Content marketing is one of the most efficient long-term digital strategies.
As many as 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, while almost 40% of them claim that content marketing is a vital part of their overall strategy.
This comes as no surprise, as there’s no better way to establish your brand image and gain online visibility.
The core of this strategy is creating regular, first-rate content. For this, you’ll need a talented, skilful, and hard-working content creation team. But the whole process will be much more effective if your team has a wide range of helpful tools and software at their disposal – especially when it comes to the research part of the process.
What Can You Use These Tools for?
Content marketing research tools can help improve numerous aspects of your content marketing. You can use them to:
- Find out which topics are trending in your industry
- Identify the most common search queries related to your brand or niche
- Analyse keywords and most important phrases your team should use in their articles
- Recognise your audience’s needs and concerns
- Search for ideas or valuable data you can use for content creation
- Get updates on your competition: their online activity, their website’s performance, or the feedback their content gets
Most tools can do more than just one of these things.
However, in an era when a large part of online content is at least partly data-driven, the competition among software companies producing these tools is immense. This means it’s sometimes very hard to choose the right ones for your company.
We tried to pick some quality ones that could help content marketing teams with various tasks they’re supposed to perform.
SEO should be a huge part of your content strategy. Sometimes it’s difficult for content to gain visibility and reach users, regardless of its quality. And even when it does, this can take a lot of time.
That’s why you need a tool that will help you create SEO-friendly content, and Ahrefs is one of the best choices out there.
Ahrefs does a number of different things for your website and your content. For instance, it offers a strong keyword explorer that displays crucial keywords and common search queries related to a certain industry, topic or search term.
It also shows exactly how frequent and competitive these are, and having the right info about the competitiveness of a certain keyword can be vital. Some non-competitive keywords are very similar to some already heavily-covered ones, so choosing which ones to optimise your article for can mean a difference between top rankings and complete invisibility.
Ahrefs also does a great job of analysing your competitors, especially when it comes to their backlink profiles.
You can check where they recently guest posted and reach out to these blogs since their editors are obviously interested in content related to your industry. Backlink strategy is the backbone of proper SEO, and you need to have a well-informed approach to it.
For example, their keyword magic tool will give you millions of keyword ideas straight from what they claim to be the biggest keyword database on the market. You can pick the best ones and save or export them and then use them later in other SEMrush tools.
SEMrush also offers excellent data visuals and highly-actionable insights. This makes it practical, intuitive, and user-friendly.
Finally, one of their most interesting features is their writing assistant.
It analyses your rivals’ best-performing content and gives you ideas you can build on. It also provides you with some basic recommendations on how to create SEO-friendly content based on the keywords you type in. You’ll get a content outline with questions you should answer, subtitles, and subtopics suggestions.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for finding not just trending topics, but also the most popular online content at a current time. You just type in a category, and you’ll get a list of articles people read, like, and talk about.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to search for the most popular content of your competitors – not in order to copy them, of course, but in order to boost your brainstorming process.
BuzzSumo also shows you how each piece of content performs on different social networks, helping you identify the best places to distribute articles related to your branch.
Finally, it has a separate Find Influencers feature you can use to, well, find influencers. Not only will it pinpoint popular personalities, but it will also use advanced methods to single out those who have authority and are able to engage your target audience.
4. Google Trends
Google offers a lot of different tools that can help you with optimising your content for their search engines, as well as with other content research concerns. One of the most commonly used is Google Trends.
It offers a comprehensive overview of the key trending topics related to chosen terms or niches. For each of them, it’ll also analyse how they rank in each region or country as well as how their popularity evolved over time.
Utilising trending topics can be beneficial for the rankings of articles covering these topics. It can also boost audience growth in the long run, as these pieces are more shareable and can easily become viral.
The historical overview can also help you identify periodic trends and predict what people will talk about in the near future.
5. Answer The Public
In order to fully optimise your content for your target audience, you need to understand their desires, concerns, and needs. This means you need to know which exact questions they’re asking.
Some of the already mentioned tools can indeed pull the most commonly searched industry-related queries in the form of questions, but Answer The Public is specialised exactly for this. When you type in a phrase, it’ll give you a beautifully arranged diagram of questions people often ask about it.
Search engines are getting smarter and pay more and more attention to the semantics and users’ genuine search intent. So they tend to recognise not only exactly matching keywords but also actual answers to questions people type in. That’s why this tool can be very useful for increasing your organic traffic.
A well-known Q&A platform, Quora, can be beneficial for you for the very same reasons.
Browse around and try to find some of the users’ most common concerns that your industry, product, or service can help with. Then create pieces that cover this topic and use phrases that directly answer this sort of questions.
On the one hand, Answer The Public can also do this job for you. On the other hand, here you can directly see who asks these questions, how they’re asked, what the main talking points are once the discussions unfold, and feel the general vibe of these discussions.
This adds a dimension that can’t be picked up by looking at numbers and statistics. It can’t really be said that one of these tools is better than the other. They simply complement each other, so it’s best to use them both in your research.
7. Mechanical Turk
Want to get an even better insight into people’s opinions on topics you care about or common industry-related troubles they face?
Well, why not actually ask them?
One of the quickest and most affordable options to perform a well-targeted survey is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. This platform can be used to find workers to perform all sorts of simple tasks for you, including answering your questions.
It’s up to you how much you’ll pay them for this. Naturally, the more you pay, the quicker you’ll find enough people to have a relevant sample.
And don’t worry, they won’t do a sloppy job, as they depend on getting good ratings from you.
It’s best to use suitable keywords so people can easily find your survey and to use the Qualifications feature to find people who fit your target audience profile.
You’ll have to use HTML to create the task, but if you’re not really experienced with that, don’t worry, you can find a sample code for creating surveys here.
A lot of the tools we’ve analysed so far help you examine why and how often people ask certain questions. Now it’s time to talk about the one that will help you find answers to your own questions.
A big part of any writer’s research process is finding accurate info and statistics on the topic. Simple Googling often does the trick.
However, every writer knows that sometimes Google simply seems to speak a different language and can’t figure out what you’re looking for. And some other times articles with valuable info get buried under a pile of pages that just don’t have what you need.
That’s why WolphramAlpha looks like a great resource. It can quickly pull and list exact statistics about your search term.
For instance, if you type in a name of a company, it will show you useful info about it like share price, market cap, revenue, foundation date, or the list of executives. Of course, only if all these are publicly available.
You can use this data to back up your claims or develop your arguments. In general, having access to solid, reliable data is an excellent long-term basis for creating quality content.
Now, it’s important to note that different tools cover different areas of content research, and some of them will work great together.
Which one of these excellent tools or which combination of them you’ll choose to use will depend on your specific needs, the size of your company, your audience, your industry, and many other variables.
In any event, every organisation should utilise suitable research tools to help its content creators produce engaging content that’s easy to discover.
It doesn’t just make life easier for the writing team, but also helps companies make informed marketing decisions, bring in customers, and build a strong brand image in the long run.
Want more content marketing strategies and advice? Check out:
- Why is Content Marketing Important? 9 Reasons That You Need It
- What is Inbound Marketing?
- How I Never Run Out of Content Marketing Ideas
- The Content Marketing Funnel: From Cold Visitor to Customer
- Above the Fold Tactics: Convert More Landing Page Visitors