Predictive Content – Why You Should Leverage It as a Marketer

If you’re a marketer, you almost certainly already use analytics every day.  The most common, and most obvious, way to use analytics as a marketer is to understand what brings visitors to your site, and what activities they engage in while they’re there.  However, there is a second use of analytics, and that is to use scoring algorithms to identify potential conversions, and use that data to identify what content will be most effective for the consumer.  This is called predictive content analytics.

What is Predictive Content Analytics?

Predictive content analytics is a relatively new approach to content marketing in which the supply of content is customized to match the demand.  As content marketers, there is a constant struggle to produce content that consumers will actually – well, consume.  The answer in the past has been to influence consumers in order to better shape demand, and the other approach (and typically, the domain of market research) aims to tailor content to more closely match demand.  Predictive content analytics streamlines the tailoring of content, taking it out of the hands of market researchers and into the hands of the content marketer.

Why Use Predictive Content Analytics?

To understand the benefits of Predictive Content Analytics, consider an example situation: you’re a content marketer consistently producing content, but then your traditional analytics show that only 5% or so of the content you produce is responsible for over 80% of your website’s interactions.  In other words, 95% of your content is failing to generate any results at all.  If this sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason: it’s very typical of most content marketing efforts.

So, as a business owner, how do you justify the expense of a content marketing strategy that is 95% useless?  Simple: the content that does produce conversions makes up for the cost of the content that doesn’t.  That’s the power of content marketing.

Imagine if you were able to get a higher percentage of your content to perform with that kind of efficiency.  Imagine you could get all of it to perform that way.  This is the power of predictive content.

How Predictive Content Analytics Works

So, all of this may sound well and good, but how does it work?  When developing a predictive content strategy, it is important to first understand where your current strategy is failing.  Why is it that 95% of your content is failing to draw interactions?  The answer, of course, is because all content is developed, more or less, based on educated guesses as to the habits and interests of consumers.

Using predictive analytics allows you to move out of the area of trial-and-error keyword research and content development, and get right to better results.

Predictive Analytics vs. Descriptive Analytics – Key Differences

In marketing, and content marketing in particular, we rely heavily on hindsight to do what we do.  Predictive analytics, rather than looking in the past, builds out a map of prospect interests right now and iterates those interests into the future.

Predictive content works by collecting data based upon what consumers are actually reading and interacting with right now.  Once that data is compiled, it can be predictively modeled, as long as you have access to predictive content analytics.  Predictive analytics systems take this data, and then take a look at your content repository, along with the content repositories of your competitors.  Then, for every piece of content, the analytics system builds a topic composite, defined by a cloud of keywords extracted from the content, consisting of the primary topics, peripheral topics, and associated topics that give that particular piece of content its unique character.

This allows you to do something you’ve not been able to do with traditional analytics:  look forward rather than backward.  With this composite, you can construct interest profiles on consumption patterns, and as consumers interact more content, those profiles actually evolve.

In this way, by performing simultaneous surveys of industry topics along with profiling their inter-relations and keeping track of interactions as always, the predictive content marketer can track user behavior pertaining to specific topics, and use it to build a projective content strategy.  This allows you to predict – in a measurable way – what content will capture the interest of consumers moving forward in a way that is constantly evolving.

The Brass Tacks of Predictive Content Analytics

So far, our discussion of predictive content analytics, fascinating though it may have been, is a little on the conceptual side.  Let’s talk about some real ways you can leverage predictive content analytics in your own content marketing practices, once you begin compiling interest data for both your own and competitors’ content.

  • Personalized Content Experience: By utilizing predictive content analytics along with simple tracking cookies, you can do something magical: display different content to different readers, based upon that reader’s unique interest profile.
  • Competitor analysis: By considering not only your own content but also competitors’ content in your interest profile, you can get a clearer picture of where those competitors stand in the content supply-demand race.
  • Anticipate Trends: Using predictive analytics, you can keep a closer eye on what industry thought leaders are writing about – allowing you to keep you finger more firmly on the pulse of your industry.

When it comes to crafting a successful marketing strategy, analytics is an important tool: but by allowing hindsight-laden traditional analytics to dictate your practices, you could end up living in – and marketing to – the past.  Predictive content analytics enables you to take a more real-time approach to development, make more accurate and informed decisions, and develop a deeper understanding of your own industry as a whole.

Have you used predictive content analytics? If so, would love to hear your ideas in the comments. If you’re looking for help getting predictive content analytics set up, reach out and our team would be glad to help!  And, remember to follow Visible Factors on Twitter.

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Content Marketing Metrics

Every content marketer wants to be able to measure the results of their campaign. But, very often they believe that they can’t accurately measure the results generated by their content. And the truth is, most content marketers give up after they check numbers of page views or social shares. The scope of metrics, however, goes way beyond that, extending to the fundamental business and its goals.

Let’s take a look at the four categories of content marketing metrics and what they actually mean. Then, you can decide which ones are most significant to you. 

