Like most larger companies, yours probably has hired some data scientists. After all, having a data-driven business model is essential for doing business in the 21st century.
However, how about on the content marketing team? Do you need to go out and hire a data scientist or two to add to your team?
At first glance, the idea of data scientists in content marketing sounds like an odd coupling. The geeks with the creatives? Wouldn’t that be like pairing Mr. Spock with Don Draper?
However, as creative as an endeavor as marketing is, it’s worth nothing, business-wise, unless the numbers say it is earning its keep. In fact, if your content marketing team isn’t producing the kinds of results that make the C-suite sit up and take notice, you’ll soon be out of a job.
So, we would agree with Content Marketing Institute’s Marcia Johnston, who argues that instead of hiring a team of data scientists for your content marketing team, you should train your content teams to think like data scientists.
Here’s why. While your engineers and data scientists happily crunch numbers and come up with statements like “I know this smelter can produce X more tons of steel than our current model,” your creatives sit around bouncing “I feel” statements around the table in content planning sessions.
“I feel like this blog post will resonate with our suburban soccer mom metric.” “I feel like we’re missing the mark here.” Ad nauseam. Like they were in therapy or something.
Data can tell you if those “feelings” have any basis in fact or if they’re just “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese,” as Scrooge put it. And, it can unearth hidden insights that your team might not have even considered.
For example, that blog post that Content Writer One thought resonated with the “soccer mom” metric might actually play better with the soccer players themselves. And, as for Content Writer Two’s feelings, the data might show that the blog post she thought missed the mark was actually on the money.
It’s not magic. It’s science. Start thinking like a data scientist, and you’ll have a better foundation for your teams’ creative work.
Go Beyond Content Analytics
As Johnston points out, there are three parts to a data scientist’s work:
- Descriptive analytics
- Predictive models
- Prescriptive recommendations
We content markers often begin and end with descriptive data — what comes out of our content analytics. But for data scientists, that’s just the beginning of the road.
It’s what you do after you collect those data that counts. Your analytics give you a sense of where you’ve been.
However, you need to combine that data with real-time data to predict future outcomes. Using predictive AI in conjunction with your normal sources of data can be a game-changer for content teams.
Use Content Analysis Software to Identify Audience Insights and Trends
When you post content, you’re hoping for audience reactions that can give you an idea about whether you’re on track or not. Feedback can also give you insights on what types of content will likely bring in the best returns in the future.
Content analysis software can help you look deeply into your audience’s comments, posts, and other reactions to your content. Whether it’s information your blog post might lack that your audience needs to solve a problem or an image that provokes negative reactions, content analysis software can help you find weaknesses, giving you a chance to shore them up in future posts.
Furthermore, you can identify trends among your audience. For example, if a large majority of an audience segment starts to follow certain topics, you can ride the waves of those trends by mentioning those topics in your content. Those subtle touches can build a bond with them when other companies chug merrily along with their navel-gazing content.
Use Predictive AI Tools to Refine Content
Whether you do traditional A/B testing or have a sophisticated tool that can test multiple ideas at once, testing is essential. Predictive AI software can compare different choices — not only with past performance — but with the performance of similar ideas.
For example, let’s say that your A/B testing suggests that a certain image resonates with a specific segment of your overall target market. However, a predictive solution can compare your data with that of similar brands. Doing so can show, for example, that while your selected image might work better with one subset of your target market, a different image could better inspire another market segment to action. So, you can use email list segmentation to send your article headed by one image for your first segment and the AI-suggested image to the second.
Similarly, predictive AI can also help you choose which phrases or words resonate with specific audiences. The critical takeaway is the necessity of testing. Only through coming up with a hypothesis, testing, and re-testing it will you achieve a definitive result that you can see in the hard numbers.
Partner with Data Scientists for Complex Tasks
If you need to test multiple hypotheses or several post elements at once, it might be a prudent choice to partner with your in-house or outsourced data scientists in content collaboration. As people who live and breathe data, they can conduct complex testing faster than your content teams.
Whether it’s identifying promising new markets, predicting how long a customer will likely stay with your company (and how to lengthen that period through marketing), or looking at the descriptions and reviews of competing products to help you capitalize on their weaknesses, bringing data scientists in on your content planning sessions can help content teams provide personalized, relevant content at scale that meets more of your audience’s needs.
Collaboration will go more smoothly when you have a central hub where your data scientists and your creatives can combine their talents to come up with a plan that identifies and reaches all your target customers. DivvyHQ’s comprehensive content marketing platform does just that.
But it’s not only a collaboration tool. Your teams can plan, schedule, create, publish, and automate content all in a single digital location.
It can even analyze the results your content produces. Even better, you can try it free for 14 days with no obligation. Start your free trial today!