When you wrote your last blog post, did you get as many interactions as you were hoping for? The truth is that what you think is valuable isn’t always what your audience wants to read. This is a huge gap that you need to bridge if you want your content to be effective.
To know which pieces of content will catch on, you don’t need to be a mindreader. It just takes a little bit of research and forethought. In this post, we’ll look at three ways to find topics your customers will want to read and share.
1. Quantitative Research (Customer Surveys and Analytics Trends)
When you’re looking for content ideas, sending out a survey is a good way to get feedback and ideas quickly. Follow these steps for building an effective survey:
- Use a platform that will collect, organize, and analyze the survey results for you (Google Forms and SurveyMonkey are both good options).
- Include simple multiple choice questions, so that users won’t have to spend too long typing. Of course you should also include a write-in option for those who do want to type.
- Write insightful survey questions. For example, instead of asking “what would you like us to write about,” ask “what challenges are you currently trying to solve?” The more specific the questions are to your industry and customers, the better your results will be.
- Send the survey out to your customer list. If you have a very large customer base, then consider sending it to your highest-value clients. Writing content geared toward these types of clients will help you attract more of them.
- If appropriate, offer a reward for completing the survey. Preferably something related to your brand that will strengthen your relationship with your clients.
- Analyze the results. Which topics won?
Once you have a list of topics, compare these with your site analytics. How have posts on similar topics performed in the past? Do your analytics confirm that your top topics are worth the effort? If there are discrepancies, it either means your previous content lacked quality or that the topic may not be that valuable to customers.
2. Qualitative Research (Customer Interviews)
At this point you know which topics your customers are interested in. But, you don’t know which specific questions they want answered. That’s where qualitative data comes into play.
One of the best ways to perform qualitative research is to talk to your customers. Scheduling a few 15-minute calls with your best clients will help you understand exactly what they’re struggling with. What questions should you ask? Try a few of these:
- Which topics from this list are most applicable to you? (Show them your list of topics.)
- What’s your biggest challenge with [topic]?
- What do you want to improve about [topic]?
- How would improving [topic] put you closer to your business goals?
- What are your biggest questions about [topic]?
The answers you get will help you identify specific blog posts that your customers will actually read.
3. SEO Opportunities (Moz Keyword Explorer)
There’s one last step before writing your posts. For them to be read, they need to be easy-to-find and that means doing keyword research. Your goal with this research is to see which topics are most likely to rank high on Google.
Follow these basics steps to find good keyword opportunities:
- Go to the Moz Keyword Explorer.
- Look at your top topics. Which keywords would people search for to find those topics?
- Enter the keywords into the Keyword Explorer and keep track of their search volume, difficulty, and priority. If you sign up for a free trial, then you can add each search to a keyword list instead of manually tracking the scores.
- Now compare the scores from your keyword list. Look for keywords that have a high search volume, low difficulty, and high opportunity. These are the keywords that you should use in your post titles and content to rank higher on Google.
- Don’t do these steps backward – focus on high quality content aimed at your best customers first, and then use SEO research to fine tune things for greater reach.
Tracking Content Performance
Before publishing new content, it’s important to have a way to track the results. Google Analytics or a service like WP Engine’s Content Performance Tool can help you understand how your analytics relate to content performance. With a click glance you’ll be able see which content is getting the most views, lowest bounce rate, and top traffic sources.
At this point, you’ve put in the time doing research and finding the best topics, questions, and keywords. You’re even set up to track the results. But, how can you make sure you actually produce all of this content?
Staying on Track with a Content Calendar
A content calendar will help you keep track of what you’re publishing and when. It’s a great tool for keeping track of your content marketing. A content calendar, paired with a regular meeting cadence and task management will keep everyone on track. Complete the form linked below to request a free content calendar template to use for your content marketing efforts. If you’d like our help in creating a content strategy, please add a note in the message field.
What are your top goals for improving your website content?