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How do you decide which piece of content to create? What’s your strategy in choosing the type of approach to implement with each piece of content? How do you make sure your content marketing strategy is a success?

If these questions keep you up at night, you’re in the right place. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss the one major factor that can provide all the answers and more: data. We’ll talk about the impact data has on content marketing strategies and why it’s crucial that you start using it today.

How does data fit with content marketing?

There’s no denying that marketers need the data provided by specialized platforms, such as Google Analytics (GA). However, most content creators fail to see its capabilities because they’re more inclined to believe that the creative side doesn’t mix well with the analytical side.

Furthermore, when marketers do use the platform, they don’t exploit its full potential. The data is mostly used to measure content effectiveness after it has been created, published, and promoted via a campaign. But the reports, graphs, and other tools offered by the platform can also be used to understand the type of content that should be created for a specific audience.

This means that, with the right data, you have the chance to create laser-focused content strategies that will deliver the expected results. 

Creating the best content strategy

There was a time when the idea of content strategy was foreign to both creators and marketers. For creators, the idea of documenting and planning their content ideas throughout a time interval based on data analysis was outrageous. Instead, they would rather base their content creation decisions on “gut instinct”, current trends, and what they thought the audience might like.

While being in constant contact with a certain audience and overall experience do factor in and add value, there’s no way of knowing which piece of content will bring the most traffic and engagement. Furthermore, without data, it’s difficult to know why the audience is reacting to a specific piece, so you can replicate the success.

Data helps creators focus on specific audiences, creating content that attracts and engages readers. Without it, most content is created with the intent of reaching the largest possible audience, which is never successful and leads to a waste of time and resources.  

So, a data-driven approach can have a powerful impact on the type of content you create, how you create it, and how you promote it. Among others, the right data will:

  • Pinpoint the target audience
  • Channel-specific preferences
  • Provide the possibility that a piece of content may attract sales
  • Indicate the most relevant topics to approach

But let’s take a closer look at how and why data is essential for the best content strategy:

Insight into your target audience

Analytics offer valuable insight into what your audience is thinking and how they feel about your content (expressed through metrics such as traffic, time on page, bounce rate, and so on). Furthermore, if you analyze the trends set by pre-existing customers, you get access to information such as location, age, profession, needs and wants, pain points, and more.

Once you get a hold of these data points, it’s easy to understand what the people consuming your content want and like. You can also learn where they hang out online and who they’re most likely to be influenced by.

Quick note: this information alone provides plenty of content ideas that are relevant to your audience. It also offers collaboration ideas by providing you with a list of influencers that may become your campaign supporters.

Another aspect you need to follow is social media effectiveness. GA can pinpoint the best channel to use by analyzing income traffic from social media and whether the audience is converting into customers.

The same goes for general traffic, where the data can tell you who is leaving your site and why, how many people are actually engaged by the content, and what people prefer doing when they visit your pages.

Making the right decisions

What would you do if you knew for sure which pages are less engaging for the audience? You would probably work on bringing them up to speed by comparing them with the successful pages and improving the content they deliver.

Well, a data-driven content marketing strategy can give you exactly that. By analyzing metrics such as time spent on page and setting conversion goals, GA lets you know the level of engagement generated by each page on your site.

The best advantage of using data to shape your content strategy stands in the fact that you know the impact of each decision you make. If you want to drop an underperforming social media channel in order to focus your efforts on the most engaging ones, you can do so without wondering ‘what if?’. On the other hand, if you want to boost engagement on a page that’s lagging, you will know the steps to take and in what order.

Data-driven content marketing is the best way to make sure you’re making the right decisions, without involving any guesswork or ‘gut feeling’.

One step further

GA can only offer a prescriptive analysis because it collects data based on past events. This means that you need to have a base of users or customers and existing content in order to receive insight. Once received, it’s your job to make predictions and try to understand what works.

But there are predictive platforms that can reduce the marketer’s or creator’s brain effort by forecasting future results. This means that platforms such as 40Nuggets and Parse.ly can help you know the content that is most likely to work even before you decide to write it.

Goal achievement and content marketing ROI

The main purpose of content marketing is to get people to spend time and/or money on your creation. If this doesn’t happen, the content doesn’t convert, and you don’t achieve your marketing goals. But how can you know the status of your goals?

