Trust. Authority. Influence.
What do these three things have in common? They’re all traits of successful content that establishes brands and content creators as real thought leaders. Every piece of content you publish should seek to achieve this trifecta.
So, how do you create content that truly shows you’re a trustworthy and authoritative source? The answer can be summed up in Real Specific Review. Not the most exciting answer, right? Well, it is if you’re a dedicated content marketing nerdand you’re committed to blowing minds with amazingly in-depth stuff. The kind of stuff that digs deeper than the competition and doesn’t just make bold claims, but backs them up with facts and real data.
The key to successful content research is to put a clear and repeatable process in place. In this post, we’ll cover thirty different ways you out-research and outsmart your competitor’s content marketing with better information.
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to think outside the box.
First Things First: Download Your Content Research Checklist
This post packs in tons of tips to improve your content research skills. To make your entire research process more consistent and more effective, we’ve prepared this comprehensive content research checklist. Put this and the rest of this post together, and you’ve got everything you need to elevate your research game.
Building Your Content Research Tool Box: The Essentials Every Marketer Needs
If you’re doing to do content research right, you’ll need to the right apps, services, and resources at your disposal. Here are some that we recommend (and that will make applying the advice in this post easier).
A leader in the content research tool game, BuzzSumo makes competitive research easy. Enter in a keyword, and it’ll immediately find all the top-shared content for that topic on social media. That saves tons of time doing manual searches, and surfaces stuff you might not have found otherwise.
This free Chrome extension makes it easy to analyze the authoritativeness of your (or another’s) website). It also makes analyzing technical website elements simple, too.
A classic keyword research tool, Ubersuggest gathers Google autocomplete queries for a given seed term. That makes finding tons of related ideas easy.
This Kevin Fahey’s IM Coaching Series 2018 Review is immensely helpful for finding content on your own site. You can also use it to crawl URLs on competitor’s sites, too. We’ll go over this more in a little bit later in this post.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner
It’s less useful for non-paid strategies than it used to be, but no content research tool collection is complete without the Google Keyword Planner.
Finding related topics and keywords is fast and easy with LSI Graph. Enter a term, and it’ll quickly generate tons of related ideas. This is useful for tapping into the power of latent semantic indexing while doing research.
Recommended Reading: Azonity Review
And Now, Your 30 Research Tips for Rock Star Content
We’re finally ready for what you came here for. No less than thirty actionable pieces of advice to help you do better research now.
1 ) Start With a Google Search
The first tip is also the simplest one. Google is probably the first place you’ll go when doing research for a new piece of content, right? Probably, but let’s look at some ways to make search engines work harder for you.
- Skim all top ten results for your content’s topic. This will give you an idea of what you need to do to outrank them. It’s what Brian Dean calls “the Skyscraper technique,” which you may have heard about before.
- Look for the existence of paid search ads. If a search query generates ads, you know there’s some commercial intent behind the keyword or topic you’re searching.
- Check autocomplete suggestions. This can be a great way to find long tail keywordsand related topics around your target subject.
2 ) Use Buzzsumo
What are people sharing on social media the most? That’s the question Buzzsumo was built to answer. This freemium tool lets you type in a keyword and surface top-shared content in moments.
Start by entering a topic or term:
Then, browse through the most-shared results on social media:
3 ) Try Wolfram Alpha
Wolfram Alpha is like an educational search engine on steroids. The computational search engine has a “long-term goal to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and searchable to everyone.” In plain English, that means it has a lot of cool functionality to help you crunch data and facts to gather the knowledge you need to support deeply-research content.
Okay, so maybe that wasn’t quite plain English. This video can help explain a bit better:
4 ) Search Hashtags on Twitter With Hashtagify.me
If you’re looking to surface timely content ideas, search for relevant hashtags on Twitter. The things people are sharing right now in real time can give you insight into what people might want to read from you. Fortunately, this is also easy to do with Hashtagify.me.
Enter a search term, and you’ll immediately find:
- Related hashtags. What other topics are related to your core term?
- Top influencers. Who is using those hashtags?
- Usage Patterns. How are hashtags trending over time?
All useful stuff to know when you’re researching your next content piece.
5 ) Subscribe to Industry Print Publications
Contrary to what some may say, print isn’t dead. In fact, odds are there are some successful print publications out there in your industry or niche, too. Look them up, subscribe, and absorb all that valuable industry knowledge.
6 ) Run a Quick Twitter Poll
Twitter polls are an easy way to get fast feedback on an idea.
Start by creating a new tweet. Then, find the Create Poll button:
Then, add your tweet copy and poll questions:
By default, you’ll see two question blanks. However, you can add up to two more:
Lastly, adjust the length of your poll (from one day to a full week):
Click “Tweet” and then watch the responses come in. That’s all there is to it. In a matter of minutes, you can gather at least a small amount of data from your followers to help inform your content.
7 ) Or Run a Deeper Survey
Here are some important things to note when running a survey:
- Think about what you want to find out from your recipients.
- Ask enough questions to get the information you need (but not so many people don’t finish it).
8 ) Look at Related Searches to See What People Are Searching For
Ever notice those “Related Searches” suggestions at the bottom of Google SERPs? You can use those to figure out valuable details about what your audience is looking for.
Here’s an example:
From this search, I can figure out what else someone interested in content marketing might be looking for (assuming my content I’ll be creating is going to be about content marketing). That includes:
- Additional downloadable resources they might want in that post. See the “content marketing PDF” result? I’m not exactly sure what that might look like yet, but I can certainly click through, find out, and create that PDF for my audience.
- What is the intent behind the search? It looks as though people could be researching the industry because they’re looking for a job. Or, maybe they need help with their marketing, and need an agency (or tips on doing the strategy pieces themselves).
- Sometimes, related searches can help you determine which subtopics your content could cover. If your primary keyword is your main topic, which secondary keywords should you be working in? Consider using related searches as a starting point.
These are all data points I can use to determine which type of content I should really be creating, depending on my audience’s needs and my overall marketing goals.
9 ) Gather Autocomplete Suggestions Quickly With Ubersuggest
Autocomplete suggestions are great because they’re based on things people have actually searched for. Ubersuggest is an awesome free keyword tool that surfaces autocomplete suggestions based on a seed keyword.
Enter your search term:
Then, get potentially hundreds of related topics:
This can help you:
- Find even better topics than the one you were originally targeting.
- Figure out more subtopics and points to include in your content.
- Give you even more ideas for more content you might not have thought of otherwise.
10 ) Steal Competitor Keywords With Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a freemium website crawler that’s awesome for doing SEO audits and other technical work. It’s also useful for finding your competition’s targeted keywords.
Download Screaming Frog for free:
Then, enter a competitor’s website URL and click Start:
Next, you’ll see a report listing tons of URLs from the website you’ve crawled. Look through these and pay attention to the URL slugs:
Typically, scanning a website’s URLs can you the topics and keywords that site is targeting. That can give you tons of ideas for:
- Topics related to your own content.
- Keywords to incorporate into that content.
- Other topics you can create content around in the future.
To quickly find possible relevant competitor keywords, do a CTRL-F search for your planned content’s topic or keyword. That can help surface tons of related content to help with your competitive research.