Emily Hare

Global Content Strategy Director at Publicis Groupe

Emily Hare on Using Data to Drive Success in Content Marketing 

Data plays a critical role in content marketing. It helps marketers understand what content is resonating with their audience and driving results. Without data, marketers would be flying blind, relying solely on gut instinct to guide their content strategy. Sounds chaotic, doesn't it?

In a conversation with, Mohammed Sajjad, Senior Sales & Marketing Director at Pepper Content Emily Hare, Global Content Strategy Director at Publicis Groupe talks about data-driven success in the content marketing industry. 

Here are some excerpts. 

1. Could you introduce yourself in just 1 minute?

My name is Emily Hare. I'm the Global Content Strategy Director at Publicis so I sit on the global content team there and we're connected to the local content teams around the world. I have a particular focus on influencers, but we also look at ways in which we can connect with consumers through content, how people are changing, where they spend time, and what's effective.

2. How did content marketing happen to you and why did you plan to stick in the space?

I started my career as a journalist working for an industry publication called Contagious and worked my way up there to become managing editor. The focus of that was a quality publication and a website that was looking at brands and new technologies that are affecting the advertising industry and changes in consumer culture. That gave me a really of interesting grounding and the possibilities of what brands can do and then I wanted to start to put that into practice. The kind of skills that I had as a journalist was around content scuh as editorial, white papers, script writing, etc. I've been able to broaden that out a bit more and I have been in this space for about 20 years now.

3. What's the most exciting and most startling part of your job? 

The most interesting part is looking at how behaviors are changing and then thinking about how we can apply that to the content we make or the partnership deals that we do. So if gaming is becoming increasingly prominent, should we have, for example, a virtual influencer on Twitch? Or what are the kind of exciting opportunities that people maybe haven't seen before that are going to really get them excited? Just kind of looking out for those, looking for best practices within the company that we can share and make sure everyone's learning from the good work that we're doing and looking at who we could partner with that might be able to help us do that more effectively. The most tiring part is probably the excel spreadsheets, budgeting costs, etc.

4. How do you utilize data to really get to a point?

We have access to good platforms that supply us with strong, high-quality data like partnerships with social platforms or access to a different whole range of tools, search analytics, etc. There's a huge amount of data that you can tap into so it's thinking about what's going to be relevant and making sure that what you're using is most effective. One of the pieces that we offer at Publicis is comping consultancy piece. This is a really interesting way of using data to look at what a brand is doing, what competitors are set to do, where the white spaces are at, what kind of topics a brand might have a right to speak about on, and which social channel or what are people going to be interested in hearing about it, and more. and see where the overlaps are? 

When you come to producing campaigns, it (data) is much more effective because you're operating, writing, and creating content that people want to hear about.

5. What do you think about the content quality vs quantity debate? 

I'd say quality, every time. When you look at an analysis of how a brand's content is performing, you often see a peak and then a rapid drop off. There are a few pieces that perform incredibly well, have really high engagement levels, and are really hitting all the KPIs that you want. Then there's this long tail of loads of pieces of content that get very little engagement and aren't very effective. So, you want to be producing the pieces that are up here and not the pieces that are down here. This is a waste of everyone's time and energy and effort. Create a plan around that. You start at the very beginning thinking, what are your customers interested in hearing about? What do you have a right to speak about? What is going to line up with what you want to talk about as a company? And then see where those three things overlap and that is a starting point for your strategy. Focus on fewer, bigger, and better but put your energy, efforts, and skill set into the pieces that are going to outperform. Then you can think about boosting those pieces with media spend so they can reach as wider an audience as possible. There's a limit on the quantity side. There's a limit to the reach. You can't say you're working with influencers and work with another ten influencers because the audience overlap is going to be there and you're going to hit the limit.

You're a marketer, you've got a limited budget, and you want to be doing things that are effective and are going to make a difference.

 So then 

6. How do you go about creating content in terms of having an in-house team versus using freelancers? What's your thought about using a third party and not internal teams for writing content? 

It depends on different things. Is it better to have a team of specialists who really understand the product and are writing about it so you can get a level of consistency? Or are you writing about a range of topics that need quite a high level of expertise in a specific area? Say you're writing about blockchain and development. Actually employing that person within an agency, unless you're writing about it all the time is probably going to be a really high expense as compared to using someone that's can write about different pieces that aren't super technical. So yeah, I think it depends on the kind of clients that you have, the need state, etc. But I've worked in both ways and both work well.

7. What's your secret sauce? When you write content, what are you thinking about to make sure that content resonates well with the audience?

I don't know if it's a secret source. I'm thinking how anyone writing in this world, like I was saying about my background in journalism, you're thinking about the audience. First of all, what's the hook? How is this going to be interesting and relevant to them? Why should they spend their time out of everything that's available on the internet, reading this piece and not something else? They're busy and there are loads of things they could choose from. Why is this the one thing that they should be reading, interacting with, looking at, or watching?

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