Luckily, GA has an entire section dedicated to goal tracking that lets users know if the audience is engaged enough to take action.

As you know, goals can be anything from driving awareness to increasing sales, which means they can be quite tricky to define. Still, due to GA’s ingenuity, you have the possibility to not only define goals but also identify the steps a user needs to take in order to consider the goal completed. This way, you can easily identify bottleneck areas or steps that make the process more difficult.

Finally, all this work on understanding the audience, setting goals, and creating content that converts is for the final purpose of lifting ROI. And with the right kind of data, lifting ROI is nothing more than a repetitive process of planning, creating, measuring, and optimizing.

You plan and create your content based on data that comes from the market, you measure the results provided by the new content using the metrics we discussed, and then you optimize the process based on the results. This way, you have the chance to refine your content marketing strategy to a point where it becomes difficult to make mistakes.

If you’re looking to expand your business and want an advertising campaign that delivers, it’s time you looked at LinkedIn advertising.

On LinkedIn, you get access to customers on the world’s biggest business stage. Whether you’re looking to increase sales, build a brand, or attract more leads, LinkedIn is an ideal option for your business. Here’s why.

In 2017, LinkedIn announced that it had over 500 million registered users in 200 countries; it has a reported user goal of 3 billion users. Each month, there are 106 million unique users and 40% of users check LinkedIn daily.

That’s a lot of users at your fingertips, and they’re all there with a similar goal in mind – gaining access to business and career-related information. They aren’t looking for funny pictures of cats or videos of human stunts. They are there to read relevant information, so if you provide that information, they are also more likely to share it.

That means it’s the right time for you to add a LinkedIn advertising campaign to your online strategy. If you’re new to advertising, or you already have success on Facebook, Twitter or Google, we can help you with your LinkedIn ad campaign. So let’s take an in-depth look at how to set up LinkedIn ads.

Why LinkedIn Advertising

If you’re still debating whether to invest in LinkedIn advertising, here are a few more reasons.

If you’re looking for a B2B reach, LinkedIn is the perfect fit. Most of its users are there for business and networking, so you will be targeting professionals. LinkedIn gives you a quick and effective way to reach users in the business community.

LinkedIn also has a high conversion rate, in large part because its advertising allows for laser-focused targeting. You can also create different versions of an ad during a campaign and track which ad performs best. You can then eliminate low-performing ads, which in turn will improve conversion and help the return on your advertising investment.

Advertising Options

With LinkedIn, you have two options for advertising:

  • Use Campaign Manager for a self-serve solution to do several types of ads;
  • Use account-managed advertising, in which you partner with a dedicated LinkedIn team.

With Campaign Manager, you’re in charge. You set a budget, choose from options like clicks or impressions, and have the option to halt your ads at any time. Campaign Manager is an all-in-one platform that supports several advertising formats.

You can also opt for account-managed LinkedIn advertising. With this choice, a dedicated team works with you through the LinkedIn Marketing Partner Program. Through LinkedIn, you choose from a community of LinkedIn-approved technology and service providers. This will help you save time from doing the work yourself.

Types of Ads

LinkedIn offers a variety of advertising formats, with different advantages to each format.

Let’s take a quick look at each type of advertisement.

Sponsored Content: your posts will appear in users’ feeds with their other updates. This is a great option because it gives you the ability to expand your audience by advertising outside the followers you already have. It also reaches users on multiple types of devices. It appears directly in news feeds so it doesn’t look like an advertisement and it tends to get more attention and better results. You also get to establish your budget and choose from a cost-per-impression or cost-per-click.

Sponsored InMail: your content is delivered directly to your audiences’ LinkedIn mailboxes, making this a more personal message than other options. Messages will only be delivered when members are active on LinkedIn. This means you don’t have to worry about spam blockers or undelivered messages. However, this option is recommended for those businesses with higher advertising budgets, as it is a higher cost option.

Text Ads: your posts appear off to the side of the page. They are intended to drive customers to your site as a self-service, pay-per-click campaign. They are good for a business on a tight budget as you establish your budget and only pay for clicks or impressions. You can also target your audience.

