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How I Use Data in Content Development

I don’t know about you, but most content developers I know, myself included, started their careers on iWriter. And it’s easy to see why.

Using data in content development
I started creating content on iwriter in 2012

iWriter is a platform that links freelance writers and businesses looking for web content. The platform is quite easy to use, all you need to do as a writer is follow the client’s instructions and do your research.

Back When SEO was King

Back in 2012, SEO was all the craze. Therefore, businesses would request for content to boost their visibility on search engines e.g rank on the 1st page. Engagement was still a non-issue then. As long as your grammar was good and the keyword quota was satisfied, you would get five stars 🙂 and great recommendations.


Six years later, however, much has changed. Keywords, for one, have lost their value what with search engines becoming more intelligent. For example, with the launch of the RankBrain algorithm, Google no longer relies solely on keywords to filter results, instead the system analyzes vague, ambiguous queries and matches them with the most relevant results. Also, with more websites online, more businesses are competing for the same keywords to pull traffic.


As you've noticed, people don't want to be sold to, that's why they are blocking your ads
As you’ve noticed, people don’t want to be sold to, that’s why they are blocking your ads

The new battlefield is therefore engagement. The content that empowers, educates or entertains your target audience wins the day. But how do search engines like Google and platforms like Facebook expect you to know the content that will engage with your audience?

Well, that’s why they give you data. Data about who is following you, data about who comes to your website and what pages they visit. After all, data is what you need to know which content to produce and which to steer away from.

At the end of the day, Facebook, Google and Twitter want their users to have the best experience on their platforms, even if it means showing you the direction.

So How Do Use Data In Content Development?

Instead of creating ten blogs a week and hoping one of them goes viral, you should start by identifying your goal. Creating content without a goal in mind is like shouting at the market, no one pays attention.

Types of Content Marketing Goals

1. Brand Awareness

2. Engagement

3. Customer Loyalty and retention

4. Lead generation

5. Customer conversion and sales

6. Website Performance

My Case Study On Using Data In Content Development

Goal: Improve Brand Awareness

SMART goal: My goal is to boost brand awareness in 2018 by increasing number of influencers reposting our content on their websites from 3–10.

Metrics to measure: Mentions, searches, referrals, followers, website visitors


Using data in content development
Carry out a blog audit to understand which content is yielding the best results, then create more of that.

So far I have carried out an audit of Legibra blog to identify the 10 most popular content. You can easily find this data using your Google analytics.


I have also audited our social media accounts to identify the most engaging content.

Using data in content development
A social media audit will help you under what your audience want so you can give them more of it.

I have created a content calendar to help me and my team stay organized and on the same page in regards to our goal and the metrics we are measuring.


I have reached out to a number of influencers in the tech industry whose target market and ours overlap. Blogs like KenyanCollective.com and Techtrendske.co.ke have already agreed to work with us and I have already noted an increase in mentions on social media.

Throughout the year I will track the metrics (mentions, followers, website visitors) and collect them to analyze how promoting my content through 10 as opposed to 3 influencers increases our brand awareness.

What Do I Do With The Data Once Collected?

At the end of 2018, I will check the goal I had set for increasing brand awareness. Did I manage to get ten influencers? If no, why? Did reposting content on ten as opposed to three influencer website improve our brand awareness? Would this be a viable strategy for boosting brand awareness in 2019? Which content was most popular among the reposted content? I will use the findings to map out patterns and predict what kind of content and which kind of influencers I should work with come 2019.

Most importantly, I will use the data to tell a story.

You see the thing about data is that it is only valuable or helpful when shared or aggregated. Imagine if you had access to hundreds of reports on the brand awareness campaigns carried out over the last ten years. You can use the aggregated data to tell what works and what to avoid. But if you were to view a single campaign report, you cannot deduce much from it, except that it was successful or not.

Going Forward

Since I ‘graduated’ from iWriter to working directly with clients like Legibra, I have learned that I cannot afford to spend two hours creating an article only for no one to engage with it. I must learn to create data-driven content with a goal in mind.

So far so good.

You have to understand content marketing so you can have a context for your data
Because you have to understand content marketing so you can have a context for your data

But enough about me, how do you use data to drive your content marketing? I love hearing from you 🙂

2 comments On How I Use Data in Content Development

  • Hello ,

    I saw your tweets and thought I will check your website. Have to say it looks very good!
    I’m also interested in this topic and have recently started my journey as young entrepreneur.

    I’m also looking for the ways on how to promote my website. I have tried AdSense and Facebok Ads, however it is getting very expensive.
    Can you recommend something what works best for you?

    I also want to improve SEO of my website. Would appreciate, if you can have a quick look at my website and give me an advice what I should improve: http://janzac.com/
    (Recently I have added a new page about FutureNet and the way how users can make money on this social networking portal.)

    I wanted to subscribe to your newsletter, but I couldn’t find it. Do you have it?

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Maybe I will add link to your website on my website and you will add link to my website on your website? It will improve SEO of our websites, right? What do you think?

    Jan Zac

    • Hi Jan,

      Great work you are doing with http://janzac.com/.

      Glad to know we share a passion for travelling, reading, writing and teaching.

      On the newsletter subscription, I’ve been having a challenge adding the sign up form, but I’m sure something will give by end of this week.

      On how to promote your website, I think you have to focus on producing quality content otherwise your advertising will be unsustainable, think of it like this, you spend $100 pulling traffic to your site, but the sessions only last for seconds, meaning your visitors are not finding what they are looking for. So you have to spend another $100 because the visitors you just pulled will never come back.

      On the other hand, you decide to focus on great content, so great your readers are referring their friends to your site. Even if you use $10, the visitors you pull are definitely going to come back and refer some more people. What do you think about this?

      In terms of SEO, I haven’t done much except installing a yoast plugin and putting a meta description. However, I plan to use Gmterix.com to guide me on what needs to be improved. In terms of content optimization, I trust Yoast. What have you done so far in terms of SEO? Also have you used Gtmetrix.com?

      In terms of getting backlinks from each other…hmmm we could try but I see some few challenges on our way;
      1. We are both new so we don’t have that much authority or link juice to share between us, I think
      2. We are not blogging about the same subject, I am more into marketing, you are into crypto, perhaps we could find a way to merge the two?

      Thank you for checking my site out and for the wonderful feedback looking forward to more 🙂

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