Connecting data, insight, and business benefit for better content

by Colm Hebblethwaite

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From mining companies to retailers and everyone in-between, one thing connects pretty much everyone we speak to. They all want the digital solutions they use to give more information and visibility of their operations. They want an end-to-end view of their processes, more insight into their customers, and the ability to react to events faster.

Companies end up with lots of data, and many have solutions that allow them to create reports or visualise data in seconds for more informed and nuanced decisions. But connecting the dots to extract the full benefit of data and insights is tricky. Especially when it comes to content.

Data without insight is just numbers, and insights that are not linked to business objectives are just interesting observations. Connecting the dots between all three is an important way of getting the most value from your data.

Common issues

The companies we speak to mention several recurring challenges when it comes to harnessing the power of data and insight for their content.

Perhaps the most persistent is siloed teams limiting the spread of information throughout an organisation. Often analytics and business intelligence teams are an extension of the IT function rather than the marketing or communications teams. They are more likely to be channelling insight reports to the finance team than the CMO. These competing priorities can mean that data is used to measure sales or the value of clients rather than generating rich insights about clients to inform more effective marketing content.

As always, time (or the lack thereof) plays a role here too. It takes a lot of work to create rich, insight-fuelled and thought-provoking content, and marketing teams can often struggle to find the time, resources and headspace to make it happen. A lack of technical understanding can compound this even further.

The result of this is content that is disconnected from the data that is driving growth and value creation. It may still be great content, but it could be even better.

The benefits

A joined-up data/insight/content process makes the lives of CMOs and content creators much easier. But it can drive better outcomes for the whole business too.

Internally, linking content creation to analytics and business intelligence opens communication throughout different parts of the business. It simplifies the process of creating internal communications that boost employee engagement. Communication and contact analysis can be used to rave about customer service teams, while closed deal analysis can form the foundation of sales tools and onboarding resources for new starters. Aligning content more tightly to the data that is driving strategic decision making could also make it easier to win board buy-in for marketing initiatives.

And externally, readers benefit from valuable and unique content that could have only come from your company. They come away with some useful information and potential next steps in their back pockets while you benefit from more trust and a reinforced reputation as an expert.

Using an insight model to create richer content

In our quest to ensure our clients have the tools they need to create awesome content for any audience, we’re constantly honing our insight creation model. It really helps us get the heart of what insight we need to create business outcomes for our clients.
It starts with three things:

  • Observation – a compelling fact or reflection on your industry or society in general
  • Tension – an issue or challenge that needs attention in order to create a better outcome for a particular group
  • Position – your view or perspective on the issue

Observation + Tension + Position = Your angle

Once a piece of content has been created, it needs to be looped back into the cycle. By measuring web traffic and SEO as well as utilising A/B testing and customer surveys, the content becomes part of your insight and strategic thinking for your next round of idea generation.    

This is just an example of how we approach the challenge of connecting insight to content. You may need to create your own process to optimise your use of data. We are more than happy to chat through our approach in more detail, though!

Let’s get a system in place

The most important success factor here is high-quality content. For us, insight gleaned from data can often be the icing on an already delicious piece of content. It adds the enticing hook, the dash of individuality, the lingering aftertaste and leaves the reader hungry for more. Becoming more systematic about how you harvest, collate and translate the insights from your data will create a rich seam of material to support your next content campaigns.

We’ve got a lot of experience in creating insight-rich content, from banking and cloud computing to travel and fashion. We can provide the sector experts, experienced interviewers and approach you need to get to the heart of an issue.

Get in touch. Let us know how we can help.