A process for determining what sort of content to create for your company’s target demographic.
The Problem: Not Knowing What to Create
Are you having a hard time coming up with good content ideas, perhaps the topics for your articles and blog posts?
Perhaps you have too many ideas, and can’t seem to focus on one and get started?
Solution: Topics Based on Actual Data
This article addresses both issues above, by demonstrating how to generate content ideas and find topics that will be worth your time and effort to create.
The main idea is that by using readily-available search data, we can determine what specifically what your customer base wants to know.
It is important to prioritize, and I’ll show you how to do that as well.
Proof - A dramatic rise in Google search impressions after focusing on content marketing using these tactics:
Track Your Ideas
The first thing we need to do set up an organized way to keep track of ideas and research.
Notes can easily sprawl into scattered fragments, and become difficult to muddle through later.
Not to worry, we have provided an example tracking system for you:
Clone our Google Sheet template here.
Hit File -> Make a Copy to save in your Drive.
Find Content Generation Ideas
Let's start with UberSuggest - a free new tool from Neil Patel that makes it very easy to find key phrases with high potential.
Enter a key phrase / search commonly related to your industry. It’s best to begin with a rather general phrase, instead of getting to specific.
For example, if you have a commercial cleaning company, you would try the following:
Go to the keyword ideas section (shown below).
Within a few seconds, you’ll have a wealth of information on your screen!
The first column contains related keywords, ranked by search volume.
The second column shows an estimate of the monthly search traffic for that phrase on Google.
Skipping over the next two related to paid ads, take a look at the SD (Search Difficulty) column. This shows how much search competition exists for each keyphrase.
This data is critical when trying to obtain more organic traffic for your website or YouTube channel.
Now, using the checkboxes at left, select the relevant and interesting phrases, and export to CSV.
Open the resulting file with spreadsheet software, copy the entries (but not the header row), and paste it into the template we provided at the beginning of this guide.
Repeat this process with other queries, until you have a broad sample of how people search for what you offer.
Consider the prospect’s awareness level, as not everyone is ready to purchase immediately.
Don’t forget to check your analytics for terms people are already using to find your content!
Make sure you run these phrases through the above process as well.
Alright, now we have a list of dozens or even hundreds of phrases.
Here's how to narrow down and find the best ones to work with.
- 1. Grey out terms that may interest you from a research standpoint, but simply aren’t what a potential customer would use. For example, it may be curious that there is a high volume for industry conferences, but if you aren’t planning to put one on, this isn’t much help.
- 2. Look for High Volume, Low Competition topics. The spreadsheet template will automatically color these columns based on their value. Green is good, yellow and orange have lower potential value for you.
- 3. Identify which of these are subjects you can quickly produce content for. A high potential term that would require a lot of research or graphic design to support will take time to produce. Perfectly fine for long-term growth, but to start building momentum ASAP, start with a few pieces that can be created quickly.
Once you have identified which key phrases will be practical for you to work with, you may want to see what you’re up against on the search rankings front.
Head back to Ubersuggest, and check out the SERP Analysis. On desktops this is also visible when looking at related keywords, if you prefer that view.
Take a look at the top entries to get a feel for what ranks well, and what unique angle you can take to provide something new and different.
Check Search Trends
Knowing how interest in your offerings varies over time and by location can help you run more effective marketing campaigns.
We can use Google Trends to see how to proportion the marketing budget.
When you have a limited budget and see significantly more interest from the Midwest, don’t waste money trying to get clicks from the coasts.
Depending on overall search volume, there may not be data for all times/locations.
Note that the default is “Web Search”, but you can also check for Images, YouTube, etc if you are trying to rank media of those types rather than written articles.
Google Trends shows interest levels, but not specific search volume data.
It is useful for comparing phrases to check how related they may be, which can help explain peaks or valleys in interest throughout the year.
Create Your Content
You now have a wealth of data and have identified where to begin.
Write that article, produce that video! It's time to take action.
Now that you have some fresh new content, we want to get eyes on it.
Additionally, there needs to be a plan for maintaining relevancy for your readers.
As you begin to gain more organic traffic from your new content, you’ll want to track your SERPs over time.
I like to use Authority Labs (no affiliation) - they have a free trial sufficient for testing a broad range of phrases, and then you can stick with a smaller plan and monitor the most important phrases, such as topics you’ve recently created content on.
They offer some free tools, and their pricing is quite reasonable when you are ready to bump up to a larger plan and track more keywords.
Promoting Your Material
For each piece, share it (as is relevant) with your current clients, prospects, email list, and social profiles.
Text articles can be also be published to an industry blog, Medium, etc - but wait a week or so after publishing on your business website so search engines have time to identify the original source.
Once you have a handful a base articles or videos, you can go back and start working on high potential subjects that will take more work to produce.
When first writing an article, make a note of secondary sections, examples, or more in-depth things, but don’t actually do all those yet.
Once your content is published, promoted, and indexed by search engines, it is good to provide updates occasionally. By having some notes on what to add, you’ll save time and need to do less research.
After providing a significant update to a popular piece, notify your list and followers again. They will tend to see you as caring, committed and passionate when you take the time to go back and keep things fresh - increasing the value of something they found helpful.