By Wasif Kasim
Let’s face it. There’s a lot of bad content out there. And it’s taken its toll – first we had banner blindness, now we’re increasingly blind to content.
Here’s the thing – it’s not enough to produce content anymore. You need content that your readers absolutely love.
They need to love it so much, they’ll share it.
To love it so much, they just keep coming back to it.
Your readers need to love your content so much that the Google SEO robots notice and start ranking it above other similar content.
So what’s the secret to creating viral content every time?
There isn’t one.
Just like there’s no secret to living a long disease-free life.
And no secret to getting rich quick.
Or losing weight magically in days.
The good news? There are ways you can accelerate the probability of these things happening – eat healthily, exercise regularly, work hard.
Same goes for content that keeps people coming back.
I’m going to share with you some effective, simple techniques that can help you grow readership, leads and revenue – with minimal effort.
First up – what makes B2B content good?
There are a few things. Good content needs to be:
- Practical – no fluff. Readers should be able to use what you give them.
- Detailed – there’s a lot of noise out there. In-depth articles help you stand out by helping the reader and showing them what you can do.
- Informed – do your research, then present readers with a mix of what’s interesting, what people are asking for, what’s worked and what aligns well with your offering.
It’s not rocket science, is it?
So without further ado, let’s get down to business.
Find out what your audience really wants
As basic as it may sound, you need to write what people want to read. You may think you know what your readers want – but chances are, you’re not gifted with the powers of ESP.
Don’t trust intuition or defer to what the business wants – take a data-driven approach to your content.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Google-fu [est. time: 1 minute]
For the purpose of this exercise, let’s use ‘B2B content marketing’ as the topic we want to write about.
Pop the phrase into Google – here is what you get in Australia:
Looking at these search results, you’ve already got a couple of nuggets to focus on:
- Effective B2B content – the ‘how to’.
- B2B content – the benchmarks.
- Content marketing strategy.
Now you know:
- What people are reading most.
- Some of your audience’s top challenges and/or pain points.
- Which topics/titles resonate with your audience (use these keywords for your article).
With that done, let’s take it up a notch.
Step 2: Google related articles [est. time: 1 minute]
Googling related articles is a criminally underused content marketing technique – but incredibly powerful.
It helps you uncover:
- Alternative language your audience may be using to describe what you’re trying to target.
- Other topics, related to yours, that you could write about.
- Long-tail keywords to use in your article.
Not sure where to find related articles on Google? Head to the bottom of your search results. This is what you’ll see:
Presto – your eyes are now open to a whole new realm of possibilities.
For example, you now know that B2B organisations care about:
- B2B content marketing examples.
- B2B content marketing infographics.
- B2B content marketing agency.
- B2B content marketing strategy.
- And a few other topics you can potentially consider.
These are ‘long tail’ keywords and phrases – they attract lower traffic volume, but appeal more strongly to prospects searching for niche topics.
Notice that a number of headlines in your search results focus on ‘hard evidence’ of content marketing working in the B2B space. Apparently data is a big concern for B2B marketers – who knew?
Now that we know what people are asking for, let’s introduce another critical element: demand
How many people are actually searching for this stuff?
Step 3: Use Google Keyword Planner [est. time: 3 minutes]
Go to Google Keyword Planner – sign in or create and account. Once you’re in, you’ll see this:
Expand the ‘Get search volume data and trends’ section.
Add your keywords, select the region, and hit ‘Get search volume’. The following results pop up:
This may come as a surprise if you’re looking for a new topic to write about – the search volumes are low. Very low.
But it’s not all bad news. This exercise has shown you:
- These readers are extremely targeted – with excellent content, you’ll get their attention.
- What’s going on with these keywords, so you can decide whether or not you want to focus on this area, given the low volumes.
- ‘B2B content marketing’ isn’t much searched for in Australia. Try repeating the above steps to find other terms that are more popular (perhaps ‘content marketing agency Australia’, ‘content marketing Australia’, and so on).
We’ve now got a feel for what people are searching, as well as the level of demand for these searches.
So, what’s missing?
Hard historical data that shows you how successful the best B2B content marketing articles online have been. This will help you better understand where to focus your efforts for maximum traction.
Step 4: Use BuzzSumo [est. time: 3 minutes]
BuzzSumo is my go-to tool for finding the most shared content on the web – about any topic. It’s quick, powerful, and has a free version that gives you enough data to play with.
Again, let’s type ‘B2B content marketing’ into BuzzSumo. Here’s what it spits out:
These are the most shared B2B content marketing articles – ever. The results show you the publisher, publish date and topic title, as well as total shares across key social platforms. It’s another powerful and awesome layer of information to draw on when creating topic titles and content that readers will love.
Here’s where it gets really interesting.
Step 5: Use BuzzSumo’s content analysis [est. time: 3 minutes]
- Which social channels work best?
- Which types of posts work best?
- How long should your posts be?
- Which companies or publications are absolutely nailing it in your area?
The BuzzSumo analysis function holds answers to each of these questions.
Click on the ‘Content Research’ and ‘Content Analysis’ tabs in BuzzSumo…
…and type in ‘B2B content marketing’. This is what you’ll get:
Which social channels work best?
Now you know: B2B content marketing gets shared most on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Which types of posts work best?
Now you know: ‘What’ posts and ‘Why’ posts get the most shares.
What is the ideal post length?
Now you know: In-depth articles with 2000–3000 words get the most shares.
Which companies are dominating B2B content marketing?
And now you know: Content Marketing Institute, Marketo and Business 2 Community are writing the most popular content on B2B content marketing.
In about 10 minutes, you’ve now armed yourself with a data-led approach to creating SEO-friendly content that your readers will absolutely love.
The temptation to just start writing content is hard to resist – but you need to resist it. I believe in you. Don’t write first – research first.
This little routine will put you on the path to creating content that gets noticed.
After all, what’s the point of creating content if no one’s going to read it?
We now live in a world that prizes (and struggles with) engagement and return on investment for content. You’ll inevitably be asked: “We did this content marketing thing; how much revenue did it actually generate?”
Let’s get readers and engagement first – without this, leads, sales and revenue are impossible (and that’s perhaps a blog for another day).
Make sure you first understand what content Google and your readers will love.
Remember, 10 minutes is all it takes!
Bonus reading: How to write epic content
Remember: you need content that’s better than anything else out there. You now know what to write about but…
How do you create content that makes you stand out? How do you create epic content that’s better than anything else out there?
Again, there’s no single answer. But these articles might help:
- King Content: How to map your content to your business objectives
- Moz: How to create 10x content
- Backlinko: The Skyscraper Technique