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Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Needs Real-Time Data
By Steve Lazuka, Zerys for Agencies
The goal of any content marketing strategy is to help potential customers find your business online and to keep your name fresh in the minds of past and current customers. In order to do this, a close look at whom your customers are, where potential customers might be, and what problems everyone is looking to solve is necessary so you know what to say and where to say it.
Historical data will give you a good idea of overall trends and popular topics with your personas but is it really giving you the best information to move forward? Could you be filling your editorial calendar with yesterday's news or missing out on an opportunity to join in on a trending topic while it's hot because you're reviewing charts from last week? Real-time data will help you give a better experience to your audience while keeping your name in current conversations.
What is Real-Time Data?
Most user data is collected and analyzed anywhere from one day to several weeks after the interaction occurred. Real-time data is information about what is happening right now, whether it is current social media conversations, popular television shows and musical artists, information about users interacting with your website, or trending topics across different markets.
How Does This Translate to a Content Marketing Strategy?
While a traditional approach includes analyzing historical data to lay out a content plan for the future, using real-time data requires a more reactive approach to deliver an immediate message to customers or to send outbound content on relevant topics on-the-fly rather than a few weeks down the road. This could mean joining Twitter conversations about current events, emailing content when current news or entertainment events line up with your company or products, and responding when customers interact with or mention your company in social media conversations.
Real-Time Marketing in Action
One great example of a company using real-time data to make a big impact was in 2013 during the Super Bowl blackout. Oreo famously tweeted “You can still dunk in the dark,” and made a big splash with football fans in the stadium and at home who were chatting on social media outlets while waiting for the blackout to end. The company had already done its homework and knew which of their personas was likely to be tweeting about the game, and their reaction to this real-time information was a slam dunk.
Tips For Utilizing Real-Time Data
- Understand Your Personas. Take some time to go through the data you already have to make sure your persona profiles are polished and up-to-date. Using real-time data in your content marketing strategy means sending out highly targeted messages and getting them to the right place at the right time. To do that you'll have to have a good idea of whom you're reaching so you'll know where they are likely to be.
- Keep Your Finger on the Pulse. Social media outlets are a great place to keep an eye on current conversations so you can have up-to-the-minute information on what's hot and what's old and tired. In this case, you'll want to do a lot more listening than talking.
- Empower Others. If you have a number of people inside your organization who can collect real-time information and respond and connect with people, then you're more likely to make better connections. Authorize a few employees to engage in real-time conversations without having to wait for approvals. What if the creator of that Oreo tweet had to wait until morning for approval?
- Be Flexible. The nature of real-time data means that you can't always plan for what's ahead. You can, however, build flexibility into your current content marketing strategy. Keep your editorial calendar moving forward but leave plenty of empty slots to engage with people on-the-fly and be willing to move your content around from channel to channel as reader engagement fluctuates.
Real-time Data: Relevance at its Best
One of the continual struggles for content marketers is maintaining relevance. People on the web are craving authentic experiences and relevant interactions with actual people rather than automated messages from companies and brands. Keeping an eye on real-time information will help you to keep your messages on-point so you can be at the right place at the right time and have the greatest impact possible.
Steve Lazuka is the founder of Interact Media, creators of the Zerys Content Marketplace and Zerys for Agencies content marketing platforms. Follow Steve @SteveLazuka.
Zerys is a powerful content project management tool and writer marketplace that makes it simple to manage any content project from start (strategy planning) to finish (auto-publishing). Zerys for Agencies is a custom, private-labeled solution that allows agencies to manage all their clients’ content projects from one, simple dashboard. Zerys was founded in 2008, and is now used by thousands of businesses and hundreds of marketing agencies.
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