The success of content marketing strategies depends on producing valuable, relevant content. However, doing so is next to impossible unless you have topics that resonate with your targeted audience.
This is why building up an arsenal of content topics is just as important as investing in content marketing in the first place.
Your content calendar is your friend
We’ve written before about the value of planning out your content, especially as it concerns seasonal considerations.
“When creating a content calendar, note all holidays and count at least a month or two back – that’s when you should start creating content for that season,” said Brafton Project Manager Eric Rubino. “For example, if you’re writing holiday marketing tips for retailers in the middle of December, then it’s too late. Those businesses already made winter holiday plans in July and August. The same goes for creating major assets (eBooks or whitepapers).”
However, beyond obvious seasonal subjects, selecting appropriate topics can turn into a battle of its own.
How to choose content topics
Your business objectives and specific industry must all play a role in topic selection, but audience requirements should take center stage.
“A strong content marketing strategy requires strong content, and that centers on providing your audience with information they want,” said Brafton.com Managing Editor Samantha Gordon. “Looking at past article performance is a great way to gauge your audience’s interests, but your internal teams will also have loads of great insights into what your customers truly need.”
Performing keyword research and studying social media trend patterns are both great ways to hone in on what matters to your audience. There may be no shortage of words and phrases that are relevant to your industry, but keyword research will show you which terms receive the most attention online, as well as how difficult it will be to rank for them on search engine results pages. Meanwhile, social analysis will clearly identify the topics that are being shared, in addition to which platforms are experiencing the most activity.
Keyword research will show you which terms receive the most attention online, as well as how difficult it will be to rank for them on search engine results pages.
Once you have a handle on the types of topics that appeal to your audience, it’s time to let your overall marketing goal act as guide. Is your primary objective to generate leads? Are you more concerned with establishing thought leadership in your space? No matter your goal, there are specific content assets that will best support it.
Blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, videos, graphics and more all serve different purposes, whether it’s building buzz, increasing visibility, answering customer questions or capturing vital sales information.
Additionally, each type of content asset can be matched with a different area of the sales funnel, helping you refine your approach to content topics by determining how certain subjects are approached.
Different asset types also means greater variety in content distribution. Understanding how your audience will engage with your content will provide a clearer picture regarding how to produce it in the first place. After all, someone downloading a whitepaper will be approaching content differently than someone clicking on a blog link shared over LinkedIn.
Finally, don’t forget to rely on the industry you operate in for inspiration. While some business sectors are more lively than others, all contain news and updates your audience will likely find relevant or interesting.
Covering all your bases
Even if you generate a year’s worth of topics for your trusty content calendar, you must still concentrate on ensuring what you produce will continue to resonate with your audience. Fortunately, accomplishing this can be as easy as asking a question.
As we’ve outlined previously, polling customers and conducting surveys are both excellent ways to find out what your target audience has on its mind. By better understanding common questions and concerns, you can focus on creating a library of content that meets audience interests head on.
While it’s important to always know what your overall marketing goal is, it’s just as essential to understand audience intent when tackling content topics.
SEO factors like keywords and external links are vital, yes, but search engines like Google have placed greater stock in searcher intent.
Every piece of content you create should have a clear focus in mind. This often necessitates diving deeper into single topics through multiple pieces of content instead of trying to cast as wide a net as possible with one.
It’s been reported that topical optimization is now more important than keyword optimization in terms of SEO. Keep this in mind when tackling your topics.
Put your knowledge to work
Creating an arsenal of content topics is easier said than done, but ultimately, you already have all the resources you need to achieve it.
You know your audience and what it cares about. You know your industry and how it operates. You know what you’re trying to accomplish through your content marketing efforts.
Ensuring the quality of the topics you select is a simple matter of drilling down into the tinier details and asking probing questions, such as:
- What audience concerns are most pressing?
- What details are of the greatest relevance?
- What am I hoping to achieve with this content?
The answers to those questions will help you ensure each topic you use is geared for maximum impact.