Create A Data-Driven Content Strategy
Have you spent hours creating quality content that doesn't receive the kind of recognition it deserves from an online audience? You're certainly not alone! Good content is always at the foundation of any online business, especially in the B2B sector, but what exactly makes it so lucrative? And how can your business benefit from this and take away more leads?
One of the simplest ways to measure what works and what doesn't is to document all of your engagement levels and get realistic about the data you receive from your findings.
Think of it more like a process of elimination – if you're not sure where to get started, try different content that reflects your business and directly influences your Ideal Client. Don’t simply fill the space with unnecessary or irrelevant subject matter just to cover all your bases. This won’t appeal to your audience and they'll see right through your objectives.
The first rule of creating interesting content is to make sure it appeals to you. Would you read this article or watch this video if it was referred to you by a friend or popped up on social media?
Derek Cromwell from CoSchedule put it simply when he said, “Data should be used to refine your content strategy.” Without useful data, where would we be? Get into the habit of recording your data; it helps to analyze how successful each piece of information is that you put out there on your social media channels.
How can I record my data?
Luckily, there are a number of different ways to record your data and keep a schedule of the successes and failures of your work through a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. If you’re super-organized already, then a spreadsheet format is probably already on your radar and is one of the most basic ways to record your data. On the other hand, there are a large variety of websites and applications that offer effective ways to record data with minimal effort, but come with a fee.
The action of recording your data is already putting you a step ahead of everybody else. Why? You're entering a good pattern that will highlight what worked, what didn't, and how to improve on the content you're sharing with your audience. As a result, you'll be using data to make informed decisions on how to run your business on an online platform.
What can I do with the data after I’ve recorded it?
The beauty of data is that its results can mean different things to different companies. One of its main strengths is that data collection gets better the longer you have it on your side. Week after week, month after month you'll start to notice patterns through data collection - who it relates to as a target audience and the different trends your content has ventured on since its inception.
Some of the main aspects of data collection include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The best times to post and share content to reach your audience: Are you posting at a time where the audience just isn’t engaging enough? Finding out this crucial information will change the way you interact with your followers, and can impact what time you choose to post your content on social media, leading you to the right target audience and ultimately the type of audience. Additionally, you want to make sure that your content is engaging.Co-founder of Velocity (a B2B marketing agency to the stars), Doug Kessler has some tips on keeping your content as engaging as possible: “Two keys to making a piece of content engaging: make it from the prospect’s perspective (the better you know them, the closer you can get to this); and make it timely by offering insight on an issue that’s pressing right now.” Try posting at different times to make sure you have the highest reach possible – although this could take a lot of trail and error to get right. If you have both of these aspects covered, then you're increasing your chances of higher engagement rates.
- Which topics matter most to your audience: It can feel pointless working on content and copy to an audience who just doesn't get it, or just doesn’t care. Your data will let you know which topics the audience engages with the most, and others that don’t work that well, making it a valuable asset to have in the online world.
- How your audience feels about specific topics: Combined with comments, social media is making it so much easier for your audience to interact with you and your content. Data collection can also give you greater insight on topics the audience loves and topics that you could approach differently. You could also try following and interacting with other personalities who share similar content to yours.
- Friction points making your audience bail before they reach content later in your funnel: Ever wondered why your audience is interested at the beginning only to later fizzle out? Data can help you uncover the answer. Make sure your content is engaging the entire way through, and your audience won’t want to miss a beat. Coming up with interactive ways to present your findings through video, images and even giving them an incentive to sign up to your newsletter are all great ways to keep them coming back for more.
- What content formats your audience prefers: Determining which modes of social media your audience gets along with the best is difficult, especially if trial and error is the only thing on your side. Through data collection and a strong data-driven strategy, you can adapt your copy for each social media account and have your personal content reach the right people at the right time.
- Your audience's preferred engagement level and how long you can hold their attention: Before you think about posting content, think about who will be viewing it, what you can do for them, and how this impacts their interests. Some may prefer a different level of engagement, something you'll only be able to find out with the right research tools. One main point I always try and stress to my clients is that less is more when it comes to selling people something. Don’t use every single Instagram or Facebook post to self-promote your product – it speaks for itself. Also, the current Facebook algorithm penalizes accounts who constantly link back to their own website, so it’s good to keep that in mind.
- Costs and return: As business owners, we want an audience who will stay for the long-haul and build a solid forum and an exchange of communication. Make sure you're transparent with your objectives and interact often with your audience through the help of a community manager – someone who can help to strengthen relations between the ethos of your business and the market it’s directly targeting. Once you build this rapport with your audience, it will make it much easier to increase engagement as they feel connected to you and your brand.
- Impact on acquisition and customer retention: Be upfront and loyal to your audience, and they will keep coming back to your business for more. Start by laying the foundations of an honest relationship and the level of trust will come – with time!
How do I get started?
The way you analyze your content all comes down to the factors you find most appealing to your business. Before starting your data-driven strategy, think about it in four parts:
- Strategy: What do you want your content to be about? Coming up with a solid strategy for your business is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success. Come up with a few topics or key words of interest that represent your business. Depending on your chosen social media platforms, this will mean you can adapt the information that best suits each application. Another tip I have is to focus on long-form content over short-term content if you want to grab the attention of your audience. Statistics show that your viewers are more likely to read something that is long but interesting, rather than short and fills the gaps.
- Production: After forming a solid strategy for your business, it's time to put theory into action. Now, you can begin to use data as a way to determine the kind of content you'll be posting. Sometimes it will be more valuable to publish a blog post once every two weeks rather than weekly – these are the themes you'll explore from your own individual data findings.
- Promotion: How will you choose to promote your content? Look for content that has been deemed popular by your existing audience and use this to your advantage. Newsletters are a great way to create an ‘online family’ through a database of people who interact with your content. Sometimes, you may want to give them an incentive to sign up to the newsletter like exclusive and unique content they won’t be able to find anywhere else. Not only will it help you find new leads, but you'll be strengthening your online presence and increasing your reach.
- Analytics: Now, the final step is to analyze all your data and see which methods worked, which didn’t and you can go from there!
By gathering all this information, you'll create a good foundation for making the most of the content you have, and you'll get the best possible engagement. By creating a data-driven content strategy, you'll be armed with the tools to make the most out of your online presence, you just have to know how to use them!
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