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Are You Listening? A guide to publishing content that your audience actually wants to read

Discovering what piques the interest of a particular audience is like throwing darts in a dark room — you throw something out there and hope it sticks. Content is often developed based on in-house goals, personal interest in a topic, or keywords that Google says are important. However, being a responsible publisher of content requires you to listen to what your audience wants and needs.

Even if your readers aren’t saying much on your blogs or social media pages, these five resources can help you collect feedback that points you in the right direction of targeting content that your audience is actually interested in reading:

Monitor Your Metrics

Ranking metrics, both with search engines and social media shares, are the best indicator of the type of information your audience is seeking. Your research will identify content that is not capturing attention, so you can scratch these topics from your list. Build upon your most successful content by creating spinoff articles, tutorials, videos and infographics on related topics. Maximize the value of these pieces by providing crosslinks to organically guide visitors through your website. Another technique is to assemble round-up guides on a central topic that link to the most viewed pages on your website. This SEO technique builds your reputation with readers as an authoritative source and boosts your online credibility by decreasing the bounce rate.

Create Seasonal Evergreen Content

Every industry has annual topics that generate new trends. You can build your reputation as a go-to resource by creating evergreen content around recurring events or celebrations, such as holidays or industry conferences. Each year, tweak the content to keep it relevant. This strategy not only keeps your audience engaged but also captures the attention of search engine ranking algorithms that seek fresh content. A slightly new spin also provides a perfect opportunity to republish the article on your social media platforms to generate buzz among your expanding audience.

Deep Dive Into Long-Tail Keywords

Each industry has specific topics that readers want to know more about. Targeting long-tail keywords will produce narrower content but attract a more invested audience. Since your competition pool is smaller, you have a better chance of ranking well. Keyword finder tools are the first place to start to identify strong phrases made up of three to four words that represent your business niche. You can also browse Q&A sites, such as Quora, to discover the questions that your audience has.

Put the Needs of Your Audience First

Online audiences often spend their downtime browsing the internet for something interesting. When you are genuine, you are more likely to make an emotional connection with your audience. Focus on cultivating a distinct voice, take opportunities to tell a personal story, and provide helpful information based on your expertise. The most effective business blogs concentrate on developing content that indulges readers’ interests or solves their problems without pushing products.

Continually Ask Questions

Interacting with your readers is the key to gathering feedback. Polls and surveys are effective tools for pinpointing content missing in the marketplace. You’ll likely be surprised by suggestions that you had never even considered. End blog posts with open-ended questions that encourage readers to share their suggestions, thoughts or experiences. Another strategy is to post questions on social media that ask about your audience’s challenges. Responses will provide a goldmine of insights about the path your content should follow.


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