A weekly Google Hangout dedicated to discussing content marketing, search marketing, SEO and more.
Topic: Fresh Content Creation Ideas
How to create a workflow that generates new content ideas based on what your audiences are already interested in.
Erin O’Brien, President & COO at GinzaMetrics
Karen Scates, Manager Marketing & PR, GinzaMetrics
FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Karen: Hello, and welcome to FOUND Friday, our weekly YouTube episode and podcast where we discuss trending topics and industry news for SEO and marketing. I’m Karen.
Erin: And I’m Erin.
Karen: Today we’re going to talk about how to create a workflow that generates new content ideas based on what your audiences are already interested in. Let’s start by talking about the problem. A lot of marketers are creating a lot of content and only 30% say their efforts are effective according to the Content Marketing Institute. What’s the disconnect?
Erin: It’s probably not just one thing. If the disconnect was one thing across the industry, it would be fairly easy to fix. What I think there are disconnects on are measurement and understanding efficacy of current content and market. This goes back to using the media, method, and message situation which we talk about how that really helps you figure out what about a particular piece of content is or is not working. Is it what you’re saying? Is it how you’re saying it? Or is it how you’re distributing it like the channels that you’re sharing it on? I think that if you can get closer into that and dig down deeper, some of that efficacy will probably change.
I think that there’s also some disconnect around the idea of what’s really relevant as a conversation between your brand and your audience. Too often there are issues of just kind of the same content over and over and over again and there’s only so many ways you can say the same thing. It’s almost like content fatigue.
The converse of that is creating content that’s too widespread and like this really weird scattershot things that don’t actually tie together cohesively to tell a single story. You’re really looking for something that’s more in the middle of those things and more cohesive. That’s not necessarily always easy for folks to figure out.
Karen: I think that when people first get started with content marketing, they’re very excited and it’s all shiny and new, and they’re creating things and they’re getting some success. Then things start to bog down a little bit because they run out of ideas or they’re just really not getting the results they thought they’d get. It’s not growing exponentially over time.
Today let’s talk about a solution, a way to find some fresh ideas for content that are relevant to target audiences. I think we want to emphasize that word “relevant” because there’s a lot of content out there that’s just content and it’s not really answering questions that audiences are asking. Can you give us a quick overview of the workflow before we dive in to each of the three elements?
Erin: Yes. For today’s purposes, what we’re going to talk a lot about is actually inside of the GinzaMetrics platform, so it’s going to be obviously a little bit more relevant for folks using it. But if you’re not using a platform, there are other ways that you can go about getting some of this information as well.
The three core components that I’ll be talking about today is using your current search data, most specifically, keyword performance and change over time. The second I’m going to be talking about is competitor keyword data and performance for search data. Then the last element will be this idea of Keyword and Competitor Discovery and how those elements tie into helping you maybe find some new things that could be driving traffic but haven’t before.
Karen: let’s start out talking about search data for your own keywords and content.
Erin: One of the things that we have in the tool that I think is a really great content idea generator essentially is Top Keyword Activity. Top Keyword Activity is bucketed into three separate areas. There’s Top Keyword Activity for Improved Keywords, there’s Top Keyword Activity for Declining Keywords, and then there’s Top Keyword Activity for your Competitors – places where your competitors overlap with you and are actually improving in rank. I’ll break each of those down a little bit.
Top Keyword Activity for Improved Keywords is essentially where you are improving in rank for a keyword and a specific piece of content that you are targeting. What’s great about this is that you can figure out where you’re doing a really good job at matching a piece of content to a specific topic. How this actually helps with idea generation is if you have a piece of content that’s doing really well and improving in rank, and let’s say that that piece of content is a blog post, maybe what you want to do is say, “This is obviously something where we’ve hit the mark correctly. Maybe what we should do is consider making this into a video, making this into a podcast, making this into a whitepaper or a landing page, or whatever.” Consider generating additional content because you’re hitting the mark already and then you can link them together because this is something that’s already on the rise in getting some eyeballs for you.
