Tools to help your content strategy | Media Matters

Tools to help you with your content strategy and research (Part One)

Posted under Content

Content is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Right? I mean, in all honestly, it’s not even a question, I’m telling you – content is the cornerstone of your marketing strategy.

From on-page website copy, blogs, to digital PR and outreach, digital advertising copy, email marketing, where would you be without content?

Um, probably NOWHERE.

Your content should be underpinned by data and analytics, keyword research and knowledge of content trends, rather than an educated guess. In this post, we list some of the most important tools to be used when creating your content strategy, planning out your next 3-6 months’ worth of content (depending on how much you produce).

I would recommend that you only plan as far as six months in advance, to avoid missing any changes in trends.

When using the tools below, it’s important to remember not to work in silo. By blending the insights and data that you find from each platform or tool, you can create relevant, informative and valuable content that meets the search intent of your audience, and ranks well, securing visibility and traffic.

The tools can also feed into other strategies and campaigns such as social and PPC, by providing specific geographic search data and trending topics. Find out which ones we use below.

The client

I like to start my content strategies by talking with my clients, to find out if there are any trending industry topics they want to touch upon or are worth noting.

It’s great to have access to the sales, customer service or those members of the team on the ‘front line’, who are customer facing – because they will be able top provide the deeper insights and add context.

We take actionable insights away from every client interaction and combine these ideas with keyword and search intent research.

Another methodology we use, is to create buyer personas. Buyer personas or buyer profiles include detailed and comprehensive descriptions of your audience, helping us to understand their pain points, needs, questions and likes to enable us to create meaningful content that resonates with them at each stage of the buyer journey.

Beautiful AI

I hate PowerPoint. And I’m sorry for that, I’m sorry to Microsoft, I like MANY other things you have created. But most of all I’m sorry to Media Matters’ very own Karen McNulty, who is growing increasingly exasperated with my refusal to use PowerPoint.

‘PowerPoint is actually really good though’. ? Sorry Karen, I wholeheartedly disagree.

Beautiful AI is presentation software that enables users to create professionally designed presentations, pitches and proposals, using a wide variety of templates. It allows our clients to easily visualise and digest the information we are presenting in our content strategies, using images and icons to support the messaging and break up copy. In my quest to appear ever-professional, Beautiful AI is there, supporting me every step of the way.

This means no more time spent trying to tweak page designs or lining up page elements, and further to this, the basic packages are FREE!

You can find out more here.

AHrefs

A popular research and analysis tool for digital marketing. The platform allows users to audit their website content, identify content gaps, discover competitors, research keyword and search data, as well as much more like analysing a site’s backlink profile.

The way that I currently use AHrefs for content marketing and digital PR purposes is to start with the ‘keywords explorer’. Entering keywords that we are tracking or that have been highlighted through conversations with our clients or other means of research, looking at the volume of search for those keywords, before moving to the ‘questions’ section, to look at the long-tail keywords and understand the context of the queries and search intent of the audience.

Not only does this allow us to create content that is aligned with the language being used, but it enables us to create content that is contextually relevant.

Further to this, I also use the ‘content explorer’ to discover trending content topics related to the keywords associated with my client’s business or industry, to gain an understanding of the wider perception of an issue and the topics that receive a high volume of social shares.

AHrefs has four pricing plans, starting at $99 dollar per month, and you can find out more about the platform here.

Google Trends

Perhaps one of the most underrated and overlooked platforms, Google Trends is one of the most effective tools for content and SEO research.

Offering a visual comparison of traffic levels of keyword phrases, the tool from Google lets you access search trends going back as far as five years, or as short-term as the past hour. You can also set a custom time range.

By looking at a long period, and seeing an upwards trend, it makes sense for you to focus on this topic when planning future content, while downward trends signify that your audience’s attention is waning.

You can also view keyword information by geographic location, allowing you to drill down on content that’s important to an audience in one location. This information is also good for content promotion and PPC.

It is also especially important for ranking. If geographic details are important for your audience – include this when searching in Google Trends, because your pages are ranked on relevance and context related to the search query.

Other really helpful features from Google Trends include ‘related topics’ and ‘related queries’, allowing you expand your search knowledge and adding context to your content. The ‘trending searches’ is useful if you want to make your social content more relevant on a daily basis.

Google Trends is a free tool provided by the tech giant themselves and can be found here.

Google Analytics

Unsurprisingly, Google Analytics offers a wealth of data when it comes to understanding how your audience interact with your content, and the type of content they favour.

For instance, we recently noticed that out of the variety of content styles we adopt for one of our clients, including some over-arching, thought-leadership articles and some more instructional pieces, it’s the latter that the audience are more engaged with. As a result, we’ll be producing more of this in the future.

Behavioural metrics such as time on page, average session duration, page per session, and bounce rate are all good indications of the way that your audience are interacting with your content, and if there are particular topics or angles that are favoured by your audience. Of course, conversions and goals completed will be glaring signs that your content is working as intended.

Analysing this data will also highlight any pieces of content that you might want to focus promotional efforts on. If there are particular blogs that perhaps haven’ t performed as well as you had hoped, you might want to try other strategies to improve their traffic. Link building, social media promotion and email marketing are all viable methods in this instance.

Part two of this piece will follow in the coming weeks. If, before then, you would like to discuss your content marketing requirements, and how content marketing fits within the inbound marketing methodology, please contact a member of the Media Matters team today.

Amy Bull

Content marketing virtuoso, Amy, revels in taking on a campaign, crafting content and seeing that content secure top tier placements. Having written for a number of high end publications on a wide variety of subjects, Amy has particularly enjoyed working with Fintech brands. Although perhaps one of her biggest accomplishments was writing about a bizarre quantum physics theory around the ‘superposition of USBs’ - it’s safe to say no content brief is too tricky!

Joking to one side, two real career highlights for Amy were receiving a comment from Ryan Patel on one of her blogs and taking on a client in a challenging sector, to then achieve for them fantastic placements that fully exceeded expectations.

Working at Media Matters, Amy loves being able to tap into the expertise of the whole team, drawing on our knowledge and experience from every angle and area of marketing.

Always making us laugh with stories from her sassy five year old, Amy also brings tonnes of passion and creativity to the Media Matters team. Outside of work, Amy loves to be active outside and travelling.