The first thing that often comes to mind when someone mentions content, is creativity. That’s almost true – great content is indeed dependent on creativity, but it’s also reliant on data. Data helps guide content towards the next best direction. After all, brands aren’t just shelling out money for nothing – they want to see value and ROI.
Data should never be an afterthought. It should be looked upon as an integral part that can help a business angle its content to accurately reach their audience and drive results.
So if you’re having trouble filling up your content calendar, look to your data set first. It’ll give you access to the latest trends and insights – and as well a whole new mindset on how to approach your content marketing strategy.
Here’s where to start:
Step 1: Do your research
Kick off with extensive research on the external data that’s available to you out there. Start with these:
BuzzSumo is great if you’re looking to see which specific keywords/topics are trending. You’ll also be able to see the number of social shares and engagements a particular topic has received. You’ll be in luck if the topic you’re writing about is already trending.
Always wondered what people are searching for on Google? Here you’ll find market-specific trending searches and search interest in various topics/keywords.
Twitter makes it really easy for you to look at what is currently trending – just look to the left on your homepage and you’ll see the number of tweets each trending hash-tag has received. You’ll also be able to view market specific stats relevant to your preferred location.
Instagram doesn’t quite have the same function as Twitter, but if you tap on the ‘Explore’ tab in your account, you can see what’s popular. Keep in mind that this is tailored according to your behaviour on Instagram, so the results won’t be an accurate reflection of what is truly trending.
Another feature of Instagram is hash-tags. Hash-tags with the most number of posts attributed to them signify popularity. Movements or trends that start on Instagram will usually use a unique hash-tag to group all related posts together as well. For example, take a look at Jamie Oliver’s #MeatlessMondays. Since this began, hordes of other food bloggers and enthusiasts have jumped on the bandwagon to produce related content.
If you’re unsure what hash-tags to use? Check out this link. However, it’s always important to keep your hashtags relevant to your content. For example, don’t hash-tag #dog if your photo is about baking.
If you’re on Facebook’s mobile application, you’ll be able to see what’s currently trending through a quick tap on the search bar. This mostly changes everyday so if you see recurring topics that have remained on this page, you’ll definitely want to try and angle your content around that.
Step 2: Look deeper into your existing content
Recommended reading: When was your last content audit?
Now that you know what topics people are talking about, you should now take a look at the other side of the coin. An internal content audit will give a deeper insight into how well your current content is performing. This is where you’ll find out what your audience likes, and what they aren’t really receptive to.
For starters you can take a look at your website analytics and social traffic.
Google analytics is a nifty tool for any content marketer out there. Simply set up your account and copy the unique code on your site (if you aren’t sure how to do this ask your web developer). This tool will offer insights on your web traffic and referrals – you’ll also be able to identify your most popular content pieces in terms of views, time spent and bounce rate.
Social traffic (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)
1. Twitter Analytics – this can be found on the top right portion of your account.
Here you’ll find tons of useful data, including Tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and follower growth. You’ll also be able to export these analytics into a useful Excel sheet so you can match these numbers together with other data that you’re analysing.
If you’ve linked up your Facebook page with your Instagram account to get a business profile, you’ll get access to useful data including number of impressions, reach and engagement for each Instagram post. Simply go to each photo and tap on ‘View Insights’.
Facebook has a really intuitive way of presenting data. Simply go to your Facebook business page and click on ‘Insights’. This tab will tell you everything you need to know from the thousands of people you’ve reached to the number of people that have liked/un-liked your page in the past month.
For starters, click on ‘Export Data’ and exporting ‘Post Data’. This will show you key information on individual post, such as reach and engagement. But of course, feel free to play around with your Page insights – there is a lot there to explore.
Step 3: Set your KPIs
Now that you’ve extracted your internal and external data, the next step is to set your KPIs. With all of your previous research in mind, you should now have a clearer idea of what a good result looks like, and what doesn’t. This would then set you up to decide on achievable and realistic KPIs. Here’s some ideas for realistic goals you can set:
In Google Analytics, you’ll want to set your goals based on your past sessions, new users and page views. If you’re slightly more advanced, you can break the data down to the different channels where your traffic comes from. For example, finding out where the majority of your web traffic comes from, i.e.Google, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter etc.
One of the biggest issues that content marketers face is driving engagement from their audience. Because you’ve already done your content audit, you’ll now know what numbers signify a good engagement rate.
On social, you could set goals based on reach, impressions, engagement, link clicks, comments and shares. On your website, you may want to work on improving lead generation from newsletter sign-ups or free source downloads through your content.
Getting started on a content marketing strategy can seem daunting because there are so many factors to consider. But take it one step at a time and it’ll no doubt pay off.
And finally, in the wise words of David Welch, Former Adobe VP of Marketing Insights & Operations, ‘Creative thrills, but data pays bills’.
If you need help in shaping and executing your content marketing strategy, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.