3 Easy Steps To Content Marketing Research

In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King”.

Bill Gates

The article was published on the Microsoft website.

He begins by saying:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”
— Bill Gates

Over two decades later… Content Is Still King!

And, since content is indeed king… then… content marketing research is critical to the success of any blog or website.

The fact is, it seems like… these days… everyone is going out of their way to stuff their website with as much content as humanly possible. For good reason.

Google (the number one search engine in the world) actively seeks and gives priority to websites featuring high-quality content.

Google even provides content quality guidelines here that will help the search engine “find, index, and rank your site.”

You know, I wonder if “content-stuffing” is a term we will all be familiar with in the not-too-distant-future.

Will that ever happen?

Who knows?

What I do know is this: Right now, website owners are scrambling to…

Create content at a blistering pace.

InternetLiveStats.com is an international organization that makes statistics available in a dynamic and time-relevant format.

The folks behind this website (developers, researchers and analysts) determined that 1,266,652,487 (that’s one-billion, two hundred sixty-six million, six hundred fifty-two thousand, four hundred eighty-seven) websites exist online.

And over 4.59-billion web pages litter the World Wide Web.

Billions more web pages will appear on the net in the future… especially since… content marketing agencies keep popping up out of the woodwork.

A simple Google search reveals 29,500,000 results for the keyword “content marketing agency.”

These companies promise to help create content for your site. 

The problem is a lot of the content online (like most of it) is dry and boring.

Why is that the case?

Two reasons. First, the writing is vapid and lacks passion. The second reason is most blog and website owners lack a solid content marketing research process.

Without one, you won’t have the type of information readers can’t get enough of.

Don’t worry!

In this post, I’m going to give you…

Three easy steps to content marketing research.

But first, I must digress…

glamourThis morning, while sipping a cup of piping hot coffee (I like mine black with a packet of Equal)… for some inexplicable reason… I found myself looking at the cover of a Glamour magazine.

Glamour, in case you didn’t know, is one of America’s first pop-culture/fashion/beauty magazines.

It was first published in April of 1939.

Today, the publication has become a sensation reaching…

  • One out of every eight American women!
  • 9.7-million print readers worldwide!
  • More than 11-million unique monthly users online!
  • And over 14-million followers across social media platforms!

In any case, one of the little cover “blurbs” that caught my fleeting attention said…

The Sex Toy Awards
Our reviewers pick their favorites.
(This was a fun assignment!)

I bet it was.

So I figured it would be a fun read… and… I’m happy to report… I was right!

According to the article, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) allows you to “bring your sex toy on a plane.” Hmn? I always wondered why some of the female stewardesses looked so happy.

The article went on to say that the Satisfyer Pro Penguin (which retails above $70… and… sells at adameve.com) is so discreet-looking it could “pass as a little pore cleanser.” I guess that’s one way to get your “jollies” past TSA agents…

Without raising any eyebrows.

You know, I just had an idea.

Maybe TSA agents ought to slip one of these puppies into every woman’s hand as she passes the security checkpoint.

This way, she’ll be busy doing something… other than… blathering into her boyfriend’s or husband’s ear about the laundry (or some other inane topic)… while he is trying to do something important like… watch the football game on his Internet-enabled device. 

Just a thought. 

Now, you would figure (and you would be wrong) that a guy like me would have no interest in this kind of stuff. But the content… and the writing… was so compelling I…

Couldn’t put the article down.

I felt forced to read about the “magic wand” — an iconic sex toy that, the article claims, has been “getting people off since the 1960’s”… when… it was first advertised as… a back massager.

I read about the “pocket rocket”… the “crescendo”… the “transformer”… and… the “rabbit habit.” Love that name!

Who knew so many gadgets exist for women who want a little more pleasure in their lives?

I certainly didn’t… and I never would have… if it wasn’t for the compelling content of this article.

Not only that but entire websites exist for the sole purpose of selling these naughty sex toys that promise women they’ll have… “a party in your panties!”

Oh my! What woman doesn’t want… that?

womanYou know what else?

The names of these websites are just as sizzling and erotic as what they sell.

There’s us.funfactory.com… pleasurechest.com… njoytoys.com… mysteryvibe.com… and also… goodvibes.com.

Goodvibes.com selection of “how to” videos looks rather interesting.

Hey, don’t judge! I couldn’t help myself. I had to look.

Okay, let’s stop here.

If you’ve read this far, I know two things about you: (1) I won’t even say what the first thing is… and… (2) The content, up to this point, has kept your attention wrapped. 

That, dear reader, is one of the big secrets to keeping your blog and website visitors interested.

You must provide well-written content that is so compelling and interesting people just can’t help themselves but to read on.

As far as writing eye-grabbing, riveting content, we’ll get to that in another blog post.

For the remainder of this post, I’ll explain a content marketing research process… that… allows you to gather the ammunition necessary to write blog posts and website articles no one in their right mind can help but read.

Here we go…

Content marketing research step one…

Let me first make this assumption: You are not going to advertise your content. Instead, you plan on having your content appear in the search engines. 

If that’s the case, then the first step to content marketing research is to find out what people are searching for online.

Look, like it or not, you must write about what people want to read.

