Andrew has been leading his marketing team for nearly a year, but he continues to feel as though he struggles with content production.
Andrew is right to worry, 94 percent of B2B buyers and 81 percent of customers say that they perform online research before they make a purchase. Fortunately for Andrew, data-driven content ideas allow you to make sure that the content produced directly answers the needs of customers, boosting its effectiveness.
When brands know how to use data to guide content marketing topics, they will be able to target prospects more accurately, thus engaging them more effectively. Well-planned content marketing costs an average of 62 percent less than outbound marketing, but it also produces three times as many leads per dollar spent. Considering that 200 million people now use ad blockers, brands must be willing to meet customers on their terms-- by serving their needs through content-- if they want to earn them as customers.
The best way for Andrew to achieve these strong content marketing goals will be to use data gleamed from his own website, his customers, and information from the search engines and social media in general. This data will let him know what customers want to read, empowering him to be there to answer those needs.
Track performance on your own website
The first place Andrew should look is his own website. By analyzing the material he has already produced, he will have a far better idea of what his personal customers respond best to, thus providing ideas for the content calendar.
View blog analytics for previous posts
Look at which blog posts have performed well by drawing high traffic rates. Examine the topics the pieces covered and how well visitors engaged with your site after they read it. See if there are any patterns in the topics that people seem to be the most intrigued by on the site.
It is equally important to look at the topics that correlate well with conversions and revenue. Andrew might find in his investigation that certain topics do not have the highest traffic numbers, but the visitors that do end up on the page are highly likely to convert. These topics should be considered valuable in the content creation process as well.
Establish credibility: Earn the right to take a position
Similarly, look for topics where the domain seems to have a lot of authority on Google and thus ranks highly. If there is a topic that Andrew finds he consistently ranks highly for on the SERP, he will want to continue to capitalize on this success, slowly expanding into related areas to provide his organization with a bigger reach.
For your content to be credible for the audience, you need to earn the right to take a position. You need to demonstrate that this topic is within your realm of expertise so that prospects know they can trust you. Domain authority can be used to gauge your perceived level of expertise within the digital ecosystem.
View top clicks and shares on your social posts
Andrew can also look at the performance of his brand on social media. Look at past posts to see which ones were the most popular with followers and which ones results in the most shares and likes. Track also the ones sent the most traffic to the main website.
Talk to customers
The customers themselves can also provide insight for Andrew and his team. Speak with the sales team to get more information about the questions and concerns that prospects enter the sales conversation with. See if common ideas arise that might be addressed through content on the website.
Survey your customers to see which questions they have
Andrew can also ask the customers themselves. Surveys or casual conversations with customers or targeted prospects at events can all offer valuable ideas for the content calendar. Ask these customers what pain points led them to your organization, what made them choose your group over your competitors, and what else your brand can do to support them. Find out what questions they have so that you can be the brand to have the answers.
Client relevance: Linking to client priorities
As you speak with existing and prospective customers to gather their opinions about your content, your priority should be linking your content to client priorities. The better you understand what they want to read, the easier it will be to make sure your content is relevant, helpful, and valuable.
Look at search data
Search data can also provide clues into what customers value and what they want to read about. Perform keyword research for terms and topics related to your target audience. This research will let you know how often people search for particular terms, giving you insight into the topics that your customers find the most interesting. Not only do you want to look at the sheer number of searches performed for a particular keyword phrase, but you also want to look at the level of competition for the query. A heavily saturated SERP might be difficult for a new site to break into. Other related search terms, however, might offer more of an opening, and provide the organization with opportunities to begin to demonstrate their expertise.
When examining the SERP for these particular terms, brands can also look at the types of content that rank highly. This might provide them with ideas for alternate types of content-- such as videos or infographics-- that might give them more opportunities to rank well.
Make social monitoring streams and follow them
Keywords are also not the only place the brands can look for important search topics. Social media monitoring can offer more data about topics that are trending on the various platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Brands can capitalize on popular topics, create content for breaking news, and otherwise be there for their customers when they need the material.
Provide forward thinking and innovative value
While looking for trends within social media posts as well as search statistics, brands can also look for ways to encourage growth and maturity in the industry. Breaking news, emerging industry trends, and content ideas that move beyond the basic tactical topics establish thought leadership.
As Andrew and his team begin to implement these ideas for finding data-based content marketing topics, they find that eliminating the guesswork in their content production allows them to use their resources more effectively. They no longer produce content that goes unread, but instead create material that actively serves their sales pipeline, growing the business and boosting revenue.
Marketers today have access to incredible amounts of data about the content that they produce and how it serves the needs of their prospective customers. When brands learn how to put this information to use, they will find that using these objective means of determining valuable content topics and the success of those pieces helps them maximize their resources.