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How to Use Data to Inform Your Content Strategy

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Data should be a part of your content strategy from beginning to end. You have plenty of data available to you, but knowing how to use it means you can better optimize around your goals. Data will help you decide what content to produce and where to dedicate your resources. Like we’ve said before, distribution is key to any content strategy and data is crucial to extending your reach and earning new readers.

Create the Content Your Readers Want
Learning the makeup of your loyal readers, followers and target audiences will help you develop your content strategy. Dig into your historical data to understand two important things about these people:

  • What content should you dedicate more resources to and produce more of?
    Determine which verticals, formats and topics your readers consume the most and then dedicate resources to creating these. For example, if infographics only make up 5 percent of your content but they drive 20 percent of page views, produce more infographics. On the other hand, if video content isn’t moving the needle for you but you have a lot of resources dedicated to video production, put these resources behind the content that is working.
  • Where is your audience consuming content?
    Again look at which content categories, verticals and formats attract the most readers, but this time, compare across social networks. If your Twitter audience consumes news content while your Facebook audience reads business content, you should tweet more about news and post your business-focused content to Facebook.

Get Your Content Seen
While creating quality content is important, it’s even more important to get people to read it. Here’s where distribution comes into play. We’ve learned that 10 percent of your content will drive 90 percent of your traffic. The key to effective distribution is identifying content with the potential to jump into this 10 percent and giving it as much exposure as possible by following these distribution strategies:

  • Internal distribution: Recirculate content on your own site by adding “related content” widgets, featuring your top content on your homepage or curating top content into your email newsletter.
  • Organic social distribution: Post content across your social media profiles, of course remembering which content your readers consume most on each platform.
  • Partnerships and sponsorships: Partner with other organizations or websites with which you have similar audiences. You can drive traffic to each other, or you can start a sponsorship with a larger publisher to drive more traffic back to your site. Start by building relationships and developing partnerships with any sites that are already driving organic traffic to your site.
  • Paid distribution: Every industry invests in marketing their own products – TV networks air commercials for their own shows, movie studios show previews for their new films, businesses promote themselves – everyone’s investing in getting more visibility for their products. Publishers and brands should do this for their content too, and we’ve found that using paid distribution to further promote an article at the time it’s trending organically, on the network it’s trending, will drive the most efficient traffic and earned media.
  • Influencer engagement: Identify your loyal followers – those who are tweeting your content, commenting on your Facebook page, commenting on your site, etc. – as well as your top influencers. Then, build a relationship with them. If there’s an influencer who tweets your content daily, tweet back and start a conversation. Or, invite an influencer in your space to write a guest blog post for you. Developing these relationships will expand your audience and further solidify your loyal following.

Drive Conversions
Everyone’s optimizing for some sort of conversion, whether it’s email subscriptions, purchases or event registrations. Once you know the goal you’re optimizing for, you can plan accordingly. The types of content that drive email subscriptions will likely vary from the content driving purchases.

Look at historical data to determine which content is driving which conversions and adapt your strategy accordingly. If you have three pieces of content driving the majority of your purchases, give them as much exposure as possible using the distribution strategies outlined above. But if these three pieces of content are only driving purchases when readers come from Facebook, prioritize distribution of these pieces on Facebook. Then, find which content drives conversions when readers come from other sources.

 

If your content strategy isn’t driving ROI, we’ll help you out:

 

Photo by Tomas Laurinavicius

About Claire Schwimmer

Claire is a content strategist at SimpleReach trying to avoid becoming a hipster while living in Williamsburg.

View all posts by Claire Schwimmer »

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