Dynamic Ads: your ads are targeted to a specific audience using customer data. With this option, you select an audience to target based on skills and interests. Then a personalized message is created. Dynamic ads are a great option for growing your company’s follower count, as clients have the option to follow you with one click.

Display Ads: your ads are targeted to a preferred audience, with a guarantee that your message will reach them. You pre-purchase impressions and the ads appear on users’ pages in an unobtrusive way. This is good for raising brand awareness but is a more expensive option.

Video Ads: Your ads tell a story using video. The popularity in video has exploded for consumers and is now happening for B2B use.

How To Do It

Now that we’ve looked at the why and what of LinkedIn advertising, let’s get to the how. Let’s assume you’re managing your advertising campaign on your own and will be using Campaign Manager to set up, run and analyze the campaign.

Using Campaign Manager

To start, set up your account with Campaign Manager. This is where you will be managing your LinkedIn advertising. It has multiple features, such as:

  • A detailed breakdown of actions taken as a result of your campaign, including likes, shares, clicks, follows and comments.
  • Details on the demographics of the LinkedIn members who engage with your ads.
  • Visual reporting that displays data related to your search and filter settings, allowing for specific reporting.

Setting up an account is simple:

  • Sign in to your LinkedIn account.
  • Click the Work icon at the top of the homepage and choose Advertise.
  • Select Create ad.
  • Select which type of advertisement you want to run, with an option to choose Learn More to see a description and image for each advertisement type.
  • Choose and enter a new ad account name in the Account Name field. This name can be changed.
  • Select the currency to be used for billing.
  • If you want, choose to link a Company or Showcase page.

Note: You don’t have to link a Company page unless you choose a Sponsored Content campaign. It is recommended that you build a quality company page for those customers who want to learn more about your company.

Create Your Ads

Once you have an account set up in Campaign Manager, you can create and manage ad campaigns by choosing options such as Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, Text Ads, or a mix. Simply choose the Create Campaign button, choose your option, and create your ads.

Campaign Manager assists you in creating the advertisements, with lots of helpful tips to guide the way. You will be able to choose your target audience language, or select a call-to-action option, for instance, for Sponsored Content ads.

The next step is to specify your options for directing ads to the people you want to target, such as by location, job functions, company names, demographics, and other similar filters. You have the ability to save those choices to create a template that you can then use the next time you’re creating a campaign.

Next up is establishing your budget. There are options here such as cost-per-click, cost-per-impressions, and cost-per-send. With cost-per-send, you pay only for messages received for sponsored InMail ads. For cost-per-click and cost-per-impressions, you establish a limit for your daily spend as well as a bid price, which spells out the maximum you will pay per click or impression. You also select start and end dates for the campaign.

While doing the budget, be sure to include the option for conversion tracking by adding the Insight Tag. This will give you details on the people who interact with your ads. With this, you can track the user’s specific actions to measure such as installs, downloads, sign-ups, and purchases.

Measuring Success

Campaign Manager also provides metrics on numbers of impressions, clicks and spend for your campaign, as well as “social actions,” which shows you how members are interacting with the content. All this detail will help you measure and optimize your campaign.

Here’s a sample of the measurements you can track and evaluate to maximize your return on investment:

  • Number of clicks on links in your ad;
  • Number of impressions or times people saw your ad;
  • Click-through rate, or the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions;
  • Average engagement, or the total number of paid and free clicks divided by impressions. Engagements include social actions such as likes, comments, or shares;
  • Conversions, or the number of times someone took an action after clicking on or seeing your ad;
  • Conversion rate, or how often your ad results in a conversion on your website;
  • Cost per conversion, or spend on advertising divided by conversions;
  • Leads, or the number of leads generated by your ads.
  • Cost per lead or advertisement spends divided by leads.

Using this detail, you can analyze campaigns as they’re running and make adjustments. For instance, if you have one ad that has a low click-through rate, you may want to pause that campaign and devote more resources to the more successful campaign.

Final Thoughts

Now you know the basics of a LinkedIn advertising campaign, including the “why,” “what” and “how.”

Remember when creating a LinkedIn campaign, it’s important to follow best practices for engagement with customers on any platform. Tell people what’s in it for them, write personalized content, and use relevant images to enhance your advertisement.

