The digital medium has altered the marketing landscape forever. Gone are the days of traditional in-person marketing. With the rise of social media, marketers are faced with an even more difficult challenge: building relationships with customers that they’ve never met in person. Instead they have to build relationships with these customers online. One of the ways marketers tackle this challenge is through content marketing. Content marketing is when marketers create valuable, quality content aimed towards a specific audience, with the end goal being to drive profitable customer actions.
While content marketing is a good approach at solving the digital marketing divide it is even more effective when the decisions on which content to produce and distribute is backed up by data. Having a data framework in place allows marketers to analyze their audience’s behavior. This can range from simple social media interaction to something more complex like a heat map on a webpage. Knowing how an audience interacts with different types of content on multiple social media channels opens up doors for markets to tailor that content specifically for them. This, in turn, leads to higher engagement rates and more potential ROI for the brand, company or organization.
In addition, a data and social channel focused approach breeds greater creativity among marketers because much of the previously unknown areas such as demographic information, content and channel preference, and others have already been identified by the data itself. When a marketer knows that customer demographic x responds best to image based tweets, they are able to use their creativity to foster a connection and hopefully start a conversation.
Not every company has the resources to develop a full-scale data framework, however, there are some tools out there that marketers can use:
- Content analytics: Google analytics and BuzzSumo are essential for determining what kind of traffic is going to a site and which kind of content is generating the most engagement.
- Social Listening Tools: HootSuite, TweetDeck, and Klout are some of the best free social listening tools out there. These tools will allow a company to monitor what conversations are being said about the company/brand/topic they want to track.
- Marketing automation: Programs like ExactTarget, Email on Acid, or Marketo allow a company to tie in lead generation campaigns and programs into a content marketing strategy and allows analytics for email marketing, and content tailoring
- Content Marketing: Atomic Reach, Little Bird and Nuvi are great tools for content marketing analysis particularly seeing what kinds of content resonate among target audiences, but they also offer even more extensive analytics and social media reporting.
There is a big caveat with using data to determine your content marketing strategy. If a company solely relies on metrics to make decisions regarding content they run the risk of losing a human element in their work. Data can be essential to helping chart a path forward, but it can just as easily take control on the wheel and steer you towards automatic boring content creation. People love to see uniqueness online; it helps that content stand out from all the noise.