We've all heard for years about the value of data-driven marketing. In fact, you've probably heard a lot about it from us! But at FPS, we also practice what we preach, and we ensure the work we do is always backed by data. It's an approach we've taken for a long time now, but as we've evolved into a growth marketing agency (which relies heavily on data), we've also started looking at how we can drill down into specific marketing channels and apply our data-driven mindset.
Take content marketing, for instance. What does it really mean to have "data-driven content"? We're about to find out. But first, let's look at the overall data-driven marketing process:
This same process can be applied across all your marketing channels, including content marketing.
Why Data-Driven Content Marketing?
“Data-driven content” is a buzzworthy phrase gaining more and more traction in the marketing world. Brands with a unique content perspective and strong thought leadership are creating content backed by data — this helps set you apart from your competitors or other brands not using data-driven content.
Now more than ever, there is a push for marketers to develop relevant content that benefits their target audience and their bottom line. By how can you further differentiate yourself in a marketplace full of brands posting content every single day? We are suffering from content overload, and a not lot of it is great content that is useful or unique for a brand’s target audience. Instead, brands should spend time creating content using their internal data. Here are a few reasons why it’s worth the investment.
Data-Driven Content is Interesting & Shareable
According to BuzzSumo, an article with relevant data gets 37 percent more shares than an article without. Content that leverages your internal business data is highly interesting and shareable to your readers and the industry because the content is brand new. The internet is full of the same data being shared by numerous different websites, all of which are trying to put their spin on it.
To make your raw data interesting, though, you need to take the gleaned information, such as audience demographics, persona research, etc. and translate that into insights from your company. What does the data mean? Those insights can help creative form ideas to develop infographics and charts, which all make the data more digestible. Digestible content = shareable content.
Data-Driven Content Pushes Your PR to the Top
Data-driven content, such as infographics or a report featuring your research, work great in public relations pitches. Putting your research conclusions into a shareable infographic or eye-catching visual content makes it easier for your study or dataset to be covered by some media websites.
Data-Driven Content Strengthens SEO
A good backlink profile is the core of a strong SEO strategy. But, creating backlinks is one of the most challenging aspects of strengthening your brand's SEO because it’s a very manual task. Link building is approached in two different ways:
- "Earned" editorial links. Links that are naturally given by websites and pages that want to link to your content.
- Manual “outreach” link building. Emailing bloggers for links, submitting to websites or paying to place links.
Data-driven content is important for scalable, sustainable link building. Top-ranking websites have thousands of other websites linking back to them. Even though it’s challenging to produce these links, content with data points, especially those unique to your brand, is a great place to start. Content that is highly shareable creates its own “earned” backlinks when people link to your data. And, when your data is shared, written about in other blogs or covered on media websites, your engagement accumulates along with those backlinks. Think of it almost like a “vote of confidence” from one website or platform to another.
Data-Driven Content Legitimizes Your Brand
When your content is backed by data, it positions your brand as an expert in the industry. It shows that your company is forward-thinking because you’re setting trends and data for your industry. If your brand releases a report or article that offers a new or definitive take on a key set of industry trends, your brand immediately becomes a go-to source. This alone will bring earned media, but as we said, it will also showcase your brand’s expertise.
How to Create a Data-Driven Content Strategy
Yes, you absolutely should be creating data-driven content. But there's a flip side to this coin – data-driven content strategy. So, once you've got all this data-rich content, what do you do with it? That's where your strategy comes into play.
Build a content marketing strategy that's backed by data, and you'll be far more likely to achieve success with the content you're putting out there.
Here's how to do it:
Mine your existing data for insights
Your current customers are a fantastic source of first-party data. And with the death of the third-party cookie, it's a great way to fill some gaps and get to know your customers better.
Get the creative juices flowing
What did you learn from your data exploration? Now that you have some numbers, use them as a jumping-off point for creative brainstorming. Because, hey, numbers can be fun, too! Use the data to propel your strategy, but also use it to guide the types of data-driven content you want to create.
Create data-backed content
The most effective content will be that which uses your own primary research as a basis for thought leadership. But that's not always possible, especially when you're cranking out large amounts of content. Still, it's important to make sure all your content has accurate, relevant and up-to-date data within.
Choose your channels
Time to dig into the data yet again. This time, you're looking at which distribution channels align best with the type of content you're pushing out, and the specific audience you want to reach. There's plenty of data you can pull to determine your distribution channels. For instance, who's following you on social media? Do they match up with your buyer persona, or can you actually reach a new audience, or a niche segment, that you haven't hit before?
Track everything, then start all over again
Be sure you're keeping tabs on all your KPIs and important metrics as you launch your data-driven content strategy. As the numbers start rolling in, you can begin drawing new insights and making data-informed decisions to adjust your strategy and drive better results.