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Using data to improve digital content marketing

Analyzing the right sets of data can help marketers create a better content strategy.

With the online environment becoming increasingly crowded, digital content marketing is a must for businesses today. It has the power to enhance brand awareness, increase conversion rates and improve customer retention. However, it is not enough to simply put content out there and hope the mere presence of it will attract the target audience.

As technological innovations advance and consumers are presented with more media and information than ever before, marketers must move away from traditional, "salesy" promotions and create unique, compelling stories that resonate with readers. But this is easier said than done. Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that, although the majority, or 76 percent, of businesses use content marketing, only 37 percent feel their current strategy is an effective one.

Turning information into intelligence
In this digital-driven world, businesses have a plethora of customer-related data available to them at all times. The Internet of Things has resulted in heightened levels of connectivity and accessibility. Between automation tools, website analytics, social media networks and mobile applications, data is being produced in increasing volumes.

"Creating and distributing digital content does not guarantee engagement."

Many would assume this trend would make it easier for organizations to create digital content that speaks to target audiences. And it does. A 2nd Watch survey recently revealed that 86 percent of businesses are or will soon begin using big data to enhance digital marketing strategy and almost 75 percent of the organizations that are using it agreed that it has been effective. Furthermore, 83 percent expect to grow the use of big data in their marketing efforts.

Similar to how it isn't sufficient to simply have marketing content, it isn't enough to just have data; it needs to be aggregated, analyzed and applied in a meaningful way.

Companies today shouldn't publish content and marketing materials with the assumption that they will be seen by potential customers. To excel at consumer engagement, a business must focus on enhancing the value of each piece and improving the quality of it, which means taking an in-depth look into what the target audience finds meaningful - that is where data mining comes in.

Put simply, for marketers and content creators, this refers to finding and retrieving the right kind of information which allows them to turn insight into opportunity. In an article for Forbes, Daniel Newman explained that "a data-backed content strategy can increase the effectiveness of content marketing campaigns by enabling marketers to create content that's more targeted, relevant and interesting to their audience."

Driving digital content development with data
There are many different types of data that can be uncovered, including raw, behavioral and person-provided. A company will never find a shortage in the amount of information generated by various digital platforms and applications. However, the key is knowing exactly which sets of data are important, then collecting and organizing it in a way that facilitates actionable guidance on the best content development and marketing strategies.

Analyzing the right sets of data can help marketers create a better content strategy.
Analyzing the right sets of data can help marketers create a better content strategy.

Taking advantage of big data and analytics can help companies better track what types of content their users respond to the most and, in turn, will provide them with a more comprehensive understanding, not only of what marketing materials should be created, but how and when they should be distributed.

The problem is that, for publishers, writers and marketers, dealing with raw data, statistics and quantitative research may be slightly off-putting. Some might rather focus on the artistic and creative aspects of content creation and distribution. But even though the concept of data aggregation and analysis may seem overwhelming or complicated, it would be a mistake for companies to ignore the essential role it has in improving digital content marketing strategies.

In order to maintain a competitive presence online, businesses must be able to adapt in order to harness the best solutions available to them. Organizations that do not possess the in-house capabilities, time or experience needed to handle data mining and analysis are encouraged to work with third-party providers that specialize in custom content services. Doing so will help them enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their digital content marketing strategy and, ultimately, improve their bottom line.

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