If there's one thing every website wants it's more readers. The more visitors we attract, the more sales opportunities created. And of course we also want to see our mailing lists grow!
But building an audience that trusts your content is incredibly hard.
It begins by choosing topics that impact your readers. If you write about stuff that teaches and adds value then you'll have no shortage of visitors. And your business will thrive.
Ditch The Ego
As site owners it's tempting to discuss the topics that are closest to our own hearts. If we're going to write, why not dig into topics that are meaningful to us, right?
This makes sense when our interests intersect with those of our reader. But what if our reader has different interests? How do you know what THEY want to read?
Instead of picking topics that interest you, consider a data-centric approach to topic discovery. This way you'll KNOW your content is interesting and relevant.
And you'll be writing about topics that have a high chance of discovery a large number of people.
Most importantly, you'll be adding value by solving real problems for your audience. When someone searches online for information they are usually trying to solve a problem. Using the methods below you'll be able to help more people solve their problems.
Crack the Hardest Nut
The Hard Nut approach is a simple way to find the most common topics in your niche. When you solve someone's problems you immediately become an authority in your field.
Here's how it works:
Start by adding LinkClump to your Chrome browser extension. Go into the setting and change the default settings so you download text in a URL, not the url information.
Next, go to Quora and enter in your main topic to search for questions.
Using LinkClump scrape all the text in the questions. It only takes a few moments and you can paste the questions into a text document.
Repeat that process a few more times. Use related keywords in your industry until you find all the questions being asked.
Finally, sort the questions by category. In most niches you'll find that questions of a similar nature come up again and again. By grouping them together you'll get an idea of how often similar questions are being asked.
Once you know the top questions in your industry, prepare some detailed answers. Make your content stand apart from everything else by writing deep content that solves the query conclusively.
To streamline this process, visit: https://answerthepublic.com/
One of the easiest ways to uncover areas of strong topical interest is to look at what content is being shared.
Shared content means high levels of engagement and interest. Consider doing something similar.
Social research is especially effective when you look at WHY the content is being shared. Is the content helpful? Or is the publisher just large and well known?
Try to determine the underlying reasons the topic received social attention. You may be able to replicate that success to some degree.
Finding how content in your niche performs on social networks is straight forward. There are several tools that can help, but the best known is BuzzSumo.
BuzzSumo is incredibly easy to use.
Enter the topic you'd like to dig into and the tool will show you the most popular content on the web by social shares.
Be sure to sort the results by the social networks that are most applicable to your target audience. If your content isn't visual then seeing the best results on Pinterest won't be very helpful.
The paid version of the tool offers a lot of extra utility.
For example, you can identify influencers in your industry. But for topic research the free version is quite effective for finding what content gets traction.
Popular By Backlinks
Backlinks are the hyperlinks in an article that take you from one page (or site) to another. They are used to recommend, or as a citation.
For example, if you share an article on Facebook you'd include a link so friends can find it easily.
Google uses backlinks as part of its algorithm to determine where to rank websites. If someone goes to the trouble of linking from their site to another, then it's worth noting.
It's sometimes described as a “vote” of confidence in favor of the site receiving the link.
The same principle that Google uses in its algorithm applies to your blog, too. If some content is so interesting that site owners want to share it on their sites, then you should know about it, too.
Finding heavily linked content in your niche is manageable.
There are several tools that can you get the link profile for any site. Most of these tools have a free trials or limited free membership. One of the most popular tools is Ahrefs.
Using the “Best By Links” feature you can enter your competitors sites into the tool and see which of their pages are attracting the most backlinks. When you find pages that have gotten lots of links figure why it is so appealing.
Did they publish unique research? Is a difficult topic covered in lots of detail? Is the topic exceptionally interesting? Whatever the reason, it's worth considering something similar for your own site.
It's a bit old fashioned, but an easy way to know what your readers want to read is to just ask them.
If you have an email list then whip up an online survey form with Google surveys. Pick some options for them to consider. And ask them to contribute some ideas you haven't considered.
If your email list isn't large enough to justify an email blast then try a Facebook or Linkedin group. People aren't usually shy on social channels and you may get more feedback than you were expecting.
The better you target your content to your audience, the more visitors and engagement you'll generate.
For most businesses this translates directly into increased earnings. Use the widely available tools above to find topics that are of interest to your readers.
You can do this by looking at the types of questions they ask. Or you can look at they way your target audience shares content on social and their websites.