In our previous post, we discussed the importance of having a data-led content marketing approach and some types of data to track and why. Data is indeed an essential ingredient to help you boost your content marketing performance.
Today, marketers in their quest to grab their audience’s attention churn out more and more content hoping that will do the job for them. In fact, they often make an unconscious reference to their own experiences as consumers, use their knowledge to what has worked for them previously, and even look at vanity metrics such as shares, followers, likes, impressions, etc.
These metrics, though valuable sources of data, do not tell the whole story. Audience data goes one step further; it harnesses the power of a marketer’s gut and experience. It relies on data gathered by placing your audience at the center of your marketing efforts.
We’ve put together a brief guide that reveals how rich insights about your audience can help you make smarter decisions about content formats, categories, headlines, and much more.
But first, let’s take a closer look at how content is planned today.
The State Of Content Planning
A recent ZIRCA-IMRB study revealed some interesting insights into this process.
Typically, content creation begins by analyzing web traffic, social media insights, and demographic audience data, i.e. slicing your audience by gender, age and location. But does demographic data, like all other data, give you a good enough understanding of your audience and their pain points?
For example, an investment banker, a fashion blogger and a fitness coach may all have the same age, gender and location. But their interests, attitudes, hobbies, and personalities may be radically different from one another. The investment banker may be ambitious and a workaholic with a passion for music. The fitness coach, on the other hand, is as passionate about art as she is about health. The traditional age and gender profile don’t give you these crucial insights.
Now, when you decide which platforms to publish your content on, what website metrics do you look at? Number of website visitors/reach, available inventory, and time spent, correct? Your natural instinct directs you to pick those websites that have the necessary inventory or a high reach. But have you paused to consider if that website is actually a great match for the content you’re trying to publish? Will your content have the desired traction you seek?
Content optimization, too, depends on the expertise or experience of the media planner or brand manager. It’s evident that marketers are relying on their gut, experience and self-perceptions to make content planning decisions.
Connecting with the wrong audience at the wrong time in the wrong place; that’s not all. You could actually do more harm to your brand than good.
Psychographic data is the vital ingredient
A well-trained gut, undoubtedly, is vital for marketers. But to make smarter decisions about content and to make content spends generate better results; the power of gut needs to be harnessed with data.
Great content marketing is truly a blend of creativity, gut and data. At the crux of data-informed content is a deep understanding of your target audience. The more you know your audience, the more relevant and engaging your content will be.
Psychographic data includes your audience’s hobbies, spending habits, personality traits, values, and more. This psychographic information is essential: it helps you navigate the differences that exist among your target audience having similar demographic profiles. This means asking yourself some key questions to create compelling stories: who your audience is, what their interests are, what kind of content formats they prefer, how you can reach them, and where do they spend time online.
“Good content is about the right ‘context’. Content that marries an in-depth understanding of your audience, their basic human needs and their content consumption preferences is bound to resonate well with them,” says Rupin Nanani, Research Head at ZIRCA. “When we have a data-informed view of these aspects of our audience, we can present content to them in a relevant context. We then create content that they will find valuable.”
Marketers must look beyond demographics and vanity metrics to identify their audience’s content preferences; they must use data to create a great experience for their audience with content. Marketers can rely on their gut, but must leverage the power of research-backed insights in their content planning decisions.
Data can help you generate content that genuinely adds a moment of magic to your audience’s lives; content that not only helps you stand out in a saturated space but that’s also interesting, inspiring and shareable.