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.
Magnetic 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 magnetic 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 makes all the difference
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.
Revive a beaten topic and make it feel new
According to WorldWidewebSize, 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.
Tips to find topics that resonate with readers
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:
- Browse online newspapers and magazines like BBC, CNN and the New York Times. These news media outlets are “public opinion makers” that are updated daily. Browsing through them can give you a clear indication of trending topics on everybody’s lips that you can hop onto and write about.
- Read top blogs in your niche. Blogs updated regularly can help you keep abreast of what other writers and influencers are writing about. Reading comment sections of these (and your own blog if you have one) can also reveal golden nuggets of information you can pick as topics to write on.
- Analyze the questions people are asking on question-and-answer websites like Ask.com, Yahoo answers and Quora. You are bound to find some great ideas here.
- Join social networks. Groups on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are a gold mine for information on what people are discussing and sharing online.
- Use Google Alerts. Google Alerts can give you daily alerts on lists of recently published articles and blog posts related to topics of your choice. Set your Alert type to “Everything” to get all alerts from Google’s Web, news and blog searches.
Find relevant keywords people are searching
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 tell, creating web content is not only about getting visitors to your content, but also getting the right kind of visitors who convert well.
Identify high-yeilding and profitable keywords
Identifying the most high-yeilding and profitable keywords that bring the right kind of visitors who convert well 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.
A good paid keyword tool is HubSpot's Keyword Tool. Free keyword research tools include keyword discovery tool, wordtracker and Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Google AdWords Keyword Tool is the standard tool used by many content creators, SEO professionals and webmasters.
The Google AdWords tool is free and you get full access once you register for an account. Use it to find hot topics to write about, but before that it's best to define what a profitable, high-yeilding keyword is. A profitable keyword with high prospects of yeilding great results is generally a word or phrase that:
- Is relevant to the content within the page it describes (i.e. relates to your business or website)
- Has a good search volume (at least 100,000 monthly searches for general topics)
- Has low competition (more than 1500 exact match searches, but less than 8000 searches)
- Is between two to four words in length (e.g. ‘boat registration’ or ‘article headline hacks’)
- Is a popular term (e.g. ‘tv’ is a better search phrase than ‘television’)
- Is not too broad or generic like ‘bank account’ or ‘marketing job’
- Is not too specific either (e.g. Godaddy coupon code for May 12, 2013)
- Does not have many two or three letter words (e.g. ‘my’ and ‘ex’)
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.
Steps to find profitable keywords using Google AdWords Keyword Tool
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!
Watch Gladwell’s video showing how to do good keyword research here.
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.