It’s one of the first rules of good content marketing: Know your audience.
When it comes to digital content, getting to know your audience means conducting research to uncover their needs and interests. It means learning how people are engaging with you online, what grabs their attention on social media and what they’re looking up on search engines. It also includes demographic insights for a more complete picture of your best customer personas.
Research helps you create valuable, audience-centered content that positions you as a trusted resource in your area of expertise. Let’s go over some of the research methods that can help you craft a more effective content marketing strategy.
A good starting point is assessing how people are interacting with your website content. Analytics tools like Google Analytics are useful for this.
In addition to overall website traffic, you can also glean valuable insights about your visitors, such as age and gender. Find out where visitors are located by country, state or city and whether they’re reaching your site through mobile devices or computers. A building supply retailer, for instance, might learn half of their website visitors are accessing the site using mobile devices and that 60% are male.
You can also get a sense of what content on your site is most popular by assessing pageviews. Besides the home page, our building supply company might discover its most popular pages are those featuring wood products, windows and doors.
What excites and delights people about your product or services? What questions are they asking? What problems are they having? While it’s a good idea to directly respond to comments, you may also wish to address some concerns in even greater detail through well-written content.
Social Listening & Analytics
Social media management tools give you information about what people are saying and how they’re interacting with you on social platforms.
Social listening involves monitoring online conversations based on relevant buzzwords, hashtags and product or brand names. You can keep tabs on what people are saying about your company as well as your competitors.
Social media analytics reports tell you how people are engaging with your social accounts. You can look at page-level metrics such as fans or followers and keep track of how individual posts are performing. Engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares show which posts are garnering the most attention.
If you manage a company social media profile, some of this data will be available directly through platforms such as Facebook Audience Insights. Social analytics information is also available through social media management tools.
Keyword research includes what people are looking up on search engines like Google. This helps you gauge interest in particular topics, which is helpful when you’re planning a content marketing calendar.
Google Trends gives you popular search queries for specific geographic regions, such as the United States, and specific time periods, such as the past 12 months. Trending queries related to “home value,” for example, might include “How to increase the value of your home” or “Does a pool add value to your home.”
Keyword tools like Moz and Google Keyword Planner provide search volume for specific keywords, as well as relevant synonyms. You can also assess how searches for specific keywords vary from month to month.
Primary research methods include surveys, focus groups and interviews. They let you gather information directly from a sample of your target audience by simply asking their opinion.
Survey tools like SurveyMonkey let you send an interactive questionnaire to a large number of participants. Questions can cover a wide range of topics and be answered quickly using a closed-ended, multiple-choice format. Surveys are a great way to learn about product usage and preferences, as well as perceptions of your brand and competitors. You can also gather media consumption and basic demographic information.
Focus groups and in-depth interviews—either in person or online—let you gather more detailed responses than you typically get from a survey. They are a good format for asking follow-up questions, such as how and why participants use a particular product or service. Respondents can also explain, in their own words, what questions or problems they’re having that you could address through your content marketing efforts.
Boost the Quality of Your Content with Research
The moral of the story: The better information you have about your audience, the more effective your content marketing will be. At Campaignium, we tap into the power of research to drive smart strategy decisions. We also create compelling original content that speaks to your audience’s unique interests. Contact us today to learn more.