When people talk about content marketing, they often focus only on the end result. However, research is key to good content. Don’t overlook this important aspect of marketing.
According to Zemanta, 44 percent of business marketers are using research as part of their overall marketing strategy. This reveals a growing trend that solid research is the basis for developing an effective, results-oriented content marketing strategy.
Research is the first and most vital step when developing and executing a content strategy. Without complete research, the steps of Ideation/Planning, Creation, Connection, and Measurement will be based on insufficient data.
Three reasons why research is crucial for your strategy’s effectiveness
- It’s how you will get to understand your audience and their pain points. Once you achieve this you have a proper guideline as to what content to generate to reach your business objectives, when and how to distribute it, and how to measure its effectiveness.
- It’s how you will discover the language your audience speaks and how to use that language to attract them through your content. When you understand the language of your ideal client, it is easier to speak in it and build trust, a crucial factor that drives purchase decisions.
- Research gives you a headstart. According to Copyblogger’s Content Marketing Research: The First Crucial Step, “research is the often-ignored, frequently avoided red-headed stepchild of content marketing.” This means that if you do sound research you’re already ahead of a large percentage of your competitors who just don’t bother.
How to do top-tier research for content marketing
Divide your research into foundational and ongoing, and make a clear distinction between what you’re doing and why you are doing it.
Foundational research takes place at the beginning of content marketing planning. It’s the basis on which the rest of your tasks will be focused. It answers the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of your audience.
Ongoing research is research you produce throughout the other steps of ideation, production, and distribution of content. It lets you measure the effectiveness of current efforts, revise those that didn’t work, and come up with new strategies that will be more results-oriented.
Read. A lot.
Research is 50% reading and 50% shaping your strategy. You need to read a lot on websites and industry magazines (print and online) in order to:
- Familiarize yourself with the latest trends and topics in your industry or niche. The faster and more efficiently you read the more valuable knowledge you can accumulate. You can use tools like Feedly to subscribe to updates from top blogs in your niche or you can also use Flipboard which is great for content discovery.
- Get to know the technologies, platforms and web tools your audience is using and your competitors are tapping into to reach your target market. You can use this free tool call Built with to see the tech used by any website on this planet.
- Do keyword research to learn what language your current and potential customers are using to find solutions for their problems and challenges. Find the keywords your audience is using and then sift through them to find the most competitive and appealing ones. Here is an awesome trick to discover keywords using your existing blog traffic.
- Check your competitors. Do an audit of your competitors’ online content, products, and other offerings. Check their language and SEO strategy. It’s not just about getting to see what they do well, but also what they’re doing wrong. You can use tools like SEMRUSH to check their content strategy & Whatrunswhere to see their PPC strategy.
Content marketing research gives you priceless insights as to what specific actions you can take to help you reach your target market. Make time to improve your reading skills so that you can handle the amount of reading you need to do, then invest time and effort to doing that reading – and your content marketing strategy will succeed.
This post is contributed by Chassie. If you would like to submit a guest post for ShoutMeLoud community, read our submission guidelines.