Basic Consumption Metrics

Basic consumption metrics measure brand awareness and web traffic, answering the most fundamental content questions about how your strategy is performing. You get to see how many people viewed and accessed your content, while gaining an overall idea of which pages of your website are most popular and attractive to users.

Basic consumption data can be found in Google Analytics.

  • Users: total number of unique visitors to a particular page on your website
  • Page views: total number of times a particular page on your website is viewed
  • Pages/Sessions: total number of pages a user visits while browsing your website
  • Average time on page: average time spent on one page, for example a blog post  
  • Downloads: total number of times users downloaded your content
  • Retention metrics: number of returning visitors to your site and specific content pieces  
  • Bounce rate: percentage of people that leave a page of your website without viewing other pages
  • Email open rate: total number of opened emails shows how many people are interested to read your email content

The resulting numbers show which pages are attractive and unattractive to let you see which campaigns were effective, while providing insight into how you can drive people to your website

Sharing and Engagement Metrics

These metrics measure brand awareness and user engagement, showing you how your audience interacts and engages with your content. You will gain a clearer understanding about what types of content are more interesting to your audience and inspire interaction.  But keep in mind that sharing metrics measure publicity, not actual competitiveness of your content.

Some data can be found in Google Analytics, the social networks you use, as well as other free and paid tools.

  • Likes, tweets, +1s, pins: number of (positive) social reactions to the content you share on social media   
  • Shares: number of shares via social media but can also be analyzed as shares depending on type and length
  • Forwards: number of content forwards from one user to another, via email or direct messaging
  • Referral links and inbound links: number of link backs, usually to your website content
  • Comments: how many people commented on your social media posts

Social metrics are useful for determining what types of content you need to create to keep your audience engaged with your brand, and which to avoid. Also, they might reveal opportunities for future content campaigns.

 

Lead Generation

Lead generation and lead nurturing metrics track how your content is performing and whether it is fulfilling its purpose – converting visitors into leads that your sales team can take over, and turn into customers.

Google Analytics, as well as other tracking or CRM software can help you gather the necessary data.     

  • CTR click-through rate: measures how many clicks your calls-to-action- received
  • Form completions and downloads: total number of people who completed a form to download content
  • Email subscriptions: total number of email subscribers, old and new
  • Blog subscriptions: total number of people committed to reading your blog
  • Blog comments: number of people who interacted with your brand and need more information about a product or service
  • Total lead attribution: tracking where your leads are coming from
  • Conversion rate: total number of visitors who became leads

This group of metrics will inform you about content performance and help you identify which efforts push visitors further down the sales funnel, and which push them away. For example, you can identify if the copy or calls-to-action need improving, or perhaps you need to change the incentive.

Sales

Sales metrics are pretty obvious. You get to see how many people transitioned from visitors, leads, and to finally customers. They demonstrate whether your content marketing efforts were successful and profitable for the business. But to be able to measure the impact of content marketing, you need to create something trackable.

Typically, sales are measured though CRM systems, ecommerce systems, and other analytics software.

  • Online sales: number of online sales resulting from online marketing campaigns
  • Offline sales: number of offline sales supported by your overall content efforts
  • Manual reporting: number of unofficial sales deals made with future customers
  • Customer retention: number of returning customers that stay loyal to your brand due to special content efforts directed towards them
  • ROI – return on investment shows the profit generated as a result of your content marketing efforts

Sales metrics are an excellent way to quantify your content marketing results. They will express your overall content performance in terms of closed sales and generated profit, and show you how to proceed in order to gain more customers.

Each metric group compliments each other while providing valuable insight.  All metrics combined, when gathered systematically and analyzed carefully, will help you realize which campaigns work. You will find the types of content that work best, what customers need to know to make a purchase, and much more. Just follow the data, and make adjustments accordingly.

 

We believe that content marketing is part of a larger integrated marketing approach, and we aim to create content that attracts new audiences, provides visibility for your brand, and retains customers. Let us help you create your next big content marketing campaign. Contact us today and start measuring success right away!

 

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Get in touch and find out how our team can help you drive results!

Contact us today

 

Content Marketing Tactics as an Influence Building Tool

Building influence in your industry can greatly emphasize and amplify your marketing efforts. Becoming a trusted, credible and meaningful source of information and knowledge is crucial for establishing your business influence, impacting the attitude of people about your brand, and has the potential to change people’s minds and their purchasing behavior. One of the most effective ways of building influence and differentiating your brand from the pack is through the use of content marketing. We believe it actually is one of the most powerful tools that every business should include in their marketing arsenal.

Content marketing can be the means for achieving many end. It can help you position your brand as an industry leader and provide sales leads, but it can also build trust and influence among your audience.

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Using Storytelling in Content Marketing

Storytelling is an ancient form of art of telling stories as a way of social and cultural expression and activity, often accompanied with improvisation and/or theatrics. Stories have been shared for generations in every culture as a means of entertainment and education about cultural and moral beliefs and values.

