What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens. – Jolie Miller
Are you a brand marketer looking for fresh, creative content to drive traffic to your brand’s website? Or, are you perhaps a small online business owner who needs to develop a content marketing strategy?
The age-old adage, “content is king,” bears reference to this topic. Without great content, it is impossible to leverage the online space to improve your company’s sales and growth targets. The quotation noted above by Jolie Miller shows the quintessential nature of publishing authoritative, robust content. Succinctly stated, content aims to provide the reason for purchasing a brand’s products or services.
It is also essential to be cognizant of the fact that, for a content marketing strategy to be successful, it needs to be data driven. Otherwise, it can become a fluffy, meaningless exercise. Thus, by way of providing an answer to the inferred question of how to create a data-driven content marketing strategy, let’s first look at a definition of content marketing and then let’s consider what data-driven content marketing is.
Content marketing: What and why?
The contentmarketinginstitute.com defines content marketing as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
At this juncture, it is vital to highlight the fact that the primary aim of any digital marketing strategy, including content marketing, is to drive traffic to the brand’s website so that visitors to the site will convert into returning customers.
This is predominantly achieved by increasing the brand’s website’s ranking on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Websites who rank in the top three to five (three-pack) organic results on the SERP have the greatest chance of being visited by Internet browsers looking for specific products and services.
By way of providing the raison d’etre for the need to prioritize content marketing, let’s reflect on the following statistics:
- 80% of all consumers prefer building a relationship with a brand before buying its products. And, the most popular vehicle used to build this relationship is long-form content.
- While 78% of all consumers trust brands that produce custom content as opposed to generic content.
- 69% of marketers believe that long-form content containing the brand website’s URL is more effective than publishing press releases.
- 62% of millennials think that publishing custom, long-form content online will improve brand loyalty.
What is data-driven marketing?
Wikipedia.com defines data-driven marketing as a “process by which marketers gain insights and trends based on in-depth analysis informed by numbers.”
In other words, digital marketing strategies are created, implemented, and revised based on “insights pulled from the analysis of big data, collected through consumer interactions and engagements, to form predictions about future behaviors.”
Therefore, it is essential to gain an insight into the historical and current data to accurately forecast consumer trends. Additionally, it is critical to organize this data in such a way that it will provide an understanding of how to improve your brand marketing efforts. For, the primary aim of this statistical analysis is to “enhance and personalize the customer experience” as this will convert visitors to your brand’s website into returning customers.
Companies also mine customer reviews and customer support conversations to help design and implement targeted marketing campaigns.
And finally, the essence of data-driven marketing is that it allows for a “comprehensive study of [target audience] preference.”
Utilizing data-driven content marketing that converts
It is worth noting that the emphasis of brand marketing has changed from stating a product’s specifications and features and expecting a customer to purchase the products. Brands now need to engage with customers and answer the question of what value are they going to provide to the target audience’s lives.
We live in the Engagement Economy. Brand loyalty is built through customer engagement. The consumer needs to feel valued and important to the brand before they will purchase the brand’s products. Data-driven marketing, especially the mining and analysis of customer comments on social media and customer service staff interactions will provide the foundation on which to build a platform that will engage positively with the consumer with the end goal of converting consumers into returning customers.
Thus, the brand marketer must engage with the brand’s target audience, and then take the results of this engagement and develop a content marketing strategy that utilizes the publishing of long-form articles, including a backlink to the brand’s website, on valuable, niche-relevant blogs.