Understanding customers and prospects is the core challenge for effective content marketing. Indeed, the whole process of persona development – a crucial part of any content strategy – is focussed on revealing what customers need and the most effective way to communicate with them.

Only with these insights can you develop compelling content that really speaks to customer challenges and pulls them much further along your sales funnel.

Naturally, building relationships with customers you’ve never met is a difficult task. However, the judicious use of Big Data can make it much easier. There’s a wealth of information out there that can help you better understand your customers and prospects. In fact, every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation up until 2003.

Basing content marketing on age, gender, or job title is no longer enough. Today, every business must become better at understanding and evaluating customer needs on a bespoke basis, using detailed information on how they engage with the expanding online world.

On social media alone, every minute sees 100,000 new tweets, 680,000 Facebook posts and 48 hours of video loaded onto YouTube. That’s not to mention all the insights that can be gathered by tracking and analysing what competitors are saying, your online performance, or how prospects engage with your content.

There are many tools out there that can help. Google Analytics can show how traffic behaves on your website, revealing the best topics to focus on or the right times to release new content to achieve maximum impact. Social listening tools like Sysomos enable you to understand the conversations happening in your industry and the common challenges customers are facing. Meanwhile, marketing automation solutions like Marketo can help you understand how customers and prospects engage with your content: What email subject lines create the most clicks? What topics generate the most interest?

All of this information can then be fed back into your on-going content strategy, allowing your approach to be improved and refined on a constant basis. Data-driven insights will enable you to create better content, identify the right channels to use, focus on topics relevant to your audience and, crucially, start more conversions at the right time, in the right way, with the right people. That can only be good for business.

Is data integral to your content marketing strategy? Let us know what worked for you: hello@hitfirstbase.com

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