How to Evaluate Audiences for Content Marketing

If you read our last post, you will have a number of different audiences to test and see whether or not they have an active community. This post will go through the process that we use at NeoMam to evaluate these audiences and identify those that we can use content marketing with.

How to check audience activity?

I like to define the world as BBS (before Buzzsumo) and ABS (after Buzzsumo.)

Back in the day, you had to search a wide range of sites just to see if a community existed and it was a pretty time consuming process. Now we live in the era of Buzzsumo, which does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. By entering a keyword, you can find all the top shared relevant published content.

To show how this works, let’s assume one of the audiences we identified in stage 1 was “Small business.”

Step 1:  Enter keyword

Buzzsumo search

Step 2: Filter by date – Past week

Buzzsumo filter

Example 1: Small Business

Buzzsumo search results

As you can see from the screenshot above, there is a lot of content (116 pages) that is shared in large amounts – nearly 800+ shares from the last item on the first page.

We also know that this audience is active right now due to the filter of content only this week.

It would be annoying to target an audience only to find out that people cared about it 10 months ago have since moved on.

Example 2: Copper Mining

buzzsumo search result

There is not enough demand for this audience with less than 5 pages of content and even the top content is shared in very small numbers.

Example 3: Mining

buzzsumo mining result page

This audience is far more active with lots of content (94 pages) and significant sharing happening.

As a very basic yardstick, you just want to see whether content is being shared well – in the thousands and plenty of it. So be aware of terms that mean something else such as the name of a popular film as these results will be skewed, example: “red” is a colour, a film from 2010 and part of the British red cross.

Finding influencers

Once you have identified a target audience for your content, you can start to locate the influencers of that audience.

In terms of tools for doing this, Buzzsumo works well and I prefer to have one tool to do most of the work.

Let’s say we want to target a small business audience:

Firstly, we will use Buzzsumo’s “Top Content” search feature. We want to filter by infographics and articles, as video content can often be quite irrelevant – but adjust it to your specific needs if you’re planning on creating video content.

This time, we will also want to look at a wider time period, so we will look at the entire last year.

 

Filter

small business search result

I would suggest going down the list until you start hitting content that has less than 2K total shares. It’s important to be wary of content that has loads of shares for one social platform – such as Facebook or Pinterest and then very little in the others. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, but could be heavily supported by paid advertising, so is not a truthful indicator of great content.

Naturally, high performing content is usually something that is shared across all networks so in this case, I am going to ignore the weird URL in the top position as I don’t see it as relevant.

Start pulling a list together of all the influencer sites – feel free to also include the article that you used to find them – this can all be very useful for the promotions team at the end.

So for small businesses, we would have the following (again I have ignored any irrelevant or questionable shared content):

You will notice that these sites are pretty big and might think “I’ll never get my content on those types of sites,” and that may be true. However, these sites are big for a reason, which is that they publish great content and more importantly, they produce a lot of it. If anyone knows what the small business audience want, it is these guys.

We are going to then use these sites to help us understand the issues that exist within the sector we’re researching. We’ll find issues we can use as a starting point for our creative process, moving forward with confidence in the fact that we are creating something that real people in our target audience care about.

The successful content by each influential publisher

The next step is analysing the content produced by these top influencers.

Let’s assume for this example that we are the provider of a tool that offers marketing benefits to small business.

So our key customer is someone who is interested in growing their small business.

However, we don’t want to restrict ourselves to just content with the phrase “small business marketing” but when we analyse the content by top publishers we need to keep asking “would this be of interest to small business owners looking to grow?”

This stage can be quite time consuming, but it’s really useful as you are immersing yourself in content that has performed well for big name publishers.

Example 1: Analysing the content on http://www.entrepreneur.com/

entrepreneur search resultsYou can start with a very general search and see how that goes – but it might be worth looking at playing around with the filters (e.g. date and content type).

