Can Science Save Your Content?
How this timeless method can rock your marketing world
Science is not really the big broad catch-all institution we tend to think of it as. Science is not chemistry or physics or neurobiology. These are fields of study that have applied the scientific method.
It is this method of inquiry and reflection that holds power. It is a method of arriving at truth, at results that you can point to with confidence. And it can be applied to ANY endeavor.
Athletics, education, gardening, social skills, picking up women at a bar, even furniture orientation in a room have all been subjected to this reasoning with valuable results and insights.
Marketing is no exception, and the best marketers are known to be rigorous experimenters.
So let’s break this down so you can apply this to YOUR business.
This is perhaps the most important and most overlooked part because this frames all of the rest of your work. Poor questions beget poor answers. Compelling questions, produce compelling answers.
For example, don’t ask big, overarching questions like “What is the Best Content Strategy to Increase Traffic.”
There are way too many variables and vague words here. What does “best” mean to you? What kind of traffic do you want? How much do you want to increase traffic? Why do you want your traffic to increase in the first place? What’s the real goal here?
A better example would be “What is the most effective type of content to increase traffic through backlinking?” OK, now we have something to work with. We have positive constraints: defined parameters that keep our work focused.
It’s a lot like defining a niche. Narrow is good.
This is where you do the bulk of the work.
In order to create a well-informed hypothesis, you have to be, well, informed. You need to research. You need to know what the options are.
What work has already been done? What have other experimenters (i.e. competitors and marketers) done that is showing promising results? What is happening in related fields that could be applied to yours? What are the market trends?
This is also where you really dig into your customer. Who are these people, what are their drives. What do they really want anyway.
If you are focusing on backlinking, who would you want to the backlinks to come from? What kind of content do they feature on their site? Who is their target audience? How is it different or the same? Who are their affiliates?
Most importantly, what are you going to measure?
How will you know if you succeed? By gross sales? Overall traffic? Conversions? Number of backlinks?
The more thorough you are here, the better you will craft your hypothesis. The clearer you will understand how to proceed.
This is the fun part: Implementation!
Now that you have your idea of what you want to try and the results you are looking for, do it!
Write the content.
Promote it according to the plan that you developed.
Reach out to those people you identified in your research.
Run your A/B tests.
Put in the work and collect the results.
Then you get to take a step back. Look at everything you’ve done. Chart your results. What worked? What didn’t work? What was surprising?
And don’t just go for the low hanging fruit.
Maybe you got more clicks, but did your engagement fall off? Did all of your results come from some influencer mentioning your work? That may skew your numbers. Did holiday season or other external or societal trends redirect their attention? Really look at the bigger picture here and look at your data from different perspectives. The deeper your analysis, the more valuable your conclusions
Conclusion and Next Steps
So you’ve looked at your numbers, figured out what worked, what went wrong, and now…..
You start over again.
Scientific inquiry fuels itself.
You apply what you just learned, refine your hypothesis, and do it all over again.
Over time, you will build up a reliable set of information drawn directly from your own experience, from your own numbers. And that will be more valuable than almost anything you could ever read or be told.