Using Data for Content Marketing

People love data. In fact, 43% of people actually retain what they read better when statistics are included. Well, not really, I just made that number up.

But even a depressingly low number like the one I made up made you notice, right? It’s odd how the brain works but numbers give some type of authority to your articles.

Of course, the statistics you quote should be well-researched, not fictional like the one above. Where do I get those hard numbers for my blog posts, infographics and reports?

1. Mine Your Database
The best data to use is the one you own. Crunch the numbers in your database and you can share interesting factoids like:

  • The average time people reply to each others messages.
  • The most popular types of content uploaded to your app.
  • The time of day when most of the orders are placed.

Many of these are not just “huh, that’s interesting” pieces of data but information that your customers actually would like to know to help them make the most out of your site.

Things to check out:

  • Google Analytics.
  • Mine your database for usage patterns and behavior.
  • Discover transaction patterns.

2. Talk to Customers
The next best thing to using actual data is talking to the people who use your site. We want to be understood and you’ll be surprised how much information you can get this way. You can:

  • Review at past interviews with customers, or facilitate new interviews. Ask about their goals, why they use your product, and what problems they faced when using it.
  • Create surveys to collect information about how much people like your site, how well they understand it, etc.
  • Collect feedback both from internal means and through external review sites.
  • Check out your bug reports and feature requests sent through your site’s forms.
  • If you can, shadow a customer through their work day to get a first-hand glimpse on how they work and their daily struggles.
  • Ask customers to be part of beta releases so they can help shape your product development while getting direct feedback.

3. Ask your Team
The people who are closest to your customers are some of your best sources of customer information. Ask you support staff and sales for stories and you’ll get everything from heart-warming tales to scary ones you dare not tell to little children.

  • Review support logs and collect stats from those.
  • Ask your support team for the most frequently asked questions and request of your customers.
  • Ask your sales team about customer roadblocks, feature requests, and even special processes they use to onboard customers.
  • Be your own customer to experience the process yourself.

4. Get industry data
This isn’t as exclusive as the previous ones but are still valuable to your customers, especially paired with good insights. Take note that you want data from your customer’s industry, not your own.

  • Subscribe to industry reports.
  • Read print publications and trade magazines.
  • Use Google Trends and Google Keyword Tool to find what people ask search engines in your industry.

5. Be Part of Communities
Whether you like it or not, people will create online groups for your company. The best thing to do is to join them and be part of the conversation. You can also start a group on your own but usually, these result in more guarded discussions since you’re watching over them.

  • Ask users how they use your product through polls or by Q&As.
  • Follow social media pages through groups, even competitor pages.
  • Read comments in blogs in your industry.

6. Other ways to get data
You can also do the following:

  • Talk to companies in your customer’s ecosystem: suppliers, partners, contractors. Check if how your customers use their services and products.
  • Look for data your competition publishes. It might seem off to cite your competition but if it’s really valuable content that your customers might need, why not share it to them?
  • Dig through government data. Some them will be surprisingly useful.

This article is written by Glenn Santos, one of the co-founders of 199Jobs.

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