How long have you been writing and publishing content for the Web? If you have been writing regularly for some time, you know how important producing web content is when it comes to marketing and succeeding online. It can make or break your business and career online. Whether you write blog posts, articles, sales copy or press releases, it is absolutely important that you create value-rich content that strikes a chord with your readers continuously to remain relevant and profitable.
Content that strikes a chord with your readers speaks directly to them and resonates with what they want. It hooks readers in your copy and arouses a vital “in tune” feeling. Clients nod in agreement with what you say and prospects come into consonance with your message. This builds loyalty and passion for your ideas, products and services.
But, how do you create web content that resonates with readers? More importantly, are you creating content that strikes a chord with your readers? Keep in mind people visit websites for three main reasons: commerce, entertainment and/or information.
Content research is key when it comes to creating content that strikes a chord with readers and resonates with what they want. It is essentially a research undertaking that examines available content topics, angles and ideas within a niche or field of specialty to figure out what prospects really want. Content research helps you understand the demand and supply of content in your niche. It makes it easier for you to put together a successful web document because you discover what piques your readers’ interest and makes your prospects tick.
It doesn’t matter if a topic you discover through content research has been covered a thousand times before, if the topic resonates with your readers you can still use it. Simply choose a different angle for the topic, weave in your own unique voice, perspective and personality to breathe new life in to the topic and make it feel like a brand new idea. Reviving a beaten topic can only be possible if you have done your research well and fully understand the interests, needs and frustrations that keep your readers up at night.
According to worldwidewebsize.com, there are 14.29 billion individual documents indexed on the Web as of 8 May, 2013. Michelle Manafy, former editor-in-chief of EContent Magazine, says something interesting about finding data among all this information available online. She says:
"When you really need to know, quantity without quality just won't do…. And, if you are a researcher, the seemingly endless resources of the Web seem swell until you actually have to pull a needle of data out of a haystack of results.”
Yes, data on the web is swell. But, you should not be intimidated or overwhelmed by the sheer number of documents published on the Web, as some new writers often are. Research and identify general topics that interest your audience using search engines, social media, blogs, forums and Internet tools.
Write high-value content that resonates to go with the topics and your content might well be the needle of data in a haystack of web results that more than 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide seek.
Researching general topics that your target audience finds most interesting need not be complex or frustrating. There are relatively easy ways to find out what topics your target audience is talking about already and actively searching for online. Here are five ways:
Once you know the general topics that your target audience is interested in, research keywords related to the topics. This is perhaps the single most important and effective way to find specific topic ideas that are both relevant to your target audience and your industry and business.
A keyword is any word or short phrase that an Internet user types in a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo! when they are looking for specific information, products or services online. For example, maybe you have created a sales web page where you are selling toasters online. Mary’s toaster broke a while back and now she is looking for a new one online.
Mary turns to Google and types into the search box four slice toasters.’Your web page shows at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for the keyword phrase 'four slice toasters.' ’Mary clicks on your link and is taken to your web page. Note that Mary is more likely to visit your web page/site over another web page/site that is ranked lower for the same keywords.
The importance of researching and zeroing in on the right keywords to help your target audience find your content online cannot be overstated. Keyword research tells you what people are searching for online and the number of times respective words or phrases are searched for.
It reveals to you the actual language people are using when searching for particular topics, products or services that you offer. This information helps you gain insight on how you can optimize your articles to drive more targeted traffic to your content and convert the traffic into buyers or subscribers.
Essentially, keyword research is market research. It empowers you to have more impact and make more conversions with your content. If Mary lands on your web page and buys a toaster from you, then the keyword phrase she entered in the search engine converts. As you can see, creating web content is not just about getting visitors to your content, but about getting the right kind of visitors who convert well.
Keyword research is not as difficult as you might think. There are many easy-to-use, free and paid keyword tools you can use to identify viable keywords to pursue.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool is the standard tool used by many content creators, SEO professionals and webmasters. The Google tool is free and you get full access once you register for an account.
Before we look at how to use Google’s keyword tool to find good keywords to target, let’s first understand what a good keyword is. A good keyword is generally a word or phrase that:
All these criteria may or may not always come together. If they do come together, then you have just identified a really good keyword that you can quickly and easily rank well for in SERPs.
Let’s say you want to write an article on the general topic of ‘weight loss.’ You want to know possible sub-topics within the broad ‘weight loss’ niche that people are actively searching for so you can write a stellar article that strikes a chord with your readers.
Here's an overview of steps James Gladwell uses to identify profitable keywords in competitive niches like ‘weight loss’ using the Google Adwords keyword tool:
1) Go to the Google Keyword Tool here: https://adwords.google.com/select/Key...
2) Type in your main 'seed' keyword (this is the area you want to go into and a keyword or phrase that you think people in your market are searching for).
3) Set your search parameters using the Advanced Options that appear under the main search box. Set them to search for key phrases that get a minimum of 1500 and a maximum of around 8000 (for beginners).
4) Click Search!
5) Refine the search by checking the 'Phrase' match results rather than the 'Broad' or 'Exact' match.
6) Start to look at the amount of competition that there is within Google by copying the keyword phrase with the "" marks and searching it in Google.
7) Look for a keyword that has between 10,000 and 35,000 search engine results among other competing web pages as a keyword match. Once you've found one, you're good to go!
Tip: It’s always a good idea to make a list of 10 keywords that are crucial to writing your article effectively and engagingly. Include most or all of these words in the first few sentences of your article for best results. Now go write relevant articles that resonate with your readers to go along with the keywords.
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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