By Geoff Livingston, Capitol Communicator Media Strategist

Usually, a marketing conference has a trend that rises to the top. Analytics took the center stage last week at Content Marketing World in Cleveland. From keynotes to sessions, speakers talked about using data to create precision-oriented communications programs.

Whether it was small brands like Andy Crestodina’s marketing agency optimizing blog content or major Fortune 500 companies using social data and interactions to drive further engagement, companies are figuring out the big data nightmare.

Most notably, Kraft’s Director for Data, Content and Media Julie Fleischer discussed how Kraft was using data to drive content efforts. She was quick to note that they dropped content that wasn’t working, even if they (and the industry) felt they should be doing it. Kraft defined working as not only engagement based content, but content that also increased customer loyalty and sales. The data guided Kraft to develop recipes and other engaging content that drove interest for brands like Miracle Whip.

REI was another brand that highlighted data to optimize its content marketing. The fitness company found a waning interest in its infographics. However, its 1440 photo project is immensely successful with more than 250,000 submissions. REI is now focusing on creating more user photos and influencer-generated blog content.

Standardizing Approaches

Leigh Blaylock, manager of content marketing at Red Hat, said the company reduced redundancy a content audit and a survey of the sales team. Scores were based on audience centricity, thought leadership, social sharing, consistency, freshness, usefulness, and mobile optimization.

Takeaways included a need to be competitive and consistency. To address its needs, Red Hat built a style guide and standardized content quality and approaches. The effort included a content architecture, which defined each content type, and weighed in whether or not they needed it. Templates were created for look and feel. Finally, briefs were standardized.

Andy Crestodina focused on optimizing blog content. He encouraged attendees to look at what content types was most popular in their analytics, and which topics converted the most new leads. From there, a brand can optimize by creating more of the successful content types focused on topics that drive revenue.

Next View venture capitalist Jay Acunzo warned brands about the forumalic nature of content marketing. He said eBooks are becoming the content of diminishing returns and noted that social media, enewsletters, case studies, blogs and white papers are standard tactics.

Acunzo went on to relate a HubSpot rating survey for each piece of content that showed the brand’s white papers were poorly received. The company started experimenting with unconventional content formats like license free photo galleries, and found they dramatically increased engagement and satisfaction.

These were just several of the many examples of analytics at Content Marketing World. It was by far the most commonly discussed topic, and one that can empower your organization’s communications, too. Are you using analytics to optimize your marketing?

Geoff Livingston is Capitol Communicator’s Media Strategist.  He also is an author, photographer and founder of Tenacity5.

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