The near-global realization of marketers that relevant and timely content improves SEO has set off a Big Bang-like explosion of content creation. According to the 2016 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 76% of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2016, up from 70% in 2015. All this forthcoming content, on top of what already is posted in the market space, has many marketers worried about the degree of impact that content marketing can have going forward. Their main concern is how much harder it may get to be heard in 2016 and beyond.
According to TrackMaven, a digital marketing analytics company, “content gluttony” is a legitimate concern. After analyzing two years of data for 8,800 brands, TrackMaven found one high-level trend to be crystal clear: Brands are creating more and more content, and that content is having less and less impact. And while there are more digital channels available than ever before, marketers who seek to attract, qualify and convert prospective buyers through typical inbound marketing methods will find themselves investing more in content development resources, and getting less in return for that investment.
For most marketers, the irony of more content being less impactful is not lost. As more and more companies adopt content marketing practices, marketers are now searching for ways to navigate the paradox of more content with less return. To marketers who share in this search, I present for your consideration: data-driven content.
Data-driven content is pretty much what it sounds like: Content that is created off the back of data, market research, surveys, questionnaires, and/or existing public online resources. The concept is simple: Take a data set and turn it into a piece of content that is thought provoking, educational and sharable.
Keep in mind that not all data is thought provoking, educational and sharable; thus, it may not necessarily equate to great – or even usable – content. Your ability to use data to tell a meaningful story or build a thought-provoking viewpoint is where the rubber really meets the road in terms of attracting relevant site traffic, qualifying visitors, and ultimately, converting them into customers.
There are two ways to tell your data-driven story. The first is visually through infographics, charts, tables, illustrations and pictures. Below is an example of an infographic for Skoda Minotti’s Real Estate and Construction Group that promotes its annual industry survey.
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The second way to tell your story is through well-written, timely and relevant content that provides an overview of the subject matter, supported by thought-provoking facts, figures and details from the data source. The amount of data that you provide is up to you; but if the data source is one that you created, then I recommend keeping the article short, and the facts limited. In other words, make it more of a teaser than a full-scale informational resource. This way, you gate the source data (i.e., survey, report, research) and request prospects to provide their contact information in exchange for downloading your proprietary, data-driven content. The strategy behind this approach is simple: Attract and turn information-thirsty prospects into qualified leads.
For an example of data-driven written content, read Skoda Minotti’s blog post which highlights the CPA Firm Website Audit that our team conducted in 2015. Notice that this post served more as a teaser, with goal being to convert prospects to leads.
If you decide to invest in developing your own data source, you can start by reaching out to bloggers and journalists and offering them exclusive insights into your niche area. Also, consider leveraging tools such as SurveyMonkey, YouGov or OnePoll, which are all great vehicles for collecting data. Public data is another resource that you may be able to leverage, as there are many market research companies across the spectrum of industry sectors.
What should you do if you don’t have the time, expertise or resources to create your own data-driven content? Well, you can leverage someone else’s. But before doing so, make sure you follow protocol by informing, as well as showing, what you plan to do first to your data source. With their blessing, you can then ask them to promote your content using their social media channels, or even link to it on their website, which will help broaden your reach.
Through it all, keep in mind that your goal should be to create informative, thought-provoking and relevant content. That, in turn, will directly impact your target audience’s ability to be better at what they do and help them make better buying decisions. The indirect impact of these efforts for your business will be an increased ability to:
- Attract and increase relevant traffic to your website;
- Build brand credibility and ongoing top-of-mind awareness;
- Demonstrate your expertise in a particular area;
- Convert prospects into leads;
- Build your database;
- Qualify and prioritize leads for your sales team;
- Close more business;
- Build and maintain ongoing relationships with your target audience.
Interested in learning more about how data-driven content can take your content marketing efforts to the next level? Contact Jonathan Ebenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.