Content Guide for 2020: Top Tools and Strategies

When creating content you shouldn’t be doing so in a vacuum. To create great content that you need to have a clear idea of two things 1) Who you’re talking to and 2) Why they should be talking to you.  

Always. And for every piece of content you make. 

Blogs, videos, flatpack armoire instructions, vegan chocolate cake recipe. Everything. 

Content strategy like this is applicable to any media on any platform for any business of any size

How to find an audience for your content

Your audience is out there. Find them. Serve them, in the world we’re living in now.

When you’re creating your next blog, video, or infographic, you should consider the following, before you publish.

  • Who are your customers?
  • What do they need?
  • How does your audience get online?

Who are your Customers?

Most business owners and marketing teams will have a broad idea of the kinds of customers that tend to make purchases and interact with their businesses. This is valuable intel that you can build on.

Ask your team

In market research, front line staff are a goldmine. Talk to the barista in your cafe, the sales person in the field or the account managers at your firm to learn more about the people they interact with. In my experience, they will know the questions that come up most frequently, the competitors they talk about, the apps they use, and the content they share.

Create Customer Personas

I always encourage my clients to create customer personas as the first step in content development. This is a research piece and document that wraps up a number of key marketing points into a recognisable personality, with a name. 

We have our own personas within our company (if you’re reading this you’re probably an Alex)  and big firms like Hubspot have used personas to shape their overall business strategy as well as their content. 

Once you have an idea of who you’re creating content for, your tone and delivery will naturally follow.  This will help you to build trust, loyalty, and your bottom line.

 

What are the Best Tools for Audience Research?

There are lots of methods for finding out who your customers are, here are some of my favourites:

  • Google Analytics – Look at the Audience data in your website GA.  You will be able to find out the age, gender, devices, locations and conversion rates for the people that are visiting your page. If you are attracting a good deal of people from a certain group but they are not converting, it might be because you need to create more copy, images, and resources for that audience.
  • Facebook – The data from your Facebook page will allow you to get additional demographic information on your existing audience. And it will tell you which content they most engage with. If your videos are excelling here make more of them. If your followers love memes then give the people what they want.
  • Facebook Business Manager – Without spending a penny, you can go into FB Business Manager and create an audience for a hypothetical ad campaign. By doing so you can learn the size of your potential audience and which topics might appeal to them. As a dog groomer in Leeds for instance, I could see how many people in my area like Pets at Home, the Kennel Club or the Dog Trust. I could then use this information to create content that connects with those brands, responds to them or follows similar topics. 
  • Events – This is one of my favourites. Take a look at the big flagship events for your industry. Think of the Chelsea Flowershow, BrightonSEO or the London Coffee Festival.  Look at the people who are following these events and what they are sharing the most, which speakers they are most engaging with and make content to reflect this.

What do your customers need?

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention.  Well, it is also the reason why we make the purchases that we do. And your content should appeal to these needs. 

But how do you find out what people need? It may sound old fashioned, but keyword research is still incredibly effective for this. 

Here are my top tools for keyword research that uncovers user intent.

How to Find Keyword for Blogs & Web Copy

Google Trends

In this post coronavirus world, Google Trends is absolutely essential for any real-time keyword research. Global lockdowns and quarantines have created a completely new set of keywords because people are living in completely new realities. 

Every day, Google Trends is showing spikes for phrases that previously had almost no search traffic. Now, it seems that search terms like coronavirus, covid, lockdown, and social distancing are on the minds of your consumers and should, therefore, be at the forefront of your content.

By many measures and the experiences of other countries, it seems that social distancing is likely to be a part of the modern experience for some time. As this new situation involves, we can become more relevant by creating content that reflects this new reality. In researching which terms are people using you will create new opportunities for your business.

Your Site’s Search Data

Building on this point it is important to look at your website to see which questions and which terms people are searching for now. It may be that the terms that people were searching for are no longer available. Or it may be that there are terms which you hadn’t considered which could drive your business strategy and your content strategy.

Shops and restaurant users may be looking for delivery or click and collect. Service providers and B2B teams may now see queries for requesting a call back or booking an appointment. Finding the content gaps for your existing customers will help you to create new and more relevant content.

How to Find Keywords for Videos

Tube Buddy

You can get real time optimisation suggestions and analytics for competitor videos and channels using the freemium TubeBuddy tool and chrome plugin. This will allow you to see tag recommendations and get a score for your descriptions as you write them. 

How to Find Keywords and Gaps for Image Content

Google Lens on Android

Google Lens is a great tool. It allows you to take a picture of something with your phone and to search for that picture on Google. When you are in your shop or when you have taking a photo of one of your products or other asset you cannot use this to see if other people have also taking photos like this. You can also use this to research what sort as tags are using for this photos and also to see if there’s another way you can photograph your picture to better perform on Google image search. 

As an example, I had a client who was trying to get some keyword traction for marquees. The tricky thing with marquee blogs and content is that most marquee companies are competing for the same keyword. But when I looked in Google image searches it seemed that there were lots of people who were using stock photography or general photography when talking about marquee capacity.  So we made a diagram showing different layouts for marquees at certain capacities so 100 people, 200 people etc. Soon we were ranking top for the image search, which then translated to a #1 rich snippet SERP.

So using Google Lens helps you to identify gaps and helps you to easily spot the content you should be creating to meet customer need.

Pinterest

Pinterest is another really good tool for image research. The photo-sharing also uses a reverse image search tool to help you find photos that have been done to death and which have not been taken but which people may be looking for.

In addition to this Pinterest has a number of different ways to tell you which long tail keywords are associated with the type of image he might be taking. So on a search for a French bulldog Pinterest will also give you information about which topics are captivating French bulldog enthusiasts. If your website is image heavy and this can be really useful with helping you to determine which images and alt text to add or optimise on your website.

How do you find hashtags for content?

Later

This is my favourite tools for hashtag research. You can get a real time comparison of the number of other tags, and suggestions for new ones. It’s super easy to use and will help you get more likes on the gram.

How do your customers use the internet?

How your customers access your content is really important to which content will connect and convert. 

This is something that a lot of people overlook. But think about it for a moment. Who likes waiting for slow pages to load? Who’s going to stop scrolling long enough to read that super tiny copy in your Instagram photo? Who really wants to download a 10mb pdf onto a mobile? 

No one.

The method of delivery is absolutely essential to the success of your content, so you should know the full customer journey for how your audience is most likely to experience your content. 

With so many different devices available for customers to get online, one size absolutely does not fit all. 

 

Creating content should be about making your customer feel welcome. That you’ve thought about what they need and that you are trying to be of service. Doing that in 2020 will serve you well.

Crystal Carter

Crystal Carter, marketing professional and Senior Digital Strategist at Optix Solutions. She is passionate about SEO, digital campaigns and transformative power of data interpretation. She loves coming up with new strategies for making the most of the web in today’s vibrant digital landscape.

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