Making content that people actually care about

Content is a digital marketing buzzword, popular for the last couple of years. It’s an inbound-marketing tactic that attracts people to your brand because they’re interested in what you have to say. This acts as a gentle introduction to your services, positions your brand as helpful, and sows the seed for future purchases.

content marketingThe key to great content marketing is in deciding what topics work best. The content needs to be issues prospective customers already care about, and that are relevant to the brand.

Fortunately there are some great ways you can work out what those topics might be.

  1. Make a list of websites in your niche

You don’t need to be original – editorial websites in your niche have teams of bright people trying to work out how to interest the audience.

Be inspired by the articles they post. Keep up to date with their latest articles using an RSS reader. Read their social feeds to find out what they’re talking about.

If you see them regularly using hashtags then search Twitter using them, and find out what topics people are sharing. Can you produce something on a similar theme?

  1. Use Quora to find out what questions people are asking

On people ask questions on any topic, and have them answered by experts. The answers get rated for popularity by the community.

By searching with a keyword for your niche – ‘plumbing’ for example, if you’re a plumber – you can find out the most popular questions asked. You also get to find out the best answers.

If you know what questions your audience is asking, you know what answers your content should include.

  1. Ask questions of your community on Facebook

If your business is already active on Facebook, or if you personally take part in a relevant community, a great way to come up with interesting topics is to ask a question.

The answers you get often deliver great content ideas to build from.

Once you’ve produced the content, it’s a good idea to reference the person who submitted the answer that inspired you. They’ll most likely be delighted to see their name in print and will share it with their network.

  1. Use Google Consumer Surveys

This fantastic tool allows you to ask online survey questions of a random sample of UK Internet users. People answer in order to get access to premium content.

There’s lots of question styles to choose from. It costs just $10 per response, so with $100 your survey results are robust enough to be quoted in the press.

Surveys take just a few minutes to set up and a couple of days to run. The results can form the basis of a blog post or press release. The survey data is presented in compelling graphs and tables, a captivating addition to any content.

  1. Try Buzzsumo

If want to know the most popular content on any topic, Buzzsumo can tell you. Popularity is judged by the number of times the content has been shared on social media.

Using a keyword relevant to what you do, you can instantly see what people like reading about. Perfect inspiration for your content marketing.

  1. Try Social Crawlytics

How good are your competitor’s content marketing efforts? What is working for them?

To find out, just plug their website address into Social Crawlytics for an almost instant view on their most shared content.

If know what was popular for them, you’ll get a clearer idea on what might work for you.

That’s it for now

By knowing what questions your prospects ask, and by posing a few of your own, you can quickly gain ideas about what content you should be producing.

And by understanding what content is already popular within your niche, you can quickly decide what might work for you.

Thanks to some fantastic free and low cost tools, the keys to great content marketing are in your hands. What are you waiting for? Get started today.

Nick Leech is group director, digital, at leading domain name provider 123 Reg, who will be one of the experts giving advice at Dot London’s free Digital Marketing Drop-in Clinic for Start-ups & Small Businesses, 2pm – 5pm Wednesday 22nd June at The Trampery, during London Technology Week. Register for the event on