How to Create Content Your Followers Will Actually Care AboutGuest Posts
Article was provided by Ning’s friend Georgi Todorov. He is a digital marketer. Georgi recently started his NGO DigitalNovas.
His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment.
In one minute online, more than 1,400 WordPress posts are made, 3.3 million posts are made on Facebook, 500 hours of video are uploaded onto Youtube, and 3.8 million Google searches are made. How do you plan to get your content noticed in the crowd of posts, videos, webinars, podcasts, and other content that’s uploaded every minute of every day? You can only hope to beat your competitors if you can create content that your followers actually want to consume.
Knowing Your Audience
It’s not a good practice to make assumptions in business. If your business involves creating content, you cannot simply assume you know what your followers want. Instead, you need to dig in and research who your followers are. To understand what they want, you’ll have to understand what draws them to your site, where they show the most interest, and more!
Demographics are the most obvious starting place. In order to reach your followers more effectively and find more people who may be interested in what you have to offer, you need to know who’s interested now and who you’re marketing to. Use a data analytics tool to compile demographic information about your followers, such as their age ranges, gender, and anything else that may be relevant to your marketing team.
Compare the resulting data to your target audience to see how they line up. This is an important step because it will help you see if you’re targeting the right people or not. If your target demographics and audience preference doesn’t line up with the data of who your followers actually are, you’ll know you need to adjust it based on who’s following you.
Understanding your followers and targeting them correctly will help you reach your goals. If you’re not familiar enough with who’s following you, it will be difficult to accomplish much, even if you have a great content strategy. If your current followers don’t line up well enough with your brand and goals, you’ll know it’s time to start a stronger marketing campaign to attract the kind of followers you want.
The next thing to consider about your followers is the level of complexity they’re looking for from your content. Specialty niches can usually get away with much more complex topics, but your followers may not be able to keep up with highly technical or advanced content. They may also be bored with basic or general content and wanting more in-depth topics.
Find the answers to these questions if you want to gauge the complexity needs of your audience:
- Which content gets the most views?
- How much does my audience already know about the topic? (you can refer back to demographics for some guidance here)
- What are my followers’ goals in viewing my content?
- How engaged are they in the discussion about the topics? Which topics get the most useful engagement and discussion?
- Are your followers asking questions? If so, are they general or specific questions?
- Do you have more returning viewers or new visitors?
All of these questions and more will help you to understand how well your audience matches your content. To reach your goals through your followers, you need to help them reach their goals. You cannot be all things to all people, but you should make sure you’re aligning your content to what your followers or your target audience is actually looking for online.
The other important part of understanding your followers is knowing what type of content to provide them with. There are numerous different types of content, including text articles or blog posts, videos, podcasts, and social media posts. Different demographics will appreciate different types of content.
Marketing research done about generational marketing techniques shows a distinct difference in the interest levels that different generations have for certain types of content. Whereas younger people tend to prefer fast-paced videos, imagery, and short social media posts, mature viewers are more interested in high-quality blog posts, emails, Facebook, or news articles.
This divide shows you the need for understanding who’s following you. A new video content campaign would be great for younger followers, but if your followers are mostly made up of older demographics than it may be a poor use of your resources.
Don’t Start with Keyword Research
If you’re tempted to jump directly into keyword research now that you understand who your followers are, try to avoid giving into that temptation. Keyword research is an excellent way to help improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to make your online presence easier to find. But, it’s not usually a good way to come up with topics for your content.
This is because people don’t give any insight about why they’re looking up certain keywords. If you search for keyword data, you’ll end up with a lot of useful data about search volume ranges, value of the keyword, etc. However, you won’t know who’s looking up those keywords, why they’re interested in them, or what they expect to find. You need to have at least a basic topic idea before researching keywords for your written content.
Finding Out What People Want to See
There are many online tools that can help you find topics related to specific searches. As an example, let’s imagine you run a site about pet grooming. Instead of looking up keywords around pet grooming and writing articles about those topics, you would take some basic words related to your niche and plug them into some online tools to find longer questions or related topics.
One of the most useful tools is Answerthepublic.com. This tool lets you type in a word or short phrase, and it gives you commonly searched questions that include or are related to that word of phrase. So, if you typed in “pet grooming” as your phrase, you would end up with a long list of questions people asked about pet grooming. This is a great place to start with finding a topic, because you’ll be addressing questions people are asking. You can then look for keywords that will fit your topic well.