To help speed the process up, you might need to add a keyword alongside with a URL if there is a lot of irrelevant content – the “marketing” example below.

marketing buzzsumo results

The next step is to take a note of any content that you think is relevant to your target audience, in this case “small business owners.” Be sure to include details of the content itself as well as the total number of shares.

 

Title Total Shares URL
8 Daily Habits That Will Make 2015 Explosive 28826 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241532
12 Personality Traits That Make You a Rock-Star Boss (Infographic) 27336 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234790
5 Things You Should be Doing to Have an Insanely Productive Week 26285 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237985
Managing People Is an Art: 32 Ways to Do it Right. 24090 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234199
10 People Who Will Destroy Your Business 23193 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241567
10 Mindsets That Will Radically Improve Your Business 22434 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242261
15 Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Get Stuff Done (Infographic) 21908 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240262
6 Best Practices for Working from Home 19462 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242115
10 Free Online Courses That Can Benefit Every Entrepreneur 15043 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244279
13 Accidental Inventions That Changed the World 14242 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234287

 

An important step here is that I wrote down any trends I could spot by going through the first 6 pages of Buzzsumo and that led me to the following list of topics, which continued to pop up again and again.

  •  Habits
  • Quotes
  • Inspired
  •  Books
  • Self improvement
  • Mindsets

This is no accident. Publishers spend time tracking what works and what doesn’t, and they will always want to publish more articles around those topics that work.

One of the other things to learn is that there are certainly at least two distinct groups for the entrepreneur audience: those who have a business and those who want to start a business. I can now update my chunking diagram with this information.

Depending on what you sell, you might want to target just one and ignore the other. The audience identification process is something you should always be improving upon as you gather more information.

Publishers spend time tracking what works and what doesn't — learn from them! #ContentMarketingClick To Tweet

Building your content dossier

The above example showed you how to identify high-performing content that is relevant to your target audience with just one influential site. The next step is to roll this out across the full range of sites contained in your list.

Again, keep an eye open for overall trends for that specific audience, especially trends that occur across multiple publishers.

Based on our experience with http://www.entrepreneur.com/, we know that we now want to target those people with an established small business instead of those looking to create a start-up.

Example 2: Analysing the content on http://www.inc.com

The big topics I noticed that appeared in Inc Magazine were:

  • Inspiration from the greats (Gates/Jobs/Musk/Branson)
  • Self-help (How to be happier/live better/work better)
  • Business Tips

 

Title Total Shares URL
6 Small Changes to Your Morning Routine Will Transform Your Entire Day 29.6k http://www.inc.com/drew-hendricks/6-better-ways-to-start-your-morning.html
LinkedIn Tips: 7 Things You’re Doing Wrong 20.8k http://www.inc.com/tom-searcy/7-things-you-are-doing-wrong-on-linkedin.html
Steve Jobs Knew How to Run a Meeting: Here’s How He Did it 24k http://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/8-essential-lessons-from-this-meeting-led-by-a-young-steve-jobs.html
Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts 18.7k http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-top-50-leadership-and-management-experts-mon.html
8 Deadly Ways to Kill Employee Motivation 14.2k http://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/8-deadly-ways-to-kill-employee-motivation.html
5 Types of Business Insurance You Never Knew Existed 12.6k http://www.inc.com/john-rampton/5-types-of-business-insurance-you-never-knew-existed.html
The 10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020 (Infographic) 9.5k http://www.inc.com/graham-winfrey/the-most-important-work-skills-in-2020.html
One Interview Question That Reveals a Superstar Job Candidate 9.2k http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/one-interview-question-that-reveals-a-superstar-job-candidate.html

 

Once you have developed a spreadsheet with content from all the big publishers in your niche, you are ready to move onto the next stage, which will be pulling inspiration from social media channels including:

  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Forums

I will talk about this in my next blog post.

Part 3 of this blog post series is now available, read it here now: Identifying the Problems of Your Content Audience

Photo credit: Yap

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