The way that they use to declining keyword situation is obviously this tells you where your content and your keyword are not necessarily really matching up with audience expectations because search engines don’t find it relevant and they’re kind of downgrading it a little bit. So maybe this is an opportunity to go in and say, “Hey, what is this?” Maybe the content itself is fine and maybe it’s the keyword that you’re targeting with it that’s not. Maybe that keyword overall or that topic overall is actually just declining in relevance with your audience and you need to find what is improving in relevance. Maybe one of your competitors or maybe there’s just content out there that’s similar that’s way more relevant. That’s the idea. You dive into that word or into that topic and say what actually is winning here. What kind of content is it the people are creating that’s actually managing to make head way.
With competitors, this is where what you’re going to be able to see is from a competitor standpoint, where is it that they’re creating content that really resonates with your audience? What does that content look like and how does it differ from what you’ve created that’s trying to target? Because what we’re showing in that list of Top Keyword Activity for your Competitors – and you can toggle between multiple competitors – is only the pieces of content that are rising in rank the fastest and the most ranked positions. Things will raise 15-20 rank positions and have gone from second page to number two position, obviously they’re doing something right, they’re creating something really worthwhile or that search engines and audiences foresee this worthwhile so it’s important to know.
As we say every time, this is not an invitation to copy your competitor’s content. What this is, it’s an opportunity to say, “How are they framing this conversation? What type of content is it?” Is it a product overview? Is it a deep dive into a feature? Is it visual content that really explains how-to differently? Is it a user testimonial? Just getting some of that information can oftentimes help you understand how you could improve things that you currently have in market to amp up your relevance.
Karen: When we talk about using your own search data for your keywords and content, I think an important element for that is to actually go in and create those keyword and content groups. I know we talk about this all the time – the keyword and content group love from GinzaMetrics. But getting those groupings in is a great way to know what’s relevant, what’s engaging, what’s not. Do you want to dive into that just a little bit?
Erin: Yes. When we’re talking about creating keyword groups and content groups, one of the things that is complicated for most brands unless the only thing that you are really doing is just one feature and even then there’s probably a way for you to segment this out is when you create this keyword groups and content groups, what you’re essentially doing is you’re allowing yourself to segment out and really understand better how you’re content performs based on these individual things.
Keyword and content groups can reflect marketing campaigns, geographies, product and feature types, ways that people use something, audience personas, etc. So then imagine when you’re doing what I just mentioned, which is this dive down to figure out how you could create better content or what types of content you might want to consider creating, you don’t necessarily want to view that at the entire organizational level all the time. You probably have an objective right now and you’re probably trying to work on a campaign or something for right now or maybe you’re trying to figure out what campaign to create, and being able to segment things out will give you that information for just that one thing so that you can actually focus your efforts in that area. It will also segment out your competitor’s data around just that one topical area.
One of the things that we always say that is the most helpful is you can have both keyword and content groups and keywords and content can belong to multiple groups. But you should have a keyword and content group pair for everything. If you’re making a keyword group around a specific feature type, you need a content group that matches and adds in the content that you’ve created around those keywords. You need both.
Karen: Okay, good. Also, when you’re talking about how to use once you have that information, how to use it, one of the things I’ve noticed is a lot of people recommend taking an e-book and splitting it into blog posts or splitting into SlideShares. But I haven’t seen a lot of people talk about it the opposite way, which I think also works, which is to take a keyword or content group that’s really performing well and look at what assets you have there and then say, “Let’s create a larger asset out of this. Let’s create that big gated e-book out of this, the big whitepaper out of this.” Looking at it from both sides might help you also to get more out of that.
Erin: You and I have talked about and have put into practice as well is this idea of almost like solution centers or solutions pages or hubs of content. Kind of gated or not depending on what type of content and where you are, who it’s for in the funnel is this concept of almost like these hubs and places where people can have these things that actually mirror your keyword and content groups like you’re saying but you can actually add in multiple blog posts, add in some videos, put in some things, and put that all together in a multimedia way where someone who’s really just looking for an answer about this thing can get all of this information in one place.
