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This week I was chatting with someone in my local business community about “what I do” (the answer is complicated, ha!) and as often does this days when I say “I do website stuff,” the conversation turned to And, as I often do, I recommended that if they want sustainable, longterm progress, content marketing is a non-negotiable.
Of course, when I talk about the idea of keyword research for content marketing, that’s a very specific source of inspiration: it’s focused on relatively common, lower-hangin fruit type content. I think of this as “pillar” content that anchors more detailed specific content that’s related to the same concept. For this content, it is typically wise to go beyond traditional keyword research and look for some more narrow related topics. For that, I like to dig deeper online, and even in person (gasp!).
Search Twitter. Twitter has its good and bad sides, of course, but it’s really fascinating for “recon” about what real humans, often folks new to your subject area. When my business was new, I used to search Twitter for “Squarespace” and write blog posts answering common frustrations. (My “what do I use a Squarespace cover page for” post is one that’s still up and popular.)
Explore Quora. I’ll freely admit that I don’t fully understand what Quora is but what I can say is that there are so many very rich and detailed questions, especially of the “why should I” “is there” “how do I” type variety. And it’s hard not to find a subject that isn’t discussed. Some of the current top answers are great—many are terrible, and those are the ones I like having a lot of fun with. My super popular membership website post was inspired by a lousy answer on Quora.
Comments on Facebook posts, blogs, Instagram & YouTube. Your colleagues are probably putting a lot of content out there that folks are responding to. The comments and questions their audience asks can be great jumping off points for your own content ideas. Several of my posts about Squarespace SEO are a result of seeing comments elsewhere. I look for patterns—if I see a theme over and over, then it goes into my idea bank.
Talking to actual humans. One of the things Kath and I often recommend to our clients is that they interview their front line staff about the types of questions they answer over and over again. These real life interactions tell you so much and your public-facing folks know what information they need. Creating content that answers their questions in advance builds trust and helps your credibility. If you work alone or don’t have front line folks, ask your clients or customers what their concerns were before you worked together, what surprised them about your organization, or what they wish they’d known in advance.
I do a bit of research each week around a handful of themes and these places and others (HARO is another interesting one, though that’s certainly not the intention of that service) and they never let me down.
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