The key to boosting organic traffic — produce content people search for. Here’s how to focus content creation so that it answers your audience’s questions.

Great content must be a lot of things — it must be informative, relevant, helpful and, of course, entertaining. Great content is optimised for search engines and filled to the brim with value-driven, long-form works of content art. But, if you want to drizzle some of that icing on the cake and entice more traffic than your competitors, your content needs to focus on something else as well — the terms and concepts that people are actually searching for!

The best way to build traffic and, in the process, build awareness for your brand is by creating content that provides direct solutions to peoples’ problems. That way, searchers will come away from your content feeling fulfilled, like their busy lives have been made just that little bit easier. And, they are more likely to subscribe to your newsletter or become a lead for your business in some other way.

So, what steps can you take to better understand what they truly are looking for — today?

Because what search trends worked four months ago, or last summer, or last week may not be what is relevant for your industry right now.

Figure out what search phrases your buyer personas are plugging into Google’s search box and what questions they are asking Siri — this will show you the way to deliver answers to your audience.

Here are the techniques that will get you started when creating audience-centric content that drives solutions to problems, answers to questions, and insight that your buyers can’t live without.

Look Up Their Questions Directly

Want to know what searchers are asking?

You can see for yourself on sites like Quora. This ingenious platform — described as “the modern-day equivalent of the Library of Alexandria,” by Ari Shahdadi (a New York lawyer who works with start-ups) has posed itself as the answer to everything by bringing together the combined wisdom of the global hive mind. People ask questions and others answer them. Users then vote on these answers and only the most relevant, helpful and thoroughly researched responses stay on the site. It couldn’t be simpler.

Tapping into this resource is pretty straightforward too. You can look up what questions are being asked in your industry and in related industries, and then create content that directly addresses these issues. Quora is an excellent source for content inspiration as it really helps to put you in the shoes of your buyers. It’s like a direct window into the psyche of the consumer, which, as you’ll notice, is filled, with an infinite number of questions that need answers!

How do you find popular questions?

Just ask Quora!

Image Source: Quora

Up Your Keyword Research With Ahrefs

You can put yourself ahead of your competitors by using a premium keyword research tool like Keywords Explorer 2.0.

What’s the difference between this and Google’s trusty Keyword Planner?

Well, more data, for starters, which equals better accuracy. Ahrefs has about 3.1 billion keywords in its database, which is refreshed every month. It also incorporates clickstream data so you’ll get an idea of which search terms are clicked and what percentage of searches for keywords result in clicks.

Image Source:Ahrefs

Ask the Seeker

With Answer The Public on your side, your world as a content producer is about to get so much easier. Type in your keyword and this gem of a site will display the leading questions in an elegant graphic.

Take for example, the search term ‘drinking chocolate.’ Look at the wealth of information you’d receive to help you develop riveting content for your chocolate brand.
Image Source: Answer The Public

It also lists each search query in a more structured format if that is easier for you to scan. You can click on each and see what comes up in the search results. This makes the resource doubly useful for marketers as you can see which sites are ranking well for a specific search query.

Check Your Top Performers

Knowing what is truly relevant may not require looking much further than your own webmaster dashboard. Use this resource and use it wisely, tracking your own posts and understanding which ones are excelling.

What are your top performers?
Why are they doing well?
What keywords are your visitors searching for?
Does this data change over time or does it stay relatively the same?

Kissmetrics demonstrates how to quickly and easily recognise your top performing pages in Google Analytics. Simply look under the ‘Content ’ menu and then select ‘Pages ’ under ‘Site Content.’

You can then build more content based on your top performing pieces. You can add content that goes into detail in an area you have already covered more generally, or in some way adds to your cornerstone pieces. Remember to give your audience more of what they want, but also to keep it unique, fresh and singularly useful. Don’t fall into the trap of churning out the same thing again and again.

Ask Your Sales Staff

Some of the best insights into search terms come from the people who are interacting with your customers directly — your sales team. Find out what questions people have been asking them and work these into your content.

Do they want to know different ways your business’ product can be used, how long it will last or how to best maintain it?
Are they trying to discover how they can get more value out of your services or are the looking for information about industries related to yours?

With this information, you can go back and create content that will directly answer those questions and concerns.

Brainstorm with Your Team

Having short, inspired brainstorming meetings with your staff every day can drive a plethora of excellent ideas your way; ideas which can then be harnessed within your content marketing strategies.

The Content Marketing Institute brought together a panel of experts to offer tips on making marketing meetings productive:

  • Make sure to develop a focussed agenda beforehand and make sure everyone understands what you are trying to achieve. You can bring up the data and insights you get from the previously mentioned techniques, such as insights from your sales departments and search data, to inspire and direct each meeting.
  • Brief your team on the topics so everyone knows what to expect and can come prepared. Each meeting should ask directly, “What does our audience want to learn today?” You can even extend e the discussion in Google Docs before and after each meeting.
  • Keep your brand’s audience in focus — these meetings shouldn’t be bogged down in office politics or internal issues.

Find Your Unique Spin

Want to make your content more searchable?

Give it personality.

What stylistic touches and unique offerings can you use in your content marketing that will make your brand stand out?

To find what makes your messaging unique, look to your brand’s story.

For example, if your company sells kids’ educational products to support parents who want to help their children learn, then your content could include regular giveaways, print-outs and activity sheets for parents to download, and your tone should be personable and proactive to reflect this.

If your business sells clothing for the practical, fashionable woman, videos of models wearing your product line would be a great content choice that would speak directly to your audience as they search for ‘flattering fall dresses’ or ‘stylish flats for work.’

It’s all about first identifying how you can answer questions or provide solutions, then developing your brand’s unique way of providing these answers in an engaging, relevant way.

Use Google Search Console

Google’s Search Console provides an excellent resource, giving you valuable insight into your searchers, and even into the efficacy of your own keyword strategies.

For example, if you find that a user has stumbled onto your site via a keyword you hadn’t considered, take this on board and rectify the situation! Make sure your site is verified in Google Search Console so you can take advantage of this free resource and use it to come up with great ideas for your content.

Every time you create a piece of content that improves the lives of your audience, you are excelling.

Want to find out more about how to do things right? You can download our free guide right here: What Most Content Marketing Agencies Get Wrong.
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