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The more effective your content is, the more people are likely to read it, engage with it and share it. And not only that, but the right kind of people too. Content is not only a great tool for conversation but is also increases your brand’s exposure, builds up consumers’ trust in your business, and ultimately improves your search engine rankings.

So what are the first steps in creating effective content? Research. And lots of it. Here are my three key research requirements to help you on your way:

Buyer Personas. Before you start ploughing into your research, first things first, you have to have a clear idea of who you are talking to. There’s little point in drafting an informal piece of content, filled with trendy phrases and abbreviations if little old Edna finds your blog post, reads it and doesn’t have a clue what’s going on – it may as well be in a foreign language. Having a clear idea of your target demographics, their interests and what information they want to find from your brand is the key to successful and effective content.

The digital landscape has provided us with an unlimited platform of potential which allows us to reach customers in every part of the world. But now more than ever, the way we sell to those customers has massively evolved. Customers don’t actually want to be sold to – well consciously anyway.

Buyer personas help you really understand your customers’ needs and behavioural patterns. Knowing exactly who your crafting your content for will help you to tailor your message in a way that speaks directly to them. Anticipating the potential problems your customer could be facing at present or in the future and addressing those needs in your content will highlight the value of your brand and the service you offer.

As I mentioned before, when you are creating content ideas, understanding the micro-moments of your buyer persona will help you shape your content in such a way which reacts to their want-to-know, want-to-do and want-to-buy intentions. Each of these searches represents an opportunity for you to influence customer decisions and preferences and if your content can be there when someone’s looking for the kind of service that you offer, you’re positioned to make the best impression.

 

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Competitors. Next on the list, check out the competition. Looking at what has and hasn’t been successful for your competitors. This gives you the foundations to build successful content, add in your own genius and make it even better.

Competitor analysis is definitely not about copying what anyone else is writing; it’s about understanding their strategy, assessing what has been effective and utilising the good stuff to generate ideas for your own content.

 

Keywords. It may seem an obvious point, but researching and including target keywords in your content will reach out to the relevant reader. More recently, long-tail opportunity has surfaced as a vital research requirement for effective content.

Generally, long-tail keywords and phrases have less search volume than other target keywords so many content creators are quick to dismiss them when doing their research. Although it may seem counter-intuitive at first to use these words and phrases, long-tail keywords could be a valuable asset in your content creation.

Let me take you through a quick example…

Edna has had trouble sleeping and has been told memory foam mattresses really help with a good night’s sleep. She has also been told by some of her friends that memory foam mattresses can be a bit hot, especially during summer.

This is your time to shine, you sell memory foam mattresses and you want to reach Edna in her time of need. You could craft your content around keywords such as “memory foam mattress” and yes, they do have thousands of searches but they also have lots and lots of competition. This means your content will most likely appear on the no-man’s land of page 10 of google and impatient Edna just won’t search that long for the answers she needs.

 

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However, you could craft your content around the long-tail phrase ‘are memory foam mattresses hot’ which has around hundred searches every month – a number not to be sniffed at. Coincidentally, this is the exact phrase Edna has put into her search engine and because you’ve used this long-tail in your content, your informative blog post has popped up on the first page with an attention-grabbing title. Edna spots your post and clicks through.

Because you’ve done your research and understand the needs of your customer you know you can reassure your reader that yes, a memory foam mattress can be hot but there are a number of ways you can ensure you don’t overheat and enjoy a blissful night’s sleep.

Edna feels informed and reassured by your wisdom and because you know your stuff, she’s chosen you to buy her memory foam mattress from. Success!

For more information and advice on your content marketing campaigns and what we can do to get your content noticed by the people that matter to your business, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you. We love to get our research on, using our well-trained eyes to understand your target market and carrying out comprehensive keyword research to find out the terms that are relevant and valuable to your business.

Alternatively, request a content audit from us and we can show you the benefits of a fresh content strategy and the power of effective and targeted content.