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Creating a data driven content strategy


Last month I wrote about how machine learning is reshaping marketing in the first in a series of articles exploring how data is changing the way that we think about marketing. This post delves deeper to look at how content marketing specifically is being transformed by data.

In a world that’s overrun with advertisements and promotions, content marketing has become the most effective way for businesses to engage their audiences and sell more. However, the 2019 B2B Content Marketing Report found that the majority marketers aren’t happy with the performance of their content marketing.

So, why don’t more marketers feel confident in their content efforts? The same report found that the least successful content marketers aren’t creating content that is informed by customer data and research. It’s estimated that there are over 500 million blog posts on the web. To have any chance of standing out, you should be using data to drive your content strategy forward.

As a content marketer in a company of data analysts, I got thinking about how some of the exciting things my colleagues are doing could be applied by marketers to improve the value and relevance of their content. This post outlines 4 ways to use the data you should already have to improve your content and stand out in an increasingly crowded landscape.

Knowing Your Audience

Put bluntly, creating content without having any idea about your audience is pointless. Audience research should be the first step in every content marketing strategy. It’s vital to have a deep understanding about your audience so you can answer questions like:

  • What demographic groups does my audience sit in?

  • Where should I distribute content and what times will be most effective?

  • How long should my content be?

  • Should I focus on blogs, video or something else?

Content Ideas

Once you have a deeper understanding of your audience, coming up with content ideas should be much easier. There are dozens of metrics to consider to learn more about the types of content topics your audience is interested in.

A good place to start is analysing the performance of your existing content. The content that has the highest engagement rates should provide insights into the future direction of your content creation. Pair this with competitor research and keyword research to dive deeper and learn more about the needs of your audience and how they’re searching for products and services and how they consume content.

Which headlines are working?

Coming up with clever, engaging titles for content. It’s the part that I dread. It’s really tricky but so vital. Creating great content but giving it a boring title can result in poor results leaving you wondering what’s happened. A powerful headline will increase the click through rate and the shareability of your content.

Take a look at performance data from previous content to uncover insights on your best headlines. Are there certain words you’ve used in multiple headlines that have resulted in higher CTRs? Maybe headlines that ask your audience a question have proved to be more engaging?

Choosing Influencers

Influencer marketing is continuing to be a key strategy for brands looking to engage their audience and sell more. The biggest challenge for businesses is knowing who their target audience is listening to. Businesses tend to focus on working with the biggest celebrities they can afford when, more often than not, they should be choosing an influencer in a smaller niche who has a more highly engaged audience.

A data driven approach would allow you to get an in-depth view of your customers so you can learn about the types of people they’re likely to follow and listen to. In a recent project, Station10 worked with a footwear retailer, helping them to profile their customers to get a better understanding of who their most valuable customers are. One key finding was that many of their most valuable customers were older than previously thought. This enabled the retailer to alter various aspects of their marketing strategy, including the demographics of the influencers they worked with.


A recent Forrester report estimated that businesses only use around 12% of the data they have available to them. Understanding customer data is key for content marketers who are responsible for developing strategy. However, data is not only key for informing content creation, it’s vital for evaluating the ROI of your content too. How many people is your content reaching? Are people interacting with your content? What about conversion rate?

Remember, having fewer people viewing the right content is much, much better than having masses of people viewing content that’s in no way relevant or useful to them.