You know what they say: Work smarter, not harder. But what does smarter look like when it comes to content marketing? Often, it means not jumping in blindly and hoping for the best. Smart content marketing means looking closely at your audience. It means doing what it takes to deliver the most useful, relevant content to them. It means reaching them no matter where they are in the marketing funnel. Take a closer look at some of the stats behind smart content marketing.
Smarter Content Marketing Is Strategic
There’s one piece of advice experienced content marketers give those who are just starting out. You need a strategy.
The numbers don’t lie. Of B2B brands that have the most success with content marketing, 62 percent have a documented content marketing strategy. The numbers are similar for B2C brands. An impressive 59 percent of the most successful have a documented content marketing strategy.
Think of your content marketing strategy as your Yellow Brick Road. Instead of the Emerald City at the end of it, you’ll find your content marketing goal. Along the way, you’ll use the strategy to figure out who you’re talking to, what they want, and why your content is better for them than any other option.
Smart Content Marketing Is Customized
You hear a lot about making sure your content is useful for the customer, and about making sure the content you serve up through content marketing is personalized and customized to each visitor.
One old-school way to customize content is to use buyer personas to figure out who your various customers are and what they are looking for.
While buyer personas are great, they aren’t very precise. A mom might come to your site looking for XYZ, but what happens when that same mom has already visited your site several times? Are you going to keep showing her the same three articles over and over again?
Smarter Content Marketing Is Personal
Ideally, no. Which is where content personalization and customization comes into play. Let’s say that a mom comes to your site looking for information on using cloth diapers. She finds an introductory article, reads it, then makes an account on your site so that she can order some diapers.
A week or so later, she returns to your site. Since she has an account, you know that it’s the same mom who read about cloth diapers a few weeks ago, and ended up buying some. Now what do you do?
- Show her the same introductory article about cloth diapers — maybe she needs a refresher course.
- Show her different articles, perhaps on caring for cloth diapers or reducing baby’s rash.
- Nothing! You got her money, this customer’s dead to you. Next!
Ideally, the answer is B. The mom might have already purchased a few diapers from your brand, but she’s come back. That usually implies that she’s looking for more. As a smart content marketer, it’s up to you to figure out what moms who are starting to use cloth diapers are looking for, and deliver that info to them in as frictionless a way as possible.
Smarter Content Marketing Is Data-Heavy
For some marketers, data is a four-letter word (both literally and figuratively). For others, data might be the very reason they get up in the morning. Most of the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle. Data can be useful, but it can also be a huge pain to keep track of. And if you don’t know what data you need or how to apply it to improve your content marketing efforts, it’s going to seem like a bunch of meaningless numbers.
Figuring out how to track and use data can greatly improve your content marketing efforts. On the content creation side, you can use data to improve the quality of your content and the likelihood of people reading it.
For example, certain types of headlines are more likely to get people to click than others. According to Hubspot, headlines that explain what type of content it is that a person’s looking at performed almost 40 percent better than headlines that didn’t have an explanation. On Twitter, headlines that had between 8 and 12 words got more shares than longer or shorter headlines.
You also want to look at the data behind your own content. Maybe you’re producing blog posts and videos on similar topics — but the blog posts mainly get ignored, while the videos get thousands of views and likes. With that information, you might decide to shift from using both blog posts and videos to focusing on video alone, potentially increasing your viewership while reducing your costs.
Getting personal, following the data, and knowing where you’re going before you get started are all key components to any smart content marketing plan.