by Donna Amos | Featured Contributor
Successful content marketing involves producing quality content that your readers want to read. If the most well-written piece you could possibly produce doesn’t resonate with your audience, it’s useless. While simply writing on topics relevant to your business niche seems adequate, it is really like shooting in the dark. You need to be writing on topics that relate to your business, but they must also be topics that your audience currently finds interesting.
To discover this, you must listen to your audience and see what interests them at the present time. What current topic is all the rage? What current event relating to your business or industry is causing a stir? Sometimes called news hijacking, this practice of following trending news is a great way to cash in on trending topics to attract readers and connections.
What I am NOT advocating is simply writing what everyone else is writing. Your content must still be fresh, original, and useful to your readers. That doesn’t come from parroting the same lines as everyone else. But you can discover trending or popular topics and write about them from your viewpoint, or demonstrate how your business or product can impact the conversation.
There are some great tools available that can make harvesting topics much easier for you. I’ll briefly highlight each one and provide some simple suggestions for how to use them effectively.
Solopreneur Connect is a great social media listening tool. It can help you listen to conversations that relate to your business or industry niche. You can read conversations on what your target audience needs and their problems. Solopreneur Connect can show you what interests your audience by allowing you to search for relevant keywords in conversations on different social media platforms.
To set up Hootsuite for listening to conversations:
- Sign in to your Solopreneur Connect account.
- Click on ‘search.’ You will see an option to setup – keyword search.
- Click on ‘Keywords’ and type as many keywords as you want to use. Type in one at a time and click on add after each.
- You can then add a location if you want to do so.
Solopreneur Connect’s comprehensive social listening tools empower marketers to execute brand monitoring and analyze social data for marketing insights. Gather introspective, contextual insights to topics, hashtags and influencers relative to your mentions to find new and incremental marketing opportunities.
Buzzsumo is another tool that allows you to know what your audience is currently sharing. For example, I typed “writing” into the tool. The free version only allows users to see what is most popular by shares over the past year. The result was a piece about whether or not to use only one space after sentences from the Washington Post. Since May 2018 it has had 349.9k shares across all platforms. Pretty popular.
The paid membership allows for much more versatility, including what is currently being shared about your chosen keywords, even on each social media platform. It would be worth the cost, considering the other features included, to use this one tool to analyze what is currently being discussed in your industry niche.
Another tool you can use is the Google alert tool. It is very useful. You can set alerts for your keywords and when such keywords come up, you will receive notifications in your email inbox.
For example, if you are in the writing niche and you want to know what is trending, you can create an alert for it using Google alert like this:
- Type http://www.google.com/alerts into your browser
- Log in with your Google account
- Enter the keywords you want to monitor separated by commas
- Click on options
- Select how often you want to receive the alert. (choosing “as it happens” keeps you constantly updated)
- Select the sources i.e. news, video, blog, etc. (selecting automatic covers all the sources)
- Select the language, choose the region, and choose the number of results
- Select the email where your alerts will be delivered
- Click on create
Pretty soon, you will start receiving alerts in your inbox.
Answer the Public
With Answer the Public you enter the keyword you are interested in and it will return the phrases that actual users are typing into Google and Bing. The how, what, where, when, can, are, etc. If you know exactly what is being searched for you can provide the solutions that are being searched for. It’s perhaps one of the best but most underutilized sources of research for content ideas. Until now…
Now that you have some great tools to help, you can harvest topics and set priorities for writing content that resonates with your audience. This content will drive users to your site, and to your business.
What other audience listening tools do you like to use? Share them in the comments below.
Donna Amos is passionate about helping Solopreneurs grow their business using everything digital and publishing. She has 30 years experience in sales and marketing for small business. She believes the best gift you can give another is a word of encouragement.