Karen: We’re doing some of that too. When you’re looking for solutions for creating content, you can come into our solution center and we’re going to have lots of resources there for you. Look for that as well.
We also use Keyword Discovery to find content ideas. Can you explain how we do that and why?
Erin: Keyword Discovery is more than what it sounds like. The simplest situation is you’re like, “Oh, that makes sense. I’m just discovering some keywords.” You’re not just discovering some keywords. What you’re discovering is this list of topics and search terms that people are using – and we do it two ways.
The first is we do it topically. This is really great if you go in and the topics get really granular. I’ll use the example that I always use because this just keeps good continuance. If I was Nike and I use our topical discussion, I can go in to either “apparel” or “sporting and fitness” and what I can do is I can dive down into “sportswear,” “sports show wear,” “running shoes,” “cross training shoes,” “tennis shoes,” “hiking shoes,” all these different things.
Let’s say I specifically care about running shoes. What this is going to do is this is going to gather a full list of terms and keywords and topics that people search for when they’re talking about running. What you have now is a good comparative of “Here’s the stuff that I’m tracking and here’s the stuff that people are talking about within this topic. Where are we overlapping and where are we not overlapping? Would I actually care about the things that I’m not overlapping on?” That’s always of interest and a potentially really good source of new content creation ideas.
The other way that we do this is you can actually put in a landing page, either of you or a competitor, and then what we’ll do is scrape that page and run that information. What will surface back to you is a list of things that could be driving traffic to that and you can go in and compare and say, “Are we actually optimizing this content or optimizing other content for these pages. How could I improve? Or are we targeting the right keyword for this particular page?” That’s a really good place.
The partner tool to what Keyword Discovery is going to provide you is Competitor Discovery. We talked a little bit about this on the last episode so I won’t get too crazy about it. What Competitor Discovery is really good for when it comes to content ideas because that’s what we’re focusing on right now is we talk about the difference between the direct competitors, so somebody who’s actually making a product or doing a service that somebody would purchase instead of yours or a choice somebody would make instead of choosing you.
Indirect competitors are people who are taking traffic and brain space away from you but may not actually have a competing product. Let’s go back to the Nike example. With Nike, maybe this idea is like Adidas or Reebok as a direct competitor and indirect competitors may be like Runner’s World which is a magazine, an online publication that talks a lot about running. So maybe when somebody is looking for best running shoes, they may get Nike or Reebok or Adidas information but they may also get an article written at Runner’s World.
One of the things that we say is a great content idea is if you surface both direct and indirect competitors on the direct side, obviously you can see exactly how someone else is positioning their stuff to compete with you. But on the indirect side, you can see all these really interesting ways that somebody who doesn’t have anything to sell is really competing with you and what kinds of content they’re creating because a lot of times this is articles and things like that. Maybe that’s something you want to create. Maybe that’s something you want to get more involved in. But you get to see the exact content.
I know that a lot of people would say, “I know we need to create articles.” This is where contributed content comes in and advertorials and stuff. It’s helpful if you know based on the exact keywords and keyword groups that you are targeting right now the exact content and the exact outlets that you’re looking for. That’s the best possible way to do that research.
Karen: We differentiated before between your content competitors and your product competitors. I think a lot of times – we talked about this before – people are focused on those product competitors and we’re trying to beat the competition. But in the content marketing ecosystem, a lot of times it’s the content competitors that are getting in the way of your message. It’s really important to track those and know who’s doing content and then maybe what you can do to get in to that ranking and maybe move your ranking up a little bit.
Erin: Especially if those content competitors are recommending someone besides you. We use somebody going to Runner’s World looking about running stuff and Runner’s World says, “We really like Brooks Running Shoes, don’t buy Nike.” That’s obviously going to be a really big deal for you. Even if that doesn’t have anything to do with you creating necessarily different content at that point, it’s good to know how that content is actually being affected.
Karen: That’s a wrap for this week. Join us next week when we continue our discussions about SEO and marketing best practices and share your questions and comments with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or join the conversation on Twitter at #FOUNDFriday.
Erin: All right, see you guys next week.
Karen: All right, bye.