Content planning is essential for establishing a profitable online presence for your business.
It often seems like a no-brainer, too. You understand your market, so how hard can it be to guess the kind of content they want to see?
Unfortunately, it’s almost always a lot more difficult than that. The companies that regularly create the kind of popular content that results in impressive ROIs are also the ones that know how to use data to do so.
Why Data Has Become Essential to Creating Popular Content
Content marketing is more important than ever. Companies that show up most often in search results enjoy an ongoing source of potential leads which can last for years after the content was actually created.
However, content marketing takes time to produce these kinds of results.
According to Maria Mora, you shouldn’t expect any results until “around six months into your inbound marketing efforts.”
In his book, Content Inc., the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, estimated it would take longer: “it takes 15 to 17 months of consistent content creation and content marketing distribution to reach monetization.”
Either way, that’s why you can’t afford to “wing it” with content creation. The more tries it takes to get your content right, the longer you’ll have to wait for that ROI.
Data will tell you what works best on search engines and social media, both of which are sources of traffic no company should be without.
Furthermore, data has never been more accessible. A decade ago, the kind of research we’re about to discuss wasn’t possible for the vast majority of businesses. Today, the increased accessibility to data means a more level playing field. It also means no company can afford to forego this advantage as more and more of their competitors leverage it.
3 Ways You Must Use Data for Successful Content Planning
Popular content will both generate greater amounts of traffic for your website and help you build the kind of authority that makes conversions much easier.
Fortunately, creating the kind of data-driven content that’s now required for these kinds of results only takes three simple steps:
1. Understand What Brings Your Market to Google
Every company should invest in a successful blog that both attracts traffic and establishes authority. Fortunately, using the right data can make this much easier to do.
This is why tools like SEMRush have become essential for content planning. They’ll show you what your market is searching for and what kind of competition you’ll face in trying to win that traffic from competitors.
You can also use this software to research which keywords your competitors are ranking for in Google. This data makes it much easier to quickly put together your own plan instead of a constant process of trial-and-error.
2. Learn What Keywords Are Worth the Most to Your Competitors
Content discovery needs to be about more than just what’s popular in terms of traffic. At the end of the day, if your content doesn’t attract actual leads you can hope to convert, it’s not going to be worth much to your business.
That’s why another essential piece of data is the CPC your competitors are willing to spend in order to rank for certain keywords in Google and other search engines.
To get started, use Google Ads, keyword planner, set to forecast mode.
This is true even if your company has no current plans for pay-per-click campaigns. If a competitor is willing to spend large sums to appear in Google for a keyword, it’s probably worth the investment even if the searches look low.
3. Find the Most Shared Content on Social Media
Finally, use data to understand what kinds of content are driving the most engagement.
“Social shares are a great proxy for human interest. So, coupling them with analytics data from Google gives full insight into the two forces that drive traffic: people and algorithms. “
You’ll need to continuously create engaging content in order to position your company as the ultimate authority in your field.
That’s not just because you’ll be covering topics you know your market cares about. It’s also because social media is all about sharing that content. You can show potential leads in real-time just how popular you are with others in your market because of shares, retweets, likes, etc. This kind of social proof is invaluable.
Manually harvesting the kind of data required to create this type of content is nearly impossible. That’s why we created BuzzSumo. Our customers use it to do all of the following when conducting content discovery:
- Find the Most Shared Content – Every time a piece of content is shared, it’s being endorsed. It’s proof that someone found it helpful and it’s another reason you should be creating that kind of content, as well.
- Determine Popular Formats – What kind of content is doing best is just as important. For example, you could create a massive blog post on a popular topic, but if the most shares are going to videos on that subject, you probably won’t love your results. It always pays to BuzzSumo your ideas before investing time and money in content.
- Discover Influencers – If all goes well, your account will someday be the one people are constantly turning to when they want relevant information about their market. For now, it’s vital that you find out who those influencers currently are. For one thing, those accounts should serve as inspiration in terms of the content they create, the regularity with which they post, and even the tone they use. These influencers may also represent opportunities for collaboration or influencer marketing.
- Set Content Alerts – Social media is a dynamic channel. Paying attention to it 24/7 isn’t possible, but you can set content alerts that will help with ongoing planning. Find out when a specific keyword is mentioned, when one of your competitors’ posts takes off, or when a certain authority publishes new work. This is all the data you can use to augment your strategy at any time, so you’re always creating popular content.
As you can see, this kind of content discovery is about more than just social media. It can also be used to inform your entire content-marketing plan.
Data Is the Shortcut to Creating Popular Content Again and Again
Having a well-designed, successful content plan in place practically guarantees your company will continue to grow.
However, before you can enjoy those results, you need to create a plan that will continuously produce popular content your market loves. This requires regularly tapping into available data and then putting it to work.
Finding the right data starts with the right tool. With BuzzSumo, you can instantly search for influencers and shared content that perfectly matches what you need for your own content planning. Interested? Start with BuzzSumo’s free 7-day trial now.