When I first started out as a business coach, there were times when I had a hard time coming up with topics for my blog. Some ideas popped up naturally, but others took a while to form. That’s when I learned about content research.
The realization came in one time when I was searching through Google, using a keyword for a topic I want to talk about. Generally, I was a little lost with what I had to do. Then it hit me. Maybe I was doing this, not the wrong way, but I was just doing it in one way while not using other methods.
This led me to learn more about content research and how important it is, both for me and you, in order to improve content plans and generate more leads.
What is Content Research?
Before I want to get into how content research can work for you, let’s discuss what it’s all about first.
When you start to write a blog, what do you usually do first?
That’s right. You Google.
And that’s really the first step you have to take. That’s one part of content research.
But what is content research exactly? To keep it simple, it’s the process of analyzing online content and creating a strategy on how to generate leads and improve your brand all at the same time. And it’s not limited to searching the web. Content research entails several other techniques to come up with good content that meets your objective, whether it’s to get more leads or to convert your existing lead list.
Let’s say you’re a fitness coach and you’re looking for more clients, and you create a blog post that leads to a webinar about staying fit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You might want to start thinking like your target market: perform a search using specific keywords like “how to work out in quarantine” or “how to build a home gym” and read the top pieces of content. See what people are looking for, what buzzwords they’re after, and how they’re discussing the topic.
You’re off to a great start when you do that, but there’s more to be done.
Why You Need Content Research
You might say, “Okay, Roxanne, I get you, but I don’t need to get into the nitty-gritty part of creating content.”
Trust me; you do. Content research doesn’t just mean researching for blogs – it’s finding the right way to position your online real estate to your target market and help them find you faster.
I used to think a quick Google search would do the trick, but I learned the hard way. I wasn’t getting enough traffic and the traffic that did come in did not turn into leads. My bounce and exit rates for static and evergreen content were high and I felt at a loss. I was doing everything right, so what’s wrong?
What was wrong was the way I approached the content research process. I underestimated the impact of this important part of content marketing. So I dug deeper and saw some statistics that convinced me further. For instance, did you know that, according to a study by a media company, the average consumer absorbs around 12 pieces of content before making a decision?
So with that one statistic alone, I figured how content research helps me position myself in front of my target audience and how they can find me.
1) Content research helps create the right type of content for your audience.
Remembering that people consume about 12 pieces of content before taking action, I wondered what type of content would expedite that process. My website is a product of months of research, trial and error, and asking for feedback from peers and clients. Content research has helped me create great content, from blogs to video courses, and keeps my audience informed, entertained and coming back for more.
2) Content research improves your chances of being an “expert source” in your industry.
I definitely don’t like to be labeled as a know-it-all, but being an expert and a source of truth for my audience is certainly humbling. But if you do content research right, your brand can be touted as a go-to source for facts, industry trends, and opinions, as well as tips and strategies that they can use in their everyday lives.
In short, content research helps you stay on top of your audience’s mind.
3) Content research provides long-term traffic and business growth.
When it comes to content marketing, you should be in it for the long run. Content research isn’t some one-time-big-time task; it requires regular upkeep based on your client’s overall behavior. In time, you’ll see your traffic and leads grow.
Just stay consistent and keep working smart, and you’ll see the fruits of your labor soon enough.
How to Perform Content Research
Now that we’ve tackled what content research is and why it’s important, let’s figure out how to make it work for you.
First things first, you need to know your target audience. Think of your ideal client: think of their demographics, motivations, goals, pain points, and what they need from a coach like you. Make sure that your client persona is someone who will most likely sign up and engage with you further.
This can greatly help you in forming even better content, especially if you’re aiming to solve a problem that they have, and when they need more solutions, they can sign up on your website.
You’ll also need to know what they look for on the internet, where they usually look for answers, who they’re talking, and what they’re talking about that’s related to your business.
There are so many ways to perform content research, but I’ll discuss two of the quickest ways which have always worked for me.
The first is networking. I’m the type to go on Facebook and LinkedIn a lot, and I love joining groups. These groups are where I usually find long-standing clients who turn into good friends. I find out what they’re interested in and see how I can help them solve their problems without being too salesy.
And being part of groups where your ideal clients are – not the groups you manage – gives you so much insight on how to improve your content targeted towards these people you meet in groups.
The next is tinkering with Google Trends. I do a quick search and I see what people are searching for, where they’re searching, and any other topic related to their search. It helps me understand what my prospects want to know at any given moment, and helps me form content that answers their queries or solves their problems.
There’s so much more to content research that I cannot put on this blog post! Really, this is such a fulfilling exercise and I hope you can find the time to practice this further. To learn more about how to do content research, and other ways to get clients online, join “Online Client Attraction” Facebook Group where you can learn from coaches who have turned content research into an important tool in lead generation.
Let me ask you: How do you make content research work for you? Tell me more in the comments below.