With content marketing being all the rage lately, the need to conduct comprehensive research on your target audience and what type of content they want to consume is huge. Where should you start? There are plenty of tools out there to help you understand what your customers are asking and how you can provide the answers they’re searching for. Here are 9 of the best content research tools that will help your planning and brainstorming phase be comprehensive and thorough.
One of the easiest to use tools on this list is also one of the most useful. Ubersuggest takes the terms from Google Suggest and parses it back into a nicely organized list that gives you a great starting place for a large amount of content ideas. Many of these phrases can be turned into content marketing pieces that are going to be targeted and highly searched for.
With a large amount of data sources available to pull related searches from, Topix can provide results from news articles, Q&A sites, forums, and blog posts to name a few. The ability to drill down to results based on zip code allow you to return hyperlocal listings and content to construct the best content marketing research possible.
Yahoo Answers has been around before content marketing was a thing. Quite honestly, it’s the first place many internet users turn to get their specific question answered by their peers. Most, if not all question topics are categorized to facilitate easy searching for your related query. In order to find the highest quality answer, Yahoo Answers utilizes a point system and the members of the community can then vote on the most relevant answer. This not only gives you the question that the target market is asking, but also a number of possible answers to the question at hand.
Once you’ve been to Yahoo Answers, you need to dig deeper into the target market. Quora has been built from the ground up to be the best answer to any question that someone may have. As such, the site has many tools at its disposal to edit, flag, and organize answers by subject matter experts that come in the form of regular users like you and I.
Your Internal Staff
One the most overlooked ‘tools’ is more of a process, but just as important. Gather your internal team together to find out what they get asked all the time by clients and customers. Those questions can then become the prompts for your content. Use your content as a means of answering the constantly asked questions in regards to your business. This serves two purposes: 1) it addresses the needs of current customers and helps improve your content marketing ROI by reducing time spent on answering questions individually and 2) draws in new customers searching for the answers on Google. Put the questions into a spreadsheet and use this as a place to launch your strategy.
Linkedin is best known to most people as a professional’s social network and with that comes a very high pool of talented professionals in their respective fields of expertise. Think of groups as niche watercoolers for the related industry because the members of these groups are discussing the common challenges that are a part of that industry. They are able to uncover many deep seated problems that they face every day which gives you a wealth of deep knowledge into what people want to know.
Open Site Explorer
Looking at your competitor’s backlinks and top pages from Open Site Explorer can provide a very clear picture of which content is resonating with their target audience. It also offers an opportunity to create a more detailed piece of content or spin it out into something unique. It gives you a chance to see what is being linked to by other industry sites. The ability to easily spot the holes and gaps in the competitor’s content strategy can allow you to piggyback on the success of what’s already working and make it work even better.
Signing up for Google Alerts isn’t just about getting news. It’s about getting relevant (and timely) information about your industry or niche straight to your inbox. You can set up an alert to monitor questions being asked within your industry, blogs talking about your desired keyword phrases, and see trends happening within your sphere.
What about content that is relevant to what is happening right now? See trends and search for content ideas, questions, and opinions via Twitter Search. Type in your keyword phrase and see fresh content, replies to that content, events, and more all within the sphere of your search term. This is a great tool to start to follow threads of thought for your content and see what type of responses it gets…all in real time.
As you can see, content topic brainstorming doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, it can actually be fun and highly illuminating! Make sure to know what it is your target audience is looking for and use these tools to learn how to best address them.