Test your ads frequently by measuring what works best and replicating that formula, then use Campaign Manager to measure and improve the return on investment for your ad campaign.

With these tips in mind, your LinkedIn advertising campaign should be a success for your business.

When you start out with a new business, naturally you have high hopes for it. Who doesn’t want to become and authority within their industry? You know that it’s possible, but knowing how to go about it can be another matter entirely.

For most industries, there’s cut throat competition. The online world is buzzing, and whatever you’re doing, someone else is probably doing it too. So how do you elevate yourself to the lofty position of authority you crave? Even when people think they have an idea of how to become an authority, it often fails.

The point of building authority is to build trust in your business. Without trust, you don’t have much of a business anyway. It simply makes sense to aim for the top.

Here are a few pointers that should give you best chance of making your brand an authority:

Make yourself fully available on social media

One of the first things your customers will want to know is that you’re ready and waiting to interact with them. Your online presence should be prolific; your social media channels regularly active and your products and services easy to locate.

This applies in particular to Facebook. No entrepreneur should ever dream of setting out without a Facebook page for the business – it’s one of the first things your customers will seek out.

Know your target audience

You should first be fully aware of who your target audience is. This way, when you start to pay for advertising (and pay you must) you’ll be reaching the right people. Facebook has an effective advertising platform – when you know what you’re doing. Not everything must be paid for, however:

Create and interact with groups

You can create groups of your own that are relevant to your target audience, and post in other groups that share related content. The latter should be done in a strategic and ‘non-spammy’ way, of course; neither should it violate the terms of the groups. Group members consistently receive notifications, which doesn’t happen much via pages unless you pay.

Make sure you join in other discussions within the groups to get your face and knowledge noticed. Technically you’re doing admins a favour by responding on their behalf… provided your information isn’t controversial.

However you’re spreading your own content, make sure it is done consistently. The content must be highly relevant for your target audience, and delivered in an engaging way. Once that engagement comes your way, you have to be there to respond. This is how people begin to trust you.

Get your face known

The moment you put a face to a name, people start to feel that they know you. It’s a subconscious thing, but it does build trust. A photo won’t really cut it; video is the way. Nobody is saying it’s easy, and it might take practice before you feel confident.

Regardless, it’s entirely necessary. It’s all about the video these days, and if you’re not doing it, your customers will be engaging with someone who will. The good news is that once you have a following for your videos, people will be much more inclined to read your content.

If you’re not a natural public speaker, make a script or at least a few bullet points you can refer to. Use your current content as a guide if you don’t have too many fresh ideas. Don’t put notes on your desk as you’ll need to keep glancing down – that’s incredibly obvious to viewers. Place it on your screen if possible – that way you’ll appear to be looking at the camera and you should get to avoid watching your own (distracting) face.

Once you feel more confident, going live is even better. People love to engage in real time, and it speaks of a whole new level of confidence. From a marketing point of view, it’s a win-win. You don’t even need to pay for it.

Guest post on relevant websites

Today it’s all about being a guest. If you can get yourself invited into a current authority’s domain somehow, you’ll automatically be trusted by their audiences.  Connecting with popular bloggers and site owners and getting your content onto their channels will dramatically expand your reach.

How will you find these sites? Search ‘write for us’ plus your industry, and see what comes up. Lots of people welcome guest posts; after all it keeps their site content fresh with minimal effort. Obviously you’re going to have some competition, so make sure you have some high quality content available to demonstrate your worth. Before long, you should be receiving invitations.

Don’t forget to aim for podcasts and YouTube collaborations too. If you can get publicly interviewed, all the better.

A few more pointers

Other things to keep in mind are that it pays to be confident. You never want to come across as desperate; so no chasing, no spamming and no bartering. If you know your value, others will too.

What’s more, you should develop a unique and memorable communication style… one that helps people to recognise you. Coming across as confident, honest, straight-talking and highly informative is crucial.

Lastly, do what you say you’re going to do – in a timely manner. Exceed people’s expectations and you’re already one step ahead. Make sure you don’t do it too cheaply, either. If you value your time, products and services, so will everyone else. The same works in reverse.

That’s about it. Embrace these tactics, apply some consistency and discipline, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the authority in your field.