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13 essential tips for data-driven content marketing

illustration depicting essential CMS features for content marketers

With the advancement in AI, whipping up a blog post for your company is easier than ever. But just because you can create content quickly doesn't mean it's effective. Quality still matters, and crafting content that truly connects with your audience takes time and data-driven strategy.

In 2024, AI makes content more accessible (notice we didn't say good content). And by "accessible," we mean anyone can post something on their company blog in a few minutes' time essentially for free.

Don't fall into the trap of creating content just to create content. Even if it does something for your search rankings, publishing articles based on keyword research and ChatGPT-generated ideas doesn't do anything to build brand authority, connect with your audience or provide new, tangible value to your readers.

Good content still takes time to produce. It requires a thorough understanding of your target audience, their pain points and how your brand can uniquely address them. And for that, you need data.

Here are our 13 best tips for a data-driven content marketing strategy.

1. Dig deeper than basic demographics (or firmographics)

Nobody ever bought something because they're a 25-year-old female college graduate living in an urban area. The magic happens when you go beyond surface-level data and uncover insights about your audience's behaviors, motivations and preferences.

Gather information about your audience through these means:

  • Surveys
  • Interviews 
  • Social media listening
  • Website analytics
  • Customer feedback
  • Intent-level data (i.e., engagement history, purchase history)
  • Individual behavioral attributes (i.e., pages they've visited)

In turn, you can use these means to optimize your messaging, targeting and channel selection.

2. Think about topics, not just keywords in your content marketing plan

Since SEO is such a huge part of content marketing, businesses have the tendency to prioritize certain keywords based on volume, what competitors are doing and how easily they think they can rank for it.

This leads to a lot of generic, uninteresting content.

Semrush and Ahrefs can tell you a lot, but they don't know anything about your audience. They only know how many people are typing a certain search term or phrase into Google. And they don't even have access to the full data — you'll only find estimates for actual search queries.

Developing a winning content strategy requires you to take the information you've collected in the first tip and apply it to the content you produce.

As an example, we recently found out AI and machine learning were two subjects our target audience overwhelmingly looked for information on. So we published an article on the role of AI and machine learning in DXPs to fill that gap and capture that search traffic.

Sara Coleman
By Sara Coleman
May 04, 2023
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3. Align your digital content marketing efforts with sales and customer success

AI-driven creative data platform CreativeX audited the Fortune 500 and found that, even at the highest level, goes completely unused.

Talking to the teams who spend all day face-to-face with your customers is one of the best ways to figure out which topics you should cover as part of your content marketing. Plus, it'll be content these departments can actually put to work (which will maximize its impact).

Ask your sales and CS teams about:

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Common pain points/objections
  • Trends they're seeing in customer behavior and preferences
  • How they use (or plan to use) your product

This type of data can help you create targeted, effective content that addresses your audience's real needs.

4. Develop your core content first

When you look at content marketing for the first time, it's pretty intimidating. There are millions of pieces you could create.

To optimize your resources, look at the data and narrow down your topic list to the most valuable pieces before you start creating. Lay the groundwork for your overarching content marketing strategy with content like the following:

  • Your unique value prop and main selling points
  • Your customers' most critical pain points your product or service addresses
  • Their interests, backgrounds and preferences

Once you have that taken care of, focus on the supplementary content that will have the highest impact.

For newer brands, this is top-of-funnel (ToFu) content that raises brand awareness, generates demand and casts a wide net. If you're more well-known, doubling down on bottom-of-funnel (BoFu) content will help you move more potential customers toward that purchase decision.

5. Create a logical content hierarchy

Using website analytics to understand the customer journey and what leads to a purchase, structure your content in a way that leads your audience down the funnel. Here are a few ideas:

  • Q&A and how-to content. People look for answers on Google, and they're more likely to convert if you provide them.
  • Content clusters. Create a "pillar" piece of content you can break down into smaller, related pieces. For instance, our core guide to content management systems, which links to secondary topics like CMS security.
  • Evergreen content. Topics with a long shelf life can easily be updated/maintained over time. Much of your core content will fall into this category.

