4 steps to identifying great articles to write

A huge win in content marketing is to find the intersection of questions that people are answering and questions that we’re able to – and want to – answer. I’ve written dozens of articles over the years which have generated encouraging amounts of web traffic, just through the following steps:

  1. Researching what people are asking most frequently in my area;
  2. Spotting which ones might bring in valuable traffic;
  3. Investigating the answers currently being given to those questions in search results, and identifying the opportunities to produce something better;
  4. Creating the relevant content and promoting it.

It’s really not that hard to do. Only the first step offers much of a challenge. If I look in my Google Search Console report and see that 50 people a month are asking: “How long can a blue widget operate for?”, but hardly anyone ends up at my website, there’s an opportunity. Now, a cursory look at the Google results might show that Wikipedia and all my competitors are already dominating the first page with targeted articles, and that competing with those established answers would be a huge ask. But it’s often the case in niche technical areas that there’s not a single page on the web titled “How long can a blue widget operate for?” And if that’s the type of question that potential customers might be asking (rather than, say, students), then there’s our opportunity.

After that, it’s a nice easy ride downhill.

There are more research tools discussed in 10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers on the Top Rank Marketing blog.