Unfortunately, a lot of bloggers don’t give too much thought to content creation. Many authors simply start writing an article without researching user intent, focal areas, and how this post is actually meant to relay information. That being said, it isn’t surprising that most articles on the web flop.
Among others, the process is often rushed because every business is trying to outperform competitors while spending the least amount of money possible. Companies are often too focused on organic traffic and other aspects of marketing, perceiving content as a means to an end.
Still, if you’re patient enough and know how to go about things, you can make powerful articles that will stand the test of time. Specifically, you can move the needle by properly researching the topic and giving people exactly what they want. That way, you’ll not only satisfy search engines, but you’re also gain loyal fans.
In this article, we’ll talk about the entire process and share some actionable content research tips. Enjoy!
1. Keyword research
Through keyword research, we can determine if a phrase is even worth pursuing. You can perform your own research by using a keyword research tool such as AhRefs, Google Search Console, or SemRush. During the process, we put emphasis on several main elements:
Search volume tells us how much organic traffic we can get from this phrase. Difficulty shows how hard it is to rank for it within the Google search engine. Lastly, relevancy analysis helps establish whether your company can benefit from this content.
Keyword research works in a vacuum but also as a part of a bigger whole. What do we mean by this?
Each keyword has an individual value, driving a certain amount of leads to your site. However, we should also consider their relation to other keywords and how you can use them to build topical clusters. In other words, by creating content revolving around similar topics, you can become an authority on that topic.
However, let’s not get too carried about with keyword suggestions, as this isn’t the focal point of the article.
2. User intent
Every reader is trying to get something from a web page. Some people use them to gain basic information about a company, while others are looking to buy their products. Besides that, some of us are looking to expand our knowledge while the rest are just interested in quick fun.
When performing user intent analysis, you need to determine three main things:
- What type of content do you wish to create (How-To, comprehensive guide, review post, comparison post, etc.)?
- What type of information do you wish to relay (beginner, intermediate, or advanced information)?
- What is your target demographic (age, sex, religion, nationality, etc.)?
Analyzing the target demographic is sneaky important for creating successful content. You can find the target audience by using tools such as Google Analytics. Depending on the demographic, you will have to change your writing style to accommodate the needs of the most likely readers.
You also need to plan content according to users’ awareness and knowledge. If you’re covering a beginner topic, such as “What is SEO?” you should talk about basic concepts. More advanced concepts like “How to create sitemaps?” should have more professional lingo and provide advanced information.
Use Ask the Public
Another great way to assess user intent is by using tools like Ask the Public. Alternatively, you can check the People Also Ask and Related Searches sections within the Google browser. All these methods are simply amazing for generating new content ideas.
All these tools and features provide additional questions frequently related to the query. By answering these questions within your article, you increase its relevancy to users. In turn, the visitors will stay on a page for a longer time, sending a strong signal to the search engine’s algorithm and increasing its placement.
The best way to determine user intent is by simply typing in a keyword in a browser and analyzing the top competitor’s content marketing strategy. If most of the pieces are how-to guides, it’s also a good idea to create a guide yourself.
While you don’t necessarily have to copy other people’s articles, they can serve as a benchmark. In other words, if a specific post managed to reach the top spots in Google by covering specific points, you could do something similar. Still, the general rule of thumb is to build upon existing articles and provide an even better user experience.
Nowadays, just about any SEO or content tool provides a breakdown of top articles. They can show you lots of valuable data such as links, shares, keywords used, and things of that nature. Simple analysis can tell you a lot about the user intent and how people reacted to content, all of which can serve as a blueprint for your blog post.
3. Content longevity
One of the major considerations when writing articles is content longevity. As a creator, you need to choose between pursuing evergreen topics and trending topics. Each one of them can provide certain advantages to your brand.
Evergreen topics are posts that always remain relevant. For example, these are topics such as “Major battles in World War 2” or “How to create authentic Italian pasta.” The thing that’s characteristic of evergreen keywords is they have a steady volume throughout the years. The topics have nothing to do with trends but instead with general knowledge.
If you wish to find trending topics, you can simply use the designated keyword and place it in Google Trends. The free software will provide lots of suggestions that can serve as a perfect starting point. Furthermore, you’ll also receive some demographic data on top of that.
Which to choose?
So, why is this distinction important for your content marketing research?
Basically, trending topics are much better for news sites and for acquiring lots of traffic quickly. On the other hand, evergreen topics are a better choice if you’re looking to get slow but steady traffic over time.
