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Content Creation: How to Find Which Questions Your Target Audience is Actually Asking

Having educational content for your website visitors has consistently become more important over time for a variety of different reasons. High level content can pay major dividends to both SEO and user experience. For SEO, it can help improve your rank for particular terms, especially if the focus point of the resource is not represented somewhere else on your website. From a user standpoint, it helps add company credibility while positioning your company as a thought leader in your industry. With so many great benefits that come along with creating educational content, why would companies pass on this opportunity?

One major challenge with content creation is how time consuming the process is and there are no real short cuts. With black hat SEO techniques being identified and penalized for years now, it makes little sense to try and cut corners with content creation. The quality of your content is more important than ever and quality takes time.

I Wrote an Awesome Article! Where are all my Readers?

So now that you took the time to create a well written, educational content piece on a topic you find interesting, it is time to upload it to the web and watch the visits pour in. You check your analytics account a week later to see how much traction your resource is getting and you are extremely disappointed with the lack of users and low visitor metrics. Why are people not reading this?

You are convinced that people are interested in your topic, but they’re just not being exposed enough to it. So you promote the piece via social media, newsletters, on-site promotion; whatever you can think of. You check back a week later, yet still the numbers are dismal.

I am sure most of us who have written content for the web have had this happen before. This is the reason so many companies give up on content creation as they cannot justify the time and effort put into the process for only a small payoff in traffic and engagement.

What am I Doing Wrong?

In many cases the problem is occurring in the first step of your content creation process, brainstorming. For many people that are just starting to create web resources, they pick a content angle that strikes their interest. For individuals who have been writing content for the web for some time, they begin to run out of good ideas so they use whatever idea comes to mind. In both cases no additional topic research is done and the writers get pen to paper and start writing.

The problem here is that there is no inclination if the topic is one that interests your target audience. You might think the topic is fascinating but if your potential readers don’t then the whole writing project is a waste of time and resources.

Making sure that your resources are tailored around the wants and needs of your prospective readers is the best way to get the most value out of your writing. This will set your resource up for success right from the very beginning. 

How do I Find What Topics Interest my Readers?

Luckily with the internet at your fingertips, there are excellent resources for finding what your customers are interested in and the questions they are actively searching. These methods will be much easier and quicker than holding a focus group, interviewing your existing customers or sending out surveys. There are many resources available so I won’t try and cover all of them but these are my 3 favorites and the ones I most often start with. To use as an example, I will pretend I work for a business that installs pools.

Answerthepublic.com- This nifty tool takes auto suggest results from both Google & Bing for any keyword you may be considering for a content focus and presents all the popular questions being searched around this term. It displays the questions in an easy to understand visualization that stem off of the interrogative words such as who, what, where, when, why, & how. They also offer data around your keyword as prepositions and search terms in alphabetical order; both of these can be useful as well.

This free resource does not provide search volumes or competition levels but you can always use other keyword tools to get a sense of this.

Below you can see the question data for a keyword search of “installing a pool”. Obviously not all of the searches will be relevant to a resource topic idea, but many of them could be. This is a pretty specific search and you can play around with broad vs. narrow keyword searches for ideas as well.

Answer the Public

Just from this quick search we have several great ideas for content ideas including:

  • What is the average cost of installing a pool?
  • What to look for when installing a pool?
  • Questions to ask when installing a pool
  • How to save money installing a pool?

Buzzsumo.com- Buzzsumo is an online application that lets you get information on social media sharing around whatever keyword you choose. While the free account is a bit limited as it only shows you the top 10 results, they also have a paid service offering that provides all search results and variety of other services such as backlinking data, content analyses, outreach lists and much more.

Even with the free account though you can get an idea of what types of content people enjoy reading and are sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. The system provides links to the top trending results so you can see what the resource consists of. The results should help you come up with your own ideas or spin offs from others resources that have performed well.

Buzzsumo also provides some great filtering and search options that can help you dig deeper into specific keywords. For example I could look at results from just the past 6 months and use an exact phrase search match for “installing a pool” to get specific and recent results. Here is what we get:

BuzzSumo

Just based off the top 10 results there are some great ideas for our own content pieces that could either be expanded upon or taking a slightly different angle on.

Keyword.io- Keyword.io is a keyword tool that is useful for both standard keyword research and content ideas. It seems to provide more long tail keywords than other keyword tools such as Googles which again is ideal for content ideas. The system also provides questions from major search engines similar to Answer the Public.
The keyword tool also allows you to look at search results from Google, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, and even the app store.

Search volume and competition measurements are only provided with a paid membership but again, you may be able to get a read on this through other keyword tools if desired.

Using our keyword search “installing a pool” through the questions tab, we get another great list of questions users are asking around this topic.

keyword.io

Understanding your Customers

With these three easy to use tools you can now get a strong read on what your existing and potential customers are interested in and how to tailor your content towards them. No longer will your hard work go unappreciated and your site visitors will be grateful for the time you put into content creation.

If you have other tools you like to use for content brainstorming feel free to comment below!

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Dan Beadle

I love the fact that SVM ties both marketing services and statistics together. These are two areas I am truly passionate about and allow us to provide our clients with amazing results. Full bio

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