The amount of content created increases dramatically every day. People are saturated with more advertisements, media, and content than ever before. Yet they still seek more: they are still loyal to TV shows (5 hours per day!), consistently browse the web, and are always on their smartphones. People love content and can’t get enough of it. Though what they are seeking is often times only really REALLY good stuff. Why would they want anything else? So how do you create content that will drive the traffic and success you are looking for?
1. What is your Target Market Interested in? Use Twitter.
Find and follow the people on Twitter who are in your target market, including your average Joe and other influencers. Observe what type of content these people are sharing the most, take good note of it, and start to shape your strategy around what you discover.
Let’s say you want to target people interested in social media. How do you find them? You can use a tool like FollowerWonk or Twellow to search Twitter user’s bios, locations, names, and URLs. Simply type in “social media” into the search field to gain instant results to people matching your search criteria, including location, name, URL, follower and following count, and more.
Let’s say, for example, you’ve identified some influencers. One of them happens to be @markwschaefer, so you start following his Tweets closely. He has an incredible blog, and also retweets some very useful stuff. His followers are people that you want to reach. Because you know the stuff he links to are of value to his followers (if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t be following him), you can safely assume that by matching his type of content you’d be able to reach his followers as well.
Do this task everyday with about 25-30 people (Create a private twitter list of these individuals) and make note of and favorite their top tweets.
2. How to Stay Relevant? Use Google Alerts and Social Mention.
It can be difficult to stay on top of every single development in your niche. Make things simple with these two tools: Google Alerts and Social Mention. These two apps send you updates via e-mail with links to the keywords you specified. If you created an alert or mention for ‘social media’, you would get an email notice for anything (blogs, news, tweets) containing that keyword.
3. What works for your Competitors? Analyze competing blogs.
Chances are if you find what works for popular blogs in your niche, you’ll also be able to create content that is similar in value to theirs. I recently used Odesk and hired someone to scour 15 of the blogs that best matched the type of content I want to generate. She created a detailed spreadsheet of the blogs top posts based on social share count (Twitter, Facebook, Google +, reddit). I quickly discovered the type of content the readers liked to share or commented on and engaged with the most. We used this data to help shape the editorial calendar.
Have a look at specific things: are list posts particularly popular? Or are Q&A’s the ones that resonate with audiences most? Does your target market like timely news, or do they prefer more timeless content? What specific pieces generate the most discussion?
4. Want some more Ideas? Use the Google Adwords Keyword tool
The Google Adwords Keyword tool can be used for much more than just buying keywords. You can use it for keyword research for search engine optimization (SEO). From the list of possible topics and keywords you already created with the steps above, you can now test to see what terms are being searched for the most.
Let’s say you want to create content for your new Startup blog focusing on ‘content marketing’. You zip on over to the Adwords Keyword research tool, and type in “Content Marketing”. You can see immediately the level of competition and global monthly searches there are for that term. You can also see what other words relate to your query, for example: word of mouth marketing, what is SEO content, and what is content marketing. These could potentially become a comprehensive list posts (“How Content Marketing is Good for SEO”…) or a series of posts.
5. Want a Quick Gauge of what People are Googling? Use Google Suggest.
Type a search query into Google and see that list of alternative suggestions pop up. They’re in descending order of popularity. This is typically a good indication of what people are searching for and can help you generate new ideas for topics and content.
6. Want to Answer Questions? Use Quora.
You can create value for people when you answer their questions. How can you find the questions? Use Quora. Quora is a site where people find answers, and post or answer public questions. You can establish yourself as an expert in your field (Knowledge marketing) by frequently answering questions related to your industry. Or, if you aren’t comfortable answering questions, why not follow some interesting ones ? For example: What is the best example of content marketing? And Content Marketing: What are some good case studies for content marketing? By finding and following topics related to your plan, it will help you come up with some great topic ideas, ones that are already being discussed, and some research to help you justify your content strategy.
7. Refer to other blogs for more Advice.
ProBlogger and Copyblogger are must reads. These two blogs (amongst many others) create the commandments in the niche of content marketing and can accelerate your learning curve. As a concrete example, have a look at How to Choose a Topic for your next Blog Post by Darren Rowse of Problogger.He lists several other suggestions on how to find ideas for your next blog post. Both Darren and Brian Clark from Copyblogger provide some of the most solid pieces of advice to bloggers and content developers you can find on the web today.
You’re now equipped with the tools you need to develop the best content for your blog. Take a second and figure out which tools you’ll be familiarizing yourself with first. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and haven’t a clue where to start, figure out your target market using Twitter. It’s time to commit yourself to excellence and take your content to the next level. OR, better yet, if you are a startup looking for help with your Content Marketing, hire Onboardly!