Why Data-Driven Content Planning Produces Better Results

For a lot of companies, content marketing is a relatively new thing. “This blog business… I just don’t know if it’s gonna work,” I hear quite a few C-suite suits tell me, a skeptical harrumph sounding soon thereafter.

These companies, who perhaps have been relying solely on traditional or digital advertising for the past few decades, may find it difficult to understand the mindset and process shift that has to occur to do content marketing right. Even expectations regarding results have to change.

Content marketing is a long-game strategy. It takes time and trust to build a relationship with customers by delivering content that helps them do better at their business (for B2B) or enjoy better lives (for B2C).

Delivering that content consistently takes planning. Content planning, therefore, has to target just the right customers with just the right content – or it won’t work. Then that graying old skeptic will go marching right back to his old ad agency – the one who has struggled to grow the business for the last twenty years.

The only way that content marketers can deliver the kinds of personalized content that today’s customers demand is through data-driven content planning. With data-driven plans, content marketers can look at the demographics and digital body language of their target audience, to see their likes, preferences, and online behavior.

This information allows content marketers to make faster decisions based on actual numbers. Decisiveness – as Danka Jankovic wrote about back in October – is one of the best indicators of a successful marketer. That’s because decisiveness rests on the facts – data.

Successful Content Marketing Is All About Solving Problems

This data can help marketers learn what keeps each customer segment up at night (we call these nagging problems “pain points,” for obvious reasons). When you know what keeps them up at night, it’s a lot easier to find what kinds of content can solve those problems.

As Copyblogger’s Beth Hayden points out, the world’s finest marketers have always known that solving problems is the secret to wooing customers. Even back in the ’60s, Madison Avenue genius David Ogilvy relied on data to inform his award-winning content. He said,

“But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant. Stuff your conscious mind with information, then unhook your rational thought process.”

And, with today’s data capabilities, it’s a lot easier to find that information that can solve your customers’ problems.

To Find the Problems to Solve and the Information to Solve Them, You Need Data

With today’s mobile devices recording practically every movement, every request, and every search you make while you’re on the road, marketers have plenty of data to analyze to find both customers’ pain points – and to come up with the information to solve those challenges.

As Johanna Rivard, writing in the Marketing Insider Group blog puts it, “Actually being data-driven is a very different thing. A fraction of organizations really nail it.”

What being data-driven means, she points out, is to have data “at the forefront of… most decisions.”

Here are 6 quick tips on how you and your team can put data in the driver’s seat when it comes to content marketing.

1. Utilize Data From Your Current Customers to Ground Your Content Strategy

Content strategy starts with your most loyal customers, advises Rivard. After all, they love your products and services, they keep buying, and many of them even refer you to their friends.

They’re your baseline group whose characteristics and buying habits should set the standard to compare possible new customer segments with. It’s likely that new customers will share many of the same core pain points with your current customers.

2. Use Results From Surveys, Reviews, and Social Comments to Improve Customer Experience

Customer experience drives revenue. According to customer relations software company SuperOffice.com, 86 percent of today’s customers will pay more for a great customer experience. If that experience includes content that answers their most difficult challenges, they’ll be more likely to become brand advocates, telling others the story of how your company solved their problems. And, data is at the heart of it all.

3. Personalize Content Campaigns With Data

All those mobile device perks we enjoy provide a steady stream of data. Use your company’s application and third-party apps to feed your content team with the information they need to identify the factors that move people to become your customers. Combining that data with cutting-edge analytics and predictive AI can help you target potential customers with custom-tailored content that addresses their unique needs – at just the right time.

4. Identify Your Highest-Performing Marketing Channels

Each marketing channel, be it email, your company blog, your online ads, or your social media posts, appeals to varying sets of people. Analyzing the conversions you get from these various sources and the time of day at which you receive those conversions can give you incredible insights about where and when to post content to maximize your results.

5. Analyze and Improve Your Content’s Effectiveness

Data analysis can provide you with which pieces of content perform better with certain customer segments. Through content measurement, your content team can then study the best performers, create similar content, and distribute it to those customer segments likely to need it. You can also use that data to analyze why your poorer-performing content doesn’t cut it with a given audience. You can then revamp those pieces of content to improve their performance.

6. Let Marketing Automation Leverage Your Data to Its Fullest Potential

Who in the world can stay up to five in the morning just to send out that groundbreaking white paper to your newsletter subscribers – even if the data tells you that 5:00 a.m. is the best time to send it? You know – the executives that get to the office at 6:00 a.m. will find your email near the top of their inbox; they’ll read it, become true believers, and request a visit from your sales team. A content marketing platform can schedule the time that it sends out each piece of content – just like clockwork – as you hit “snooze” and dream about your next content masterpiece.

Executing data-driven content planning can help your team convert even the “grandma generation” of content marketing skeptics in your C-suite into true believers. We can help. For a free demonstration of our DivvyHQ content marketing platform, request your demo today.