Episodes 405/407 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast featured special guest Ashley Segura, VP of Operations and CoFounder of TopHatContent. Host Erin Sparks spoke with Ashley about content marketing research, alignment to business goals, repurposing content, and measuring content performance. Here’s what we learned:
Using Data to Define Personas
The starting point of content marketing research is the data, and the first objective in studying the data is to define the primary personas of people who consume your content and the patterns of what each persona likes, when they want to hear from you, and on what platforms they want to see your content. This should also be evaluated through the lens of those who are highly engaged and those who for some reason aren’t as highly engaged, because for the latter group you’ve missed out on something they want that you’re not delivering with your content.
These personas should also reflect their content needs. There are those who only need to know what deals you’re offering because they’re going to buy and just want the best deal, whereas others are much higher up in the funnel and need a lot more information and education before they will be in a place to convert.
Looking at Both Direct and Indirect Competitors
Once you’ve got those personas clearly defined, then it’s time to learn what others have done for content, beginning with your 3-5 direct top competitors. You’re looking to see how they’re getting their results with content marketing so you can see how to do it better. But you don’t stop with just those top direct competitors because there are probably other companies who are really doing well with their content and you should learn from that as well even if they’re not a direct competitor.
Take your cues and learn from content that is clearly superior. Don’t just assume those site are doing well because they’re big or have brand recognition or domain authority. Look closely at their content to see how it’s structured. Small players can compete with the big corporations when it comes to content, and sometimes it’s as simple as asking your users and fans what they want from you in terms of content.
Be Wary of Trending Topics
It’s tempting to want to jump on the bandwagon of a trending topic, but you do so at the risk of wasting your time and energy. More than likely a small number of oversized voices are controlling that discourse and if you’re small, you’ll just be lost in the shuffle. If you do want to get in on a trending topic, be smart about it. Go to the SEMrush Topic Research Tool to really see what kinds of questions people are asking about a topic, and you might find an opportunity to provide content others aren’t yet providing.
Content Marketing Alignment to Business Goals
One of the most basic goals of all marketing is making sales, and the way to align content marketing with that primary business goal is looking at how consumers move down the sales funnel and crafting pieces of content that move them naturally down that funnel, building up their trust and confidence along the way so when they get to the conversion point they’re ready to convert. You can track users in the funnel to see if they’re moving through the content in the sequence you imagined would work best, identify problem areas to fix, and so on.
Content Marketing to Build Trust
An indicator you might have trust issues is when you have high traffic combined with a high bounce rate. If you can rule out user experience issues (core web vitals like page load speed and so on), then it could well be a trust issue such as your content not delivering what was promised. You also need to go out and look at what people are saying about your brand. This kind of brand monitoring and tracking is easier than ever these days with any one of a bunch of tools to help, including the SEMrush Brand Monitoring tool (which makes sense to use if you’re already using SEMrush for other purposes), Mention, Brandwatch, and so on.
Reusing and Repurposing Content
Should you reuse content? Ashely says absolutely. Some topics need to be covered on a regular basis (holiday marketing in the fourth quarter, for example) so you don’t need to start from scratch. You can update the original content or take bits and pieces and repackage it for other digital channels and platforms. The possibilities are endless. And you can do this not just with high-performing content, but also content that performed poorly. Figure out why it didn’t perform well and fix it in repurposing. The biggest challenge you face in repurposing content is that it is time-consuming. You have to do an extensive evaluation of the original content to identify places where you could go deeper on the topic or a subtopic or determine what you didn’t cover well to fill in those gaps. Getting a new angle or identifying gaps to address when repurposing content is much easier when you use something like the SEMrush Topic Research Tool to see what questions people are asking about any given topic.
Connect with Ashley Segura and TopHatContent
Twitter: @ashleymadhatter (https://twitter.com/ashleymadhatter)
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