In order to put the right type of content together, you need content that will educate your prospects and build their trust. It’s important to establish your target audience and discover their needs before attempting to deliver content that is valuable to them.

Depending on your company, you might have a lot of different audiences – if you are just starting to build on your content portfolio, it can be an overwhelming challenge to speak to everyone at once. That’s why it’s important to keep your content simple at first and start answering the basic questions in your industry.  Get comfortable with the content creation process and begin to expand from there.  This also allows you to keep refining your content and specific audiences as your business grows and as your ideal customer evolves.

The web is full of tools that determine what people are talking about, what they're searching for, what their community does or does not like, and how your brand’s content could fit into the mix. In order to establish your target audience, you must identify their interests, their desires, and especially what they need to fulfill those needs and interests.  

Utilize Answer Sites to Create Desired Content

Before making a purchase or selecting a service, people ask questions and diligently research before making a choice. These questions can reveal some very distinct trends and help you generate a long list of content ideas that the audience is looking for. The first step in creating useful content that will attract visitors is establishing what your target audience is asking.

Answer sites can be a goldmine for discovering what your customers are talking about. By searching for questions that include your keywords at answer sites such as Yahoo! Answers, Quora and Answers.com, you can discover what people are asking about and what common problems you can solve using content.  Answer sites allow you to get real time feedback from consumers about your industry. Try asking a related question about your product to see what kind of response you get from the answering public. The responses can give your company very informative marketing data.

Yahoo! Answers is one of the more popular answer sites, getting massive engagement with millions of users. With Yahoo! Answers, you can browse by category and see what questions are newest, trending, or have received the most answers. Try searching for keyword phrases related to your industry and browse questions that are being asked. For example, when I searched for the keyword “dog toys” some of the top questions were:

1.       “What is the best dog toy?”

2.       “Do all dogs destroy their toys?”

3.       “Does your dog like squeak toys?”

If I sold dog toys, these questions would give me a few ideas about what people are asking about in the market. I could simply use the questions as the title for a blog post and then use the content to answer them these commonly asked questions.  

The idea is to not only help solve the issues of my target audience, but establish myself as a trusted resource by publishing useful content. The next time they come looking for dog related answers or products, my company is the one they will trust and use. If optimized correctly, the content should increase traffic rank well in the search results, if not directly influencing a sale.

A Simple Google Search Can Lead to Important Clues

Take a close look at your current Google Analytic metrics. These patterns should tell you a lot about where your customers are coming from, where they are in their buying process, or what content they search for.

Google has many search options that make it a great tool to discover and brainstorm content ideas. Using my dog toy example, let’s type “dog toys for”. Before I finish typing, Google Suggest will automatically recommend relevant phrases for the search. 

These aren’t just random phrases; Google’s algorithm acknowledges these terms because people are frequently searching for them. Scroll down to the bottom of the results pages and look at the titles under the “related searches” section. Here are more awesome content ideas: 

Once again, this quick and easy search generated many different content topics for your blog or knowledge section.  Do this over and over for your keywords – before you know it, you will have a better understanding of your target audience and what they are searching for. 

Closely Watch Engagement on Social Media

Perhaps the most useful tool for discover a target audience and their needs is social media. Social media channels have the power to reveal in real time your potential customers’ interests and requests. This makes it one of the most valuable marketing tools for your business.

Research through social media is an effective way to better understand how your potential customers think. In addition to understanding what they’re talking about, you’ll also see how they say it, giving you a great sense of the language they use to describe your products and how they perceive your market. By paying attention to the conversations around the topics and concepts relating to your business, you’ll spot trends in what people are saying, what content they respond to, and what generates the most engagement.

Every social media site has its own community culture and etiquette. Each site brings a different kind of demographic data. Even if the same person is active on multiple social media sites, they behave differently on each site. Let’s use the 3 most popular social networks – here’s what to look for:

·         Twitter:  What #hashtags or trending topics are booming in your industry? What are people talking about and asking for?

·         Facebook:  What type of content gets the most Shares and Likes in your industry? Are you posting as much content on Facebook as your competitors?

·         LinkedIn: How is your company viewed compared to your peers? Do you contribute or publish content that establishes your brand as a thought-leader in the industry?

If you do not have much engagement on your social channels, take a close look at how the audience communicates with your competitors' social channels You should be able to get a clearer view on what type of content your audience likes to comment on and share, and this will be valuable information to have when researching or creating new content topics later in the strategy.

To remain competitive you must keep abreast of social trends. This requires that you keep close watch on your competitors' social profiles to see how they engage their users, and you need to check back often. As you create content, continue to engage with social networks to keep current with the changing social trends. That way, you can engage your potential customers’ right where they are, acting as a resource for their needs.


Brad Kuenn is a Content Writer, Editor and Strategist living in Nashville, Tennessee, and he provides research, content topics, writing, editing, and content development expertise to clients. He has a passion for writing as well as art, which shines through in his work. His creativity and attention to detail makes him a valuable asset for a wide range of clients. During his time off he enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and his two dogs Brutus and Kane. 
Connect with Brad:  Twitter   LinkedIn   Google+

Comment