It has been a little while now since my last blog post, but hopefully the wait has been worth it! I’m very excited to be writing this post and to be sharing this tool with you.
Research for new content strategies takes time
Every day in our industry we face the challenge of developing new strategies for attracting traffic to a website and staying ahead of the competition, whether this is through on or off site engagement. As marketers it’s our job to overcome these challenges to ultimately build ROI.
But before you can jump to a strategy you need to do the research:
What type of content is (and has been) working well – is it contextually relevant?
What topics are people talking about now in and around your industry?
What questions are people asking?
What types of content is attracting social shares, mentions etc?
What types of websites are mentioning these topics? And more specifically, who?
Which platforms are being utilised to promote this content?
– In a nut shell, what is hot right now? And how are people interacting with this content?
Our research doesn’t end there, once you have the above data you should be checking out similar topics too. Answering these questions will give us the foundations to creating our own on or off-site strategy.
Check out our content generation tool
The problem we have with this process is that it naturally absorbs a lot of time, and if you are just checking out ideas for outreach purposes it is almost completely unfeasible.
For the purposes of this blog post here is a top level view of the on & off site strategy process:
Maximise return, minimise time
After checking out Tom’s epic guide to Import XML for Google docs, I was inspired to develop a tool that would effectively generate this research which could be adapted for both processes based on a single user action.
As soon as a user enters a keyword(s) into the tool, content will be returned from a number of sources all based on this keyword.
These sources can be categorised as follows:
The latest news & discussions
Google Discussions – What’s the latest [keyword] talk in the forums?
Google News & Bing News – Hot off the press [keyword] news.
What content is being shared?
Digg – the most dugg content relating to [keyword], there is also an additional column for the most recent dugg content.
Reddit – The top rated reddits relating to [keyword].
Youtube – The most viewed videos relating to [keyword].
Topsy Latest Tweets – the most popular [keyword] related tweets in the last day, including twitter name and number of RTs received.
Topsy Latest Top Trending Tweets – this is then aggregated in the same way as the previous point.
Twittorati Search – the most ‘authoritative’ tweets relating to [keyword] based on the Twitterati authority score.
All Things Now – the most popular content Facebook shares relating to [keyword].
What questions are being asked?
Yahoo Answers – questions relating to [keyword] filtered by questions with the most answers.
Wiki Answers – this is split in to two columns, the latest questions that have been asked relating to [keyword] and the top answered questions.
How Stuff Works – articles answering a problem relating to [keyword].
Blog Catalog – the latest blog posts relating to [keyword].
Fark – the latest and most popular items shared on Fark relating to [keyword].
Redux – discover further video content relating to [keyword].
Helium – The latest [keyword] articles shared on Helium.
Cracked – One of my favourite sites I couldn’t leave out. A fun/comedic site returning articles relating to [keyword].
Due to the generic nature of this blog post, I haven’t included any niche specific sources in the tool, but to really get the most out of it incorporate aggregation sites relating to your target niche or even specific blogs, there are plenty of them out there which will provide an even greater insight into what works well/what’s hot in your niche right now.
The party doesn’t stop there
After going through your first sweep of the Google doc, your brain should (hopefully) be flooding with ideas for link bait, viral and useful content that could be used for outreach or on your own website, but that was for only one keyword!
Towards the end of the spreadsheet you will find three additional columns looking into keyword variants. Using the power of Uber Suggest and Google’s similar and related queries, why not incorporate these into your search for even greater content analysis and idea creation…
But wait a sec!
Before you get stuck into other queries, there’s another dimension to this tool which has been running in the background. If you head on over to sheet 2 (Source and Place), the tool will whip up possible placement opportunities for the ideas which you will have just been putting together.
With the help of Topsy I have pulled out ‘experts’ relating to the keyword you will have typed earlier. To help filter out the junk, I have incorporated another filter which searches the users twitter profile to determine how many times they have mentioned your keyword (naturally works best with single generic keywords), and the number of followers they have. Finally, the website that is featured on their bio has been extracted. Together they will help you to identify potential outreach placements.
Ok so this helps for outreach, how can this actually help create content for my own website?
Analysing the data collected within this tool will tell you what types of content are working for your niche. If there are questions being asked over and over again, why not consider introducing useful guides for people on your website, or if there are a lot of different questions being asked why not develop a Q&A system.
You should constantly be looking at how you could potentially capitalise on the latest news to gain traffic, just tread carefully as some can be more controversial than others.
Analyse the types of content that is attracting a lot of social buzz and how the websites have went about promoting this content – is it a video?, an infographic?, a topical post?, a creative piece or an article that triggers an emotional response? Etc.
Strategies based on this research can begin to evolve, but before you become fixated on delivering i.e. a Q&A system – break out the box, find out what (in this instance) awesome Q&A systems are currently out there, and take look at what makes them stand out from the crowd. List their positive characteristics, but also take note of the negatives – this identifies potential gaps that you could exploit in your strategy.
Whether it’s a QA system, an infographic or whatever, research every fragment of existing strategies, look for the holes and how you can make this even better and more unique – finding gold takes time, but if you mine for long enough you are going to eventually strike it rich!
Version 2 Update
An update for this tool has now been released, please make copy of the latest version here:
I am very excited to be sharing this tool with you and would love to hear your thoughts.