Ever wish that you had a crystal ball to predict which content will most influence your audience? The good news is that with all the resources on the internet today, you don’t need a crystal ball. You can accurately pinpoint what your audience is looking for and create the right content, at the right time for your audience.
The only way to influence people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it ~ Dale Carnegie
The secret to being an influencer on the web is to write articles and blog posts that people want to read. The one surefire way to engage your audience is to write about stuff that your audience will find useful in their daily lives.
What questions do your audience want answered?
Once we know the answer to this all important question, content creation is a snap. The writing process becomes an enjoyable adventure where we wait in anticipation for audience feedback and participation.
The internet is filled with resources that we writers can tap into to find out what is foremost on peoples’ minds. These are also the same resources that can help cure temporary writer’s block and simplify the entire writing process.
Here are some tools that will guarantee audience engagement since they are search terms put in by real people doing research on the web:
#1) Google Keyword Tool
The Google Keyword Tool is a goldmine of information and is also an essential seo tool. It shows you actual searches that match your search query. You can see how many times a particular keyword was searched globally, locally, monthly and annually. You also get a good idea on the number of searches for related terms. Here are the content ideas I got by simply putting in a search for financial planning:
- Financial planning salary survey information
- Retirement planning
- Financial planning best investment options
- Business financial planning
- Financial planning industry statistics
- Christian based financial planning
#2) Q & A Websites
Q & A websites are excellent places to get content ideas and simplify the writing process.
Quora, Linkedin answers, Yahoo answers are all tremendous resources for finding out what is foremost on peoples’ minds.
A quick search for social media questions gave me these ideas to research or blog about:
- The next big social app
- How to build a sustainable business on Pinterest
- Social media strategy when pitching for a new account
- Klout’s competitors and how good they are
- How to share a private twitter list with others
#3) What’s Trending Websites
These websites keep up with the latest trends or topics of interest and measure how they fare over a period of time. They interest us as content creators as they easily allow you to stay current and on top of the latest trends. Some examples of trending websites:
It’s all about trends.
#4) Google Instant and Searches Related to..
Google Instant and Searches Related to (your keyword) are both tremendous resources for content ideas.
Google Instant is a search enhancement that shows results as you type.
I began typing social media and got these results:
Searches related to..are the search terms that you see at the bottom of your results page. It helps the writing process to see what other people searched for relating to your topic.
#5) Adjusting Content According to Clicks Using Url Shorteners
Here is an interesting piece I read in Advertising Age:
Click behavior is already starting to change content in real time based on click behavior
A news organization is already changing the content of articles based on what readers do when they click using url shorteners such as bit.ly.
If a certain link gets a lot of clicks, but readers don’t scroll below the third paragraph, editors can see that a headline might be strong, but that the content of the story needs a boost.
“If scroll depth is not that impressive, you can change the content of the page based on what you are seeing.”
In addition to seeing which post got the most link love you can also see tons of other interesting statistics which will help in your future content strategy:
#6) Google Analytics
The Content section of your Google Analytics will give you tons of information that will help you in your content writing strategies.
- If you go to the Content section of Google analytics -> Pages, you will get an idea on the most popular pages of your website.
- Pages per visit are the average number of pages a visitor views when visiting your site.
- You will also see a ton of information such as average time on page and bounce rate.
These statistics will give you an idea on how engaging your content is and also which piece of content or topic is worth revisiting from another angle. If you notice that the top pages on your website are all referencing a particular topic, then you could create more content on similar topics. This way, you will have additional content that attracts even more visitors. Content Ideas Real-Time helps you understand what content is working best and which sites are sending you the most traffic.
Site Search: To set up Site Search, click on your website’s profile from your Google Analytics home page. Next, click on the settings wheel icon, located in the top right corner of the orange toolbar for your website’s profile. Under the “Profile Settings,” there is a section for “Site Search Settings.” Change the selection to “Do track Site Search.”
For a listing of search terms that people are searching for on your site, click “Site Search” under Content and then click on Search Terms for your site search data.
You will see:
- the number of pages people viewed after making their searches
- the percentage of people that exited after their searches and
- other related data.
This should give you a better idea of the type of content people are expecting to find on your website. If you do not have content that corresponds to the keywords that people are searching for, you could create content on that topic. If you have content that corresponds to what people are searching for and it’s a popular search, you could create related posts on that topic.
#7. Poll your Audience
The simplest way to find out what your audience wants is to poll them. There are a number of easy tools such as Polldaddy, which allow you to create a poll in under 5 minutes.
What do you do to learn what your audience is searching for? I would be very interested to know. Please share them in the comments section below.
Adi Gaskell says
Some good tips here. You can also obviously judge popularity of content by how much interaction it gets, be that through the number of comments it gets or the number of times it’s shared on social media.
Adi Gaskell recently posted..Should jurors be allowed access to social media?
Gazalla Gaya says
That’s a good point. If you notice that a particular topic is being shared a lot on social media, then it’s time to put on your thinking cap and create a related post, addressing that topic. So now, we have 8 resources we can tap into. Thank you.
Frederic Gonzalo says
Excellent post, yet again Gazalla. I use some of the tools you mention, but certainly not enough and it’s an awesome reminder that we ought to have a clear idea of what audiences wants to read to that we can write accordingly. The real question then becomes: why does one blog? Have a clear focus of your target audience, then these tools come in handy in order to better address needs and wants.
Gazalla Gaya says
Thank you, Frederic. Yes, that’s exactly what we need to do. Before we even begin writing, we need to keep our target audience in mind so that the post will be useful to them. As always, I really appreciate your feedback.
Phillipa Kiripatea says
I learnt a lot of great stuff from this post. An excellent article with valuable insight. Looking forward to implementing what I learnt and having awesome content!
Gazalla Gaya says
Thanks Phillipa. I appreciate the feedback. All the best with your future posts.
Tori Phung says
Polling your audience is great; I really believe in crowdsourcing for better information. I think that’s why companies such as Communispace are so successful because they take the guessing work out for marketers. At the end of the day, you’re usually not the target audience of your company.
Gazalla Gaya says
Thank you for your feedback, Tori. I think that your last sentence is the heart of the matter ‘At the end of the day, you’re usually not the target audience of your company.”