January 5, 2021 Robert Wilson

Harnessing data for content ideation in 2021

Data can make the difference between good content and really great content that engages the right audience. In today’s world, it’s not good enough to just produce what your organisation thinks your audience wants to digest. You need to know exactly what they want — and you can get there by using the right data to guide your strategy.

When preparing your content strategy for the new year, if you haven’t done so already, ensure that you use data to drive it. Using just gut-feel, educated guesswork, or relying on noise from social listening to understand what your audience might want to engage with just won’t work anymore. The right audience-centric data will help make your content relevant, differentiated and increase overall engagement.

First you need to choose a subject area to review, then, we recommend you look at three key data sets around content for that specific subject.

1. Audience Preferences
What is your target audience currently searching for, and engaging with online about the given subject? Within the websites and forums that they are viewing, what are the multiple content formats they are reading, watching and listening to? It’s important to get an understanding as to what are the most popular content formats such as blogs, reports, infographics, videos and downloadable content.

Also, what topic groups are they interested in? These are the topics within the broader subject. Finally, is there a particular style that the audience prefers, such as educational content, recommendations, reviews or news pieces?

Next you need to look at how audience preferences differ across different markets and regions? There is so much content to explore and analyse, but it’s essential that you do and collaborate with an expert partner that can help you (more on that later).

2. Competitor Strategy
Next, it’s important that you look at what content your competitors are creating around the given subject. Are they relevant to the audience, what are they talking about, and what engagement levels are they achieving? Similarly to your audience preferences, what formats and styles of content are your competitors deploying online, and how successful are they being? What content strategy are they using, and is it the same across multiple markets?

By understanding this complex data — and by combining it with the understanding of what different audiences really want — you will create a meaningful competitive benchmark and unlock a strategy to truly differentiate your content and stay ahead of your competitors. Using tools such as social listening plug-ins, or keyword-driven SEO platforms will not get you the data you need in 2021 and beyond.

3. Finally, it’s time for you
Now that you understand what your audience prefers, and what your competitors are up to, it’s time to analyse your own content performance and develop your strategy. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you currently creating content in the optimum formats, about the preferred topics, using the most engaging styles?
  • What does success look like versus your competitive set?
  • Is your content tailored to audience needs, or is it just focussed towards the needs of your company’s product, PR and brand teams?

Don’t worry if your content is too product-focused or not directly relevant to what your audience actually wants. It’s important to spot that now and make sure 2021 sees you redress the balance; to get the right mixture of content around the right topics, in the right style, and in the right formats that fit your audience’s preferences. It will leave your competitors scratching their heads and wondering how you did it.

The data from points one and two above will need to come from a combination of SEO keyword/phrase performance data, audience impact/relevance data through search ranking signals, plus data that tells you what topics, formats and styles have delivered engagement in different markets. We’re talking about many, many thousands of data points, across many, many thousands of URLs and content pieces.

It’s a daunting task, but there is tech to help you

Due to the size and complexities of this process, it’s impossible for a person, or even a team of many people to do. Fortunately at IMMedia Content, we’ve developed the IMMediate Platform which can do the heavy lifting for you, creating the audience-centric data and unique metrics you need.

IMMediate has been built to search many, many thousands of different URLs, to find what your content is doing versus your competitors, and how that weighs up to what your audience is actually looking for online in the wider content landscape. This is something that social listening can only scratch the surface of (a surface that is dominated by the noisy few that make themselves constantly visible in social media).

Making data-driven, audience-centric decisions easy
The IMMediate Platform will show you real content engagement via its unique Engagement Index (Ei), which reveals the content topics, formats and styles your audience prefers across multiple markets. It also benchmarks your content against competitors and the wider content landscape, to show if your content is relevant to your audience, while identifying opportunities to maximise the impact of your content.

It does this by using complex Ai/ML-algorithms to allocate topic/format/ style tags to thousands of different content assets that it harvests from the internet; it then assigns SEO performance scores and audience relevance/quality weights, before collating, clustering and displaying it in an easy to understand way.

From great data, comes great insights and recommendations
The data sets are then used to show differences across markets providing not only local insights, but also regional and global intelligence to enable today’s complex businesses to make sense of what’s happening to grow engagement and content ROI across multiple websites around the world. Once the data has been cross-referenced to audience preferences, competitor strategy and your own business aims, IMMediate recommends the optimum content mix that will transform audience engagement.

Through ongoing machine learning, IMMediate then continues to optimise your content strategy, providing you with the optimum content calendars for your audiences across multiple markets. From new content creation, repurposing and sharing, the insights will improve content performance and return on a global level.

Next step: creating a plan

Create a content calendar that clearly lays out your schedule and stick to it. It’s important to regularly produce content for your website and other various channels to keep people engaged and coming back for more.

IMMediate can easily and quickly integrate with your content planning process to provide you with the best overall view of what content is currently being created online and how your business should be using content marketing to improve audience engagement. This is a long-term strategy that will provide you with a positive ROI many times over.

Harnessing complex data for content ideation will greatly improve your content’s overall performance. It will help you gain a better understanding of your audience and guide you to make better content marketing decisions. This in turn will help build brand awareness, increase engagement, and essentially grow your business: essential in 2021 and beyond.

Speak to us today about how we can help you with data-led ideation and creating the optimal content for your business.