For many companies, multiple core business functions and departments are moving towards becoming data-driven. One area that’s often lagging, especially outside of the core publishing world, is the production of marketing content. You’re likely doing marketing on several platforms, and that means there is a ton of data waiting to be put to work. Let’s take a look at what data-driven marketing content is and how you can begin making use of it.
What is Data-Driven Content?
To clarify, data-driven marketing content isn’t content that uses data as a topic or employs data in the content itself. While these are valid ways to use your data, it’s not the point here.
Instead, data-driven content is what comes from scanning data for clues about:
- Why people click on headlines
- Which topics resonate with your audience
- How people are finding your content
- What motivates them to take additional actions
- Who your best content producers are
- What drives search-based click-thrus
Someone running a non-profit advocacy group, for example, needs to be able to draw a line from their marketing content to the actions they want visitors to take. Such actions may include:
- Signing up for the mailing list
- Following your social media feeds
- Sharing your message with others
- Contacting you so they can learn how to help
- Asking for your assistance
Where Data Fits In
In the previous example of an advocacy group, the hypothetical organization is trying to build what is fundamentally a marketing funnel. Traditionally, lots of people have guessed as to how to produce marketing content for such purposes. Some have earned reputations as gifted copywriters who are experts in knowing what drives traffic.
By moving to a data-driven approach, you’re eliminating the guesswork and biases. Analytics packages will collect data from a host of sources, such as social media feeds, emails, and website logs. You can then study how visitors go from learning about your messages, services, and products to taking desired actions. Likewise, you can establish where visitors who don’t get to the end of the funnel are falling off.
Tips for Using Data-Driven Marketing Content
Generating the data that drives your decisions about your marketing content is the entire endgame. In the simplest form, you can look at simple correlations between visits and headlines, for example. Good data scientists, though, know that correlation can be spurious and there are plenty of other ways to derive better insights. Let’s take a look at a few.
An old school keyword analysis is on the decline, and it has largely been replaced by latent semantic analysis. Some topics and words appear in very specific contexts, and this is especially the case with certain clusters of ideas. For example, the word “hot” has a very different latent semantic value when coupled with the word “car” as opposed to words such as “food” or “celebrities.”
There’s no reason to take only a passive approach when collecting data. You can also produce two versions of the content. As people click on the A or B version more often, you can discern which drives interest. Similarly, you can put together the cumulative insights from all of your A/B tests to get much deeper perspectives.
Sometimes the simplest way to get answers is to ask your ideal customers a question. For example, you can have a poll pop up when someone goes to leave your website after only being on it for a couple of minutes or less. The poll might ask them why they’re leaving. This can help you determine if they’re leaving your site because they are frustrated or if they have found what they needed.
Targeting with Personas
Grouping like-minded audience members together is a great way to improve your targeting efforts. A fashion brand might find, for example, that it’s seeing very different responses from under-40 buyers versus the 41+ demo. By developing personas for each group, you can then deliver content that matches what drives their interest. Likewise, you can avoid hassling folks outside those persona categories with content that doesn’t click for them.
Huge amounts of data are generated every time someone clicks. It’s important to start harvesting that data so you can begin to tailor your marketing content. With time, both you and your audience will benefit from the changes.