There's no question that producing a well strategized and maintained content stream is crucial for the success of any digital business. The benefits are numerous and include everything from an increase in visitor engagement onsite, improved search engine rankings through SEO, and if your content marketing initiatives are done correctly, the establishment of a "sticky" factor that keeps people coming back to your site. The copywriting portion of content marketing is the fun part, but in order to truly get the most out the content you produce it's vital that you begin thinking about how effective your content is analytically. A truly effective content marketer combines both the creative and analytical aspects of proper content marketing to produce engaging, hard-hitting copy that is backed by significant amounts of quantitative research to inform what is being discussed. The following are some of the most important elements of proper data driven content marketing to keep in mind to help give your content marketing program a substantial edge over your competition.
Surf a Little The key to ensuring that what you're writing is engaging is making sure that you're staying on top of trends in your industry, and being aware of what your audience finds valuable. A fairly simple way to do this is to monitor social media conversations on Twitter and Facebook to stay abreast of news and developments. Regularly check industry news outlets and the social profiles of industry influencers to see what "hot topics" are circulating amongst your audience. The content you create should offer some fresh perspective or an appropriate response/reaction to the particular topic. Leverage Google Trends as a tool for your research efforts to see what terms and trends are significant in searches and just how many people are expressing interest in these terms. The tool also allows you to see a forecast for any given term and topic allowing you to gauge the projected amount of interest users will have in this subject as time progresses. Build this data into your planning phase so that you can identify which topics and subjects users are seeking to learn the most about, and ultimately allow it to help you define what your content should be related to and how effective it will be in providing value to readers.
The content you create should always be substantiated by correlating data so that you know your efforts aren't going to be useless. To highlight the benefits of utilizing Google Trends, consider the idea of a relatively new subject within your space and perhaps there isn't a lot of existing content on it. Take a look at Google Trends to see if this subject may gain traction within the next few months, allowing you and your organization to get an edge over competition, and be one of the first to provide insights on the topic of interest. Keyword Research Once you have a relevant topic, you'll want to do your site a favor by ensuring that the final product benefits your search engine rankings and is easily accessible to users. To do this, create content that contains keywords appropriate to the article topic as well as your business' products or service offerings. A great tool for this is Google Keyword Planner.
The goal here is to find keywords that have a high monthly search volume mixed with low competition, which greatly improves the chances of your content appearing prominently on the search results page when a user searches for the particular set of terms or keywords that you've identified. These keywords cannot simply be plugged into your content in any way possible, but instead should be naturally occurring in a way that provides an excellent and relevant user experience while simultaneously giving you as much SEO value as possible.
Hopefully you're using a tool like Google Analytics on your website to help you monitor your site's performance. If so, allow a week or so to pass after posting your content to allow data about how users are interacting with your content to aggregate. Once you do, dig through the following metrics to analyze the performance of your content and it's effectiveness in reaching the goal of the content. Identify what types of content is repeatedly producing the best results, and what content could use some improvements, is one of the best ways you can enhance your SEO by using data to drive your content marketing initiatives. Key Metrics:
- Page Views: While it shouldn't be the only metric that informs whether or not your content marketing initiatives are successful, page views are a solid metric that can be extremely helpful when it comes to comparing different pieces of content. It will inform you about what your audience is interested in and also help you identify what pieces of content are the most important on your site for generating traffic.
- Page Bounce Rate: You'll want this as low as possible, as it indicates the content was engaging enough to send people elsewhere through the site. Remember that if you're posting content on a blog a bounce rate at or just slightly below 90% is perfectly normal.
- Time on Page: These metrics are tied to bounce rate, and reiterates a visitor's engagement with the content. The longer the average time is that users are interacting with your content the more likely they are to be finding that content helpful.
- Session Duration/Page Depth: Looking at these two metrics for the overall site will give you a good idea of how effective the content you're producing is to the overall user experience, and how extensively users are engaging with your website as a whole as a result.
- Social Engagement: If you share your content on social media, monitor the traffic that comes through that source and how it behaves by utilizing UTM parameters that are linked to your analytics account. Keep track of how people are responding to your content by paying attention to audience follower growth and the amount of likes, shares, comments, and retweets on each of your pieces of content.
Data Driven Content Marketing Informs Success
With data backing what you produce, you can work on continual topic optimization and mold your content program into a tool that cannot only increase your business' success in terms of online traffic and sales, but also position you and your team as thought leaders in your respective industries. By utilizing tools and programs that allow you to optimize your content, and then examining what's working and what's not, you can proactively develop a content program that is tailored to most closely fulfill the needs of your audience, and significantly improve rate that your business grows.