When choosing content topics, most digital marketers try to write about things they believe is relevant to their audience. While relevance is important, alone it’s not enough. Furthermore, some seemingly relevant content topics may not be a good fit for your brand.
So, how do you determine which topics are a good fit for your brand and engaging for your audience? Here are 4 questions to ask yourself when choosing the right content topics for you.
1. Is there a need?
A topic should address an audience’s pain points and provide a solution. One way to identify your audience’s needs are through creating a buyer persona, or your ideal customer. This may require some research, but you want to identify the following:
Your buyer persona will give you a better sense of challenges and goals your audience has. Knowing your audience’s problems will allow you to come up with content topics that solve those problems.
You can also use search engines and social platforms for discovering users’ needs. Utilize Google trends to gauge if a topic is growing or on the decline. You can use social the same way. Most platforms have analytical tools to show you how popular a certain keyword or set of keywords are. If you have a social listening tool, this would be the perfect way to incorporate that as well. Once you have a good grasp on what your audience is talking about, you can insert yourself in the conversation where appropriate.
2. Do you have the credibility?
If you publish content you don’t have the authority to speak on, you risk ruining the credibility of your brand. You want to use content marketing to strengthen your trust and credibility, not weaken it. So, how can you determine if you’re equipped to speak on a matter? There are generally two main criteria for credibility. Ask yourself:
- Am I an expert? Can you or someone else from your company confidently create and cite original sources? Or is the information based strictly on opinion?
- Is there data to back it up? If there is data, is it outdated? If there isn’t any recent data, you further risk losing your credibility.
Find topics where you have genuine interest, as well as a good knowledge base. Content is about taking data and incorporating your own voice into it. But if you’re writing about something you aren’t very knowledgeable on, you won’t have the expertise to go deeper and differentiate your own opinions.
3. What is the goal of the piece of content?
You want each piece of content you create to have an end goal for your audience, but you also want it to align with your overall organizational goals. Content marketing is really about producing an action from a potential customer. Do your topic ideas connect with that overall marketing objective? Do they move your reader further along the customer journey? For each content topic you decide on, evaluate it and see how it aligns with your organizational goals.
Doing this will also help you when selecting KPIs (key performance indicators). If your current goal is to generate leads, your content should be focused on moving customers further through the sales funnel. If your current goal is to produce more sales, your content should be aimed at moving the sales needle. This means content isn’t just informative, it also builds trust.
It can be easy to rely on viral topics and expect that to carry your content to success. But if those topics don’t align with your overall business strategy, it’s a waste.
4. Can the message be shared across multiple mediums?
Content should communicate how and why your perspectives, products and services stand apart from others in your industry. Content marketing takes a good balance of storytelling, educating, convincing and should include a call-to-action. Once you’ve landed on a strong topic, it’s equally important to ensure you’re able to create multi-purpose content out of it. You want to choose topics that you’re an expert on, but you don’t want it to be too niche. This may cause a shortage of material and of those actually interested in reading it. Not only that, but it might also be difficult to share that content across multiple mediums and platforms.
You want to find the sweet spot between broad and niche. Ideally, you will find content pieces that can be featured in a number of ways. For example how-to content could be created as:
- A YouTube video
- An infographic
- A blog post
You want to be able to then share these pieces of content across social platforms. Having flexible content ensures that all members of your audience will be able to find something they best relate to and be able to find it in multiple places. This also creates less work for you, as you can successfully reuse and share topics.
Mapping out and choosing the right topics for content marketing takes strategic planning. Learning what content performs best among your audience takes time and experimenting. Continually measure and track your strategy and make changes when necessary. Choosing the right topics is essential to developing and driving an effective coverall content marketing strategy.
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