Search for Current High-Performing Content
The most important thing that you should do to start is to look for what’s currently performing well with your target audience.
If you already have social media, a blog, or any other content-oriented channel that’s up and running, take a look at your analytics. Native social media analytics like Facebook’s Insights or Instagram Analytics can show you what posts are doing well, and Google Analytics can give you the same information for your blog post. Look for engagement, clicks on links, and social shares as indicators of relevance here.
Big metrics to watch include time spent engaging with content, like view time on videos or average time per page views on Google.
You’ll also want to take a look at what your competitors– direct or indirect– are doing in the space, and what content is working well for them. For this, you can save yourself a lot of time by using a content research tool like BuzzSumo.
BuzzSumo will let you search for any competitor, any keyword, or any general topic and allow you to immediately see the top-performing content related to your search based on social sharing factors like “retweet ratio.”
When you’re looking at both your own content and your competitors’ content to see what’s doing well, make sure you’re looking at it on multiple levels, including the following:
- What specific mediums do well? Video, infographics, long-form content, and short-form blog posts all may perform differently for different audiences.
- How long is the content? Videos clocking in at thirty seconds may have higher view retention rates, for example, while you may find that blog posts over 2000 words get the most social shares due to added value.
- How is the content organized? Are there cue cards, subheads, or visual breakdowns that help keep it all easy to skim and understand?
- What types of topics are being covered? Some audiences want more information-based content (IE: “The Best New Years Parties of 1999”) while many others will prefer actionable, valuable content (“How to Throw an Incredible New Years Party”).
Once you understand what’s doing well for the audience that you have, you can start to put together pieces of the puzzle to decide what you should create moving forward. Remember to look for competitors who share your target audience; those who are in a similar space but targeting completely different audiences may be able to give a few good ideas, but the focus should always be on your specific audience.
Do Question-Based Keyword Research
One of the most ironclad ways you can create content that your audience wants to see is to answer questions that they’re asking. If you notice that a lot of your clients are getting in touch with the same question again and again, that’s a pretty good place to start for a blog post.
You can also use question-based keyword research tools to identify question queries that users are making online. Tools like SEMrush allow you to search for related keywords to a term that you enter, and you can choose to view question-only keywords.
You don’t have a ton to go on with a keyword like “professional photographs,” for example, when understanding your audience’s search intent, but seeing “what to wear to a professional photographer” or “how to find a professional photographer” are much more specific.
Understand Their Language
This is a relatively simple tip, but it’s also one that many businesses and marketers overlook.
When you’re creating content of any kind, it’s important to think about how your audience will perceive it. It’s easy to swoop in and use technical or esoteric terms that feel native to you, but that seem as foreign as another language to your audience.
A few weeks ago, I was reading an online article about different types of air conditioning units, but the language was so technical that I– as someone with no technical knowledge– couldn’t even follow along.
I was a prime audience for readership and purchase, because of course my AC went out in the middle of July in Florida– but I couldn’t understand the content. It wasn’t relatable to me, and the posts were rattling off technical differences without explaining what they meant.
Make sure that your audience has whatever information they need to fully understand what you’re writing. Provide backlinks to other content you’ve written or other high quality resources when needed, and use casual language that clients– not peers– would easily understand.