So you’ve decided that content marketing is a strategy that could work for your website. You have lots of useful information to share with the world, so why not? You allocate some time to sit down and write some blog posts but then you find yourself stuck. What topics are you even supposed to write about?
Whether you’re a local knitwear business or a global fast-food enterprise, content marketing is a fantastic way to strengthen your brand. The important thing with content marketing is that it has to be unique, valuable and high quality, and it can’t really be rushed either because readers will be able to tell.
Suddenly, the idea of content marketing starts to sound intimidating but don’t worry; we have explored five great tools and resources that will hopefully give you an idea of the kinds of things your target audience will want to read about.
1. Yahoo! Answers
You might have seen this section of Yahoo! before. Simply put, users can post questions about various topics which are then answered by others. The problem that sometimes arises with this community is that anybody can answer the question, even if they’re not an industry expert. But you might be! It can be a great tool to find out what people are asking about your industry, giving you ideas for FAQ posts. There might also be some incorrect information posted by others which you could correctly explain in your own blog, in a ‘myths and misconceptions’ style post.
There are various tools out there that can give you a summary of what people are searching for via search engines. Soovle is a really simple website that can give you tons of searches on one page from Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Amazon, YouTube, Answers.com and Wikipedia. All you have to do is begin to type a question or topic and the site will generate various other similar searches. It can be a great resource to give you inspiration.
3. Topsy and Twitter Advanced Search
These are two very similar resources that can give you a general overview of what is trending on Twitter. You can type in a specific product or service that your business provides and these tools will generate the most popular tweets, news, links and even the most popular photos and videos in relation to your key word or phrase. You can narrow your results down to searches carried out over the last hour or over all of time! The Advanced Search on Twitter is also really useful because you can look at positive tweets, negative tweets and questions, giving you a general idea of what is popular and not so popular right now in your industry.
4. Sonar Solo
Sonar Solo can look intimidating at first but is actually simpler than it appears. It’s similar to Topsy, in that you can look at specific trending topics on Twitter and popular hashtags. It also gives you an idea of whether a topic is trending positively or negatively which can really helpful. Another great feature is that more prevalent topics are bigger and more intense in colour, so you can see instantly which topics are worth writing about.
5. Google Tools
If you have access to Google Adwords, you will already be aware that Google has various tools that can help you research your audience’s typical search phrases, giving you an indication of the kind of topics they might want to read about. Google Keyword Planner is an extensive tool that can give you an insight into the most successful keywords that users are searching for. It can be particularly useful for finding long-tail keywords, which are phrases that might not necessarily be searched for in high volume but will be much more specific and therefore more likely to lead to conversions. Once you have these keywords you’ll have a far clearer picture of which topics are likely to receive the highest levels of engagement from your target market.
Although there are numerous tools on the web to help generate starting points for content, these are perhaps five of the most widely used and the most simple to use. If you’re looking for simple inspiration check out these tools to see which topics and searches are proving popular, giving you a general idea of what your target audience actually want to read about!
In addition to web tools, talk to your customers and staff. What are the questions that your team are regularly asked? By creating content around these questions you’ll not only help to attract new customers, but you can send this useful information to your existing customers the next time they ask, improving both your service and efficiency.
The most effective blog posts occur when authors have researched what people want to read about before churning out content for content’s sake or choosing a topic that they believe is of interest and hoping for the best. It’s so important to get in the mind-set of your ideal customer and ask yourself, ‘Would my audience want to read this?’
Image Credits: DeathToTheStockPhoto and Sonar Solo