You might think content marketing is strictly a creative task. Well, it’s not!

To create content that truly drives leads to your business, marketing materials need to be data-driven. Here’s a roadmap to tracking, analyzing and applying data to your overall marketing efforts.

How to Track Data for Marketing Efforts

Am I collecting all the data I need about my customers?

If you aren’t sure, use the below list of must-have tools for tracking return on investment. Ensuring these are installed and tracking properly first will give you the data you need to work with. Keep in mind, these programs only start collecting data once they’re installed on your website.

Google Tag Manager, to manage all tags installed on the website.
Google Analytics, for website user activity like top pages, bounce rate and referral traffic.
Google Search Console, for learning what search terms customers use to find your website.
LinkedIn Insights Tag, for advertising efforts on the platform, including retargeting.
Facebook Pixel, for collecting and using website data for advertising on the platform.
Lead Logic, for tracking the company names of your B2B website visitors.
Oribi, for gaining insight into the customer journey on your website.
HotJar, to discover “hot spots” on your website, where users spend the most time.
CallRail, to enable call tracking, a key tool for proving ROI on marketing.

Pro tip: if you’re not sure what’s currently installed on your site, use Google Tag Assistant and visit your homepage to see!

How to Analyze Marketing Data

Okay, so I have the data. Now what?

After you get to know each platform and where the key data is, all that’s left to do is dive in.

Sift through this data and look for common themes in your top performing content pieces as well as the poorest performing ones. Replicate the themes present in the top, avoid the ones in the bottom and ignore those present in both.

Here are some questions I like to ask myself when analyzing data for content marketing:

On Google Analytics:
What pages did my website visitors read the most?
What and where did they click?
Were they mostly on mobile or desktop devices?
How did they find my website?

On Lead Logic:
Where do my website visitors work?
What are their interests on my website?
Where are they geographically?
What is the size of their company?

On Google Search Console:
What do users search on Google to find my website?
What search terms are the most popular?
What questions do they ask on Google?
What search terms are the most competitive?

On Facebook and LinkedIn:
What ages are my followers?
What gender do my followers identify as?
What content do my followers most respond to?
Was my audience willing to click over to my website from social media?

Pro tip: Always, always, always compare data year over year when you can! Seasonal trends can skew month over month data sets.

Using the Data to Create Your Content Marketing Strategy

From a simple monthly blog schedule to a fully-outfitted brand guide, a content strategy can vary greatly in size. No matter the page count, the contents of your strategy should always be founded on data and trends.

With all you know about your audience from your current data, it’s time to create a strategy.

Content Purpose and Goals

What are we trying to achieve with our content?

Look at where you are now and consider what numbers you want to hit in the next year.

Consider the following:
What problems do you want to help your customers solve?
What is the low-hanging fruit?
Where are you behind compared to industry averages?
Is the money you’re spending proving ROI?

Be sure to make your goals actionable, concrete and measurable.

Buyer Personas

Who are we trying to impress with our content?

Consider who your website visitors and social followers are, where they work and what content resonates with them. Identify examples of key buyers and name motivating factors, challenges and quirks as they relate to your buying process. You can use these personas to tailor messaging to each audience in future content.

Messaging Guide

How are we going to make an impression with our content?

Define the voice and tone of your brand based on past successes and future goals to keep messaging consistent. Document the specific phrases you want present in your content. Document the ones you want to avoid saying as well.

Consider whether your brand speaks in a casual, rather than formal, way or even uses slang. Include example sentences to further clarify use.

Content Schedule

When are we going to publish content, and to which channels?

Now that you know your purpose, who you’re speaking to and how you’re going to speak to them, you’ll need to plan out what you’ll say, and when. Considering your audience’s habits, peak activity times and what content they like, take industry averages and standards into account to create a schedule of blog topics, social posts and advertisements. Look at industry events, holidays and seasonal trends to plan content around those.

Write. It. Down.

It doesn’t matter how detailed your content strategy is. Just write it down. As the foundation of your content efforts, your digital strategy cannot live in your—or worse, your team’s—head alone.

Most companies skip this step. But you’re not like most companies, are you?

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