If the title of the article has led you here, it is highly probable you know what content marketing is. For those of you, who do not, let us get to the introduction of the concept. Content Marketing, as a strategic marketing approach, uses content to attract and retain its target audience. Conventional marketing strategies are moving towards data-driven approaches. It is time, content marketing does too!
Content marketing uses content in the form of articles, infographics, webinars, audio or video content, whitepapers etc. to drive profitable customer action. You can deliver this content through a variety of media viz. blogs, social media posts, web pages, emails, podcasts, videos, and even live broadcasting. The main reasons why enterprises adopt content marketing in addition to conventional marketing strategies, are to gain loyal customers, reduce marketing costs, diversify revenue generation streams, be a medium of knowledge, and even improve brand perception. With the growing popularity of content marketing, it is necessary to use the new oil of most industries: Data!
Now, the question is how data scraping can be leveraged by content marketing, to achieve the above goals. To answer this, let us first understand the process of content generation and marketing.
How is content created for Content Marketing?
The process of creating content for marketing purposes can be split into 3 channels:
Brand-generated Content (BGC): This content is created by the company’s in-house content team. It is generated to provide the audience with valuable information on brand-specific services, products, and success stories.
Professionally-generated Content (PGC): Recently, a lot of companies have started providing professional services for gathering data, generating insights and helping enterprises and brands convey the information to a much more extensive audience efficiently. They help you gather market trends, competitor insights and alternative data like social media insights, industry news and even information on related industries.
User-generated Content (UGC): As the name suggests, this information uses raw customer data of a brand to generate actionable insights, facts and marketing content. Enterprises across various industries have found that over 90% of the consumers find UGC helpful for their purchasing decisions. Hence, this channel is widely adopted and trusted by many companies.
Now, as we see above, all these information components need to be pulled from indirect data sources like e-commerce websites, social media sites, news pages, competitor sites, user reviews on a brands’ website and even open-source datasets readily available for use to the public. How do we then procure the data from these sources?
Data Scraping: An Intelligence Gathering solution for Content Marketing
Data Scraping is a data extraction tool that is popular with most industries these days. It is basically a computer program which surfs through the internet as you would and copies the required data in a readable and structured format. Convenient, is it not?
So, why do we need data scraping for content marketing? As we saw above, content marketing relies on a lot of data that is not readily available. You need to gather this intelligence from multiple data sources. Data Scraping can do that for you. One obvious question you all might have is if it is a legal activity to pull data off from these platforms.
To answer all your questions and doubts about the legal aspect succinctly, yes and no! It all depends on how you are pulling data and from where. Companies like Datahut can give you data scraping services and advice for your particular use-case. We have worked with multiple organizations across industry verticals and horizontals to make their data gathering exercises convenient and faster. Let us look at how data scraping can solve for content marketing.
Challenges in the Content Marketing space
Let us look at a few challenges that many companies face in the field of content marketing:
The audience relies on interesting facts and numbers more than theoretical claims
Social Media is a never-ending source of consumer sentiment data, product reviews, service reviews and even upcoming trends. To help and empower your company to become an expert and market-leader, we have to define problem statements, select relevant data, structure them and extract the same in an efficient manner. We all know that the digital world is filled with a lot of data. Hence, you need to be innovative and smart to select the relevant information from the noisy signals. You need to then use that data to create exciting and unique content with factual observations backing them.
Quality and data-backed content will help you distinguish yourselves from others. It is reported that almost 85% of the B2B marketers attribute their enterprise’s higher success with content marketing to better content creation processes.
Content marketing requires expertise in a few technologies and platforms
A lot of organizations consider they are limited in their content marketing skills because of the lack of content marketing technologies/tools and relevant experience in using those tools. Are you one of those who thinks this exercise needs a long and a steep learning curve? Well, it is true that it is impossible to ignore the tools to generate data-based content. It is also true that it is difficult to grasp this skill-set. Most of the tools are difficult to learn for non-tech marketers.
However, there are various useful data scraping tools that are also easy to learn, use, and master even for non-tech marketers. You can either build a scraper to extract the web data you want or hire professional data scraping services.