6. Publish with a purpose

It's not enough to create content and hope people share it or discover it on their own. Content marketing doesn't work this way. You need to have a solid distribution plan in place that targets the channels where your audience spends time.

Ask yourself why you're publishing each piece of content: Is it to attract new leads, nurture existing ones or upsell current customers? Use this as a guide for how and where you promote and repurpose your content.

7. Don't overlook your existing content

You probably have some content that's performing at an almost-good-enough level. It's ranking 11th on Google, or it's getting traffic but only converting two or three readers.

Before you invest tons of time and resources into creating new content, consider improving the content that's already on the verge of delivering real results.

  • Could you boost conversions by improving your CTA or highlighting your product better?
  • Can you rank that page higher by refreshing it with up-to-date info or adding sections?
  • Do two similar articles work better as one comprehensive guide?
  • Would structuring the content differently improve engagement and dwell time?

These are changes that you can implement in 5 minutes or less within your content management system. And you'll see the results of them within a few days.

8. Diversify content across the customer journey

Your full-funnel content marketing strategy should follow customers from the top of the funnel through the time they make a purchase and beyond.

  • At the top of the funnel, create blog posts, social media content, infographics, e-books, videos and user-generated content that attract potential customers and generate awareness and demand around your brand/product.
  • In the middle of the funnel, demonstrate your expertise and build trust through quizzes, surveys, personalized offers, email newsletters, product-led content, useful resources, downloadables and live events.
  • At the bottom of the funnel, create content that addresses specific pain points and potential customers' objections. This could include demos, product comparisons, customer testimonials and case studies.
  • Post-purchase, content that helps your customers get the most value from your product (like how-to guides, blog posts and customer support content) increases satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

9. Personalize your content marketing ideas to the individual

By integrating a customer data platform (CDP) with your CMS, you can create triggers and automations that serve personalized content to each individual based on their interactions with your brand.

This can include:

  • Past purchases
  • Browsing history
  • Demographic data
  • Behavior on your website and other channels
  • Engagement levels and type

You can also use this data to segment your audience and create targeted content that speaks directly to each group's needs and interests. Or, you could retarget them with ads and relevant messages on different channels if they have already shown interest in a certain topic.

10. Content marketing best practices include publishing content as often as possible

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Although quality and relevance are the most important factors, volume really does matter. The more content you have, the more opportunities you have to reach and engage with your audience.

However, it's important to strike a balance between quantity and quality. HubSpot and found that for most businesses, publishing somewhere in the range of 5-10 articles per month leads to a solid ROI.

That said, don't use AI to automate the content creation process. AI is great for conducting research and generating basic ideas, but it's not a replacement for human creativity and critical thinking.

Use it to supplement your content marketing workflow, but don't expect an AI blogging tool to spin up 100 well-written articles that'll actually resonate with your audience. It won't.

11. Test everything

Historical data can only tell you so much about your customers, what they're looking for, and how you can convert more of them. The impact of an individual element on your site is impossible to predict accurately without testing.

A few things you can test to help with your content marketing results:

  • Your site's layout and design
  • Headlines and subheaders
  • Calls to action (CTAs)
  • Images and other multimedia
  • Content length, format, tone, etc.
  • Your distribution channels and methods

Use A/B testing to isolate a single variable and see how it impacts your goals. Then, use those findings to inform future content and UI/UX decisions and optimize your overall strategy.

12. Incorporate user-generated content as much as possible

According to from EveryoneSocial, 93% of customers find user-generated content (UGC) helpful when making a purchase decision, 70% look at user-generated reviews and ratings before buying anything and 41% look at 7+ pieces of UGC to inform their decisions.

UGC adds a layer of authenticity that can complement company-generated content. Use reviews, testimonials, Q&A boards, social media posts from customers and other forms of UGC in your content to establish social proof and credibility.

