No matter what industry your company is in, or if you sell a product or if you sell specific services, having company content is key to growing brand visibility online.
It’s not the only key to being seen online, but also helps attract the right prospects back to your company website.
Yet, content is not as simple as just publishing something and then a ton of leads will come piling in.
In fact, being the most effective at your efforts requires your organization to focus heavily on content research. This most likely falls into the marketing departments laps, but sales teams should also have a part in helping with the content research process.
In this post, we’ll cover what content research exactly means, why it matters for your business and some steps on how you can approach content research effectively.
What is Content Research?
Although content is both important for B2C and B2B, understanding the value of strong content plays a bigger role in B2B.
This content your company produces not only helps build organic traffic through search engines but if you are becoming a social business you’ll now have endless amounts of great content to share on social media that attracts your intended buyers.
So what is content research? The concept is simply analyzing content online and developing a unique strategy based on those conclusions that will benefit your company’s long-term growth and help with brand visibility.
Content research can also mean a combo of things like looking at top posts that rank in search engines, content that has a lot of social shares and engagement, what others in your particular industry are writing, discussing or sharing, etc.
Why Content Research Matters for Your Business
Most, if not all of us, have heard the cliche phrase that “Content is king.”
However, content is only king if you put in the work to know how it can benefit your business and take the time to develop a strategy. Without proper research and analyzing, your company content will quickly become the jester.
Some quick content marketing statistics:
- The average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision, according to Forrester.
- 74% of companies indicate content marketing is increasing their marketing teams’ lead quality and quantity via Curata.
- 95% of B2B buyers consider content as trustworthy when evaluating a company and its offerings, per DemandGen.
- 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage: website, social media, mobile, in person. Content can feed all those channels via Salesforce.
Hopefully, you’re getting a better picture in your head as to why content research matters for your business. However, let’s dive into some additional reasons it matters.
Helps you learn what content works best for your target audience
Without content research, how would you know if your company is generating the right content to attract your target audience? Content is key to getting people that would buy your product or services to your company site, but if your company does not write towards that audience, you may have traffic that is worthless.
Helps you shape your company’s own content marketing
Not everyone is a content marketing expert and it’s not always easy to discover what exactly will attract your target audience. But by diligently researching what your competitors and people in your industry are sharing or talking about, you can start to shape your own company content marketing.
Helps your company be seen as a go-to source
Content research not only helps your company improve content marketing, but identify great third-party resources your target audiences like as well. Now, you have an arsenal of your own great company content and outside content that shows you are the go-to source. Your company will be seen as a leader and the go-to brand for information.
Ensures you have the right content for the entire buyer’s journey
Prospects have different content needs for various stages of their buyer’s journey, without content research you can miss out on what those needs exactly are. Maybe you have to much content in the awareness stage, but nothing that would really help sales close the deal.
Long-term growth of your brand, web traffic, and leads
With effective content research, you are helping your ensure your company’s brand visibility, web traffic, and leads grow in the long run. You may see some immediate results too, but this is a long-game approach.
Can help your content gain huge visibility on social media
When you have quality content that resonates with audiences, your social sharing can exponentially grow. This helps your company connect with new audiences, thus growing your brand visibility. This is especially helpful if you encourage employees to share content on social media. (You should be).
How To Do Content Research
How your company approaches the content research process can make all the difference in the results your content marketing will have. It may seem somewhat easy, but there are a few steps to keep in mind if you want to be effective.
Know who your target audience is
I’ve mentioned this earlier in the post, but it is still the first step you need to do before beginning content research. Marketing and sales teams should work together to start building out their company buyer persona and map out the buying cycle.
Doing this can paint a clear picture of your audience, who they are, what their challenges are, and how you can tailor your services, product, and content to them. Without this, you are blindly spending time creating content that may not attract the right people.
Analyze what your target audience shares and engages with on social
Once you know who your target audience is, it is important to analyze what content they are sharing and engaging with on social media. While you may generate some great content ideas just off the buyer personas, this can fuel even more ideas.
It also helps you see what third-party sources they are sharing, which can help your company build a content library of good resources to use.
See what competitors and others in your industry might be writing about
Just like analyzing your target audience and what they are sharing online, you want to watch what your competitors and other industry folks are writing about. While you don’t want to plagiarize or copy their exact strategies, it can give you valuable insight into your own company content strategy.
The best way to find this info besides social listening on social media platforms is to use Buzzsumo: what content performs best for any topic or competitor. This tool will show the top posts and how many social shares they had for a given article.
Research around questions and keywords in your industry
If you want to get some quick and good into sight on your industry and to generate content ideas, your company will need to research around questions and keywords.
- Google Search Terms: The easiest one to do is start with topics and keywords that are related to your industry and enter them in the Google search bar. As you type, you’ll notice suggested searches from Google and after you hit enter, at the bottom are other similar searches.
- Google Trends: This free service shows you trends in search activity all over the world. With access to maps, charts, and other tools.
- Quora: You can search for terms and general topics then see what questions people are asking. This can help your company come up with content to write about and you’ll find other terms or phrases that might be relevant to your industry.
- Other search engines: Don’t forget places like Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc. You might find different answers and suggestions as well.
Make sure marketing and sales team continues working together
Even after your marketing and sales team worked together on identifying the buyer personas and buying journey, communication needs to continue for content success.
New challenges and questions may arise during sales calls, which can be valuable to the content research process. Plus, it may unveil content gaps that could make a positive difference in closing deals. Marketing and sales teams need to constantly be in sync with each other.
Content audit of current company content
Look at the current company content and start asking questions.
What’s missing in the current content compared to your research? Do we have too many similar articles (content topic exhaustion)? What can we update to be better? What content has served no purpose? What is needed based on our findings?
Content audits of your company can be challenging but is a necessary aspect if you are taking content marketing and content sharing seriously. If you need more info or help about performing a content audit, check out this article.
After reading this blog post, you should come away with a better understanding of content research and why it is important for your company. It may seem like it is not as important compared to other tasks at first, but great content that connects with your audience can make all the difference in brand visibility, web traffic, lead pipeline, and revenue.
Looking for more content-related articles? Here are a few others to check out:
- 7 Types of Content B2B Salespeople Should Be Sharing to Their Social Networks
- Are Your Company’s Employees Not Sharing Content On Social Media? Here Are 8 Reasons Why
- 9 Ways to Build Thought Leadership by Sharing Third-Party Content