Creating content might be both an art and a science, but it's the science part that has been in the spotlight recently — specifically, the data science part.
If you create content by guessing what your audiences want, you risk leaving a gap of untapped potential for your competitors to reach first. Even worse, your content might miss the mark on what your audiences really needed from you in terms of answers, tone, and detail.
Those flaws can sour the interaction and make visitors think you're not the right brand for them; it also means you've paid for the content, any visual asset licenses, promotional expenses, and editing without seeing any real results. This scenario is bad news for any marketing team, but thankfully the solution is refreshingly simple: start using data.
According to Invoca, "Businesses who use data-driven strategies drive five to eight times as much ROI as businesses who don't."
Adding a bit of data-driven planning to your content plan is easier than it sounds, and there are multiple ways to get the answers you need to increase your ROI.
Why Is Data-Driven Content Marketing Important?
Data-driven content marketing is all about reducing waste and ensuring you're creating content your audiences will actually value. Once you start evaluating what types of content your audiences love most and which of your content assets drive the most engagement or sales, you can focus on those types of projects.
Some specific benefits include:
1. You Can Better Utilize...
Either internal employees or third-party content writers — can only write so much. When you have a list of top-priority keywords or topic ideas, they can focus on those instead of ideas from less-tested ideation processes.
Your content marketing budget can only stretch so far. If you have limits on how many articles you can promote, how many videos you can have professionally produced, or how many stock assets you can license, zeroing in on the projects that matter most helps you spend every dollar wisely.
2. Optimize ROI
To get a good return on investment, you need positive results from your marketing efforts.
For example, according to HubSpot, "email generates $42 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 4,200% ROI, making it one of the most effective options available."
If the email marketing results for your company come to the same conclusion, you can radically improve marketing ROI by focusing on that type of content.
3. Attract Your Ideal Customers
Let's suppose that your company sells drones. Publishing videos about their specifications and recordings of dramatic landscapes will appeal to hobbyists and might get you several sales. But publishing videos are articles about how to use drones for profitable or functional use cases (such as how to film with drones, the emergence of drone delivery, etc.) will reach more audiences with money to spend who are more likely to buy.
Good data helps you identify content that leads to more sales and happier customers, not just more views.
4. Create Long-Term Success
Over time, you can use analytics and historical data to see what type of content is a flash in the pan, what content stays valuable month after month, and what types of content pay for themselves (and then some).
What Content Marketing Metrics Should You Track?
You know data is important, but there's a lot of it out there. Confusing metrics, vanity statistics, and data that come from a mystery black box can all get in the way of your brainstorming and creating data-driven content campaigns.
SEO metrics are key data points your team should focus on. These metrics show how engaging your website is, how users navigate search engines to find their answers, and how your audiences are behaving.
There are three key details about keywords you need to determine before deciding if you want to create content centered around a specific keyword:
- Difficulty: Is there too much competition for you to try and rank on the first page of Google?
- Volume: Are enough people searching for it for you to bother with it?
- Your Current Ranking: Are you already ranking highly in the SERPs for the keyword? Can you rank higher?
If you adopt a pillar-based content creation strategy, your articles build on each other to capture difficult keywords. Articles like 'how to start an eCommerce business,' 'X biggest eCommerce business mistakes,' and 'How to evaluate your eCommerce business after year one' all work together to help you rank higher for 'eCommerce business.'
Organic Traffic to Website
This metric evaluates your organic inbound marketing efforts by cutting out the traffic you get from paid ads. You can use this as a long-range view of how much traffic your content and the strength of your website are really bringing in.
You can measure daily traffic, changes in traffic over time, visit duration and how many posts a visitor hits on average, and other variations in this category to assess engagement.
Domain authority is a complex score that quantifies how likely your website, in general, is to appear in search results.
For example, the New York Times has a much higher domain authority than a local restaurant. What's great about domain authority is that all the high-end work you put into your website will contribute to your score.
This means that even when you aren't directly working towards increasing your domain authority, it should still rise if you're making the right adjustments to your site.
Position tracking, or SERP (Search Engine Results Page) tracking, shows your website's position for specific keywords over time.
For example, you may rank #6 for 'mountain biking gear' today, but a competitor may create an ultimate guide tomorrow that bumps them from #10 to #3 — dropping you down to #7.
Track this metric to see how your efforts (and your competitor's efforts) change the rankings.
How to Develop a Data-Driven Content Marketing Strategy
Suddenly diving into metrics can be overwhelming. Follow these five steps to get started.
1. Determine Your Goals
Explore the specific reasons why you're investing in content marketing.
- Do you want to increase organic traffic to your site?
- Are you chasing after a specific keyword?
2. Take a Deeper Look at Your Ideal Customers
Develop detailed buyer personas so you can craft content that suits the needs of your ideal customers. Different audiences need different types of content based on their interests, pain points, point in their buying journey, and budget.
3. Run Keyword Research
Use keyword analytics sources like Semrush to determine:
- Where your website currently stands in the rankings
- Your best-performing content
- The keywords you want to (and can) rank for more highly over time
4. Look at Your Competition
Identify your competitors and start investigating their content marketing strategies.
- What keywords do they have a lock on, and which ones can you 'steal' from them?
- Are there weaknesses in their content library you can capitalize on?
Knowing your competitors and evaluating their progress over time can help you refine your own goals and strategies.
5. Create Your Strategy & KPIs
Now that you have a solid understanding of your content's current performance, what your audiences want, and what your competitors provide, you can start brainstorming in-depth content calendars that will deliver a higher ROI over the coming months and years. You'll also be able to develop KPIs that will help you keep track of where you've been and where you want to go.
Take a Data-Driven Approach to Make Stronger Content & See More Growth
A focus on data can support all of your revenue strategies, not just content marketing. At House of Revenue, we're here to help you grow with data-driven processes for customer success, sales, marketing, RevOps, and more.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you refine your content marketing strategy and implement data-backed processes.