When people think about content, the first thing that comes into mind is creative. However in reality, great content marketing is the mix blend of both creativity and data. On the data side of the equation, the industry is still learning. That’s not particularly surprising! After all, the name of the game is, quite literally, content. Many content marketers, some of whom came up in complementary professions like journalism, are so deeply immersed in the content creation process that it can be hard to turn their attention to the data side of things.
Nevertheless, the value of data in the context of content marketing cannot be overstated. So, how can the markets best incorporate data into their creative content generation and marketing strategies? It can help to frame up your thinking on the matter by lumping your data analysis needs into two buckets: post-distribution content effectiveness metrics and data that inform content creation itself.
In other words, you should not only consider how data will help you determine whether and to what degree your content is connecting with its audience, but also how data can help guide your content creation process up front. To better understand it, let’s dig around the ROI of creative content generation and marketing strategy.
Evaluation of Content ROI
Most of the content marketers, even those who are seemingly laser-focused on the creative content generation and marketing process itself, have some understanding of the need for post-campaign metrics. While creative content generation and marketing executions focus on telling a compelling story, data can inform marketers as to whether or not the content is actually resonating with people. However, the latest research findings state that only 43% of business-to-customer content marketers say they have clarity on creative content generation and marketing.
The overall goal of your creative content generation and marketing should be to provide value to your audience and build a relationship. As such, you need to choose key performance indicators for your campaigns that help measure this value and engagement, and ultimately tie these metrics into business results.
While many business-to-consumer marketers are rightfully focused on tracking sales, the most effective among them place more importance on brand awareness, followed by customer retention and loyalty, and engagement as well. Your most valuable post-campaign metrics will include measurements around the following:
- Traffic: How large of an audience is your content reaching, and who are those people? Are they truly your target audience?
- Engagement Rates: Are people interacting with your content? If so how?
- Conversions: Here’s where the rubber meets the road. What did your audience do after they saw your content? Did they go to your site? Sign up for a newsletter? Download a piece of content? Conversions in creative content generation and marketing are a cumulative effort. Your content should focus on converting visitors into leads and, ultimately leads into customers.
How Data Can Guide Your Creative Content Generation and Marketing Strategy?
Beyond tracking the success of content efforts, data can help guide marketers through the creative process itself. Business-to-Consumer marketers have made great strides over the past year in terms of basic documentation around their content marketing strategies. This planning and documentation stage is where most marketers fail to leverage valuable analytics. Instead, they go with their gut and generate content that they think will resonate. Sometimes they do so with a target audience in mind, but many times, they do so with the intent of reaching the largest audience possible. This approach is folly, and ultimately a waste of resources.
A proper data-driven creative content generation and marketing strategy can help brands avoid wasting resources by trying to connect with the wrong audiences in the wrong places. Data can help identify target audiences and their trending topics, channel-specific preferences of potential customers, and the influencers most relevant to those groups. Be sure to incorporate data-driven analysis into the following areas of your creative content generation and marketing strategy.
Know Your Targeted Audience Base
A creative content generation and marketing strategy will go into vain if not developed with the appropriate audience in mind. You need to understand your audience first and what types of content as well as channels are most appropriate for them. Who are you selling to? What topics resonate with them, and how do your competitors communicate with them?
Mapping Channels and Content
The channels you use to communicate will have a big impact on the format of your content. As such, tap into data to uncover the channels that your target customers are using. What time of day are they most active and where? Your creative content generation and marketing strategy must be led by a strong narrative, but the form and tone of the content will change depending on the channel. It’s no secret that different demographics prefer different content types. Consider this breakdown of favorite content by age, uncovered by surveys, when considering how best to reach your target.
It’s imperative to know what your target audience is talking about, but it’s also crucial to understand who they’re listening to. To achieve the greatest success with your creative content generation and marketing, you should seek to partner with other people, and companies in your space, that have a broader reach to produce joint content. Co-producing content and sharing it across each other’s channels will help you leverage new networks, and data will point you to the right partners.
Brands that for this right credit their influencer strategies with huge overall gains in social media followers. Companies need to be using real data around the above three points to guide their creative content generation and marketing efforts. Too often, the cart goes before the horse, with marketers focusing their discussions around the hottest topics, channels, and celebrities. Brands like Pokémon Go, Snap Chat, and latest YouTube star can be leveraged in their creation efforts. Why? Because the audience around that topic, on that channel, and following that person right now is massive and engaged – and frankly, it’s fun to think about being a part of that.
But pump the brakes for a second, and think about your brand. If you are big fellows like McDonald or Coca-Cola, focusing your efforts on hottest might make sense. But for most brands, the creative content generation and marketing efforts need to be guided much more by relevant, not hottest.
Ultimately, having fewer of the right people viewing content is much more effective than thousands of the wrong people. A data-driven creative content generation and marketing approach would more than likely point your content efforts down a much more practical path. When you discover that your target audience of mid-sized business owners is far more engaged on desktop than mobile via email and whitepaper content from other successful entrepreneurs and around topics like the most-coveted employee perks, you are working with content insights that can actually help you deliver on-brand value to your desired audience.
Structuring Creative Content Generation & Marketing Teams for Success
Creative content generation and marketing team from an organization structure their teams for the optimal blend of content and data expertise. Here, you must strive for a blend of art and science. When it comes to tracking the success of creative content generation and marketing, those teams tasked with content teams should also bear the brunt of the responsibility as it relates to understanding its effectiveness. Creative content generation and marketing teams must have direct access to basic metrics related to traffic, engagement, and conversions. However, when it comes to leveraging data for creative content generation and marketing strategy development, you might find a need for some deeper analytical expertise.
Your team must be equipped with either content marketing tools or data scientists or both in order to uncover the audience, topic and influencer insights that will ultimately inform a successful creative content generation and marketing strategy.