Of course, depending on the keyword and user intent, there’s a chance you’ll be forced to go with one of these two. However, you still need to be aware that articles can be time-sensitive, and they can affect your overall content strategy.
4. Use social media and forums
Nowadays, people use Reddit and Quora to get fast insights about specific topics. That way, you no longer have to scour dozens of pages and read 5,000-word posts to get useful information.
You can access any of these platforms via Google, or you can do the browsing within their search bars. For example, Quora allows you to type a question directly into the platform. Even if you can’t find your answers within the existing web articles, the friendly community will quickly provide assistance.
Although this method takes much more time, as you have to wait for answers, the process is fantastic for your research. Most people who provide insights in these forums are topical experts, so you can rest assured the information is of the highest quality.
There are even stats, such as Reddit’s karma, that show whether a person is a regular poster or not. This isn’t something that you get with regular articles.
Another major benefit of social media is that these platforms allow you to perform surveys. If you have a large community, you can ask them questions about the trending topics and what they’re interested to learn about. Then, you can create such a post and share it in the group.
Among others, you can also use surveys to enrich the pieces that you’re currently writing. For example, you can add it as an image to your latest article, thus increasing its relevancy. In other words, performing them will not only help your research, but it can also serve as parts of the future content.
5. Use content tools
Content tools such as Frase.io, MarketMuse, and SurferSEO are fantastic for doing research. When you type in a specific topic, each one of them will retrieve a list of keywords. Among others, they provide the following data:
- Expected word count
- Expected number of headings
- Expected number of images
- Expected number of paragraphs
- Required keywords
- Expected keyword repetitions
- Heading topic suggestions
- Content score
Now, if you’re an inexperienced writer or don’t know much about the subject topic, these phrases might not mean much. However, those who’ve been around the block know how to utilize the keywords and in which direction they should take the post.
Some of these tools even have suggestions for headings and allocate weighted scores to each one of them. In other words, they tell you directly what kind of general subjects you should cover in the article.
Some programs, like WriterZen, even allow you to generate automatic posts by relying on machine learning. That way, you can simply take their structure and slightly rewrite it to pass CopyScape, Grammarly, and ChatGPT checkers. Although this isn’t the ideal method, it’s definitely one that saves time.
6. Interview experts
The best way to learn more about a topic is by interviewing topical experts.
Unfortunately, getting answers isn’t easy, especially if you’re a small and insignificant blogger. Most influencers simply won’t have enough time to mess around with you. In fact, there’s a chance you won’t even be able to reach them, as you’ll have to go through several gatekeepers.
However, if you do get the chance to speak to them, we suggest you use this opportunity to create content. In the end, while their feedback is amazing, it’s even better to use their quotes for your own content. Here are a few examples of expert-based posts popular online:
- Expert roundups
- One-on-one sit-downs
- Short articles with embedded videos
Each one of these content types has its merits and can benefit you immensely.
Analyzing different types of content
Expert roundups are one of the easiest expert posts to create. Instead of interviewing one person, you can send a few selected questions to a plethora of addresses. Given that it’s just a few questions, most people will be ready to oblige. They get a nice link back to their site and some bragging rights, and you have a nice piece for your blog.
Sit-down interviews are a bit trickier as they take more time. Because of that, you need to have a really good connection with the person you’re interviewing. However, if you get the right guy and you do a good job of promoting content afterward, you can gain some massive exposure.
Articles with videos are generally considered high-quality content. In this particular case, you’re doing an interview via webcam. The content is much easier to digest, and it’s more interactive, which increases the likelihood of going viral.
Once you finish the article and get some interesting insights, you can use this knowledge for your future posts. So, the process can serve both as a research vehicle and for content creation. In other words, you can hit two birds with one stone using this technique.
7. Splitting subheadings
Even if you’re a topical expert, there’s a good chance you sometimes refer to other posts for inspiration. Before writing an article, it’s almost customary for a person to read a few top blogs on Google to see how other websites went about their things.
When doing that, a good strategy is to make a list of all the interesting subheadings and use them for your structure. Once you do so, you can then Google each subheading topic and read more about it.
Keep in mind this is a much more arduous method than simply rewriting existing articles. However, it also means that each subheading you create will have much better information than if you were to go with generalized posts. This research approach is especially beneficial if you’re looking to make longer articles.
If you are struggling to create quality content and reach the top of search results, contact MiroMind today! With our SEO services, you can significantly increase your organic traffic in the upcoming months.