If content is king, then data is its crown jewels. Data is at the core of everything you do with creation and strategy. Data is essential especially if you have been writing content and it is not receiving the engagement you hoped it would get.
More people have taken up the act of content marketing with 72% increase in content creation in 2014 alone. Surprisingly however, 36% of content marketers say that the biggest challenge they face is creating the type of content that will generate leads.
In essence, if people are struggling to even get past your headlines, you need a change of approach. A data driven approach. People respond to numbers and statistics.
Before you get started, you should adhere to the following steps.
1.Understand what a data driven post is
Not everything is classified as data. An experiment conducted by two people can yield very different results. In many ways it’s the authority and empiricism that counts. As long as the tools used to conduct the experiment are modern and the results can be proved by experts will make your data credible.
Understand how people respond to data
People will respond to data in different ways. Let me give you an example.
In 2012 Facebook carried out an experiment to study human behaviour and social media. For a duration of one week, all the positive posts from a user’s news feed was removed to see how the user reacts as well as the negative ones.
What they found was with more positive words in a user’s news feed, the more positive responses he gets from his friends. In other words, emotions just like laughter and the common flu, are contagious. That statement is more credible since there is data to back it up.
2. You need a strategy
Anything business related requires a strategy. Having a strategy allows you to follow one clear path. It allows you to focus on the things that work for you and to eliminate the things that don’t. For your content strategy to be effective you need:
A defined purpose:
What is it that you want your content to achieve? What are your business goals? To drive traffic? Convert customers? It should be the first thing you do so that you can create the right content in line with your goals.
Know your audience:
Knowing your audience allows you to make better connections with them. I’ve spoken about creating customer persona’s before.
When you know the type of content your audience prefers, you can build on that and create actionable goals. Do a thorough keyword analysis to find the specific terms your audience search for and build your content around those.
What you really want to do is interact with your core target audience, Let me put that into context. Say you own a shop, while most of your audience will be made up of window shoppers, your core audience are the shoppers that walk inside your store ready to buy your products.
With your core audience in mind, you want to find gaps in your content strategy. By gaps I mean the difference in the content you think your core audience are interested in and what they actually want.
You can find these gaps by tracking search queries to find what content of yours has the highest bounce rate. So if you wrote about a particular topic that no one seems to be reading, that could also indicate a possible gap.
You also want to look at how your core audience visits your website or how they search for you on the internet and possibly where they go afterwards.
An interest overlap gives you information about how your core audience interacts with content completely outside of your brand. Studying the click streams of your core audience will help you know more about them.
For example, your shoe manufacturing company targets man and women aged 20-45. If you follow the click streams of some of those users, you may find that some of them also like other things like
3. Get yourself an editorial calendar:
Every content marketer should have one. It allows you to organize your content and allows you to plan well ahead into the future. I even wrote about the benefits of having an editorial calendar.
Once you have written several pieces of content, you can start on your editorial calendar. This is a documentation of everything you have learned so far, along with a plan to accomplish it. For example, your editorial calendar can document your objectives and promotions.
Also, analyze your typical traffic patterns and plan your calendar accordingly. publish and engage with your core audience when they’re most likely to search for your content.
4. Incorporate data in your headlines
For every 10 people who come across your content on average, only 8 people will read your headlines. Even worse still, only 2 people make it past the headline. In a time when our attention spans keep reducing and more and more things keep competing for our attention have good headlines are imperative.
A good headline can boost your traffic by as much as 500%
In fact, headlines with numbers rank higher among reader’s preferences.
One way to do this is to incorporate data in your headlines. When you have a data driven headline that is also backed up in the content itself will win your audience’s trust. There are several ways you can do this.
Any experiments you may have conducted yourself
Use your own experiences to write data driven headlines. Even if your results were negative share your conclusions. Your readers will be sure to relate with your findings. Sharing personal information will allow you to create closer connections with your readers.
Get data from other sources
You can find all types of research papers, tests and experiments on the internet. There are all sorts of websites you can visit for data with a simple google search.
A data driven headline is a sure way to get people sharing your content.
5. Incorporate data in your outlines:
When writing a blog post or an article, an outline is there to guide us and tell us what to do next. After choosing the topic you want to write about and the data you want to use, then craft your outline.
Having an outline is important because it keeps you focused on the main points of your content and to keep it continuous as well. You get to see the bird’s eye view of your content and you con identify gaps or other inconsistencies and address them accordingly.
That will set the precedence for a successful data driven article.
In fact, the more thorough your article is the more shares it will attract.
6. Competitor audit
Competitive analyses are highly valuable for your data-driven content strategy. Start the process with a content audit of your own library. Which topics and categories that you have created resonate with your audience? For a more thorough analysis of competitive research, read this.
Compare those results to the top five websites of your competitors in your industry. Do your competitors create more slideshows? Are they covering topics that you don’t touch at all?
You can take the things that work well for your competitor and incorporate that in your content strategy. But don’t get too excited and copy everything. You should take a methodical and tactical approach instead and look at how you can build upon their success.
7. Connect with your audience at the right time
Now that you have a good idea of what your audience wants and how to reach them, it’s time to document your plan.
This involves determining when certain topics peak for your core audience, so that you can shape your strategy around that.
For example, If your core audience buys the most shoes during summer, you can publish all your shoe related content during that time range. Most importantly, do your research so you can capitalize on those opportunities.
nTopic is a useful tool that can help in this regard. If you have trouble writing the type of content your audience wants to read, nTopic will provide you with statistically relevant content.
So you know the topics you want to create, but what format works best for your core audience?
Similar to topic creation, format choice should be based on your business goals you are trying to achieve. For example, if you want to drive engagement, then creating visual formats like infographics is your best bet.
Infographics are full of data and that will work well for you.
If you want to increase time on your website or blog, you can focus on quizzes or slideshows. Which ever format you choose, it still presents an excellent opportunity for you to make it data driven.
The rise of second screen options means you must also think about where your core audience will view your content.
So what is the right device for your content?
The most important consideration is how your core audience are consuming on your content.If your audience tends to favor desktop computers, then you could use that to your advantage to create larger projects like long-form content or eBooks.
Likewise if your audience tends to favor tablets and mobile screens, then craft your content in a way that will give your audience the best experience..
Your content can strive in a competitive environment if it is backed by data. With more than 20 million pieces of content being published daily, you will need to work hard to put our content over the top.
A good data driven post doesn’t have to be too long but it also shouldn’t be too short either. The length of your content will affect your search rankings so do keep that in mind
Feature Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In Post Images: FreeDigitalPhotos.net, NeilPatel.com