MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

How to Create a Behavioral, Data-Driven Content Strategy That Converts with Kenda Macdonald

Don’t make random acts of content!

In this clip, Kenda Macdonald, owner of Automation Ninjas and best-selling author of Hack the Buyer Brain, explains what a random act of content is—and how to create a data-driven strategy instead.

Get Kenda’s conversion insights in this video clip, or read the transcript below.

And don’t miss Kenda at B2B Forum, November 12-14 in Boston! She’ll be hosting a full-day workshop on Demand Generation for Lead Scoring, Planning, and Converting.




A random act of content is content that is created without strategy. It doesn’t have strategic directionality behind it. It doesn’t have a purpose, and very often it doesn’t convert and it doesn’t work.

And though we do this for a number of reasons, we are just desperate to create stuff. We know that we need to create content. We know that it’s really important. We have content calendars that we have to create.

And so we sit there and thumb-suck and try and figure out what content are we gonna create. 

Sometimes we’re overwhelmed with the amount of content we need to create. Other times we have no fucking clue what we’re doing!

And we’re like, “okay, you put something in the calendar. Everything will be fine.”

The other thing that we do, the other thing that causes random acts of content is planning for keywords.

Now, the SEO people in the room get angry with me when I say this. Now the reason I say this is very often what people do is they go, “I have this list of keywords. This is the stuff I wanna rank for. Now I’m gonna make up some titles about what would actually match that stuff and I’m gonna go create some content.”

Is that valuable for your audience? Probably not. Why are you wanting to rank for that stuff? What is the purpose behind that? How does that tie into everything else that you’re doing? Are you just trying to get traffic to your site? But then what are you doing with that?

It’s not a good way to plan your content strategy. You still need to utilize keywords to validate what you are doing. A hundred percent keywords are fundamental to succeeding and getting your content ranking—but you shouldn’t be doing it from a keyword-first approach.

Your keyword should be retrofitted to the content that you’re creating that is valuable to your audience.

So planning for keywords gives us random acts of content that aren’t very good!

Then we all are like, “oh, don’t know what to create next.” So we just create any old bullshit, which is not great. So let’s not do that.

And of course we’re marketers and we probably all have A.D.H.D., and we get really excited when there’s a cool new thing, right? And we’re like, “oh my God, I’m gonna impress my boss with this cool new tool. I’m gonna utilize this cool new thing,” and we jump on the next content craze.

We don’t think about the impact that that actually has on our strategic direction. Is it right?

For me, I am all for optimization. I am an automation girl, right? That is my job is to create marketing automation systems. So of course I’m gonna want to play with the new tools and do all the new stuff. But that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily strategically directional for what I’m trying to do.

We need to make sure that we’re retrofitting our tactics and the tools that we’re using to the actual strategy we’re utilizing. Okay?

So what do we do about random acts of content?

First, we need to refocus around problems. Rather than trying to focus on keywords or focus on ranking for something specific, we need to take a look at the problems that our audience is facing and utilize that to backwards-plan everything else, right?

So we focus on the problem and then we figure out, okay, how do we make sure that we are solving that problem? Cuz that helps us create valuable content that our audience actually wants to consume.

Secondarily, we wanna plan for awareness, which we’re gonna take a little look at in a second. And we also want to create data anchors.

“What is a data anchor?” I hear nobody say. Effectively a data anchor is a salient point that you are utilizing to understand that someone is somewhere in a journey. It’s basically a signal that they are giving you that they are at a certain point of their journey by virtue of the content that they are consuming.

When someone consumes a certain type of lead magnet, when they download something, they are telling you, “this is a problem for me and I am marketing-qualified.”

Someone consumes something else. They are telling you, “I have now moved from marketing-qualified to sales-qualified because I’m interested in buyers-guide-related content. I wanna learn about pricing.”

Those are data anchors. They’re important things that let us know that someone is at a certain part in their journey and we have to build those out and we need to create for data rather than creating and then just looking at data afterwards, trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

Number three, we need to pre-empt and we need to plan and cater for behavior.

This comes in two different directions, right? It comes from the fact that you wanna be tracking people’s behavior, and you wanna be making sure that you’re optimizing for behavior.

You wanna be looking at that behavior and be like, “okay, people are displaying this, they’re doing this, that tells me this about them.” Great.

But we also know we want people to display certain types of behavior. We know that we want them to go from this piece of content to another piece of content.

So create for it!

If you want them to take the next step, give them the bloody next step, okay?!

You can’t be like, “I want these people to convert,” and then not give them a call to action! It’s not okay. We need to make sure that we are planning and we are catering for behavior and we can preempt that and we can plan for that because we’re clever.

Published 4/19/23

To get more of Kenda’s expertise, join her in Boston this November. Kenda will be hosting a day-long workshop at B2B Forum to help you dial in your demand generation and conversion marketing. Tickets are limited and available now!

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