Pipeline Marketing Blog

3 Simple Ways to Validate Your Content Ideas

By Scott Ragin
Mar 9, 2017
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In the previous year, there has been a widespread emphasis on the message of bigger and better content.

There are different avenues which are used to pass the trending message, but all of them are aimed at achieving the same goal. These include Brian Dean’s “skyscraper content” as well as Rand Fishkin’s “10x content.” In the case where you want to draw a lot of attention and thus be regarded as a powerhouse, your content should be unique in its own right and out of the ordinary that is offered by your compatriots.

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Owing to these, many business premises are beginning to devote funds and a lot of effort into creating huge pieces of content. To a large extent, this is very beneficial for business. However, it also leads to a new potential hazard.

What happens in the case where you put in a lot of time and resources into coming up with an epic piece of content only for your target audience to show disinterest?

The idea of approving and verifying content before investing in it came along in the comment section of a recent Moz post.

A scenario is outlined where a team had an awesome idea they thought would do wonders but when they embarked on the process and published the content, the target audience showed complete disinterest. The first part of an idea should involve validation, which is a step that most people fail to take seriously in their content creation process, as explained by Moz guru Rand Fishkin in his reply.

When it comes to creating content, it makes no sense to fire from the hip when one can opt for simpler and more straightforward ways to validate your ideas before putting your precious time and resources into its inception.

Place More Attention on What’s Already Popular

If you’ve been engaging in content marketing for quite a while, validation can take the form of looking at past content. Go through your previous posts and identify the topics that your audience engaged with in the past.

Visit Google Analytics and look to see which particular blog posts have received the highest number of views and the longest time on the page. Or use a marketing attribution solution to track which content generated the most engagement from leads that went on to become customers.

In the case where you are just getting started with content marketing, or you have not been taking it as serious until now, then tools such as Ahrefs Content Explorer or Buzzsumo are there to assist you to find popular articles in your area of specialty.

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When you sight something that is receiving a lot of engagement, then you should either come up with a similar concept and do slight modifications to it, or scour the feedback and find some of the frequently-asked questions with answers that were not provided in the popular content.

Speaking of questions...

Ask as many questions as possible and do thorough research on what has already been asked.

The best feedback you can get from people as to whether they want something is by asking them.

Do you want this?”

It is hopelessly simple and yet so often, businesses that could easily acquire a ton of feedback never bother to ask.

If  you have an email list, you could send out an email which consists of a survey or a “Reply” request. You could also use your own words such as “We are planning to create [___]. If you’d like access to this for free, click this link and we’ll send you access when it’s live.”

When a large amount of people click, you obviously conclude that there is interest. If the opposite happens, then it’s time for you to focus and strategize by going back to the drawing board.

Obviously, this is easier when you have a huge target audience. What about a scenario where you do not have such a big audience?

In this case, you can take advantage of channels like Paid Social.

One simple way to do this via Facebook or Twitter would be to come up with a few short messages or questions based on the different content ideas that you are considering, and then check to see which gets the most engagement.

Another viable option would be to visit question sites such as Quora or popular blogs in one’s area of expertise such as GetResponse for email marketing, or Moz for SEO, and see which questions come up most.

Match Your Content to the Right Distribution Channel

There is a very important part of the content marketing process that a large number of marketers fail to consider while planning out their content. Distribution.

As soon as your internet-shattering piece of compelling content is finally live, nothing will happen unless you get eyeballs on the page. This is the distribution stage of the content puzzle, and it should have a big influence on the kind of content that’s created.

For example:

If you’d like to target small business owners in the pet space and you’re certain the best channel to access owners is LinkedIn, begin by asking what they are passionate about. Then research communities in the pet space, search for trending pet content on Ahref’s content explorer and research the most asked pet questions in Quora.

With that research in mind, you may think you’ve found the perfect content fit. You publish.

Incredible!

15,000 Facebook shares.

Nearly 3,000 twitter shares.

And on LinkedIn, where your target audience is… 1 share?

It is absolutely meaningless to get nearly 20,000 total shares, but barely reach the target audience. It is possible to go viral with the wrong audience and get virtually zero business benefit from your content.

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As you are planning, you must think about what content resonates best on what channel. In the example above, and additional question of “what content performs well on LinkedIn?” needed to be answered before taking the time to create the blog post. Because the ultimate goal, was to reach business owners on LinkedIn.

To Conclude

At the end of the day, content is still content. A smart approach is to test the market before you make up your mind to get something out there since at this stage you won’t need as much caution compared to the product launch.

If you’re planning to invest time and money into content marketing, be vigilant and take the necessary validation steps to make sure it will resonate with your target audience.

Take a look at your analyzed statistics, ask your current audience, and keep in mind channel distribution to provide your content with the best possible chance of content success.

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