More B2B companies are using content marketing now than ever before, and as a content company, we were thrilled to learn that 88 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing for their organizations. Unfortunately that same study from CMI reported that only 30 percent of B2B marketers believe their organizations are effective at content marketing. To increase effectiveness, it’s critical that your company use data to drive your content process. By using these data points at each stage of your process from ideation to distribution, you can improve your efforts and create data-driven content that grows your business.
The Definitive Guide to Creating Data-Driven Content
FROM IDEATION TO PUBLICATION
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More B2B companies are using content marketing now than ever before, and as a content company, we were thrilled to learn that 88 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing for their organizations. Unfortunately, that same study from Content Marketing Institute reported that only 30 percent of B2B marketers believe their organizations are effective at content marketing. To increase effectiveness, it’s critical that your company use data to drive your content process. By using these data points at each stage of your process, from ideation to distribution, you can improve your efforts and create data-driven content that grows your business.
EXAMPLE: We changed a keyword in a headline for a piece of content recently from “technology” to “tools” because we learned through deeper keyword research that members of audience weren’t looking for content marketing technology — they were looking for content marketing tools.
I D E A T I O N
Before you begin writing your company’s content, you need a plan. Research by the Content Marketing Institute consistently shows that B2B marketers who document their content strategies are more effective in their efforts, and to develop the best strategy for your company, you’ve got to do your research.
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Collect, store, and organize information about the pain points your customers are experiencing, the objections your sales team hears from potential clients, and any other ideas for content that your audience is craving in a knowledge bank. TIP: Click here to download our free "Knowledge Management Template" to easily do this yourself.
What is currently happening in your industry? Where is it headed, and who's leading it there? Tools like BuzzSumo and Google Alerts help you monitor trending content in any industry or topic you select. Use these and other similar tools to help you stay up-to-date on relevant industry happenings, and let these topics inform your own original content ideas.
Google’s Keyword Planner tool can help you learn about what keywords you should include in your content to optimize it for search, and you can use statistics on search volume and competition to help you determine what your company has the best chance of ranking for.
C C O R N E T A E T N I T O N
While effective content marketing will grow your business, it’s critical for you to remember that your actual content must be authentic and engaging in order to provide value to your audience. As you use your plan as a guide to create your best content, keep in mind that the meat of your articles, posts, whitepapers, and more should also be driven by data.
And while you’re on the publication’s site, check out its top-performing articles, and let that help you determine whether your content will be a good fit.
Research the readership and target audience of the publications you’re selecting for your content, and let your findings inform your content.
EXAMPLE: At Influence & Co., we discovered that our clients wanted to learn more about how we work with publishers and how they can better create content for those online publications. So we distributed a survey to more than 150 editors in our network to answer our clients’ questions, then we created a blog post and a whitepaper about the state of contributed content based on our findings.
No one knows what content your audience wants to consume better than your audience itself. Create and send out a simple survey to clients or potential clients to learn what topics they want to learn more about.
Monitor the performance of your earlier content to see what formats and topics resonated most with your audience. You can use metrics as simple as how many views or social shares an article received to see what your audience prefers.
In an interview with the Influence & Co. marketing team, Chad Pollitt of Relevance shared that "publish and pray” simply doesn’t cut it in content marketing. If you want your audience to consume your content and your efforts to be worthwhile, you’ve got to distribute your published content.
D I S T R I B U T I O N
To strengthen these distribution efforts, consider whether there’s room in your budget for any paid promotion. Content Marketing Institute reports that 94, 88, and 84 percent of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, respectively, to distribute content, and each of these platforms has a variety of advertising options to meet your business’s needs.
One easy way to effectively distribute your content is to determine when your audience is most likely to see it on social media. Tools like Buffer can help you optimize your social sharing to get your content in front of the right audience at the right time. You can also research your company’s analytics to find out when your audience opens and reads your email newsletter containing all of your newest content. Once you’ve determined the ideal time of day — and day of the week — schedule your content to be distributed at that time.
M E A S U R E
Content measurement is the most important step, and it’s one you should take at each point in your content creation and marketing processes. Measuring and analyzing your content’s performance will help you determine what works best for you and your company.
Platforms like Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Marketo can give you access to some of the best, most relevant info you need to measure your content.
CLICK THROUGH RATE
READ THROUGH RATE
Depending on the goals in your strategy from the Ideation Stage, you can track any or all of the following to determine your content effectiveness: