No matter how many times you’ve read that “content is king,” it’s still a cornerstone of any marketing strategy.
Done right, content provides value to audiences, helps create brand awareness, builds credibility, and leads to higher sales.
But if content is king, data is the kingmaker.
It cuts through the noise and gives you a direct line to how your audience thinks and feels, then gives you actionable insights to deliver exactly what they need.
While there aren't any hard and fast rules or metrics that guarantee success in content marketing, there are some ways that you can make your content marketing efforts more data-driven and effective.
Need a strategy? Read this blog post to learn how to build a content strategy from scratch.
Before we even get into numbers and reports, consider your business goals the role of content marketing in accomplishing them.
Some examples of business goals that content marketing can help with include:
Once you clearly understand what success looks like for your company, it will be much easier to choose the right metrics to measure the results of your content marketing efforts.
In order to determine if your content marketing is successful, you need to establish a set of key performance indicators (KPIs).
Simply put, KPIs are metrics that help you measure how well your content strategy is performing against your goals.
Here are more examples:
There are hundreds of metrics you can track, but not all of them are worth your time.
Only choose the KPIs that directly tie back to your business and content marketing goals.
This will ensure that your content strategy is not just data-driven, but driven by the right type of data.
Once you've aligned the goals and KPIs of your content strategy, it's time to track its performance.
These tools will give you information about all aspects of your website, including what people are doing when they're on it (e.g., which pages they're looking at, which links they're clicking), how they found your site (e.g., through a search engine or a link from another site), and demographic information about your visitors (e.g., their location, the type of computer they use).
In terms of analytics, goals are your target objectives.
A goal represents any activity you want visitors to complete on your site that contributes to the success of your business. This is called a conversion in analytics-speak. Examples include a completed sign-up, a product purchase, or an online form submission.
By setting up goals, you can track and measure your progress toward achieving these objectives.
Tracking codes are used to store information about how visitors use the website, including pages viewed, traffic sources, and other visitor-related data.
It also tracks user engagement with your site, such as how long they spend on it, pages they visit, and more.
All this data is logged within your Google Analytics account so you can use it to analyze website performance.
In order for the tracking code to work properly, it must be installed on every page of your website.
For example, for each goal you have set up, perform the action you're tracking (i.e., sign up for an account if that's one of your goals).
Then check your analytics dashboard and make sure those actions are being recorded as conversions.
After some time, your analytics will start sending data and reports about your content, such as the clicks and visits you're getting.
This will be raw data, so you need to analyze and interpret it yourself.
Use these questions as a guide to evaluating the quality of that traffic:
This evaluation will help inform future content strategy decisions: is your existing strategy worth continuing, or do you need to change direction?
Don't worry if you need to change your original content strategy once the data starts coming in, because the best ones are always evolving.
You want to keep your strategy fresh, find what works for your audience, and keep your visitors coming back for more.
Another benefit of data-driven analysis is that it helps you identify the stars and under-performers of your content strategy.
There's no guesswork involved - just go into your analytics dashboard and see which types of content are generating traffic and engagement (aka comments, views, shares).
Now, you have a blueprint of what kind of content performs best with your audience. Make more of them!
On other hand, your analytics will also tell you which content is not getting results.
For example, maybe you seeing huge bounce rates on your long-form blogs because they're not engaging enough. You can try turning them into infographics and see if that performs better.
Test different variations until you find out what works. If nothing sticks, remove it from your content strategy altogether and only keep those that deliver ROI.
Conversion analysis is a powerful tool for understanding how your content marketing works.
It shows you where customers are dropping off, and why. It also gives you the opportunity to make strategic decisions about what type of content is best for each stage of their journey.
Rather than writing dozens of blog posts and hoping to hit on the right combination, you can use conversion path reporting to understand your customers' needs better and ensure that your content reflects that.
For example, if you notice that people who read a particular blog post leave at a later stage in the funnel, then you know that post wasn't performing as well as it could have been.
You can take the time to analyze what's going wrong and then correct it by making adjustments to either that post or a related one further down the line.
How to Conduct Conversion Path Analysis
To conduct this type of analysis, you can use data from your analytics platform, as well as tools like heat maps and session recordings to analyze user behaviors.
Then, combine that data with qualitative information from customer interviews and surveys to identify gaps and opportunities.
Conversion path reporting can help you see what's working and what isn't, so don't be afraid to experiment with different content at different stages in your funnel.
Finally, data-driven content gives you the chance to share your brand’s pivotal moments, showcase your products and services, and connect with customers on an emotional level.
The best way to show authenticity is by sharing all sides of your story through data—good and bad news alike.
Of course, make sure you're telling your story in a way that's easy to understand. You want to inform readers, not confuse them by using too much industry jargon or complicated visuals.
The more personal you are with your customers, the more they will connect with your brand. And using data in your marketing efforts will help give that story power and credibility.
As you can see, data is nothing to be afraid of—it’s a powerful tool in your arsenal that will help you improve performance, increase ROI, and create better content.
It can help you understand what works and what doesn’t, so you can make well-informed decisions based on real metrics and results. It can also show you where your strategy may need improvement, so you can identify gaps and opportunities.
Most importantly, it helps you understand your customers deeper and puts their experience exactly where it needs to be - at the heart of your content marketing strategy.
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