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How businesses can optimize data-driven content creation

The amount of content available on the internet grows every day. It is important for businesses to use data to make sure their content reaches the intended audience.

It's hard to name a business process today that isn't data-driven -- that is, a process where the outcome depends upon the collection or analysis of specific data. The creation of content is no exception.

Data-driven content creation is becoming a standard in marketing, where audience segmentation requires businesses to accelerate production of more precisely targeted content.

Crafting content strategy around the same data that drives the audience segmentation is a natural next step. It brings order to the chaos of wading through big data, trying to figure out how to bring the right content to the appropriate customers.

The idea behind data-driven content creation is to gather insight that illuminates the interests and needs of particular audience segments at any given time. The interests and needs change frequently, so companies should prioritize gathering and analyzing relevant information. Here are a few strategies to consider:

Watch what's trending. The quality of data-driven content creation largely depends on how well organizations can navigate and use social media. Businesses can collect data on what is trending for content creation by searching Twitter's hashtags, using Google Trends and similar sources. Depending on the demographic, such as age, gender and level of education, trends will differ. Businesses can use this trending data to better target audiences by seeing where their customers' thinking is and focus their content even more. By narrowing the audience by demographic, businesses can better use their time and resources to create content.

The quality of data-driven content creation largely depends on how well organizations can navigate and use social media.

Know how to use keywords. Social media monitoring using tools such as Keyhole, Hootsuite and TweetReach includes scanning for brand mentions. These tools enable businesses to track and measure metrics on social media and provide analytics on which audiences engage with content. It's also wise to dig into the social media text of each relevant demographic and pluck out keywords that show increasing use. This research can offer insights into which keywords -- which can either be descriptive as metadata or actually embedded in the content -- will attract the right customers to the intended content. For example, writing content with the keywords "vegan" and "active" will attract different customers than keywords with "parenting."

Determine content formats. Marketers should decide whether the content will include text and images, or if there will also be audio and video. It's important to match the right formats to the target audience; younger customers may prefer to watch a video about a product, while older ones may want to read about it. Businesses can unearth these preferences by studying customer browsing behaviors on the company website.

Observe what the competition is doing. Businesses should check out the content that their competitors are presenting. This provides clues and shortcuts to determine what types of content to produce -- given the competition is clearly performing better. Businesses should look at how their competitors' content varies in social media, platform by platform. By observing the competition, organizations will likely gather strong insights into certain trends. This can be a big time-saver.

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