Starting from Mahabharata, Odyssey by Homer, the 1001 Arabian nights tales, to the emotionally moving plays by Shakespeare, all of these masterpieces have something in common – they are timeless stories that stick with the readers long after they finish reading them.

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Holistic Content Marketing Helps All Marketing Channels

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Content is king. We’ve been hearing this for years, and, to this day it is still the truth. But, the type of content and mediums to promote it have been different and can vary. But, while I was working with one of our clients on marketing strategy, I realized how important it can be to their business.

I like to think about things holistically and how each channel helps each other. I’ve proven this method to work really well when put to use with clients, companies I’ve started, and/or advised. As an example, just creating an infographic doesn’t mean it’s going to drive traffic and awareness. But if you know people are searching for the information included, that bloggers want to use that content, etc. it could drive more than you even expected.

Having a holistic plan and more than just a single use for your content can be a huge win for the company. There are many ways this can work. If you’re an e-commerce company or retail business moving online, this can go a long way in terms of driving down your blended CPA.

As an example, you could be a retail or e-commerce company that sells a variety of name brands or major brands. You might be thinking of how to educate the customer on why they should be Gucci shoes over something like Steve Madden. You might want to do something like”Why high end brands are more cost effective than cheap ones in the long run.” (or something a long those lines). While putting the content together you could do some industry research about the longevity of a pair of high end shoes vs. a pair of cheap ones. Doing a full study and putting a few charts together would really help educate the customer.

What this also does is creates a relatable and personal feeling for your brand to the online shopper. Writing that post tells them you’re looking out for their best interest. Educating the customer here is really the goal and hopefully this post achieves that with the data and facts you’ve provided.

Along with educating the customer, they might have needed that last tip to just convert them to a new customer. Reading the content might have made them go “okay, im sold, I’m here, where do i buy them.” Another thing, assuming they aren’t ready to purchase just then would be to browse the site for more content or more products, to really validate the brand. Whatever the case, you’re providing a resource customers are interested in. Along with customers, bloggers and journalists could be interested in this, promoting this content could lead to multiple people writing about it citing your content.

They might not only be interested in it, they might actively be search for this. For example, I might be googling “steve madden vs gucci pricing” or many long tail variations of this. I might be really concerned about spending $500 on a pair of shoes vs. $79 and not truly understand the difference in the craftsmanship and quality. After understanding this, the customer could be sold (as mentioned above). The great part is, by creating this post, you’ve driven organic search traffic to your site and now you might have possibly converted that customer.

Okay fine, that might be a perfect world scenario, but, that isn’t the only way to convert them. There are two other methods that could potentially lead to a customer buying from you in a more cost efficient manner.

One of those is methods is retargeting. You just got a new user to visit your site through search traffic, them clicking a link in facebook, or a blog post that cites your content. Again, the key here is now this piece of content is already being used in many ways. But, now you’ve got a visitor to your site, that’s being retargeted and will be reminded of your products. Converting this customer over time will be way more cost effective than paying for Adwords or Facebook ad clicks. (that’s not to say we don’t want you to do them, we highly recommend it as well.)

Finally using this content to help email marketing efforts is just another method to help drive new conversions, as well as repeat revenue from existing customers. The first and simplistic thing you can do is have an email / newsletter sign up on your site. The person that came to the site might be so interested in the insightful piece of content you created that they might be interested in more content from you. Also, if they get to site and they find the content interesting but don’t take any action, you can have a modal window (aka pop up) appear on the site that could catch their attention, a service like Picreel will achieve this for you. Here is an example of how we’ve used it on David Kind‘s Blog (p.s. they are one of my favorite companies!):

picreel-signup-david-kind

Now that they have signed up, you can continue to market to them over email through a welcome series, newsletter series, and continue to promote content, the brands, offers, etc. from your company.

Speaking of that newsletter, the blog post you created, we’re coming back to it here because you might have customers that didn’t know the difference or would be interested in it. Or people who have signed up to the newsletter or welcome series that have yet to convert. You can highlight this content (or any other content you create, for that matter) within this newsletter and yet again use it to you drive a new conversion or repeat revenue from existing customers.

Finally, using services like Taboola or Outbrain, you can use this content and promote it using low cost advertising on a variety of content sites that might be relevant to your brand. An example of this is companies like Harry’s or Dollar Shave Club, who I see all the time when I’m reading about one of my beloved Chicago Sports teams. Here’s an example of how they use the ads to drive customer awareness and also new customer acquisition:

dollar-shave-club-harrys-taboola-ads

With all the methods we just listed above, you just drove down your blended CPA. All of this was done with one single piece of content used across various channels and mediums.

Now, I know that was a lot to cover, but, think about it. The possibilities are endless with content. So you should be mapping it out and creating an entire content strategy for your business and not just creating blog posts for the sake of creating them. Think about all the different ways you can use this content to drive new traffic, new users, new conversions, new leads, etc.

Visible Factors is always here to help when you need a Content Marketing Strategy for your company. And, we’d love to hear your thoughts about content marketing below in the comments.