5 Keys for Successful Data-Driven Content Distribution
May 30, 2018
More than 90% of B2B companies use content marketing as a strategy, and 38% plan to increase their B2B content marketing spending over the next 12 months. But while confidence in creating content rises, the distribution of that content is still a struggle. Only a little more than half of B2B marketers distribute content on a consistent basis, and almost one in four still outsource content distribution.
There continues to be a bit of a disconnect between creating content for the right audiences and getting that content in front of those audiences. How, then, can B2B companies distribute content in a way that gets seen? According to Jay Wilder, Director of Product Marketing at Datorama, it starts with understanding who your customers are, what challenges they face, and how you can solve those challenges. Then, it takes a complete view of the data to understand what distribution channels, campaigns and content pieces actually resonate and convert.
Here, Jay shares his top five content distribution tactics that get eyes on content and urge audiences to act.
1. Make use of data
Look at the data you’re collecting to discover deep insights about your audiences, such as how they navigate the path to purchase. Evaluate every channel to understand what drives engagement and what impacts results. “On the digital side, we bring together our paid and organic social, paid search and SEO data, for instance, with our conversion data from our site analytics, marketing automation and CRM,” says Jay. “We figure out different ways that people associate phrases and topics with the things that we do, turn those into content ideas, and look at the results in real-time.” Jay’s team at Datorama evaluates data to learn how well their strategies are working overall with how they generate demand. While opportunities may take 90 or more days to close, the team can see engagement and conversions into traffic, leads and SQLs as they happen. This allows for quick learning, while optimizing the budget for longer term pipeline impact.
Key Takeaway: Think about how to set up a consistent KPI framework for the different pieces of content you have, and use that learning to develop new content that engages and converts.
2. Mix it up
“We’re very solutions focused and serve many industries. So, we do a lot of research both within the client base, and outside of that base to determine what the key challenges are and how we can solve them. Then we look at the best channels to connect those solutions with our different audiences,” Jay says. What they’ve found is that it’s not about choosing one channel over another, but rather about finding the mix of the right channels and the right messages for each of segment of their market. “Datorama serves enterprise customers, agency customers, publishers, large global corporations and SMB customers,” Jay explains. Each of those audiences requires a different mix. Some channels may work better for reaching SMBs, but not well for enterprises, or vice versa. “Other channels, like LinkedIn, that are business-focused,” says Jay, “show us positive results for all audiences, but we use different tactics and content for each. We’re able to do this quickly using real-time dashboards to monitor results and dial in the mix per business unit and region based on results.”
Key Takeaway: Content distribution is a moving target, so it pays to stay agile.
3. Test and learn
Within the social sphere, Dataroma looks at all the channels targeted to their buyers, and tests different types of content with different audiences. “We created two different top of funnel pieces of content,” Jay explains. “One focused on analytics and the other covered how AI is transforming marketing and how companies could use it today to get an edge.” The AI whitepaper outperformed the analytics content by a landslide. “From that test, we found a way to differentiate ourselves as a company, turning a technology topic that we know a lot about into stories of practical business use cases.” Now, Datorama leverages the AI and automation topics considerably within its pipeline, so that audiences learn more about the company, but through the lens of thought leadership to understand how these new technology approaches benefit the business. As it turns out, the analytics paper now performs best in the middle of the funnel nurturing programs through marketing automation.
Key Takeaway: Look at the data your content provides you and don’t be afraid to test different types of content and messaging.
4. Check in.
Analytics are a critical component to a successful content distribution strategy. “For each piece of content, we look at performance, investment, and impact” says Jay. That means evaluating what has been spent so far and where, impressions, engagement rate, and click-thru-rate (CTR) on through direct and indirect impact on traffic, leads, opportunities and wins:
- How is it generating leads?
- What happens to those leads historically over time?
- What touchpoints are actually influencing SQLs?
On one hand, it’s about performance (Can we move spend from here to there for better ROI?) On the other it’s about leads and SQLs in the pipeline (How can we use these channels to accelerate people through our process?) “We need to look at our campaigns on LinkedIn and other paid or owned platforms through the lens of awareness, lead gen and opportunity nurturing,” Jay says. “What’s different about Datorama is how we measure. Instead of looking at reach and engagement separately from leads and opportunities, we bring the front-end marketing together with the back-end pipeline to effect change across the entire buyer’s journey. To make sense of all the different parts of our marketing, we’ve set up consistent KPIs to measure against.” At the front end, look at user engagement. What gets people to download or view to the end? Post-conversion to lead, Datorama looks at how their content influences conversion and velocity through the pipeline. That helps the team make day-to-day changes in where they place investments as well as how they structure the customer journey with different content and topics. “It also helps us report to our management and sales about our strategy and results so we can collaborate and bring in more points of view,” Jay adds.
Key Takeaway: Be strategic and comprehensive about your analytics.
5. Look to the future
Use data to look for new formats and unconventional ways of sharing content. Try new approaches that push the boundaries, while still representing your brand’s identity. Your content should be representative of the culture and ethos of your company. For Datoroma, that means looking at creating videos that are edgier and more modern. “The next evolution for us is more testing in video—to learn what visual approaches work best and formats, such as traditional 30-60 second spots and more ephemeral social story formats,” Jay says. “Datorama is a disruptive brand and technology, so it’s important for us to create videos that don’t look like every other canned video. We take that same approach with our events, webinars, infographics, or any number of formats. In the busy marketing intelligence and analytics space, we look to cut through the noise with down-to-earth practical advice and stories from our customers.”
Key Takeaway: Use performance trends to determine what’s gaining traction and how to evolve your content distribution strategy for future efforts while remaining true to your brand.
“Our goal at Datorama is to tell the story of our brands, our company, our platform, and ultimately our customers,” explains Jay. Companies that want to leverage content would do well to run tests, figure out what’s going on across different channels at different stages of the journey, and then move with speed to pick the things that work. Then keep that process going.” Having a single source of marketing truth for your data is critical, so that you can test across all marketing efforts. Leverage technology like marketing intelligence that can help you be more agile, versus having to input all that data into a spreadsheet, and constantly try to keep it updated. Intuition, speed, and testing are key to content distribution success.
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