You see, it makes no sense to create content that, although it might be interesting, no one ever sees.

I know of at least one business owner who writes some of the best content you’ll ever read about email marketing.

But, when I searched for specific keywords that match his content on Google, guess what?

His website did not rank for any of those relevant keywords. 

Now, in his case, maybe that doesn’t matter because he advertises to reach his ideal prospects. 

However, that approach still doesn’t make much sense to me. 

google keyword plannerWhy not create content around your best keywords that can rank in the search engines… and… if you so choose… also advertise that content?

Anyway, one way to find out what people are interested in is to look at which search terms are most popular in your market or niche. 

Here are three ways to figure that out:

Google Keyword Planner.

Here’s what it says on Google’s website about this tool…

“With Keyword Planner, you can find new keyword ideas for your Search Network campaigns that are relevant to your product, service, and target customers. Keyword Planner will show you historical statistics such as search volume data for these keywords so you can decide whether to add them to your campaigns.”

Google Trends.

This tool lets you…

Compare traffic for sets of keywords. 

You can see how the interest in a particular keyword fluctuates over time. 

For example, the keyword phrase “content marketing research” had a ton of searches back in 2004. 

By 2008, interest in this phrase started to wane. 

Searches began to snake sideways until about 2015… when… all of a sudden… people had a renewed interest in content marketing.

Now, this term is trending upward. 

In any case, before creating a single piece of content, it just plain makes sense to check Google Trends and see what’s going on. 

SEMrush is an all-in-one tool with a number of neat features including… keyword research. 

It’s probably the best tool on the market for the job right now… but… of course… you’ll have to pay to use it. 

According to the site…

“The SEMrush Keyword Research feature provides you with well-tried and tested keywords—the ones that help your competitors’ and industry leaders’ websites rank in Google’s and Bing’s top results. You’ll get extended information on their value for organic and paid research. For every keyword that’s present in our databases, you’ll get useful information such as: CPC, volume, the number of results, trend, and ad copies for the queried term. You’ll also discover which of the biggest web players use each keyword, and their most popular landing pages. Finally, you’ll be able to analyze this data for both desktop and mobile index.”

Whichever tool you use, the first step is simply to figure out what people are searching for online.

Based on that research, you can create content that matters and attracts visitors to your blog or website. 

Which leads us to…

Content marketing research step two…

In every city of any size, there exists a special building.

Within this building, you’ll find books, magazines, reference publications and online databases with tons (and I mean tons) of great content.

The building I’m referring to is, of course, your public library.

Lake County Public Library

The one I like to frequent in my neck of the woods is the Lake County Public Library located at…

1919 West 81st Avenue
Merrillville, Indiana 46410-5488

What you do is this…

You go to the “help desk” and you ask the friendly librarian to help you track down the following reference books:

  1. The Standard Periodical Directory
  2. The Subject Guide To Books In Print
  3. The Reader’s Guide To Periodic Literature

Here’s why you need to get your “mitts” on these publications…

The Standard Periodical Directory is the…

“…largest directory of U.S. and Canadian periodicals with information on more than 59,000 magazines, journals, newsletters, newspapers, and directories in subject categories from Accounting to Zoology.” 

The Subject Guide To Books In Print

“…allows users to track down titles on every subject imaginable and locate current topics that are capturing the interest of the nation’s readers.This six-volume, 18,000-page edition offers users immediate access to over 2,000,000 books classified under 81,000 subject headings, from Actors and Actresses to Zebras and Zoo Animals and everything in-between.”

And, according to Wikipedia.org, the Reader’s Guide To Periodic Literature is…

“…a reference guide to recently published articles in periodical magazines and scholarly journals, organized by article subject.”

These references are the very best… and most accurate way to…

Stay on top of the latest content in your market. 

What you do is get your hands on these references… and then… leaf over to your subject category.

Then write down all of the magazines, journals, newsletters, newspapers, books and recently published articles for the market you’re in. 

Oh, and one more thing, look in the electronic book index of your library to see what books they have on the shelves for your topic. 

And now you’re ready for…

Content marketing research step three…

With that information in hand, go back to the “help desk” and ask the librarian to help you track down the publications your library has in stock. 

researcherNow, here’s the dinger…

You do not need to access every single publication in the market. 

All you need is to find the… most popular… of those publications and then stay on top of them from now on. 

Here’s how you go about this little task…

You gather the magazines and periodicals the library has on hand… and… you read them. 

If any articles stick out like a sore thumb, you photo-copy those articles. 

As you’re reading, jot down some notes on interesting facts you discover along the way.

What else?

Let’s see! How about checking out some of those magazines and books. 

Since we want the freshest content… more than likely… you’ll leave the library with an armful of magazines. 

When you get home, visit the websites of each of those publications and see what other great content you can find there.

And what do you do with all of this great research?

You curate it for your own blog!

That’s what!

Which is a subject for another post. 


You want to know something great?

Once you do the research I suggest in this post, you’ll likely never have to do it again. 

Maybe once a year… tops.

So go down to your library and get going. 

This is the content marketing research strategy that let’s you uncover a goldmine of fresh content you can curate for your site.

By the way, if you have any suggestions about this topic, sound off below… 

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