Content marketing research can be expensive and time-consuming
Conducting organized research for developing marketing content is an expensive affair. Data architecture and integration tools are still uncommon and expensive. Many businesses have a limited budget to invest in these tools that can serve data to their database. Moreover, the trial versions of most data analytic tools offer very limited functionalities that cannot even meet the demand of a company. Have you faced that issue?
There are several data scraping tools with functionalities for generic applications and sites. However, these days, service providers like Datahut do this task for you at a nominal cost. This will thus, eliminate the need to invest heavily in these technologies.
How can Data Scraping address content marketing challenges?
Data scraping can help us create content that coincides with the customer needs. For that, these are the steps and efforts that data scraping can help you in.
- Help you in knowing your audience: Even before you start gathering data, you should be able to define your objective, problem statement, and the target audience. If you need to help your customers compare your services and products against market offerings, you need to scrape data about industry trends, competitor offerings, and market performance. You can then use data scraping to extract this information from the relevant sources.
- Enable you to stay on top on market trends: Data scraping has a very significant application in extracting information from social media sites. News articles, sites like Facebook, Twitter and even Google search trends are an excellent source for such information. You can use data scraping to pull this data and write articles on what the industry trends are and what your customers should expect. You can also use it to tailor your own product and service offerings.
- Help you enrich content with visualizations and creative elements: Have you noticed how swiftly you are drawn towards articles or videos with compelling visualizations and creativity? Creative infographics, short videos, graphs, and charts among various visual aids grab our attention the most. Using data scraping, you can extract information from whitepapers, financial reports, market audits, and online reviews. You can then use Business Intelligence (BI) tools to create convincing visualizations with authentic facts.
- Help you generate insights on market trends: When you conduct market research on specific products and services, do you not look for crisp content that answers all your questions? How can data scraping help you do that? Content marketers can release a report, a whitepaper or an infographic that describes market trends, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. You can also highlight your company’s expertise and then use it to establish the brand as the authority on a topic This will not only earn media mentions, customer traction and attention for you but also help the industry grow. The best part? You can stay on top of all these industry changes!
- Help you expedite research and data preparation: As discussed above, gathering data can be expensive and tedious. Since data scraping automates the process of browsing the Internet and copying data from there, you can use it to your advantage here. All you need to do is conduct some preliminary research on the data sources and launch a scraper on the same to pull and store this data in a structured format. You can use this over disparate data sources to then aggregate the same and merge it all into one universal data source. This will also make all further analysis and content generation processes, simpler.
Some use-cases and success stories of using Data Scraping in Content Marketing
Data scraping tools are widely used for a few applications in the marketing sector:
- Lead Generation: Use data scraping to extract contact information and profiles of customers that you want to target for your next venture. Create marketing strategies to suit their interests, thus generating more leads.
- Market Research: The faster you recognize your industry’s opportunities and your competitors’ activities, you can make more informed and timely marketing decisions and thus create a stronger customer base.
- Search Engine Optimization: The better your content is, the better is your organic search traffic and higher is your digital performance.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are endless opportunities where data scraping can help you up your game of content marketing. Cisco used data extracted from social media to improve and assess the performance of their lead generation exercises. They observed that this digital campaign helped them reach their lead goals in costs $100,000 lower than what they had anticipated.
In 2011, the Japanese multinational conglomerate, Toshiba designed a “Smart Community” to promote awareness about its renewable energy solutions. Their platform was optimized and customized for the keyword “smart community”. They also invested in a huge SEO campaign to boost their rankings. “Smart Community” proved to be very useful and helped Toshiba generate 160,000 additional global followers on LinkedIn.
There are several other small and big brands doing similar and more significant activities in the field of content marketing. You should jump into this bandwagon before its too late.
Datahut can help you build your data scraping muscle. We have a transparent process that ensures you get your desired data in a structured format without having to worry about the legal aspects, technological complexities or the feasibility analysis.
Wish to leverage data scraping to transform your content marketing efforts? Get in touch with Datahut, our big data experts.