Additionally, you can look for topics through services like SERPs.com that offer long-tail keyword tools. This lets you type in a word or short phrase and gives you search volume of related words or phrases, especially long-tail keywords. While long-tail keywords don’t always make great topics, they can point you in the direction of what people are looking for through searches.
Conduct Market Research
Arguably the most effective way to find content topics that your followers will want is to research them directly and see what they’re asking for. This will guarantee relevant results and will usually lead to a collection of useful and current topics. There are numerous ways to do direct market research, but some are more effective than others.
If you have a large enough follower base or if your followers usually give you a lot of engagement, you can simply ask them what they want to hear more about. Those that are most engaged with you are going to respond well to this, especially if you do end up making the content they requested. This shouldn’t be the only way you find topics, but doing it regularly can help improve engagement and make your followers more loyal. Quantitative surveys are an excellent way to compile useful answers.
Even if you don’t directly ask your followers what they want to hear about, you can look for questions they may have asked on your previous content. Or, if people routinely ask questions to you directly, you can address those as well. Keeping a running list of questions from your followers can help you tackle relevant content more often than not.
Searching Quora for Topics
Another highly effective way to research what people are interested in is to search sites like Quora to find out what people are asking about that’s related to your niche. Quora is full of so many questions from people around the world, some of which are not answered at all or are answered poorly.
Quora questions can be great inspiration for content topics. Even if you don’t use the questions exactly as they are for topics, you can still learn a lot about what people are most interested in relating to your topic. It’s better to look up recent questions instead of tracking down older questions.
As a marketing bonus, you can create a Quora account and give a shortened version of your answer to the post directly. Then, you’ll have the chance to point to your full explanation within your answer, potentially driving organic traffic to your site.
Tip: Write on Topics that Are Not Already Saturated with Content
Content saturation is a huge problem online today. Some topics tend to have far more content available than what’s necessary. This is especially true in hot niches like technology or online marketing. These topics have so much redundant content that covers the basics over and over again. There’s a good chance that this is not the type of content your followers will want, since they can already get it from so many different sources online.
Over-saturation of content also makes it difficult to get your content seen by anyone, even your own followers. The problem is that unless you are among the first people to write about a topic, or unless your website has strong domain authority for that topic, you are not going to rank well for the search engines. This means that most people will probably not see your content at all, no matter how good or bad it is.
When you’re picking out a topic, do a few searches to see what’s already out there related to your topic. If there is a lot of material already, consider a different topic. If there’s not too much there yet, it can be a great opportunity for you to steal the show. Topics that don’t get a lot of attention are usually easier to rank for and may present you better opportunities to convert viewers into customers.
Most generalized topics are going to be saturated with content already. There are too many online content creators now, with many existing in every different niche you can imagine. Because of this, specific and highly focused topics will usually not suffer from over-saturation.
Using our previous example about a pet grooming company, there are many over-saturated topics. If you were to search for “how to bathe a cat”, there are likely to be pages of search results directly targeting this exact topic. It will be very difficult for you to break into that ranking. But, searching for focused topics like “how to clip a German Sheppard’s nails” may yield fewer directly relevant results.
You can gauge how much content already exists around a topic by seeing how relevant the first two pages of results are on a search engine. If the first page includes search results that are not directly related to what was searched, that’s a good sign that you may be able to do well with that topic.
Keyword Research: Do You Need Valuable Keywords or Searched Keywords?
Once you’ve got your topic idea, you can do more effective keyword research. There are a few things to consider when you’re researching keywords, including what’s most important to you. Some people like to target keywords with higher search volumes, or lower competition, or higher keyword value. You’ll want to stay consistent, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your content.
The main purpose of keywords is to help people find your content through search engines of all types. If you choose keywords that aren’t relevant to your content, you won’t do well and may actually hurt the chance of people finding your content. Choose keywords that are directly related to what your content addresses. A lot of best practices exist about how to use keywords in content, but we don’t address that in this guide.
So, which metric should define the best keywords for you? That all depends on what your goals are in creating content. If you do affiliate marketing, keyword value and low competition are usually the best things to look for. You should have at least moderate search volume in most cases, but you don’t need to focus on the highest volume. Keyword value will be most relevant because it is more likely to bring the right type of viewers to your content – those willing to buy.
