I love data because it doesn’t lie. If you want to improve content marketing efforts, look to the data. The numbers will tell you whether something is working. Do more of what is working and less of what isn’t—that’s the real way to improve your marketing skills. That’s why every single content marketing tactic I propose is not just based on what I think is cool, but on what research shows works. It’s been a minute since I shared some data with you, so it’s time!

Research from the Content Marketing Institute and an article with awesome advice inspired this blog. I suggest reading the whole article for all the nerdy glory of the research.

The article confirmed three things that I think are important to up the content marketing game. (I love it when that happens.) Let’s dive into three ways you can improve the results of your content marketing based on what is working right now.

1. Hone your content creation skills to boost overall success

The first tip not only improves your content marketing results, it helps improve your marketing skills overall. Awesome!

In the study, respondents to the content marketing survey said “content creation” was the biggest contributor to their increased content marketing success over the previous year. They said they focused on creating higher quality, more targeted content from blogs to email to social media. They also focused on being consistent (which takes planning). This particularly made me smile as I have been working on the Kicka$$ Content Planner for the past few days, which will help with that! (I’ll post a link when the planner is available.)

While you wait for the planner, there are few things you can do right now to start honing your content. The first is, capture ideas as they come to you. This is so important! The time to decide what to create is when inspiration hits—someone has asked you a question, you’ve seen something that you know will help your audience, and so on. If you don’t capture it, though, when it’s time to sit down and do some creating, it’s likely you won’t remember the idea. I keep a document on my mobile phone that I just add the ideas to.

Then practice, practice, practice. A great way to practice is to take an old blog or article and edit it. Months or years after you’ve created something, it probably needs a refresh anyway. Since editing is easier than writing, take something that exists and make it better. Check out last week’s blog on Power Words for inspiration.

If you still need some help with the creating part, go watch this webinar I did in January about how to improve your content marketing quickly and with ease. There are nuggets in there that will help.

2. Batch your content and embrace the tools

Honestly, the production side of content creation is what can really take time. That’s why having work processes in place makes all the difference. I consider these tools to be among my most valuable marketing skills. I recommend you have “batching” days where you just churn your content out, and use tools to make everything less labor intensive. I use things like Buffer, Grammarly, Lumen5, WordPress, and Google docs (for planning my topics) to save myself hours and hours of time—and improve my content marketing results!

Don’t believe me? Well, let’s ask the data.

One of key difference between those whose content performs well and those who doesn’t is that the successful people have a better handle on their workflow—70% of the top performers rated their workflow as excellent or very good, compared with 36% of the total sample, and 14% of the least successful.

Winging it doesn’t work. Planning and having systems does.

3. Keep building your audience

The other day I was talking with a friend who said she had an epiphany—since 10% of her list buys from her, if she wants more business she needs to build her list. It’s an easy concept, and one that works. The benefits of building an email list are numerous, but I think this is the biggest one: people on your list buy. But not all of them. It’s really only about 10% (in fact one of my mentors only sells to 1% of her list, and she’s a millionaire).

Content marketing is about consistently and continually building your audience (whether you use email marketing, Facebook groups, or another forum). To do that, you need to provide valuable content that makes them want to follow you and willingly give you permission to interact with them.

What do they want? This is where you dive into your own data. Cozy up with your analytics and see what they’re telling you. What topics do people respond to? It may not be what you think. Years ago I worked with a market research company, and we created a lot of really valuable content around marketing to the government. This stuff was gold. Want to know what consistently interested readers? They wanted to know how much research costs. That really wasn’t, in our opinion, the most valuable content we gave away. But it was the content that turned into the most leads so we did more of it.

Give your people what THEY value and your content marketing will be more effective. 

As you’re building your audience, make sure you are building a quality audience (that is, your ideal customers who will eventually buy). How will you know? As you nurture them, if they read your content, but don’t take action, you may need to reevaluate who is getting on your list.

When you have a plan, use the systems and tools, and consistently build and nurture your audience, content marketing is effective. So if you want to improve your content marketing and improve your marketing skills, these three things will help.

Have any questions about it? Drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.