August 23, 2016

Is Data Suffocating Your Content?

Former New York Yankees great Jorge Posada once asked Hall of Famer Yogi Berra—who played mostly during the 1940s and ’50s, before the advent of computers and analytics—how he scouted opposing pitchers.

 “Well, when he’s warming up between innings, what’s he throwing?” Yogi replied. “If he’s throwing curveballs and fastballs, those are his pitches. I eliminate everything else from my head. Why would I be thinking about his changeup? He’s telling me what he’s going to throw today.”

Keep it simple. That was Berra’s message to Posada, who claimed that he remembered it for the rest of his career.

It’s a message that you can benefit from as well in your marketing endeavors. In marketing, as in baseball, data can be both a blessing and a curse.


Right now, in other words, there are many tools and databases that you can use to optimize your content. A free tool like Google Analytics, for instance, will provide vast amounts of information about how your customers are interacting with your marketing assets. Likewise, Buffer will provide metrics on social media shares and posts. Tweriod will even tell you the best times to update your social accounts.

It’s easy, though, to get so caught up in analyzing your content that you fail to see the forest for the trees. If you dissect and tweak a blog post too much, it will lose its creative—and human—element. In fact, it can stifle your creativity and turn away readers.

Data analysis can also be very time-consuming. Some marketing departments will spend all week pouring through metrics in hopes of generating a perfect article. As a result, they wind up producing less material than they could be producing for the company. What’s more, they wind up publishing material that looks over-polished.

Keep in mind, data can be very helpful. Just remember to focus on storytelling first and metrics second. Here are some tips to keep you on track:

Use data as a guide: Don’t spend all of your time worrying about how you can tweak articles for things like better social shares or lower exit rates. Sure, these statistics are important—but worrying about them is like a losing baseball team trying to fill a ballpark with lame promotions. Instead, use data to understand what your customers want to read. Build strong buyer personas, and revisit them regularly to make sure they are up to date.

Bring the pain: Once you understand the motivating factors that drive your readers, tackle their biggest pain points. Find out what keeps them up at night, and zero in on those issues. Hone in on topics that people would type into Google looking for answers so that your articles come up first.

Trust your gut: Sometimes, you have to bet against the odds to be successful.  Try tweeting at an off hour of the day or night, against the advice of what the experts say will generate the most hits. Tackle a hard-hitting industry issue that your readers may not know or care about yet, and show them why they should be paying attention. Post a different type of asset, like a funny cartoon on a Monday morning, to spark attention about your brand. Know the rules, and then break them strategically to stand out from the pack.

Of course, you may not be a storyteller by trade. You may not have the time, or desire, to craft compelling narratives. And that’s perfectly okay, because that’s what Content Boost can do for you.

Our content producers will deliver fresh and relevant material to your inbox every week, so you can focus on other pressing tasks. To learn more about how Content Boost can help your brand, click here

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