Fly by the seat of your pants, random acts of content marketing are over. With content marketing budgets rising and the digital space filling up with lots of content, it’s time for marketers to seriously consider the impact data has on their content marketing strategies. Bottom line, what can marketing intelligence do for you? The answer: more than you think.
Competitor Intelligence – Spy vs. Spy
You know who your competitors are, but do you know how they’re communicating with their audiences and yours? Not only should you know what content your competitors are publishing, but you should know where they’re distributing it and how that content is being received. Armed with competitor intelligence, you can beat them at their own game. Of course you don’t just want to copy what your competitors are doing, but you do want to know where they’re getting their wins and what opportunities you may be missing out on.
The marketing space changes quickly and the best intelligence is updated intelligence. While a yearly site and content marketing audit is recommended, that data will not sustain you through the year. Knowing where you stand in relation to your competitors is data that you will want on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Keep abreast of trending keywords and content topics to guide your editorial calendar and keep your brand at top of mind.
Who’s more findable? You or your competitor? If your audience is searching for information or help with a problem, you want to be the solution or answer they’re looking for. Make sure you’re capturing your audience before your competition by getting to them first with the best, most creative, and authentic content.
An important aspect of competitor intelligence is the ability to identify new competitors, or peripheral competitors who may have pages or content that is competing with yours. New competitor discovery is a metric that is often overlooked, but useful as the market around your brand evolves and changes.
Social Media Performance – Alive and Growing
Social media is not dead. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 87% of B2B marketers use social media as a tactic. Social media is an important part of the content marketing ecosystem and its use continues to grow. So, now that we have debunked the urban myths, let’s get down to the data of things. Yes, content marketers should be on social. The question for most is which one? Today Facebook is the B2C channel, tomorrow Pinterest is entering the B2B market, and tomorrow everyone will be on Instagram. It’s not true, but it seems that these trends make the marketing decisions for us.
Here’s an idea. Let data guide your decisions. Look at the metrics. Which social media channel is getting the most traffic for your content? Look at your competitors, where are they most successful? Knowing where your efforts are working and where they are not will save you on time, resources, and budget. Some data to keep track of:
- Which social channels drive traffic to your site
- Which social channels create conversions
- How many new visitors are you attracting in each channel
- How many page visits come from each channel
- What is the popularity of content on various channels
Use the data you collect to create an audience engagement strategy based on where your target audiences are looking for your message. Provide the content they are looking for and drive more traffic to your site and ultimately increase conversions. For some brands, social media may not be your biggest driver. For any company, your audience is not just finding you on social channels. Be sure to gather data on all your marketing channels including:
- Paid Search
Content Creation Strategy – Less is More
A content marketing strategy is only as complicated as gathering some data and deciding where you want to go from here. Don’t spend all your time creating 20 page dissertations about your content marketing plans. Get a plan on paper and move forward. Large, cumbersome strategy plans don’t work, anyway. Things are changing too fast and no one has time to go back and read your treatise on the history of marketing in the modern world.
Gather your data and decide on the best blend of content elements for your brand. A marketing content platform can help give you recommendations and create content groups and keyword groups for your editorial calendar and set your KPIs. Beyond that, put together a workflow and task management and reporting cycle to make sure your plan is implemented.
Once you have initiated your content marketing based on the data, continue to measure it incrementally to show that your efforts are headed in the right direction. Since your strategy is not written in stone, revise it as you go. I find a cocktail napkin makes a fine medium for marketing strategy and it serves two purposes. Use yours to celebrate your wins and ponder those things that need to be improved.
Data Reporting – Spread It Around
Now that you have all this great data, why keep it to yourself? As Barbara Streisand said in Hello Dolly, “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.” Data is much the same and isn’t worth a thing until it is spread around informing decisions and creating collaboration between departments.
Create a report that you share on a regular basis which showcases your efforts and ROI. Don’t be afraid to share all the data and get help and insights from others in the organization who should also be sharing their data. Collaborate on messages and mediums that are working. Look to customer support or customer service teams to discover audience pain points and content opportunities. Data hording and content scarcity mindsets only limit the opportunties for future successes.
To get back to the orginial question, what can marketing intelligence do for you?
- Competitor Insights
- Social Media Intelligence
- Content Creation Strategy
- Reporting and Sharing Capabilities
- Workflow and Task Management Abilities
- Channel Performance Insights
- Audience Information