Now that you know your goals, you need to decide what kind of content to create. There are several ways to do this by researching online. The objective of this research is to discover what content your audience needs. You’re looking for content that helps your customers solve their problems or answer their questions. Online research shows you what they already like and crave so that you can offer more of it to them.
Start by brainstorming. If you have employees, brainstorm as a group. Focus on your customers’ needs but also your company’s expertise and experience. In regular day-to-day interactions with your customers offline, how does your expertise help them? Make a list of these topics.
You can find out a great deal about your customers by observing what they say and do online. Look at your customers’ interactions on social media, comments on blogs or videos, comments in online forums, questions on Q&A sites, and so on.
Wherever your audience is, you should be there listening. Pay especially close attention to questions they ask. If you find questions that you can answer with content, these are ideas you can use.
Look also at what content they’re consuming. See what other brands they follow or other websites they regularly visit for information. Pay attention especially to the content they share on social media. Take ideas from these competitors.
Another way to get ideas is to look at analytic data. Look at the analytics of your existing website and identify the pages where your audience spends most of its time. These pages are the topics most useful to your audience, so try to brainstorm ideas that are similar.
Keyword research is another way to find good topics. Use a keyword tool, such as the Keyword Planner from Google Adwords, or better still check out jaxxy to find relevant keywords that get a high search volume. These words and phrases are what your audience is looking for most, so create content based on them. You don’t have to actually use the keywords themselves, but use them as a way to understand what your audience’s interests are.
Organizing Your Ideas
For organizing your ideas, keep an idea file, preferably in a shareable online database using a platform like Evernote or a Google Sheet. Add to this file whenever a new idea strikes you or you come across something you can use. You can choose to organize your ideas in as detailed a way as you want, but at the very least, keep a file.
You may find that it’s best to simply open the file and find something spontaneously than to plan everything out in detail, or vice versa. The whole point is to create a system that’s easy for you to use where you can save and organize your ideas.
Another great tool for organizing content is a mind map. Mind maps allow you to organize information visually and see it in the big picture. You can create categories for broad topics and then list narrower topics under each.
Once you have a good ideas list, check it against:
The content you already have published. Make sure there are no repetitions or ideas that contradict one another.
The brand you’re trying to build. Is everything on your list appropriate and on-brand?
Your long-term business goals. Will the content on your list draw the right people into your marketing funnel and lead them to the eventual goal you have in mind?
1.Conduct research to see where your market consumes content and use the relevant page in your Action Guide to start a list of sources to regularly visit for ideas.If you’re not sure where your market likes to find their content, try surveying your current customers or searching for your most successful competitors’ content. That’s assuming they’re publishing their content in the best places themselves!
2.Find places to connect with your customers online such as social media or forums and add those places to your list of sources, so you can regularly visit and use to check for ideas.
Again, if you’re not sure where to go, try asking your customers directly.
3.Start your idea file by visiting at least 3 of the places you identified in your initial research. Start with the ones where you saw the most discussion happening. Note the topics that were most discussed and some of the biggest issues talked about. Those are the types of ideas you should put in your idea file.
You can use the Action Guide to start your list of ideas, or use a separate mind map, notebook or spreadsheet.
If you missed my last post on content marketing go here to bring you up to speed.
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