5 Content Marketing Tools or Busy Entrepreneurs

5 Content Marketing Tools or Busy Entrepreneurs

As a small business owner, I struggle every day to be heard above the voices of larger enterprises offering services similar to mine. Over time, I’ve found content marketing to be the best vehicle for attracting my ideal clients, but it’s a challenge to research their questions in a time-efficient manner.

I’ve had the best results with content that addresses the burning questions and challenges on the minds of my prospects but researching them is time-intensive. Large corporations have entire departments dedicated to conducting ongoing consumer research, but for entrepreneurs, that kind of continuous investigative power is often unaffordable.

The temptation is to fall back on our own hard-earned expertise and publish content we believe will benefit our intended audience. This strategy seldom works well in terms of attracting right-fit clients and customers over the long run. Sure, they value your expertise but only if they see it as relevant to the challenges they face today.

In his recent article, “Four Content Marketing Myths, Debunked,” Steve Kearns cautions us against building a content marketing strategy that relies solely on our own expertise to the point of excluding the input of the very people we are trying to reach.

“Marketers need to take a customer-centric approach that builds strategy based on a deep understanding of this consumer base. Once this consumer-centric vision is in place, the strategy for your content will be much more apparent.”

To be clear, the resources I’m about to share with you don’t replace the need to engage ideal prospects and clients in live conversations. That’s a given.

Adding free tools to supplement that information in real-time gives you added insights into what your prospects need in the here and now. This helps you produce compelling and relevant content on an ongoing basis…

1. Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a search query data visualization tool that
has but one purpose, to help you understand the questions people have on any given topic. It features a cool, albeit creepy, guy called “the Seeker”.

To get started, enter a keyword or phrase in the search field and the Seeker produces questions and prepositions associated with that topic.

In the example below, I entered “content marketing” and the Seeker generated results including…

  • Who does content marketing well?
  • What content marketing is not.
  • When content marketing goes wrong.
  • Where to post content marketing.
  • Why content marketing strategy is important.
  • How content marketing builds trust.

The questions and interrogative (question) phrases are sorted and arranged around a wheel.

These suggestions lend me insights into the motivations and concerns of the individuals making these queries. They have questions about how to establish trust throughout the buyer’s journey, avoid common pitfalls ,and identify examples of content marketing that work.

Answer the Public also generates questions and keyword phrases associated with prepositions such as: For, with, without, versus, to and like. Words such as these sharpen the focus and make for much more interesting titles and content.

I’ve had clients’ voice interests in three of these topics in recent months…

  • Content marketing versus PR (Specifically how content marketing and public relations strategies can be integrated.)
  • Content marketing to millennials (A topic that just came up with a client this week.)
  • Content marketing with apps (Phone apps that can be used to produce micro-content in minutes has been a hot topic in my workshops.)

All of this data can be downloaded for presentations or.CSV (comma separated values) files.

Check out this resource at http://AnswerThePublic.com.

2. Bloomberry

Copywriters, market researchers, and content creators use Bloomberry to identify consumer needs throughout the buyer’s journey. It’s really easy to use. Just enter your keyword or keyword phrase in the search field and hit return. Bloomberry produces a list of questions sorted by topic and popularity.

In this example, I entered “content marketing” in the search field. The results included 9,192 questions about 356 topics sorted by popularity. This is a bit too broad for my purposes.

Bloomberry also broke out questions by related keywords and phrases (blog, social media content, social media marketer, social media sites, best social media). When I zeroed in on social media content, I found three topics that are highly relevant to my client base.

  • How Do You Promote Your Best Content on Social Media?
  • Which brands have good content on social media?
  • What does your social media schedule look like?

By clicking on the titles, I’m linked to the original questions and the answers posted thus far. This provides me further direction for an article.

Bloomberry.com is still in beta testing and is currently free. Check out this resource at http://bloomberry.com.

3. Google Trends

Use Google Trends to research the trending popularity of search terms for a specified duration and region.

I researched relative interests in “content marketing” versus “digital marketing.”

Whenever I research a topic, I start with the broadest search possible and drill down for more specificity. Google Trends allows location search parameters ranging from worldwide down to city and state. Durations range from as far back as 2004 to the past hour.

I specified a worldwide search on the phrase “content marketing,” from 2004+ to present. My results show a worldwide upward trend since around 2013.

I then added my second variable, “digital marketing.”

Clearly, digital marketing has been a growing topic of interest. I can drill down further by limiting either the duration or location of my search or both. I narrowed the search to the United States and the duration to 5 years…

To gain further insight, I can restrict the location parameters further and or reduce the time. Google Trends also identifies related topics and queries for further investigation.

Google Trends is fairly robust, and I’ve demonstrated only a rudimentary search. To learn more about this resource, I suggest viewing the Google Partners video, “Drawing Insights from Google Trends.” https://youtu.be/tU6KC56ULHw.

Check out this resource at google.com/trends.

4. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator

This site is a favorite among my clients because it’s super easy to use and consistently produces ideas that are relevant to their consumer base.

Enter three nouns or noun phrases in the search fields, click “Give Me Blog Topics”, and the generator produces a week’s worth (five days) of related topics. This provides a tighter focus than searching on a single term.

In this example, I entered “content marketing,” “LinkedIn” and “entrepreneurs”. HubSpot generated the following five topics.

HubSpot admits that their algorithms are not foolproof. You’ll want to tweak the suggested titles. For instance:

  • 10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Personal Branding (But Won’t).
  • 10 Signs You Should Invest in Entrepreneurs (Before it’s too late!).
  • 15 Best Blogs to Follow About LinkedIn if You’re Serious About Growing Your Business.
  • Personal Branding: Where It’s Been. Where It’s Going. Why You Should Care.
  • 10 Quick Tips You Should Know About Writing for Entrepreneurs..

Check out this resource at https://www.hubspot.com.

5. Quandary Content Idea Generator

If you’re seeking to generate a lot of ideas in a very short time, Quandary is a good bet. Again, you’ll have to know something about your target audience. Answer 18 simple questions and get a list of hundreds, even thousands of ideas.

I searched for topics associated with “content marketing.” The idea generator produced 360 ideas including the four shown below.

The participants in my LinkedIn workshops often ask what they can do on a daily basis to generate higher returns on their investment.

An article about how to create a LinkedIn Playbook is spot-on for my clients.

As a solopreneur or (very) small business owner, you wear many hats and finding time to research trending topics on your ideal clients’ minds can be a challenge. I hope I’ve illustrated how to integrate these tools with your ongoing client dialogue to produce content that is both relevant and compelling.

If you have other tools that have helped you generate compelling and relevant content, please share them in the comments below. We can all learn together.

#contentmarketing #linkedin #dumontowen #digitalmarketing #contentideas #dumont&associates