How to Use Data to Create High-Impact Content

By July 19, 2016Strategy

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In sports, it’s necessary to have fans sitting on the sidelines and cheering for the teams.

We’re programmed to enjoy those cheers. It makes us feel that our work is appreciated and that we are making progress towards our goals.

However, in digital marketing, those fans just sitting on the sidelines, cheering or not, are wasted opportunities.

One of the biggest hurdles in digital marketing is getting those peripheral observers to step into the game and actively engage—but high-impact content can change that.

Redg Snodgrass, of Wearable IOT World and ReadWrite, has proven to be a leader at this. He explained how his company maintains explosive growth by focusing their digital marketing efforts on leveraging a large database to produce high-impact content.

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Data

Data acquisition is the first step in creating a more engaged following.

Wearable IoT World did this primarily through acquiring companies with large databases targeted to a specific industry. However, if that’s not really an option for you, there’s always the social route, which they also used.

They leveraged the social media following the company already had, so that they could gather data on likely individuals for targeted content, primarily in the form of email blasts.

By curating and really digging into the data, you can better understand your audience. When you know what topics they are genuinely interested in, you can create layered content that appeals on multiple levels to drive engagement and, ultimately, revenue.

Another good data collection route is through search analytics. Depending on the industry and type of business, monthly traffic will probably come from primarily social or primarily search, but there’s bound to be crossover.

You should be using organic search metrics to figure out which types of content gain the highest level of engagement.

However you do it, collecting data should be a top priority in driving your digital marketing strategy. A lot of companies neglect this by not awarding data collection the level of priority it deserves.

Data should be a top priority for driving digital marketing strategy.

Don’t make that mistake.

Once you have the data, don’t just skim the surface or worse, just sit there on your servers. Dive into the data at your fingertips to really understand the audience you want to reach.

Content

The main value of content lies in its ability to bring people together in innovative ways.

The word “content” is pretty broad, though. It could be anything from emails and newsletters to blog posts and videos to educational materials at an industry event.

Luckily, the medium is less important than the actual information it contains.

Through analysis of your data collection, you should have a good idea of what your audience wants. Armed with this information, you can create purpose-driven content that pulls people in.

Not only do you want them to read or view your content, but you want them to become a part of the viral loop.

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Basically, once the person has entered the site, you want them to 1) read or view the entirety of the content and then 2) take some action.

Liking the content is nice, but the action we’re talking about here is more along the lines of sharing the post or video to Twitter or LinkedIn, commenting, or otherwise beginning a conversation. This gets the person more invested in your content and helps draw in engagement from other site visitors.

For each piece of content you produce, you should be asking: How does this content interact and engage with the readers/viewers? How does it get people involved?

After all, getting someone to sign up for your newsletter or e-mail list is actually pretty simple, but getting them to interact in ways that actually bring in additional traffic and revenue is significantly harder.

By using the information gleaned from data, your content can act as a megaphone to promote your message and invite interaction.

Metrics

Your metrics should feed back into your database, but there is a right way and wrong way to use your key performance indicators (KPI).

A lot of companies fall into the trap of relying on vanity metrics to help them feel successful while ignoring the signs of real progress, or lack thereof.

For instance, it looks great to see the number of Twitter followers or e-mail sign ups, but do those numbers really say anything about the success of your marketing campaign?

Maybe so, but probably not.

Number of followers alone is not a sign of success.

As mentioned above, it’s relatively easy to get someone to sign up for an e-mail list or click a follow button, but if there isn’t active engagement with your content, that large follower count becomes an extremely hollow victory.

It’s like spending thousands of dollars on food samples to promote your new restaurant without drawing in a single new paying customer.

One way to stop falling for vanity metrics is to clearly define the goals for your digital marketing strategy. When you know what you actually want to accomplish, you’re less likely to get distracted by meaningless stats that tell you nothing about real business results.

Going for the wrong target results in a lot of wasted effort, so make sure you know the real end goal for your content.

Conclusion

If people aren’t actively engaging with your content, your digital marketing strategy is pretty useless.

You want to create data-driven content that appeals to your audience and makes them want to interact with you. Obtain that data however you can and dig in deep to produce content that sparks conversations.

This episode is based on an interview with Redg Snodgrass from Wearable IoT World and ReadWrite. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Hawke Media Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

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