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March 14, 2018

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How to Make Data Driven Content Decisions

Driving your website’s content strategy with data, without breaking the bank.

 

Truly agile marketing teams take both a proactive and reactive approach to content creation. What does that mean? They do their homework beforehand, then evaluate the performance of published assets after launching, incorporating findings into future content development. Utilizing the right tools allows making data driven content decisions for everything published to your website work for your business, driving quantifiable results. There are plenty of sky-high tools that cost teams thousands upon thousands of dollars per year, but such an expense isn’t realistic – or necessary – for all.

 

Read on for the top 5 ways you can use data to drive content decisions for your website while keeping your budget under control.

 

1. Live Chat

Qualitative data can be just as powerful as quantitative. Introducing a tool to your website as simple as live chat, where anyone who lands on your site can engage in a conversation that’s completely driven by them, can speak volumes for where your content strategy should go. In capturing the conversations your web visitors have with you, identify patterns within what they’re asking for and about to develop a content plan that serves the specific purpose of addressing what your web audience, likely a good portion of which are qualified leads, is craving.

 

“Introducing live chat to your website can speak volumes for where your content strategy should go.” click to tweet

 

Tools to consider:

1. LiveSupporti

2. SmartSupp

3. PureChat

4. Olark

5. Intercom

 

2. Social Performance and Listening

The best data to drive your content strategy comes directly from the voices of your consumers. One of the best channels for taking in consumer perspectives is social media. This could mean a couple of different things:

 

  1. Social Performance: Assuming your company is active on social media, driving engagement and evaluating the performance of your posts is something to be considered when building or adjusting your content strategy. Ask yourself these questions: What’s getting the most likes? The most comments? Shares? Maybe your white paper on the state of your industry is getting twice the engagement as your blog post which deep dives into the technical ins and outs of your product. What does that mean? In this scenario, your consumers crave education. They’re not as far into the sales lifecycle as you’d like, but your content has the power to get them there. Don’t leave the technical content by the wayside, but prioritize topics which educate your audience, and think about how to drive them to the next step of their educational journey.

  2. Social Listening: More of a high level approach to using social to your advantage is through social listening. Going back to SEO terms, think through the keywords or phrases you’d like to be aware of in the social sphere, and use tools to help you gather details on what the broader conversations look like. This sparks content creation that addresses hot topics that matter to your brand and the consumers you target. Once that content is created, you can then go back and plug those assets when engaging in social conversations, or even build them into your social content strategy to drive quality traffic to your website.

 

“The best data to drive your content strategy comes directly from the voices of your consumers.” click to tweet

 

Tools to consider:

  1. Native channel insights (they all have them: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. They’re free, so use them to your advantage.)

  2. Hootsuite, SproutSocial, or other social automation tools (which also enable you to schedule your content in advance, and even tag posts associated with certain campaigns to gain more specific insights.)

 

3. Marketing Automation Platforms

Marketing teams that are fortunate enough to take advantage of the benefits of a full fledged Marketing Automation Platform (e.g. Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, and the like,) should be sure to hone in on the analytics the platforms provide. When sending out marketing emails, think about:

 

  1. What’s getting the highest click through rates?

  2. Are you running A/B tests to evaluate how one set of copy performs over the other?

  3. How strong are your subject lines?

  4. What is the purpose of the content you’re including?

  5. Do you include a call to action (CTA) so your consumers can continue on their educational journey?

  6. What drew in your consumer in the first place and how can you amplify the content used further?

  7. What’s causing these audiences to convert once they land on your site?

 

Continue building content where you see the most success, and repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Have a video that’s catching like wildfire? Set up an email campaign to get it in front of more eyeballs. Take the topic and write up a blog post. There’s always more you can do to leverage your most successful content and expand its reach.

 

 

 

4. Keywords are Key (SEO)

Today, Search Engine Optimization (a.k.a. SEO,) is viewed almost as a cliché in the world of marketing. Everyone knows they need it, but not everyone knows why or how to implement an SEO strategy into their website plan. Think of your company’s product, solution, or overall value statement. Now think about how consumers will likely end up on your web page when performing a Google search related to your offering. Those terms or phrases popping into your mind may be some of your strongest SEO keywords.

 

Of course, as with any strategy, your intuition alone is not justification enough. Pulling data to back up your assumed SEO terms is easy with the variety of keyword tools that exist today. The more you infuse these terms or phrases into your website, the higher search engines such as Google, YouTube or the like will score your site for certain topics, positioning the website your marketing team has put blood, sweat and tears into in front of the right audience.

 

Tools to consider:

1. SEMrush

2. Google AdWords

3. Moz

4. KeywordTool.io

 

 

5. Web Analytics

This goes hand-in-hand with Marketing Automation Platforms when it comes to tracking data, but web analytics can tell a story all on their own. Who’s coming to your website? What’s their country or state of origin? How many people in general are landing on your site each day, each week, each month? And of those, how many are unique or returning visitors? Did you see a spike in web traffic when you started promoting a specific piece of content? Let the data tell a story to drive the user experience of your site, and make sure you build out the right content so visitors are empowered to dive deeper.

 

Tools to consider: (Check out a full list of free web analytic tools from one of our favorites, The Content Strategist.):

  1. Google Analytics

  2. Bitly

  3. Piwik

  4. Open Web Analytics (OWA)

 

 

Bonus: Talk to your Sales Team

Sales and Marketing teams don’t always have the most seamless relationship. But in reality, Your salesforce is out on the front lines, talking directly to those you target through your campaigns and programs. Therefore, weave open lines of communication with your Sales colleagues into your content creation strategy. Here are some things you can do to improve your communication with your Sales Team:

 

  1. Pick up the phone and have a friendly conversation

  2. Schedule a meeting once per quarter, or even once a month

  3. Put some thought into a quick survey you can shoot over for them to complete at their convenience

  4. Ask them what they’re hearing from their prospects. What questions are popping up most frequently? Where are they in their educational journey?

  5. What existing assets are “go-to’s” for the Sales team?

 

Collect your data from these engagements, digest the information, map out the insights, and build a content strategy that drives value for consumers. Identify where it should live on your website so you’re always providing assets that truly speak to your target audience.

 

“Collect insights from your sales team to map out and build content strategy that drives value for your customers.”

–  click to tweet

 

Tools to consider:

  1. Google Forms

  2. SurveyMonkey

  3. Your phone or email!

 

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