Creating original, quality content takes lots of time, effort and skill. This holds true whether you’re writing an evergreen blog post, animating an infographic or designing an eBook that represents your brand. You understand that the amount of effort put into research, curation and final touches required to get to the end result can be a timely and strenuous task.
But what happens when you spend weeks creating what you would consider the perfect piece of content and then it sees little to no traction? Just because you covered a topic that’s interesting in your eyes, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to resonate the same way with your audience. That’s why it’s so important to recognize your readers.
Getting to know your target audience in a way that inspires your content creation can put you in a better position for gaining visibility and increasing engagement. And it can also keep you at top of mind when readers are looking for a thought leader in the industry.
So, if you don’t want to put all of your efforts into creating content that won’t resonate with your audience, keep reading. Below, you’ll find some of the most effective ways to discover topics of interest that will grab the attention of your audience and keep them coming back for more.
1. Analyze your visitors’ search intent
Before you can create a blog that your audience wants to read, you first need to get an idea of why they’re interested in what you have to offer. There’s a reason potential customers are visiting your website and social media accounts, so set aside some time to dive into your analytics. These will tell you the type of content that’s resonating with your audience most based on click-through rates, as well as comments, likes and other opportunities for engagement.
Google Analytics is a great tool for analyzing search intent, with more than 28 million live websites using it. Instagram also has a feature for business accounts, providing a professional dashboard where you can track your performance and review insights like your target demographic, most viewed posts and days of the week with the most engagement. The social media platform will even provide you with educational resources like tips and guidance to further grow your business through audience engagement.
2. Be a part of the conversation
Looking for a simple way to get to know your audience and figure out what they want to read? It’s easier than you think — all you have to do is ask. Log on to your social media accounts and organically engage. Create a post asking for feedback, or generate a question based on something found in an analytics review. This is a great way to create brand awareness and make your audience feel more comfortable in your digital presence.
If you want to be less obvious about engagement, go undercover and let your target audience lead the talk. Start by signing up for forums like Quora and Reddit and find out what your audience has to say behind closed doors. You may be surprised by all of the information you can find on these platforms; the conversations here can inspire discussions on your own social media profiles.
3. Answer the questions they’re asking
It’s easy to fill your blog and social media accounts with topics that appeal to you. Many people can go on for days about a subject that means something to them, but that’s what personal accounts are for. Instead of using your business website or social media account to talk about what you’re interested in, you need to share the information your audience is looking for by answering the specific questions that they’ve been asking.
How do you find these queries? For starters, you can utilize a feedback feature on your website that enables your audience to ask questions that directly relate to your brand and business. You can also utilize marketing and customer research tools like Answer The Public, which provide raw research and insights based on what your target audience is talking about. This resource is specifically used to generate fresh content ideas based on the keywords your readers are searching for, giving you the opportunity to tap into their minds and solve their problems without reaching out to them directly.
Google’s “People Also Ask” feature is another great tool to consider. When your audience searches for a specific question, Google will not only answer the question but also provide a list of other queries asked by similar parties. Consider this another chance to get inside the minds of your audience and figure out what they’re looking for.
4. Benchmark in a clever way
Contrary to popular belief, benchmarking isn’t a synonym for copying. Rather, it’s the opportunity to understand what’s working out there and integrate the practices into your process.
The American Productivity and Quality Center defines benchmarking as the process of measuring key business metrics and practices and comparing them against your competitors. This gives you a better picture of how and where your own business needs to transform to see the same positive results or avoid negative outcomes.
By analyzing the performance of your competitors and industry peers, you can better identify how, where and why they’re succeeding so you can make moves forward to ensure the same for your own organization. To successfully benchmark, you should:
- Analyze your competitors.
- Use research methods to identify how you’re going to benchmark.
- Identify current trends to get an idea of what processes to pay attention to.
- Outline concrete and attainable goals.
- Develop your plan of action to reach your goals.
- Monitor your progress over time.
With a solid plan in place, you can create a benchmarking strategy that’s long-lasting and easy to navigate.
5. Pay attention to what’s trending
Want to know what everyone’s talking about? Find out what’s trending in your industry. A quick search on Google Trends can show you what kind of topics are circulating in the public eye. Analyzing your own business historic data can also give you insight into what’s hot depending on the time of year.
6. Talk to your sales reps
If you’re having a hard time finding out what’s trending, talk to your sales representatives. These are the people who are in direct communication with your audience — they know your potential customers’ needs, wants, interests and fears, and can be a seamless line of contact between you and the customer. Set aside time to regroup with your salespeople for a weekly or bi-weekly assessment of the insights gathered over that length of time.
7. Leverage social listening and audience intelligence tools
Social data is one of the most important types of information you can gather to understand what matters most from your target’s perspective. With social listening you can monitor the social web for key phrases, topics, brand and competitor mentions. Thanks to social listening tools, companies can have access to insights into keywords from specific online content sources.
Even though social listening offers a great overview of a brand’s image on social media, it is just one of the components of audience research. If you want to have more in-depth knowledge about who you’re trying to reach with your content, you’ll need audience intelligence. With this kind of tools, marketers can identify the topics that’ll resonate with every segment of their audience.
Audience intelligence tools, such as Audiense, help you:
- Build data-informed audience personas.
- Create an audience-first content strategy.
- Pick the right hashtags and influencers for your campaigns.
- Engage with the most suitable media outlets.
- Align your content strategy to the buyer’s journey.
With these target learning points, you have the information needed to create a story that’s memorable and impactful and sets you aside from the mountains of content on the internet.
The use of both social listening and audience analysis tools gives you insights from content sources and people, which will lead you to a more profound analysis of information and, ultimately, to better-informed decisions.
The best topics for your audience
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all content strategy. If you want to create a successful content marketing campaign, you’ll need to start from scratch, and that means researching your audience.
Understanding how to craft the ideal conversation with your audience may take a lot of effort in the beginning stages of your strategy, but it will all pay off in the long run. By spending more time in the research and content creation process, you can create assets that not only build strong connections between you and your audience but also set you apart from your competitors.
Would you like to get a more profound understanding of your target audience? Try Audiense for free.