after another company.       

                                                                                                                                                                    

Once you begin doing that, you can start tweaking on what works for you by adding your own uniqueness to it.

Remember, you don't need to reinvent the wheel. If it's working for them it will probably work for you.

Use Forums To Find Topics

If you want to know what people are currently engaged in, take a look at forums like Quora and Reddit. Search in specific Subreddits. You can find a top search query or a search term topic that people are interested in because they’re upvoting it that specific topic.

For example, if I want to look up the topic question in prospects subreddit on Reddit, it is “How do I fill the pipeline and how do I do better prospecting?”

If you have a sales company, this is the topic people are engaged in.  Even easier, if you go to topics the websites break these down by category. Go to the top FAQ search which shows what people are looking for.

 

Keyword Research

If you do some solid keyword research, you know that people are actually searching for those terms in Google. Planning content around the most search terms is brilliant for your content marketing strategy.

In this blog post, a key-phrase we are trying to rank for is "content marketing strategy" and "data-informed content marketing strategy". These keywords may be harder to rank for but over time they are valuable because of their intent-driven search.


Taking a look at our initial keyword research, "content creation strategy" may be good to try and rank for at first glance but if you look closer it is only getting 249 searches per month. "Content marketing manager" is getting 1309 searches a month and is also easier to rank for.

If you are selling services related to what a content marketing manager might do this would be an excellent keyword to rank for.

Structure Content Differently

Different people search in different ways. They could be using a desktop computer, mobile device or even through voice-activated search. To accommodate this, you should be structuring your content differently. Knowing what your audience will most likely use to search for content will help you in the creation of the content strategy. If they are using voice-activated, it could be that they are looking for short pieces that don’t require using their hands. They might be occupied so a short video or audio file would be best for them. Use your analytics tool to see how your users are finding you and optimize for that.

If you know that your audience will primarily be on their smartphones, don't create large and rich paragraphs on your blog. This will only be harder to read for your audience due to the lack of breaks. Break your paragraphs into smaller chunks to digest.

 

With desktop, you can have a lot more information, but you just want to be cognizant of where your audience is coming from. You can use Google Analytics to determine the percentage of each stream of traffic, whether their coming from mobile or desktop.

Find Where Your Referral Traffic Is

If you're getting traffic to your website from another, for example, Instagram, you are getting what is called “referral traffic” from Instagram. 

Start pushing more content to those platforms that are bringing you traffic. Engage with your audience on those platforms. Make sure the content on your website is cohesive or flows well with the type of content on those platforms that are bringing traffic. 

What you don’t want is to have a different voice and style on a platform that is engaging very well, only to have them land on a website that is completely different from what brought them in. You want to take into consideration how long people are staying on the page. This would be an indicator of whether or not your site content is cohesive with the content pushed on social media platforms.

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