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Content marketing is a valuable strategy for businesses of all sizes. Advertising is everywhere. A massive portion of the population has instant access to information on mobile phones. It’s becoming increasingly important to find ways to drive customers to your site. And more and more companies are doing so by providing valuable content rather than sales pitches. Statistics indicate that 70 percent of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than adverts. So, it makes sense to direct more marketing budget to create content customers want. But you need to build that content on a solid foundation of content marketing data. That way you ensure you’re targeting the right demographics and squeezing the maximum value out of your marketing dollars.

What Is Content Marketing Data?

Content marketing is a customer-focused marketing technique for attracting a specific audience. It also works to deepen your relationship with existing customers. It’s all accomplished through the use of valuable content that provides viewers with a rewarding experience. Stop running advertisements to push customers towards your products. Instead, try a content marketing campaign to help customers find you naturally. For a successful strategy, your content should be:

  • Useful
  • Relevant to the target audience
  • Regular
  • Of consistent quality

Great content is the cornerstone of the method. But creating it is labor-intensive, and has the potential to be very costly. On average, content marketing constitutes an average of 32 percent of the marketing budget in business-to-consumer (B2C) sectors. For B2B, it’s 28 percent, according to 2016 information from the Content Marketing Institute. With that level of investment at stake, it’s important to ensure a good return, and that’s why content marketing data is so important. A data-driven marketing campaign has the potential to be more efficient, as it’s possible to mine existing data stores to identify trends for determining which content is right for your customers, which platforms you should use for improving your brand reach, and which strategies have proven successful in the past. Findings from your content marketing data analysis help to inform content for future campaigns, and improve the return on your investment.

Important Content Marketing Data

When you’re running a data-driven content marketing system, the most important information you need falls into two main categories:

  • Data you need before you begin the creative process to help create the right type of content, and to know where to display it for the best results. This data usually comprises information relating to your current customer base, your target demographic, current search trends, and the usage statistics for social media platforms and other distribution methods.
  • Data you need after publishing your content to know if your campaign is working. This content marketing data may take several forms, including an increase in social media followers, improvement in sales figures, or increased revenue.

Customer Data

Targeted content marketing has the potential to be very effective. It relies on serving content to the people who are most likely to engage with it. If you already have a sizeable customer database, mine it for as much information as possible. By analyzing the data you have, it’s possible to create personas that represent your average customer. For example, a typical persona may be “businessman in his late 40s, with a wife and at least one child, in a mortgaged home, earning less than $60,000 a year.” Having identified personas, it becomes much easier to create content that speaks to them directly, and this helps deepen the relationship with potential and existing customers. You can also use personas as the basis for developing your business in new directions, forming new strategies for engaging alternative demographics.

Trend Data

What are customers searching for? What are the burning questions that need answering? Well-written content is essential, but it also has to be well-written content that people are actively searching for. Start by researching keywords and the most-searched Google phrases, and look at information other successful companies provide. Once you know what people want, find a new spin on providing that information — creating content that stands out, but that remains relevant to your brand. Keep in mind that getting people to read your content is important, but if it doesn’t relate back to what you do as a business, you won’t make considerable in-roads building your brand.

Platform Data

There are plenty of platforms to share your content across, but which ones are right for you? Facebook has an average of 1.15 billion active users every day, making it the market leader in social media, and a massive market to break into. But other platforms may serve your campaign better. For example, 44 percent of people over the age of 50 use Pinterest, making it a good platform for targeting an older audience, but only 31 percent of people over 50 use Twitter, which has a much younger vibe that fits trendy brands making clever jokes and quotable quips.

Results Data

To ensure your campaign is successful, you need some quantifiable way to measure that success. Common metrics for success include:

  • Sales
  • Sales lead quality
  • Conversion rates
  • Brand lift
  • Customer retention
  • Website traffic
  • Data capture
  • Engagement on social media

The most important metric for your business depends on your campaign goals. For example, data capture may be the most important statistic for determining the success of an e-mail campaign asking customers to opt-in to a mailing list with their names and email addresses. On the other hand, 30 percent of B2C marketers rate sales as the most important metric, while 31 percent of B2B marketers rate sales lead quality as the defining metric.

Running a Content-Focused, Data-Driven Campaign

Producing the best content requires having the best data. It doesn’t matter how good your article about routers is — if you’re presenting it to customers who want to know more about cooking, then it isn’t going to have the impact you are looking for. And it’s a dangerous business practice to pump money into marketing if you don’t have a quantifiable way to measure the return on your investment. Having some analysts on the payroll is often useful, but in smaller businesses, duties may have to fall to the project manager, or even the sales team. Outsourcing some of your marketing workload to a professional agency is a good way to handle the pressures of maintaining a successful content marketing campaign if you don’t have suitable in-house resources.