We are seeing a shift in the role of a CMO: from creative to analyst, from ideas person to metrics person. Not that CMOs will lose their creative edge – that is vital – but given the rise of digital, and therefore automation, an ability to take a measurement-based approach is fundamental to understanding customer behaviour and building successful marketing activity.
Content – an oft-used and rarely defined term – is of prime importance to the modern marketer. It is the means by which customers find your proposition online (search or social recommendation). Quality and relevant content engages the audience, because it is interesting, useful, or entertaining. It also helps retain customers. Whether you are blogging, tweeting, writing white papers, or shooting viral videos, you are in the process of content marketing: publishing content in order to fulfil a commercial objective.
When you are creating high volumes of content, or curating content, or just listening to social media content, it is vital to understand, structure and measure. (For a later post, we will look at Content Marketing ROI)
What is Content Analytics?
Content analytics is the process of structuring previously unstructured content, by extracting new information. It is the process of measuring content. The output – the measurements – is in the form of metadata that describes that content. This can include the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content, sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content.
How is Content Analytics useful for marketers?
Content analytics brings a whole raft of benefits to your marketing strategy:
Understand your customer on a granular level
Thanks to semantic and sentiment analysis, no longer are you limited to simply aggregate level ‘page views’ and ‘bounce rates’. Now that you know what each page ‘says’ – i.e. the places, the topics and the sentiments within it – you can build tag-clouds of preferences around each customer as they read that page. This in turn enables you to determine the tastes and even begin to predict the intent of the customer.
Extract more value from your social media community
Data-mining your social media communities for the topics, sentiments and locations of their conversations mean you can build a richer profile of each person on your customer database. This might include their interests, their most shared links and indeed the details of others in their extended network. As a result, you can begin to identify brand advocates and influencers very quickly and much more effectively than just crudely going after those with the largest ‘follower count’.
Quickly identify trends amongst your customer base
When you are subject to thousands of in-bound communications from your customers – be it online reviews or email correspondence – content analytics help immeasurably in filtering and giving structure to the information you receive. If certain words are being used or a particular sentiment is articulated frequently, you can identify these trends and react accordingly, be it in a customer support capacity or for PR purposes.
Reuse and curate content
Every business should be authoring in-house content as part of their content marketing efforts. However, high-quality, original editorial really costs – even more so if part of a long-term strategy. One way to reduce cost per article is through analysing and curating content from partner organisations (or other external sources) which are pertinent to your target market. If done effectively, content curation can establish you as an authoritative source of information in your particular niche and be used as a tool for industry and market insight.
Once you can know what a piece of content is about and are able to determine the interests of individual customers and prospects in your audience – you are now in a position to offer each person the piece of content that is most relevant to them. This ability to segment your audience and deliver personalised propositions is a powerful marketing asset.
The need for content analytics to be a part of a marketer’s arsenal is more important than ever now that marketing channels are becoming increasingly digitised and the volume of content a company deals with on a daily basis grows.
By adding metadata to content, it becomes better optimised for search engines, content delivery and analytics systems. This, in turn, means it can be measured. As a result, you can formulate a content marketing strategy that is structured, scalable and with demonstrable ROI.
In the long run, it is this move towards a more data-focused treatment of content that will revolutionize your digital strategy, deliver actionable customer intelligence and create long-term customer relationships.