Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to read the minds of our audience? Content planning would be so much easier! However, being telepathic is probably not one of your skillsets. So, you’ll have to turn to content marketing research to ensure you deliver relevant information to your audience. But what’s the best way to conduct your research to understand them?
Luckily, there are some proven strategies that content marketers can use to uncover the best topics for your target market. By leveraging these steps, you can identify the content your audience craves.
Content Marketing Research Must Be Consistent
One thing we’ve all learned in the last few months is that priorities and needs can change in an instant. What was important to your industry yesterday may not have the same weight today. The best piece of advice I can give any content team is that content marketing research must be consistent and continuous. While you may have a full content calendar, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to pivot and adjust to new and emerging concerns and challenges.
How to Become a Content Marketing Research Rockstar
While content marketing research can be a time-consuming endeavor, it’s worth the investment because relevance matters. Did you know that 1.3 percent of articles are responsible for 75 percent of social shares? For content marketing to deliver the results you expect – more traffic, better engagement, and improved conversions – what you write about should speak to your audience and deliver value. The best way to understand what’s valuable to your readers is by taking the time to do the heavy lifting involved in research.
Let’s look at six critical steps you should take to start learning, listening and producing content your market will love.
1. Go Directly to the Source
If you want to find out the interests and problems of someone, open a dialogue with your audience. Let them provide you with ideas based on their needs. There are several ways you can execute this. You can create a survey to send to your email list, as well as post it on social media or other channels to get more feedback. Make it even easier for customers to provide feedback by using Twitter polls.
Having one-on-one conversations is a possibility as well and could be facilitated by customer service or account manager reps.
The questions you ask should enable you to see trends among your market and lead to better topic development. At a minimum, ask:
- What are your biggest challenges?
- What type of content do you prefer?
- What do you like and dislike about our current content?
2. Be a Fly on the Wall
While you can’t eavesdrop on conversations your audience is having with peers and colleagues, you do have the ability to be a fly on the wall, so to speak, in online forums, such as Reddit and Quora. Reddit threads can lead you down a path of finding out exactly how your audience feels. You’ll find that those who participate on Reddit don’t often hold back with their opinions and grievances. All the intel you can derive from these conversations can give you a sense of how to angle your content so it’s attractive to your market.
Another spot to uncover customer pain points is Quora, where anybody can ask questions about anything. Depending on how niche your organization is, you can find some interesting topics here that concern your industry. Turn those questions into content that points to your brand as the answer.
3. Track Industry News and Be Ready to Respond Quickly
Keeping a pulse on what’s happening in your industry is vital to content marketing research. Create alerts for keywords in Google, as well as get digest emails from the leading publications and associations. When something major happens that will shake up how your customers do business, you want to be ready with a response. Creating content to address these changes promotes your brand’s credibility and authority.
4. Understand What’s Trending
Another content marketing research trick is to stay up to date on what content is trending. Buzzsumo is a great tool for this. Simply search via keyword, and it reveals the most shared content relating to that topic. You can also capture information on trending topics with Google Trends, which is a tool that analyzes the popularity of certain key terms. As you see keyword searches go up, that’s a good indicator it’s a new trend.
Another way to approach trends is by following hashtags on social media and using social listening tools to pick up on themes common in your industry.
5. Check Up on the Competition
As a content marketer, you should always be aware of what your competitors are doing. Use competitor content as a source for ideas, but be sure to put your own spin on the topic. You’ll likely create content that has similar keywords and topics; however, you should attempt to create a different angle or go more in-depth. By doing so, you may find that your content ranks higher and is more valuable to your audience.
6. Look to Internal SMEs
You probably have a wealth of ideas under your own roof. These subject matter experts (SMEs) all have different levels of knowledge and perspectives. Engage with sales to see what they are hearing from their customers about new challenges or needs. Talk to product managers about new iterations or feature roadmaps for the next year to gather topic ideas that will be beneficial to your audience. Customer support can be another resource here as they have direct interaction with customers.
Content Marketing Research Keeps Ideas Rolling
Generating ideas for content can be difficult, especially when you produce a high quantity of pieces. By leveraging content marketing research, you can continue to validate and enhance your content strategy, feed your content calendar, and ensure you’re addressing the topics that are most important to your audience. Topic generation can also be hard to keep organized, but it’s much easier when you use a content marketing platform like DivvyHQ. Experience how it can help by trying it for free today.