What differentiates Content Marketing from advertising based marketing is that fact that brands can use informational, entertaining and interactive content to engage with consumers. Instead of bombarding them with advertisements that they ignore. As an example statistic, 77% people watch TV while using another device. Do you think they’re watching the ad? No, they’re going to the next channel. Content Marketing is also different from mere writing in the sense that, it is aligned to business goals. This connection between content and marketing is what makes it unique and special. It is also the reason why hiring marketers who can’t write or writers who can’t market will not solve your problems. Content Marketing needs specialists who understand good writing, keyword analysis, SEO optimization, and audience engagement. Before you start off getting interns and ghostwriters churn out one article after another, here’s how to do some Content Marketing research.
How To Do Content Marketing Research
1. Define your consumers and buyer profiles
Define- yes write down, your consumer’s preferences. I do not mean noting down age, sex, gender- those are basics, yes. But also move towards behavioral aspects: what does your consumer like? What would your consumer compare you with? What does your ideal consumer do? What are the interests of your consumer? What are the challenges that your consumer faces? Get it down to the T. Who are your targeting with your content? The more niche it is, the more likely it is to get noticed. You can not and should not target everyone.
2. Identify what your consumers are searching for
From your employees to your customer care department, everyone has a view on what the customer pain points are. It is important to use these back into your content strategy. In addition, it is important to focus on search. A consumer already searching for information on a product is more likely to get influenced to purchase or buy if the exact answer is available on your site.
SEO is the number one lead-generating source reported by inbound marketing professionals. Right out of the gate we see that content, organic search, and content amplification are leading the way for marketers, priming content providers and promoters for exponential growth (source)
SEO for Content Marketing does not mean backlink building or sending SPAM links to other websites through a $5 Fiverr service you bought. SEO for Content means creating real content for humans, not Google bots. You will notice, if you do it the right way, you will be least bothered by Google’s ever changing algorithms. Make your content and plans consumer centric to win!
3. Identify community influencers
Not hard to believe but 90% of our purchase influences are driven by friends/ family and people who we trust. I can tell you that I know many a young girls buying makeup off the shelf also because they saw a V-blogger talk about the product and recommend it on YouTube. It is important to recognize who are the trust builders or community influencers for your products and services. (A post on who’s an influencer, coming up soon!)
4. Observe consumer behavior
Listen. Ask if you don’t know what your consumers want, ask your community. Set Google alters on keywords and your brand topics and handles. Use tools like Mention and SocialMention. See what your audience is saying about your brand. Make them feel that you care, and you do. Reuse their questions/ answers and build that back into your content strategy by curating. A good example could be hosting a TweetChat for your community and asking everyone questions/ opinions. You can play it back to them by improving your products and also using the Chat itself as a curated story. Recently Buffer asked its consumers to share their views on a call. I signed up for it, and at the right time got a call from an associate who was very helpful in listening and answers any questions I had. I can bet, they put this back either into their content or directly the product. As a consumer, it makes me feel wonderful! What a brand that takes out time to speak to a small consumer, I thought! You can bet that I’m a buffer user for a bit.
5. Use multiple tools
Google Keywords planner tool, Ubersuggest, Quora, Yahoo answers, About.com, LinkedIn or Google+ discussions, niche communities or Twitter could all be used to trace what questions and keywords your consumers are searching for. Choose the ideal high traffic- low competition combination for your keywords. Once I told a client this: “flood the market with high quality content, and be seen”. I believe in it strongly. You have to let people discover you. Discovery happens through knowing what they’re looking for and providing the relevant answers.
6. Test everything
Use Facebook insights, Twitter analytics data, your site traffic dashboard (e.g. Jetpack for WordPress), Google analytics to identify your consumer’s behavior. What do they like? Which types of content and headlines are doing better? Which type of images are doing better? Which channels are converting for you? And while you’re at it, it is important to test everything keeping your business goals in mind. Do you want more traffic on your site, more leads or more engagement? These could potentially all be solved by different means and thus different tests.
What are the ways in which you research your Content Marketing strategic approaches? Please feel free to share!
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