Content marketing has often been seen as less of a performance marketing channel and more of a creative outlet and a nice to have. This really not the case.
Content marketing can be a performance channel once you start collecting the right data. Once you know what people are looking for and what content resonates with the audience you would like to target, you can hone in on topics and discussions that you can leverage to attract large numbers of contextually relevant traffic.
Paid advertising channel marketers have been using data to improve their efforts, be it changing:
- Call to actions
- Bidding options
- Ad formats
- Audience targeting
Paid media marketers have a wealth of data at their fingertips that help them refine their efforts over time and get the best out of their efforts and is why many businesses opt for these more “measurable” efforts.
Collect the right data
One of the key strengths of a paid marketing channel such as Facebook Ads or Google ads is that you have all your performance data in one dashboard for you to review and analyse over time.
While other performance marketing channels may not have a real dashboard you can create your own by pulling data from various sources.
I personally like to use Google Data Studio as my dashboard builder of choice and to create dynamic content marketing dashboards to help me analyse the performance of my website.
Google Analytics data
Firstly, I look internally to see what data I can find on our current users and readership and try to extract meaningful data from previous content efforts.
I will look at metrics like:
- Time on site
- Internal search results
From this set of data, I can see which articles are popular and find ways to spin off similar content.
As for internal search, I look at keywords that users are searching for, but that we offer little or no content.
Google search trends
Google Trends is a great place to start when looking to get a feel for what users in your region or niche are looking for and what content resonates with them over a long period of time.
By reviewing Google trends, you can source ideas for topics that are “evergreen”, meaning they have consistent interest from users all year. You can then use this data to generate content that will consistently bring in visitors and that will form the base of your content strategy.
Google paid search data
If you are running a paid search campaign, you are potentially sitting on a wealth of content data, and if you are not, I will encourage you to set aside a budget to find out what keywords and search terms may be relevant to your business.
By running paid search ads you get access to a wealth of data on broad keyword data as well specific search terms that you can collate into content buckets to help you with your content strategy, should there be a lack content ideas.
Over 85% of webpages listed on the first page of Google for a high volume query have at least one external link pointing towards that page as a reference of some kind.
Using a backlink checker like MOZ will allow you to see what those links are and will give you an idea of which is your high-performance content.
This type of link data can help you get a better idea of what kinds of complimentary content you should be creating to support your core landing pages or articles.
While a good content marketing strategy relies on search engines to help reach users, an effective content strategy employs social media to amplify its effects.
If you want to leverage social media, you first need to realise that audiences within these platforms aren’t actively looking for an answer and are looking to be captured by content.
One way of finding out what type of content resonates with users on social sites is to review performance metrics.
You can use tools like BuzzSumo to input articles or keywords you would like to target and find out what kind of influence they have across various social media platforms.
Using social sharing data, you can evaluate the type of content, headlines and writing style gets users to engage with articles on social media feeds and tailor your content accordingly.
Social media is a digital popularity contest, and if you would like to tap into this for your own benefit, look no further than hashtags. Hashtag usage gives you an idea of the topics, brands, insights and trends that gain traction on social media.
Hop onto Twitter or Instagram and perform hashtag searches for relevant keywords and review which articles dominate your searches or which images come up tops.
By looking at the level of engagement on those posts or the amount of content created within a specific hashtag, you can more often than not spot content gaps that you can fill.
Create high-performance content
Content marketing doesn’t have to be a ‘spray and pray’ or ‘create and hope’ situation. By taking a little initiative and ingenuity on your part, you can start to extract data sets from various sources and begin to identify content that resonates with users.
Your data sets will help you identify:
- What users are looking for in your niche?
- What constitutes good content?
- What types of content perform well?
- Which topics you should be targeting?
Having this kind of information readily available will turn your content marketing team into a performance marketing team that not only attracts new visitors, but consistently bring in leads over time.