How To Use Data To Effectively Market Your Content

20 Nov

We have talked a lot about data in recent months and how it’s not only important to protect your data (and user’s data!) but how it can be used to fuel growth and change in your business. Data is gathered from a number of different sources for a number of different reasons. One of those reasons is learning more about your target client or customer and how to better connect with them. Now, taking this data and turning it into action is one of the most difficult aspects. One of those actions is obtaining web traffic and, ultimately, customers by creating compelling content and marketing your content through the right channels.

Content Marketing is another term that is “buzzing” around technology and marketing circles these days. Some consider it a fad, but all indications are that content marketing is not only here to stay, but is the best way to connect with potential customers in the digital community. In a recent study done by Brightedge, a leading Enterprise Content Marketing & SEO company, it was found that Organic Search is still the best way to drive web traffic. Organic Search accounts for over 50% of the web traffic to most websites.

Statistically, Organic Search leads in all relevant categories. For example, Organic Search not only accounts for the most traffic, it also drive the most revenue. In almost all major industries Organic Search accounts for at least 40% of a company’s revenue. In the “Business Services” category, Organic Search accounts for nearly 60% of a company’s revenue.

This is compared to very low traffic and revenue numbers from avenues like Social Media, or even Paid Search (Pay-Per-Click aka PPC). In the same Brightedge study it was found that Social Media accounts for only 5% of web traffic in most cases and accounts for 5% or less of overall revenue generation from digital channels. This is across the board in all relevant industries. Paid Search accounts for about 10% of web traffic and generates between 10%-20% of a company’s revenue depending on the industry. For example, Social Media accounts for about 20% of traffic in Retail and Hospitality while it sinks to below 10% for things like Business Services or Entertainment. However, Social Media sits well below 5% when it comes to actual revenue generation as we said before.

Now, Organic Search, Paid Search, and Social Media aren’t the only ways to reach your audience. There are display ads, email, and referral traffic from other websites. These sources combine to account for the second most traffic behind Organic Search at around 35%, and hover around 20%-25% of revenue generation on average.

So, what does this actually mean?

Google is the most used search engine in the United States, and its algorithm for delivering relevant results to users has become more sophisticated over time. Google delivers results based on a number of factors including a searcher’s location, however, recent updates to Google have shown that having relevant, compelling, and useful content is the best way to climb up search rankings and ultimately engage readers. Google attempts to deliver the most useful content to the web searcher; if your brand’s content is deemed useful and trustworthy you are more likely to be found near the top in search results.

This fact tells us that using compelling content to drive readers and customers is one of the most effective ways of marketing. Brands use all types of content to bring customers to their website and ultimately make a purchase or at the very least inquire about a product. This works in both B2C and B2B marketing.

How do we create compelling content?

Now, this is important to remember. Your content must be useful and trustworthy meaning you have to provide the user with what they’re looking for and do it in a way where your content is essentially answering their question or query. Before creating new content, the writer/editor should think to themselves “Is this useful, is this compelling, is this relevant?”. You can sprinkle a thousand words on to a page and call it an article, but if it has no use or relevance to readers you’re doing yourself (and the potential reader for that matter) a disservice.

You don’t necessarily have to create a genius plan before you write a bit of content. The odds are if you have an idea for a piece of content that it is going to be useful to someone. Depending on your industry and who you are trying to have read your content you can craft different strategies and ways of writing. If you are targeting a consumer, you may write an article in the voice of a friend or neighbor. The content will read more like a conversation with the reader. If you are targeting other businessmen and women you may be more technical, business savvy, or whatever the particular feel is for your industry. In the end, if it feels like you’re just putting up content to put up content, you’re probably not doing it right. If it feels like the content you are putting up is useful and relevant, odds are it’s going to do some good things for you.

We should also keep in mind how people view content these days. Sadly, reading is becoming less and less important. People want to “interact” with your content rather than simply read it. A way to make your content more compelling is to include rich media such as video and/or pictures. Users like videos and pictures. They are appealing to the eye, and statistics show that content with videos and/or pictures not only gets read more but has more user engagement. On this note, Infographics are actually a great way to spread a message that is visually appealing and can relay a good bit of information in a concise manner.

So, there are essentially two aspects that we have discussed here today. One is the ways traffic is generated and the other is how to create great content. Combining these two is where things get interesting. Not necessarily difficult, but interesting. First you must create content that is trustworthy, relevant, and useful. Simply by doing this and uploading the content you are setting yourself up for Organic Search success. This is especially true if other publications read and ultimately link back to your content as well. Next you must find ways to market your content so people see it. There are some great content syndication and marketing platforms such as Outbrain and Zemanta for small to medium businesses and companies like Markerly for enterprise level. These companies help push your content to readers of other publications. They place your content on sites that are relevant to your industry and is a great way to grab traffic quickly. Of course, we also mentioned several other methods such as Paid Search, Display Ads, and Social Media above.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between all these channels is the best way to continue creating great content, having it read, and ultimately drive revenue. Content Marketing has shown to be extremely cost effective with a great ROI, now it’s up to you to create the best content you can.