Use them throughout your web content. Have a reviews and user-generated video section on your product pages. Republish social media UGC on your own accounts to amplify its impact. Turn the highest-performing UGC videos into ads.

13. Centralize content management within a CMS

More than just a place to author content, today's modern CMSs should provide all of the tools and integrations that help you manage, create, publish, distribute and measure content across all your channels in one place.

Centralizing omnichannel content management within a CMS breaks down data silos, thanks to its native systems and API-first architecture. It also makes it easier to maintain consistency across different channels and personalize content at scale.

You can use it to serve content to customers based on:

  • Behavioral triggers
  • Context (like location, device type or language)
  • Anonymous engagement data
  • Profile-based segments and personas
  • Customer journey stage

Through automation, every customer can discover the exact information they're looking for and develop a unique, distinct connection with your brand.

More content marketing tips

How to develop a content marketing strategy?

Creating a successful content marketing strategy requires mastering the basics. Here’s a guide on how to create a content marketing strategy that supports your evolving business and changing market dynamics.
  1. Understand your audience: Know who your target audience is and what their preferences, needs and pain points are. Use data and analytics to create detailed buyer personas and understand their journey.
  2. Set clear goals: Define what you want to achieve with your content marketing. Your goals might include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, improving customer retention or driving sales.
  3. Conduct a content audit: Review your existing content to identify what works and what doesn’t. This will help you understand gaps in your content and areas for improvement.
  4. Choose your content types: Decide on the types of content that will best resonate with your audience. This could include blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, e-books or user-generated content.
  5. Develop a content calendar: Plan your content in advance using a content calendar. This will help you stay organized and ensure a consistent posting schedule.
  6. Create high-quality content: Focus on creating valuable, relevant and engaging content. Ensure that your content is well-researched, well-written and provides real value to your audience.
  7. Optimize for SEO: Use SEO best practices to ensure your content is discoverable. This includes keyword research, optimizing meta tags, using alt text for images and ensuring your site is mobile-friendly.
  8. Utilize multiple channels: Distribute your content across various channels, including your website, social media, email newsletters and third-party platforms. Tailor your content for each platform to maximize its impact.
  9. Engage with your audience: Encourage interaction and engagement by responding to comments, sharing user-generated content and participating in conversations relevant to your industry.
  10. Measure and adjust: Regularly measure the performance of your content using analytics tools. Track key metrics like traffic, engagement, conversion rates and ROI. Use these insights to refine your strategy and make necessary adjustments.
  11. Adapt to changing trends: Content strategies should always be evolving. Keep an eye on industry trends and be prepared to adapt. With the rise of personalized experiences, user-generated content, social media and voice search, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve.
By mastering these basics, content marketers can set themselves up for success regardless of the challenges and changes that come their way.

What are the 5 C's of content marketing?

The 5 C's of content marketing provide a framework to create and manage effective content. They are:
  1. Clarity: Ensure your content is clear and easy to understand. Use simple language, avoid jargon and make your main points accessible to your audience. Clear content helps in conveying your message effectively and keeps your audience engaged.
  2. Consistency: Maintain a consistent voice, tone and style across all your content. This builds brand recognition and trust. Consistency also extends to your publishing schedule, ensuring regular updates and fresh content for your audience.
  3. Content: Focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that meets the needs and interests of your audience. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, infographics or podcasts, ensure your content is informative, engaging and relevant.
  4. Customer-centric: Prioritize your audience’s needs, preferences and pain points in your content strategy. Understand your target audience through research and analytics, and tailor your content to address their specific challenges and interests.
  5. Creativity: Use creativity to make your content stand out. This could be through unique storytelling, innovative formats, visually appealing design or interactive elements. Creativity captures attention and keeps your audience coming back for more.
By focusing on these 5 C's, you can create a robust content marketing strategy that effectively engages your audience and supports your business goals.

Request a demo to see how Brightspot's extensible and integration-ready content platform can fits into your data-driven content marketing strategy.


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