You Ask, I Answer: Content Marketing Topic Research?

Erika asks, “What are your tips and best practices for topic and keyword research in content marketing?”

It depends on the size of the content and how much domain expertise you have. Scale your research efforts to the level of risk the content poses and how important it is that you get it right.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Erica asks What are your tips and best practices for cop topic and keyword research and content marketing? So this is an interesting question because the answer is dependent upon a couple things on the size of the content, but more importantly on the domain expertise and how much risk there is in the content.

Remember that while we are writing to be found to be seen, we are also writing to have our information be used by people and that means that there is an inherent level of risk in content.

The level of risk is proportional to the amount of domain expertise we need to have.

So if I’m, I’ve been asked to write a piece of content on I don’t know, number of characters in the tweet or you know how to emoji in Influence tweets.

That’s a relatively low risk piece of content, right? It doesn’t require a ton of research.

And identifying topics and keywords and things for it is pretty straightforward.

I’m probably not going to screw that up.

And even if I do, it’s going to be very low impact, right? If somebody uses the poop emoji instead of the heart emoji, it’s not going to be probably the end of the world.

On the other hand, if I’m being asked to create a white paper, or a video series about important steps to take for protecting yourself against a pandemic, that piece of content could literally be life or death for somebody and so I would need to have much greater domain expertise.

I would need to invest a lot more time in understanding the topic overall first, before even trying to cobble together keywords and things to understand all the pieces that are related to it.

And I would want to take a whole bunch of time to get background, academic papers, books, videos, studies, research, all that stuff that will tell me what is the shape of this thing? What is the? What are the implications? And mostly what is the lexicon? And what is it that experts in the field think Who are those experts? What else do they talk about? What are the related topics? So that’s the first step is to assess your level of risk and what level of domain expertise you’re going to meet.

Then you look at the size of the content.

How much are we talking about? We’re talking about like five tweets.

Are we talking about a 1500 word blog post, a 10 minute video, 45 minute class, a four hour workshop or a white paper, something that you intend to be in an academic journal, a book on Amazon? What is the size of the content, the bigger the size The more research you’re going to need, the more data you’re going to need.

And then you can look at things like, you know, keywords.

One of the best sources for keywords, and for topics and understanding the topic is actually speech, people talking, because in things like podcasts, and videos and interviews and stuff, you will get a lot more extraneous words, but you will get you will also get more of the seemingly unrelated terms.

So let’s talk for example, about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid 19.

In listening to epidemiologists and virologists talk about this thing.

Yes, there are the commonplace topics like you know, wearing masks, for example, would be something that would be associated with this topic.

Washing your hands would be something you’d be associated with this topic, keeping a certain distance away from people.

But you would also see things like co2 measurement How, how much co2 is in the air around you, because it’s a proxy for how well event ventilated space is, the better a spaces ventilated, the less co2 will be in, compared to, let’s say, the outdoor air.

And so you’ll see measurements like you know, 350 parts per million 450 parts per million.

And these are not topic, these are not keywords that you would initially See, if you’re just narrowly researching the topic of COVID-19.

These are important, right? These are things that you would want to include in the in an in depth piece of research, you might want to talk about antigens and T cells and B cells and how the immune system works.

Those are equally be things.

So, again, this is a case where you have a very complex topic which requires a lot of domain expertise.

And mapping out though, the concepts will be an exhaustive exercise as it should be because again, you’re creating content that is If you get it wrong, and you recommend the wrong things, you could literally kill people with it.

So that would be the initial assessment, domain expertise, how much content you’re going to need? What are the risks? after that? You need a solid content plan, how much content what’s the cadence? What are the formats, it’s going to be distributed in a topic and keyword research list is less important.

still important, but less important for something like a podcast, right? Unless you’re producing a transcript, in which case, it’s you’re back to creating, making sure that you’re mentioning certain specific terms.

And you’d want to make sure that you you do that in the context of the show.

One of the things that Katie Robbert and I do before every episode of Trust Insights podcast is look at the associated keywords for a given topic and see other things that from a domain expertise perspective, we are lacking.

That would want to augment and verify and validate that we’re going to mention in the show because we also publish it as a video, though, that means those keywords and those topics make it into the closed captions file, which means that YouTube can then index it better and shorter video more.

In terms of the tools that you would do this, use this for this, it depends on the content type.

So some things like PDFs are not natively searchable.

In a text format, you have to use a tool like Acrobat or preview or something.

So there are tools that will export a PDF to a plain text file and then you can do your normal text mining.

Text mining tools will be essential for digesting a body of content in order to understand the keywords and topics.

There are, there’s a library I use in the programming language are called quanta.

That does an excellent job of extracting out here the key words in context and the keywords that are within this large group of documents.

So you would take for example, blog posts, Reddit posts, academic papers, cover them all in plain text, load them into this piece of software, as a piece of software would digest them all down and say here are the, here’s a map of, of words that exist in this universe and how they’re connected, which is really important because a lot of tools can do you know, a word cloud, that’s easy, but you don’t understand necessarily the connections between terms.

So for example, you know, a T cell and B cell would be connected terms within the immune system.

In a paper about COVID-19.

You’d want to know that to see how those topics relate to each other social media posts, transcripts, from YouTube videos, transcripts, from podcasts, all those things.

That level of text mining will give you greater insights into the universe around the topic.

In addition to the core keywords themselves, one of the problems with a lot of keyword software is that it’s very narrowly restricted like you can use you know, all male contains these terms or This phrase, but again, something about COVID-19 is not necessarily going to have a key word like antigen, or a key word like dexa, methadone, right? Very important concept, but not necessarily going to be immediately related, which is what a lot of more primitive keyword tools do.

So I would use some text mining tools to extract out and map the universe of language around a topic.

Then you can start creating content from and lining up, you know, if you’re going to be doing a top a piece of content about espresso and what are all the terms that go with espresso, and then you can see the how they clustered together.

And that creates your anchor content to cover each of the major concepts.

So a lot in there a lot to think about, but do that risk assessment and that domain expertise assessment first that will govern the size of your project and how much research you need to do? If you have follow up questions, leave in the comments box below.

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