When you think about the team behind a solid content marketing strategy, what types of individuals come to mind? Writers? Of course. Graphic designers? Sure. Animators and video producers? You bet. Data scientists? Probably not… yet. But that’s about to change with data-driven content marketing.
As big data plays an increasingly greater role in marketing strategies, the traditionally right-brain realm of content marketing is getting a healthy dose of left-brain data crunching. Welcome to the world of data-driven content marketing.
What Is Data-Driven Content Marketing?
As the name implies, data-driven content marketing is the practice of leveraging big data and analytics to support a brand’s content marketing strategy and tactics. This approach can take several forms, including:
- Pre-publication data analysis: Using intent data, demographics, infographics, keyword analysis, and other data to identify the content topics and approaches most likely to drive results
- Post-publication data analysis: Using traffic numbers, time on page, engagement rates, conversion rates, and other data to identify successful content practices
- Data-driven content publication: Using data your organization collects (either first-hand or via research) to create unique, thought-leadership-building content
Why Data-Driven Content?
In a recent survey conducted by collaborative content management platform provider ClearVoice, 51 percent of respondents cited content quality as the biggest challenge to establishing credibility. By collecting and analyzing data — either from their own databases or from other sources — and spinning it into truly unique content, brands can fill the content gap and publish highly authoritative content marketing assets.
5 Brands to Watch for Data-Driven Content Marketing
As the expression goes, success leaves clues, and content marketing teams can learn much from brands that have upped their big data game and put data-driven content to work in driving results. Here are just a few of them:
Password manager provider SplashData knows a thing or two about … well, about passwords. A few years ago, the SplashData marketing team decided to have some fun with their data. Specifically, they reviewed the more than five million passwords leaked throughout the year to compile the list of 25 Worst Passwords. The annual list has a serious mission — encouraging greater prudence in password selection — but gives readers a good chuckle at the same time.
(Source: Announcing our Worst Passwords of 2016, SplashData)
Strategic Insight: Data-driven content doesn’t always have to be ultra-serious; sometimes your message can be even more effective if you present it in a more lighthearted package. If it’s appropriate for the topic and for your audience, consider adding a note of humor to your content marketing assets (always with good judgment, of course).
2. Southwest Airlines
Every day, thousands of people board flights for travels both near and far, and each of those trips generates a fair amount of data. What does all that data have to do with content marketing? Nothing… unless you’re Southwest Airlines.
Southwest collects data just like every other airline, and they’ve gotten pretty good at using big data in formulating their marketing strategies. They also know that people love to see data about themselves and their habits (just take a moment to think about how many Fitbits are out there and you’ll get the idea). In late 2017, Southwest fed customers’ own travel data back to them by creating and sending personalized “annual reports.”
Each Southwest customer received a personalized infographic featuring the number of trips they’d taken, miles traveled, points earned, and a few of their destinations. The popular campaign gave customers a chance to look back on the year’s travels … and possibly pique interest in planning their next trip.
Strategic Insight: This approach will vary from organization to organization (and may not work at all for some), so putting it into practice may take some innovation. Think about the data that your customers may find interesting regarding their use of your product or service and consider creative ways of delivering it to them, in the form of infographics, personalized videos (think about those “friendship anniversary” videos you see on Facebook), and even templated white papers.
3. General Electric
As a global technology leader, General Electric collects massive amounts of data every day in areas ranging from energy production to healthcare. Rather than simply letting all that information feed back into its internal operations, the company has made data sharing a vital part of its content marketing strategy, dedicating a section of its website to data visualization.
Strategic Insight: Use data visualization to bring data to life for your customers and create a more personal, engaging experience.
Cybersecurity software provider Kaspersky is well known for its quality products — and perhaps even more well known for its eye-popping approach to data-driven content. The interactive Kaspersky Cyberthreat Real-Time Map shows a 3D data visualization encompassing every attack the company detects every day:
Colored beams zoom across the globe to show viewers both the source and the intended target of each attack. Visitors can also see statistics on detections per second, most infected countries, and names of the top local infections.
Strategic Insight: Consider adding an interactive element to your data-driven content, especially if your company handles real-time data.
5. Google Play Music
No one “does data” better than Google, and the brand offers music history lovers data-driven content to fuel their passion in the Google Play Music Timeline:
The interactive timeline shows the relative popularity of each genre based on the number of Google Play users who have added an album or an artist to their libraries. Each stripe represents a genre, and the thickness indicates the popularity of the music released in a given year within that genre. The Rock stripe, for example, is thicker in the 1960s and 70s because many users have added rock albums released in those decades to their libraries.
Strategic Insights: Not all data-driven content has to involve real-time data. If it’s appropriate for your subject matter and your audience, consider taking them on a historical tour of the past through an interactive timeline, infographic, or video.
Not so long ago, the type of advanced data analytics these brands are conducting was only feasible at large enterprises with the budgets to match. But recent advances in technology have made data-driven content marketing a possibility for marketing departments of all sizes. All it takes are the right tools, a solid understanding of your audience, and a little innovation. Now, how will you use data to inform your content marketing strategy?
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