According to the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2B companies are using content marketing, and 70% say they’re creating more content than they did one year ago. But here’s the thing…you can work your butt off to create boatloads of content, but if it’s not relevant or interesting to your target audience, they’re not going to read it and share it.
As a marketer, you might be asking yourself: “How do I know what kind of content my audience is interested in consuming?” Well, before you create a single piece of content, you’ve got to do some research. Read on for 5 ways you can get inside the heads of your customers and prospects to learn what types of content will resonate with them.
Identify and Follow Industry Influencers
If you’ve worked in a particular industry for a while, you probably have a good idea of who the influencers are in your space. If you’re new to an industry, this will require a little more legwork. A good starting point is to identify folks who:
- Speak at conferences your target audience attends
- Have written books
- Regularly contribute articles to industry publications and blogs
- Win industry awards
Follow your industry’s influencers on Twitter to see what they talk about, who they follow and who they interact with. Bookmark their blogs to see what topics they write about and which posts get the most shares and comments.
Find Out What Content People are Already Sharing
Buzzsumo is a free tool that helps you determine what content people are sharing most about a particular topic. Let’s go back to my previous example of working for a company that sells a content marketing solution. Visit Buzzsumo, type in “content marketing” and you’ll see what content has been shared the most.
Take a Look At Your Own Analytics
Your own site analytics can offer a wealth of information to help inform future content. For example, determine which blog posts are bringing in the most visits, shares and comments. Create additional content on the subject of these top posts. Is there a video on your YouTube channel that’s blowing the others out of the water? Consider breaking the content down into several shorter “microvideos.”
Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups
There are LinkedIn groups for just about every professional interest and affiliation you can think of. LinkedIn groups allow likeminded individuals to ask questions, post jobs, get feedback and more. Join LinkedIn groups that your target audience belongs to. See what kinds of questions people are asking and what challenges people are facing. Then, create content that addresses these questions and challenges.
Tap Into Your Sales Team
Your sales team is probably an often overlooked source of insight. After all, they’re the ones who are out in the field meeting with customers and prospects each day. Schedule time with some of your organization’s top sales people to discuss the challenges, questions and complaints they hear often from customers and prospects. Identify themes, and create content that addresses these themes.
What tools do you use to determine what kind of content your audience is interested in reading? Please share in the comments below.