In this article, we shine a light on content research, why it is important, and how to go about it.
What is content research?
Content research. Sounds vague. What do we actually mean by it?
Simply put, content research is a method of analyzing all types of content and evaluating its relevance, performance, and added value to consumers. The aim is to create your own content strategy, based on the concrete data gained from your research.
In a world of ever-increasing consumerism, great content is crucial for the ideas you want to stand out and shine. Be it a new service, product, blog post or magazine article, researching content in the field of your interest should always be the first step. It’s unlikely you will invent the wheel again, so you might as well research what the competition is doing in order to stay one step ahead.
What is great content?
Was the recipe for apple pie you searched for informative? Did it list all the ingredients and all the step by step processes of baking it? Was it the one you actually read, after the previous two you closed halfway, because you were not interested in reading 500 words of personal anecdotes? Did it make you believe in your abilities and run to the shop for ingredients?
That is great content.
Great content is the one that’s better – it is the one that captures your attention and the one that will get you to do the desired action. It is structured and comprehensive, answering the questions and needs your target audience didn’t even know needed answering. It is the one that shines among the competition.
Great content has value and serves the consumer as best as possible. Therefore, it also serves you, the creator of said content, in the best way possible. Great content will get liked and shared and will bring more people your way.
Types of content
Content is a broad term and many things can fit under the definition umbrella. However, when talking about online content, here are the most common types of content you will see:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Product and service descriptions
- Manuals and guides
Why is content research important for UX
Your customers will not care either about average or above average content. To interest them and keep them using your services or products, you need to strive to produce content that is the best of the best.
In order to establish your brand voice and create the best and most profitable content strategy, content research is essential. Good content strategy should always be based on empirical data rather than your own vision or ideas. In this case, following your gut feeling is not the most fortunate method.
When to conduct content research
Quite simply, content research can and should be done before producing, releasing, or updating any type of content. Whether it is in a new blog post, product page, or a podcast, always base the decision about the creation of said content on your research.
Content research can also help you find new ideas about what types of content to produce in the future.
The best methods of content research (for UX)
1. Take a closer look at Google
Google is your best friend when it comes to content research. There are other search engines, but as of 2022, over 90% searches worldwide were carried out through Google. As an obvious winner within the search engine competition, it also holds the most authority, as well as the most tools you can use for your content research.
Search suggestions are a first place you can start. Type in your keyword and look at what Google suggests. Top ranking search results on the first page are content you should go through and analyze to see why it is performing so well, since you will certainly want to outperform it with your own content strategy.
Paid ads, “people also asked” boxes, related searches, and other search tabs, such as images, videos and shopping are also not to be forgotten. Don’t stop at page one or one keyword, though. If you want to conduct in-depth research, you have to click that next page button.
2. Research your competition
Research the content your competitors are producing. Take inspiration from them or find out where their content is lacking and what you can do better. Check out the big and established names; but if you hear or read about a newcomer in your field that is shining, don’t forget to check out what they are doing too.
Researching your competition is important in all the fields of business, so in content research, it can be especially useful. However, be careful not to copy from your competitors, since that can have negative effects on your credibility.
3. Use social media
Focusing on search engines and the competition is certainly important, but don’t forget social media is where all the jazz is these days. Follow news from your industry, stay up-to-date with the most hot topics, and see what others from your field are sharing.
Among the social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, don’t forget forums and platforms like Quora or Reddit; these communities might also prove helpful.
4. Analyze keywords with tools like Ahrefs or Semrush
Google is a good starting point, but you will want to go deeper and do a thorough keyword analysis. Tools like Ahrefs or Semrush will allow you to find search queries your potential customers are searching and discover where there is demand for new content.
Research what keywords your competitors rank for and analyze their websites. You can also use keyword explorers to find new keywords, which could bring you a lot of traffic. See what the search volume is for a keyword you are researching and find out if it makes sense for you to create content for. These tools provide depth to your keyword analysis so that you have a strong base from which to build your content strategy.
Tips and tricks for content research
Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind when conducting content research:
- Keep in mind the purpose of your content research – to create a great content strategy of your own
- Get inspired but never copy
- Identify what types of content are relevant to your users and focus on that
- Go deep, don’t just scratch the surface
- Don’t use up all your time and resources on content research and skimp on producing the actual content
- Focus on producing content that answers actual questions of your audience
Hopefully now, you will have a better idea what is hidden behind the term content research and how to go about conducting it. It is a crucial step zero of creating any content and the cornerstone of creating your own content strategy. With the tools and techniques we have outlined, you will have an easy road. So good luck and get researching!
If you’re looking for a good research tool to help you in the process, UXtweak is always here to give you a hand! Register for your free account and start testing today.