In the new world of marketing and financial accountability, data, or more accurately insights from that data, have become one of the most important elements to get right in order to be successful. However, with the explosion of digital content across multiple platforms that can be shared and accessed anywhere in the world, coupled with the important issue of data protection laws, how do marketers get meaningful insights on their audience in order to drive growth?
The key is to have a central location for your audience to go to irrespective of their way of getting there, or in other words, you need a content hub. By doing this you have your audience engaged on your platform where you can see what they are engaging with and through this, understand them better.
The reason this is important is because we have all probably heard of the now infamous Google ‘zero moment of truth’ study a few years back, that found that audiences consume approximately 11 pieces of content prior to purchase, which increases to 18 pieces the more considered/expensive the purchase is. This can include anything from an initial advert, thought leadership piece, magazine review, comparison website, product description, video tutorials… and the list goes on. However, all of this content audiences consume is not in one place but spread out over a number of different outlets from news sites, consumer review sites, forums and competitor pages, which all create this content based on their own agenda. Therefore, with your audience consuming a lot of content elsewhere, you cannot see what their interests are and crucially who are giving off clear buying signals you could act on.
This is why having a content hub is vital. A content hub is often a sub-section of your main website that is home to a variety of different content covering everything from your promotional videos to independent reviews and product descriptions. And while you may be thinking that creating all this content is a challenge, often the content is already there, it is just not brought together in one place. The beauty in doing this is that it provides a single destination for your audience to go to whether it is from social media, advertising or email campaigns, making it easier for you to manage and for your audience to find what they need.
The key to getting your content hub right is ensuring all the content your audience needs is there, which can be hard when thinking from a business only perspective. However, the key is to map your audience’s buying journey to your commercial goal, as it puts you in the frame of mind of your audience making it much easier to see what content they need in order to allow them to move closer to the point of purchase.
As such, it doesn’t matter if you share content on a myriad of social sites or via email campaigns, so long as they all point back to the content hub, as it is here you can influence your audience’s journey and capture data.
You do this by adopting a ‘next best content’ approach. Here the content hub recommends to your audience the next piece of content they should consume on the content hub based on their previous content interactions. This can be done by offering a selection of content at the bottom of each piece of content or as a pop up recommendation that tracks the mouse location or progression through content. This recommendation can be done manually i.e. if you consume ‘x’ then you should consume ‘y’ next no matter who you are. However, it is much more powerful to make this automated so that the cookie of each viewer on the site is read, their historical content consumption analysed and from that an algorithm determines the next best pieces of content they should consume in order to help them continue their journey.
This encourages your audience to consume content they need all in one place, which means not only do you get to influence their decision making, most importantly, you are not losing your audience as they go off elsewhere to do research. This in turn gives you much more opportunity to understand your audience by analysing the range of content they are consuming.
This new level of insight can prove to be very powerful. Here you can see what content is kicking off engagement, what are your highest performing pieces of content, which pieces are causing your audience to abandon you and also who in your audience is getting closer to your commercial goal so you can contact them directly. The all knowing content hub lies at the heart of any modern marketing strategy and will empower marketers to literally see their audiences buying journey through content.