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Tips for Evaluating Content Marketing Needs

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Every brand should create content that caters to its audience. It sounds simple enough, but many brands struggle to identify their content needs. To help, follow these steps to evaluate content needs and make an actionable plan to cater to your audience and boost content efficacy.

Gather intel

To evaluate content needs, you’ll pull information from multiple sources. Use a spreadsheet or a shared document to keep track of your findings as you work through these data-gathering steps:

  1. Assess content pillars 

To get started, conduct a mini-content audit. Essentially, you’re trying to see what content your brand has created for the last year or two. What are you looking for? Content type. You’re trying to spot imbalances. Is your brand creating too much content on one subject and not enough on others?

On a spreadsheet, list your content categories or pillars. Most brands have 3-5 pillars. Down the left side of your spreadsheet, list the titles of each piece of content, and put a check under the category each piece falls under. 

Go through content created for the last 12-24 months and fill out the spreadsheet. 

Now assess your findings. Do you need to create content for certain pillars? If so, highlight the pillars you need to focus on.

  1. Use your metrics to see what’s working

Your metrics are always a strong source of information and can help you identify your needs. By looking at which pieces of content are meeting your customers’ needs, you can use it to drive your content idea and creation phases.

Go to your metrics to see which pieces of content are doing well. Which metrics should you look at? It depends on your content marketing goal. If you want to collect leads, look for content that pulls in the most names. If you want to drive sales, look for pieces that drive high conversion rates.

On your same spreadsheet, list the top 10-20 titles. 

Now, dig into those pieces of content to identify similarities. What is it about those pieces of content that makes them exceptional? To help identify patterns, look for commonalities in the:

  • Content pillar: Does a certain pillar do better than others?
  • Content title: Are the most popular titles tips-based? Checklists? 
  • Content keywords: What keywords were focused on?
  • Content type: Is it a blog? Podcast? Video?
  • Content length: How long is it? Would you consider it in-depth or not?

Add your findings to your spreadsheet. Jot down the content trends you see, which can help guide your team’s future creation process. 

  1. Ask customers what they want

What better place to source content needs than from your customers? Ask your customers what kind of content they’d like to see. While you can simply ask the question on social media or do a social poll, a short 3-5 question survey might be best. 

To get the most participation, stay away from open-ended questions and instead focus on multiple-choice or sliding-scale questions that are easy to answer. Not only are customers more likely to answer questions like this, but the responses are also easy to quantify. You should see straightforward results that you can use to aid content creation.

Collect the content data from the survey, and again, add it to your spreadsheet. 

  1. Review and assess top-ranked content

What content keywords do you want to rank for? Assess the content holding Google’s top spots in search engine results. Let’s say you want to rank for “Filing business taxes as an LLC in Florida,” run a search and assess the top organic results. 

Use your spreadsheet. List these content titles down the left side and consider adding the following columns:

  • Keywords
  • Top-ranked content title
  • Link
  • Notes

Under “Notes,” you’ll answer these two questions:

  • What makes this piece of content stand out?
  • What’s missing?

Assess your data and make an action plan

Once you’ve gathered intel on your content needs, you can make an action plan.  

As you’ve worked through each step, you’ve likely pulled nuggets of information that you can use, but it’s important to review it all together. Here’s how: 

Brainstorm topic ideas for neglected pillars

After performing a content pillar audit, you likely noticed several pillars that are a bit light. If these pillars still make sense for your brand to pursue, ask your team to generate topic ideas that fit under the pillar and get those into production. 

Outline topics that mimic your best-performing content

You’ve mined your metrics for compelling content and identified commonalities between them. Now, put that information to good use by brainstorming additional topics. Maybe these titles complement your heavy-hitters, or perhaps they’re similar in content type and keyword. Get these pieces into production and onto your content calendar.

Implement customer-suggested content

Review customer feedback and think of ways to implement their ideas. For instance, if your customers crave more video demos, lean into that idea. Brainstorm ideas, identify what you’ll need, and plan when to shoot them. Apply the same logic to your customer requests. 

Leverage findings from top-ranked content

By knowing what’s ranking well for the keywords you want, you can generate new topics ideas, but it’s often easier to update some of your existing content. To help its rankings, you might need to add to a blog, tweak its title, improve formatting, or add supporting images or videos. 

Every brand should evaluate content needs regularly to continue to produce relevant, effective content for customers.

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