Top 5 ways data can enhance your content strategy

Posted by Megan Totka on 18 Sep, 2019
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Content strategists can improve marketing outcomes by taking a deep dive into the numbers and using actual consumer behavior to build more profitable marketing campaigns.

Data for content strategy.

Data collected on click-through-rates, page view times, or even bounce rates, can reveal crucial audience behaviors.

Savvy marketers leverage all forms of data and uncover the answers to their content questions. Rather than guessing, marketers can know for sure what content people want, which topics create the best customers, and which platforms best drive conversion. By leveraging analytics, they gain deep insights into the effectiveness of their content marketing campaigns and can make smarter, more engaging campaigns in the future.

More importantly, however, data empowers them to understand what’s missing and where they might be losing out to a competitor. Data can also reveal new opportunities or green spaces for expansion. Finally, not all data efforts need to be huge projects. Even with a little data, you can quickly optimize any content marketing initiative which could improve your bottom line.

Why data is essential for content strategy

Today, nearly any top-performing organization is creating content marketing strategies. Content marketing is a great way to gain exposure to the target audience and if done correctly, can establish your company as a thought leader in the industry.

The brands that create the most engaging content collect data from every touchpoint, including call centers, social media, websites, emails, text messaging, and other marketing channels. By learning the various touchpoints, marketers can piece together the customer journey and understand buyers more than ever before. This can then inform what kind of content needs to be created to serve these buyers directly.

Additionally, companies need to know if their efforts are paying off. Using data, they can understand which campaigns are useful and which initiatives are not performing well. Data empowers organizations to capture ongoing, real-time feedback on the content that powers marketing their campaigns.

Which lead magnets are converting the most paid traffic? What type of blog post is driving the most organic traffic that converts to email subscribers? How are the ad copy changes affecting click-through rates? These are all data points that help businesses better understand how content strategies are affecting consumer behavior and ultimately funnel performance.

The following are five ways that data can enhance your content strategy.

1. Data shows you which content works

Never guess which blog posts or landing pages are driving the most customers. Using Google Analytics, you can know which content is most engaging and which is losing you prospects. Google Analytics can provide metrics like number of visitors, a number of unique visitors, time on page, and bounce rate.

Diving into analytics data more specifically, you can identify which content is converting the most visitors through one of your conversion points, or "Goals" in Google Analytics. When you set up goals, you can not only see which pages are driving the most conversions but even how many different pages on your website users visited before converting.

This information is priceless since it can help you understand not only which content asset drove them to your site but also their behavior on the site before converting to a goal like a newsletter signup or purchase.

Analytics.

Finally, you can also use Google Analytics and unique UTMs to monitor traffic and conversions from various campaigns. For example, you can set UTMs for email campaigns and then for digital ads. You will see the traffic from each and whether it leads to actual customers.

While analytics tools are a great source of raw data, they do lack the human response that can give data more context. Tools such as Qualaroo, for example, can help you capture real-time audience insights from survey popups based on where the visitor is on your site or where they came from. This personalized approach tailors the question to each visitor to elicit a more quality response leading to better insights about how the content is performing in each channel.

Qualaroo.

Not single tool can give you all the data you need, which is where business intelligence platforms come into play. As you analyze data from disparate sources, it's incredibly helpful to have it aggregated in one location for fast KPI tracking. Better data makes for better decisions about which channels, content, and overall strategies are driving the best results. Platforms like the Datapine visualization tool allow you to merge all of your KPI data from different sources into one unified, comprehensive, and convenient dashboard.

Datapine.

2. Data reveals the difference between what's popular and what's profitable

Data-informed marketers can also optimize conversion by identifying high-traffic content. The pages with high-traffic but low conversion represent the most significant opportunities for improvement. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the low hanging fruit of data analysis and by far the most productive. High-traffic pages will yield more significant results from your efforts, as opposed to low traffic posts.

First, identify which pages are receiving the most traffic. Before you dive into the data, use a heatmap tool like Hotjar to view how visitors are engaging with the content. Do they even notice the conversion points on the page?

Hotjar.

Next, what do those pages have in common, and what is the keyword they are optimized for? Then look into the data for why it may not be converting. Can they checkout on that page or are there too many pop-ups? Maybe, the content doesn't exactly relate to the search term? By improving these pages, you can dramatically improve conversions.

3. Content gap analysis

Over time, every marketer may hit a wall and have difficulty producing new content. How do you find the gaps in your content crying out for a well-written blog post or help article?  There’s no need to struggle to come up with ideas - use online tools to see what your audience wants to read.

Google Analytics can show you everything that users search for on your site. Looking at what people search for reveals what your site navigation is currently missing, but also topics that the target audience wants to know more about before purchasing. This data can also show you when someone searches for something and then immediately leaves. By reviewing this information, you can find gaps in the content that your audience demands.

Additionally, Google Trends can be an interesting place to find new and emerging topics related to your business. If you move quickly, you may be able to create content for these emerging terms before the competition does.

To find the gaps in your own content, you can also use the Inspect feature in Wordtracker's keyword tool.  An analysis of your own, or competitor pages, will show you what's missing. You can then  identify areas around which you can build content which will resonate with your audience or reach out to new areas.

Opportunities

4. Capture true SEO insights

Because the way people search online is always changing, marketers need to audit their SEO campaigns on an ongoing basis. They also need to plan campaigns based on search volume and objectives.

Content marketing that’s informed by SEO data empowers organizations to reach their prime objectives. Furthermore, auditing enables organizations to continue meeting ever-evolving goals over time. Tools such as Wordtracker, for example, can allow you to capture these kinds of deep insights from search trend data. It provides search volumes and competition metrics so you can see both what's popular and what you have a chance of ranking for against your competitors. 

Related and long tail terms allow you to explore keywords for stronger content and a Questions filter hones in on what people are seeking the answers to online.  Again, competition metrics allow you to make an informed judgement for content where you are likely to be able to rank.

Questions filter.

5. Perfect publication timing

Nearly any content strategist knows that publication timing or email timing can make a big difference in the success of campaigns. For many, however, tweaking the publication timing is a process of trial and error.

Data analysis tools, however, offer a better method. You can use them to identify precisely when - which days and time of day - consumers are engaging with your media. With Google Analytics custom reports you can export the data and analyse the performance of your content in detail.  You can then build digital campaigns that work to capture your visitors’ attention during these crucial times. Most email platforms will allow you to schedule delivery times flexibly, allowing for different time zones, to capture the best times when your emails are likely to be opened and read.

If you’re a content marketer, don’t miss out on the insights data can give you. Start leveraging data analysis tools to determine the type of content which is driving the most sales and engagement and double down to grow your business.

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