How to Understand the Audience and Create User-Centered Content – A Webinar from Charlie Williams

On December 15, we hosted a webinar delivered by Charlie Williams, Head of Marketing for White.net.

During his presentation, Charlie focused on the principles of agile thinking and how they should be adjusted for a content marketing strategy. Here are some of the main points of his speech.

It is extremely difficult to stand out among the crowd. In fact, content is our best means of offering a unique experience in a market that is becoming increasingly filled with similar products. Here is where a user-centered approach comes in. Charlie advises applying the principle of a user-centered design to the process of content generation. User-centered content will work both for your audience AND search engines, because Google is growing increasingly human nowadays. Thus, the Panda algorithm is an eloquent example of human logic being implemented in Google’s algorithms. It makes the industry stick to a more human, more logical way of organizing content. So, how can you incorporate user-centered logic into your content strategy?

First, you should think in terms of broad topics, not individual keywords. Charlie’s advice is to create your content around “query topic buckets.”

Secondly, in this user-centered age, it is essential for digital marketers to use the principles of agile thinking. An agile project involves creating fast iterations of products based on the feedback of real users. In fact, you should prioritize features for users over everyone else. Initially, the principles of agile thinking were created for developers, but in fact, now they can be successfully applied to content development as well – across everything you do.

content-development

So, how do you produce content that will be useful for your users? To answer this question, you should know what people typically look for. “When you perform a search, you generally want an answer,” as Gabriel Weineberg points out. Sometimes users ask actual questions; sometimes questions are implied. Either way, user question offer a valuable insight for digital marketers. Every search is a question, and you need to listen to your audience in order to provide them with the answers they’re looking for.

There are plenty of tools that will help you in your efforts to understand your audience. Let’s start with Google Analytics. Recently, Kerboo hosted a webinar with Emily Hill in which Emily shared her ideas on how to use Google Analytics to get content marketing insights. Google Analytics can provide you with valuable insights on how to evaluate your existing content, how to understand what content really works for your visitors, and what content is not performing well. In the “Landing Pages” section, you can check to see which of your website’s pages are attracting the most traffic and on which of them visitors spend the most of time. “Exit Pages” will help you to identify non-working pages that make your visitors leave your site. If users like your content and spend a lot of time on your website, for Google, it means that your content is good and that searchers are satisfied with the answers they find there. Therefore, Google will push your popular pages higher.

Apart from evaluating your own content with the help of Google Analytics, it is essential to analyze your competitors’ content – namely the content that has become popular among users. For that, you need some special tools, like Ahrefs. Ahrefs will help you identify the top content that earned your audience’s interest. Another tool for identifying prominent content is Buzzsumo, which is also capable of showing you who shared a piece of content you’re interested in – and this is important for identifying your potential audience.
The next tool Charlie recommended is Topsy. Topsy used to let you know what your audience was talking about on Twitter. Well, unfortunately, Topsy doesn’t do that anymore. It was shut down just last week.

After examining your own content’s performance, as well as your competitors’, you should begin producing fresh content. Now that you know what your audience is looking for and what they like, you can create great content that is potentially interesting for searchers. However, creating great content is not enough; you should put a lot of effort into reaching users who will read, watch, like, share, and link your content. Charlie advises paying attention to the skyscraper technique that was described by Brian Dean.

To summarize, experience demonstrates that outstanding content is vital for success. Moreover, to meet response from your audience, you should produce user-oriented content. The agile thinking tips Charlie taught us can be used for every step of your content development process.