Research tools for content marketing
In online content marketing’s formative years, that’s less than a decade ago, much of the content that was produced was driven by a hunch on the part of the marketer or the writer. They had to guess what type of content might resonate with readers and how those words, especially keywords, might impact on SEO performance.
Today things are a lot more scientific in that there are now a wealth of online tools that enable content marketers to research the type of content they need to produce and assess how well it will be received.
We are in fact on the cusp of a revolution as artificial intelligence will undoubtedly begin to fuel content marketing research in the coming years. At some point too those bots may even write the content optimising it for its intended audience.
As Amit Ghosh points out in a fascinating article in Inc42.
“According to Gartner, nearly 20% of all business-oriented content will be generated by machines by 2018. An increasing number of industries are already leveraging AI to constantly churn out optimised content since it saves them time and money.”
Whether the Gartner prediction is proven to be true remains to be seen, and much of the AI content is likely to be fairly basic, but it is clearly an important trend.
For now though here are a trio of tools that marketers can use to research the content they produce to make sure it chimes with its intended audience.
For many content marketers this is the big one. Buzzsumo has become an integral part of many brands’ content output. It is a social-driven tool that enables a marketer to see quickly how successful content has been, specifically how many times it has been shared. Users type in a search term or a URL, and Buzzsumo will offer a series of results showing the most shared content in that area. For some content marketers, the next move is what has been coined the ‘Skyscraper Technique.’ Essentially this means that they write a similar article but add their own twist. The theory being that if one person’s content has been widely shared similar content might also be popular.
Usefully you can limit the search tool to a specific platform or type of content so, for example, if you want to see what type of video content has been shared the most on Twitter Buzzsumo can do this for you.
Buzzsumo has plenty of other features too such as the option of highlighting influencers and generating reports on specific items such as categories or keywords.
The rub is that the free version of Buzzsumo will only offer you a snapshot. Agency fees for the full version are $239 per month and there are also caps on the number of users and alerts. However, for many in the content marketing industry Buzzsumo is invaluable.
If you want to find out what people are searching for on specific topics so you can then create content that answers their queries, Answer The Public is well worth exploring. Unlike Buzzsumo it is a free tool and you can use it as often as you like.
Users type in a key word or two and the engine will show what questions the public are asking about that word or phrase. For example, I typed in ‘content marketing’ and it gave me a host of questions from ‘what are content marketing channels’ through to ‘content marketing vs link building.’
If you are struggling to come up with ideas Answer The Public is an inspirational way to ensure that the content you produce is answering the questions that people are searching for.
A similar type of tool is Ubersuggest.
This is a tool for social media managers which can also be very useful for content marketers. It is an analytics tool, which looks at social platforms and offers analysis of how effective their posts are especially in terms of engagement. So, for example, it will analyse the posts from your Facebook page, as well as your rivals, and highlight which are the most successful topics, and which is the best time to post. Crucially too it will tell you how frequently you need to post to increase your engagement levels.
For content creators it is a highly useful tool as they can learn what type of content is exciting audiences on Facebook. The theory is that this content then might be successful on other channels too.
Fanpage Karma is a paid for service and its fees start at $49 per month.
Commissioned by The CMA