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Content marketing is all about knowing your audience. From the ways people look for information in search engine results to how they engage with topics, every aspect of creating content comes back to understanding what your target audience is interested in. But how do you know what they’re interested in? If you want to discover the type of content your audience wants to see from your brand, try these four methods:
- Research Trending Topics
- Utilize Keyword Research
- Check Social Media Conversations
- Look at Your Competitors’ Content
Research Trending Topics
When creating a content marketing strategy, looking into trending topics should be one of the first things you do. Knowing what’s being searched for and provided by the people who will be reading your content can make staying relevant easier. And being able to forecast what content topics your audience typically engages with throughout the year makes it easier to build out a content marketing calendar several months in advance.
Try free tools like Google Trends and Pinterest Trends, which can help you track topic interest in search engines and on social media. Google Trends and Pinterest Trends use real-time user data from each of their platforms so trending topic information is always up to date. Best of all, you can track interest in topics throughout the year with these tools, meaning you can see when interest gains steam and when it wanes.
Utilize Keyword Research
One of the best ways to find out what kind of content your audience is looking for is through keyword research. This is helpful when putting together a content strategy because it gives you a way to see what topics are being searched for online, as well as how they’re being searched for—that is, what terms, questions, and phrases your audience is using in search engines to find information.
Free tools like Keywordtool.io aggregate terms, questions, and phrases used in search that can be helpful for basic keyword research and topic ideation. If you’re working on a more robust content strategy, though, it may be better to use more advanced keyword research tools from MOZ, SEMrush, or KWFinder, which allow you to see monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, competitor placement in search engine results pages (SERPs), and more in addition to those terms, questions, and phrases.
Check Social Media Conversations
If you want to see what topics are part of the current online conversation, head to social media. 79% of the U.S. population is on social media, which means there are millions of conversations happening there each day that could give you great insight into what your audience is interested in right now.
Check out top social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for inspiration. You can see what people are talking about through social listening tools, hashtag searches, trending topics, and more. Keep in mind, however, that the conversations being had on different social networks can be quick, so you need to be able to create content on the fly if this is your chosen method for engaging your audience.
Look at Your Competitors’ Content
Don’t be afraid to scope out the topics your local competitors and others within your industry are using in their content marketing and social media marketing strategies. Do they have a main site article that’s performing extremely well on their social media pages? What does the marketing copy look like on their webpages that see good organic search traffic? What keywords are they ranking for?
Use this competitive analysis and research time to gain an understanding of how other businesses are engaging with audiences so that you can develop similar content that will attract new customers and potentially outperform your competitors’ content.
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