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3 Ways to Use Big Data to Drive Your Content Marketing Strategy

Now I’m preaching to the choir when I tell you that big data is the future. You all know that already. Article after article on this website is devoted to the idea that if we use big data correctly, it can be worth its weight in digital gold. The question is, are you actually using it correctly, particularly when you’re using it to push your content marketing?

Here are two ways that you might already be using it.

1) You can use it to know who to target with your content marketing

And using big data to drive your strategy is indeed a great and obvious way to utilize big data. If you know who is more likely to read and appreciate your kind of content marketing, then obviously it’s becomes a great deal easier to target those people and make sure it appears on their screens.

Similarly, you can use it to get your information in front of people who might then want to buy your product. This group is hopefully similar to your first group and there is at least some overlap.

That said, they probably aren’t exactly the same and there might be a good reason why in some cases you want to target the first group (e.g. to generate exposure) and on other occasions the second group (e.g. to generate sales).

2) You can use it to know what those groups want to read about

And then there’s another common content strategy, which is to analyze what content people are consuming and what kinds of content marketing and what kinds of subjects they are more likely to read, share and discuss. Then you can make certain that more of that kind of content is generated.

Both of these strategies are good and established ways of using data marketing. And there’s nothing wrong with just using them. Still, I’d like to talk about a third way to use big data, which has been largely overlooked for some reason.

3) You can use it to generate stories and offer insights

I’m not sure why more companies don’t do this. Perhaps because the instinct to hold one’s cards close to your chest has made them overlook this as a viable strategy, or perhaps because it’s not part of conventional wisdom. Whatever the reason, as the Harvard Business Review explains, most companies are not revealing their findings to the world.

And that’s a grave oversight.

For one thing, it really doesn’t matter how much you hone your writing skills, if you’re writing the same kind of stuff as everybody else, nobody will really care. And that is what most people are doing. They’re just regurgitating what everybody else has already spat out (a slightly disturbing visual image, to be sure). And let’s be clear about it, you can’t reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare if everybody just keeps writing what everybody else has already written.

Big data offers a way out of that predicament without being forced to fork over huge amounts of money for investigative journalism teams. It offers you the opportunity to generate content by showcasing interesting finding about customers and their habits.

For example, OKcupid has an article about what happened when they removed profile pictures f.... And Kickstarter shows what month is the best month to launch a campaign.

And if you follow this path, it’s not as if you’re suddenly revealing all your secrets. After all, you get to decide what you share.

  • Draw in new views with your new customers
  • Make people believe that your company is transparent
  • Demonstrate expertise and authority, especially if what you’ve found is insightful
  • Get to show off how many people actually use your products (if you want to)
  • Get new (free) insights from the public into what some data might actually mean

Those are all tremendously useful perks, without companies necessarily sacrificing all that much.

Perhaps after considering that you can better understand why it is so surprising to me that this third way of using big data isn’t used more often. Perhaps after people have read this article it will be.

Or perhaps it will need to get rewritten a few dozen times in different styles before people pick up its ideas. Only time will tell.

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Tags: big, content, data, marketing, strategy

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