Crafting a winning data-driven content strategy: 2017 update

January 20, 2017Content Marketing Strategy

By Germaine Hendrik, Senior Editor and Strategist

If you understand the value of a content strategy, chances are you already have one. But as mid-year approaches, you should review your content marketing activities and evaluate whether your strategy is meeting business objectives and to reveal potential tweaks and improvements.

After all, things can change in the blink of a Google algorithm update.

Take note of these interesting stats and employ a data-driven approach to your content marketing.

1. 94 per cent of top-level execs still get their info from e-newsletters

Who said email marketing is dead? The Quartz Global Executives Study (released in late 2016), found that 94 per cent of top-level executives get their news from email newsletters, compared to 46 per cent who get their news from video.

Disruptive ads could be a factor here, with 28 per cent of respondents finding auto-play audio or video ads ineffective.

The study also found that 88 per cent of respondents are likely to share good content, most of which are long-form articles (84 per cent).

Unsurprisingly, 74 per cent of executives prefer to consume news in the morning, and most say data visualisations (68 per cent), charts (52 per cent) and photography (52 per cent) draw them in the most.

In short, it’s a good idea to keep C-level content succinct and fleshed out with graphs and charts to illustrate data-heavy content. Also, if you’re serving up those in-depth pieces, do it in the morning.

2. The average blog now takes 26 per cent more time to write and is 19 per cent longer

According to 2016 research by Orbit Media, today’s bloggers put more effort into their digital content, with the average spending more than three hours writing 1000-word-plus blog posts.

The debate about whether long-form or short-form content is better could go on forever, but one thing everyone can agree on is that regardless of length, high-quality and relevant content is king – at least to Google’s Panda algorithm.

When deciding on the length of your content, it’s worth looking at what your audience already knows and what they want. Long-form content can be useful at the beginning of your marketing journey if readers are unaware of your brand and what message you are trying to convey. Short-form content, however, may be used for entertaining and informing customers who already purchase from you.

Editorial quality is just as important as content quantity, if not more so. A well-researched and informative piece is great, but if it’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors then it loses credibility – and therefore readers.

Implementing a content workflow can ensure a high editorial standard in your organisation’s content, whether you’re doing it in-house or outsourcing the writing.

3. Behind blogging (38 per cent), visual content (37 per cent) is the most important form of content for marketers

This is certainly the case according to Social Media Examiner. Its 2016 report on the social media marketing industry reveals that B2B marketers place more importance on written content (49 per cent say it’s the most important form of content), while B2C marketers prize visual content (42 per cent).

Both visual and written content have their roles to play in the content marketing mix, and effective use of both means recognising when and where to use them. GIFs and short videos tend to be more shareable, for example, while ebooks and research papers have greater credibility.

Ideally, a good mix of both visual and written content will keep things interesting for your audience and address their varying needs. An infographic might be a better way to present step-by-step instructions compared to a blog, for example.

For more expert advice, visit our blog or get in touch with one of our consultants to learn more about creating effective content that accurately targets your audience and achieves the results you crave.