If you’re doing direct sales from your website, keyword value can be a great reference, but you’ll also want higher search volume. The more relevant viewers visit your site, the more likely you are to make a sale. You may still want to avoid highly competitive keywords though, which usually includes the highest search volume keywords.
For information sites that are monetized by ads or other sponsorships, high search volume can be a huge factor. Low to moderate competition is still valuable for high volume keywords, but if you have enough domain authority for the topic you may still be able to compete well.
Utilizing Long-Tail Keywords
Because your content will be targeted to a narrower topic, you can take advantage of long-tail keywords to help bring in more viewers. This is a good way to create new followers, because long-tail keywords help you reach keywords with high specificity and low search volume. Enough quality long-tail keywords will help you bring in a crowd of people looking for content on a specific topic.
Content Creation Strategies
Choosing a topic and keywords are great first steps in making high-quality content that’s relevant to your followers. Now, you need to know how to make your content fit what your followers are looking for. This means you need to create content that matches your followers’ search intentions.
There are several great ways to do this. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make great content; you just have to make something that’s as close as possible to what your followers want. Here are a few suggestions:
- Building on or updating previously popular topics
If any of your posts have been popular in the past, you can easily update them as time goes on or add more content to build onto that content. This works well if you want to have multiple different content formats, because you can create a video or podcast to emphasize important concepts in the written work or create a written post containing highlights from a popular podcast.
This type of content building helps you re-purpose already popular content and gives your new content a bit of a boost from the start. It also helps by giving people more value from something that they already found to be useful.
You don’t necessarily have to add to or highlight one of your own posts. If you’re a newer site starting out, you can give a shout-out to a popular piece of content made by another company and build on the ideas within that content. This way you can try to piggy-back off their success while staying relevant to your followers.
- Create content answering new questions
We’ve already mentioned how questions make for great topic ideas. You can create any type of content to answer a question, but some forms may work better for your specific niche than others. Continuing with our pet grooming example, it may be more useful to make short video clips about how to handle certain grooming situations instead of trying to explain with words. But, topics like pet nutrition would work well for written content rather than audio or video content.
- Expound on general topics with deeper information
In situations where a lot of important topics are over-saturated, you may still be able to break into the rankings by expounding on that topic more than other posts. By adding a lot more information to a general topic, you can succeed in getting new followers that appreciate your thorough approach. However, this can backfire if the information you are giving extra is just not wanted or your followers are not interested in knowing more than the basics that are found everywhere.
- Discuss personal examples of a topic or case studies
Personal examples and stories go over well in most cases. If you are a professional, they are especially useful and may help your followers relate better to what you’re talking about in your content. Case studies are very useful for followers who want to see what you’re talking about in action. These work well in how-to style content of all types.
How Important Are Headlines to Your Content?
Headlines play a large part in marketing your article, but they do not necessarily contribute to making it relevant to your followers. That being said, you do need to make sure your headline is accurately reflecting what’s within the content in a way that will attract your followers specifically. If you don’t communicate well about what’s in your content, you risk it not being attractive to those it’s targeting.
Evergreen Versus Trending Content
Evergreen content is for viewers who want long-lasting value on topics that aren’t likely to change dramatically in the near future. It’s a good idea to have a few evergreen pieces of content on your website so that you can try to stay relevant in your topic area for longer. If you only focus on short-term trending topics, you risk going out of style once those topics are no longer being discussed.
Trending content can also be a fantastic asset to your brand. Because trends usually lead to temporarily high search volumes, they can bring in new followers and keep your current followers more interested in the short-term. The main problem with trending content is that it expires quickly and will not stay relevant for long after it’s posted.
Your audience may or may not like a certain type of content. Younger audiences (under 18) are prone to appreciate trending content more than evergreen content, while older generations will usually prefer evergreen content. However, this also depends on your specific niche, as some technical subjects don’t translate well to trending content. Find what defines your audience and create a good mix of what they will appreciate the most.
Remember: Content is About Your Audience, Not You!
Successful content is not about what you want; it’s all about what your followers want from you. You have the choice to go and view content from other sources, but when you’re creating content you need to focus on what will draw your specific followers into consuming that content. Learn who your followers are, find out what they’re interested in, and create the type of content that will appeal most to them. This is how you’ll stay relevant to your followers and create a strong, loyal base!