The Best Research Tools for Finding Kick-Ass Content

handThis is a guest contribution from Jonathon Ohayon of Brilliance.com

From infographics to Slideshares, articles to memes; marketers and bloggers can never have too much help coming up with ideas for compelling, relevant content.

However, ideas can be elusive and trending subject matter can be hard to nail down. Tools like Facebook Trending and Google Trends are a good start, but there is goldmine of content research available in lesser-known platforms that don’t have the same brand recognition.

Before you go hunting for the latest trending topic, the first step should be to make sure you understand the metrics, processes and data that drive content marketing.

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Educate Your Content Creators (or Yourself)

The artistic effort of creating content is often a far more enjoyable endeavor than back-end metrics analysis. But that can’t stop bloggers from learning what makes content effective, what renders it ineffective and the analytical tools used to tell the difference.

Content creators should take a few courses from the Google Analytics Academy. They’re free, and they’re taught by genuine Google measurement experts. The five-unit program covers the fundamentals of digital analytics, platform principles, ecommerce analytics, mobile app analytics and tag manager fundamentals.

With your new-found understanding of the data-driven mechanics behind the content, it’s time to try some new, exciting tools that fly under the radar of many content creators.

Answer the Public

At a glance, Answer the Public is just another keyword research tool designed to give marketers consumer insight. When you choose a country and enter a keyword into the search box, however, Answer the Public returns a brilliant, sun-shaped visual display made of answers to questions that begin with when, who, where, how, which, were and are.

For example, I entered the word “music,” and received trending questions like:

What music makes you smarter?

Why is music important?

Why should music education be cut?

Which music school is right for me?

Are music and math profitable?

What music was popular in the 1920s?

If I were a music blogger or a marketer who specialized in music, I would have a clear picture — literally — of the questions people in my target audience want answered. There are few better places to begin a discussion about what kind of content to create.

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Trending on Twitter — Dig Deeper

In April 2015, content creators rejoiced when Twitter announced it was abandoning its Discover timeline and upgrading to a new mobile tool designed to capture detailed trending topics. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out at the time, the shallow and often arbitrary Discover timeline had been woefully inadequate — especially for content creators who rely on up-to-date information about which topics are trending to determine the subject matter that will provide a foundation relevant subject matter.

Twitter’s mobile replacement is undoubtedly a step up, but content creators can dig much deeper to find out which topics are stirring people’s passions, driving their interests and stoking conversation on Twitter. Check out the following tools, all of which are free, have a free version or come with a free trial:

  • Hashtagify: Not only is Hashtagify great for tracking critical social media influencers, but it acts as a hashtag search engine. With this tool, the user can see the top 10 hashtags related to one that they’re searching or one that is trending.
  • Statweestics: This tool stands out for the frequency of its live updates. Track trending keywords, hashtags, users, locations and sources as they change — literally by the minute.
  • Trendsmap: Trendsmap uses a unique algorithm that empowers content creators to research trending topics on a truly local level. The tool crunches 80 million tweets a day and displays which topic is most popular per geographic region, by superimposing keywords over a map.
  • Hashtags.org: This popular tool is special because it tracks hashtags by growth. Use it to identify the top 40 hashtags from any given 24-hour period and gain valuable insight into the topics that accumulate traction throughout the day.

Uberflip: Content for Each Stage of the Buying Journey

Uberflip is an underutilized tool. It helps marketers create content, but it doesn’t stop there. Instead of researching trending topics or hot subjects as a foundation for creating content, Uberflip lets you research how your customers interact with that content throughout the purchasing journey.

Once they understand the nature of how their audience connects with their content along their buying journeys, marketers and bloggers can tweak, rebuild and develop new content based on the information that take away from Uberflip.

Familiar tools like BuzzSumo can still be powerful and useful. They are so common, however, that your competition is likely to be using them as well. Content creators should first make an effort to educate themselves about the analytical process behind content marketing, and then explore lesser-known, but equally powerful tools that their competitors haven’t yet discovered.

What tools do you use to help inform your content creation decisions?

Jonathon Ohayon is the COO of Brilliance.com and has been managing companies and motivating people since the 6th grade. As a proven business leader and gemologist, he is uniquely skilled in navigating the ever changing e-commerce landscape. When he is not answering emails into the wee hours of the night, he can be found spending time with his wife and three children.

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