6 Tips On How To Use Customer Question Research To Improve Content
By Steve RaysonMar 25
We analyzed 100m posts so you don’t have to
Content creation is a journey. You start out going one way, then research takes you in another direction. You eventually arrive at an idea but might get lost as you produce the piece. Doing it over and over again, especially with targets to hit, can get overwhelming.
Using content creation tools gives you space to plan ahead, and prioritize quality over quantity. They can help you out at every stage of the content creation journey, including:
Here are some of our favorite tools for planning and polishing your content:
Content ideation isn’t about coming up with ideas out of thin air. Engaging with what’s out there and understanding trends is essential in content creation. These content creation tools will have you trend-surfing in no time.
1. Google Trends & Pinterest Trends
The grandfather of all content creation tools, Google’s free trends tool shows you what’s trending today, as well as letting you research topics’ performance over time. Spot patterns, plan ahead, and make sure you’re not missing a trick in the ever-changing news cycle.
This helps you stay on top of the game and react quickly with the right piece of content when a story breaks, otherwise known as newsjacking.
Pinterest’s Trends tool works in a similar way, and throws up a vision board of popular pins alongside the standard graphs. Ideal for thinking outside the box.
I like this Google trends walkthrough for planning:
2. Exploding Topics
Trend finding can seem daunting, but if you don’t get a thrill from reactive work, fear not. Trends always have roots, and having a sense of what’s going to take off is just as important as reacting.
“Really loving @explodingtopics as a content inspo source for emerging trends across finance, e-commerce, gaming, media, and other industries.” Brad Michelson, eToro
Its findings are ideal for content creators to hijack and start writing stories about – before everyone else catches on 😏. It’s free, but the pro version starts at $47/mo.
Head to Product Hunt to read more Exploding Topics reviews.
To take your trends to the max, you need to get familiar with the past. Our friends at Brandwatch have a full suite of tools to slice and dice up to ten years of social and consumer conversation data, so you can spot patterns and predict the future. 🔮
Here’s a few ways you can do that:
Head to G2 to read more Brandwatch reviews.
Inspiration sometimes finds you stuck between a rock and a hard place. You want to come up with a great idea, but you’re short on time and have got targets to hit.
Zooming out and reframing is one of the best ways to maintain creativity while staying on message. These content research and curation tools are all bursting with material to spark ideas:
Feeling stuck? Finding a different way to look at the problem is guaranteed to help. BuzzSumo’s content research tools give you loads of great new angles. Here’s how:
5. Answer the Public
What do people want to know? AnswerThePublic scrapes autocomplete search data from Google.
It uses them to create spider diagrams with strings of topics that relate to one another – which is ideal for content creators, because that overlap is where the juiciest longtail content ideas live🍹
You get two free searches a day – although a paid account gives you more searches, data, and tracking.
“AnswerThePublic is a fantastic, beautiful way to explore questions and problems that your prospects or customers actually have. (I really like the Prepositions wheel. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.)" Ann Handley, Digital marketing & content expert
A less aesthetically-pleasing, but just as quick, version is Soovle, which shows results from platforms like YouTube and Wikipedia too.
6. Hubspot Blog Ideas Generator
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time for the hard bit: actually coming up with a brilliant idea.
If you’ve got something uninspiring to grapple with, HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator can help get the ideas-train in motion. It does exactly what you’d expect: generating generic blog titles including whatever noun you type in, leaving you to your craft.
All content creators love writing, right? Not always. Having to tick a lot of boxes, from SEO to short sentences, while communicating what you want to say, is a true balancing act. There are a few content creation tools that can help you sharpen up and express yourself.
If you’re a writer and you haven’t heard of this app, you’re in for a treat. Ernest Hemingway’s ‘iceberg theory’ of short, straightforward prose may have won him some Pulitzer Prizes, but it’s also a killer way of writing for digital.
This app named after the famous writer not only checks spelling and grammar, but points out where your sentences could be snappier, and when the dreaded passive voice has crept in.
“I do recommend the Hemingway App to help you tighten up your writing and identify problems. It’s easy to use, helps you spot glaring errors, and simplifies your language” Jennifer Geer, better marketing
It’s free, but you can buy a desktop program if you don’t trust yourself to switch onto other tabs while writing in a browser.
If you’re feeling insecure about your spelling and grammar, many people swear by Grammarly, which has a free plugin that will sit on your browser to analyze everything you’re writing.
“Grammarly is like a little superpower, especially when I need to be at 110%.” Jeanette Stock, Co-founder of Venture Out
Most helpful for content creators is the premium version, which helps adjust style and tone for different audiences. So if you’re juggling content for several different platforms, you’ll never miss a trick.
9. Headline Analyzer
Extra, extra! 📰 You’ve written your piece. Now how are you going to get people to actually read all about it?
Co Schedule’s Headline Analyzer is free (if you sign up for an account) and offers recommendations to help craft the most evocative and eye-catching headlines by giving you a score out of 100. Which can be a lifesaver when you’re stuck in a rut.
“There aren't many headline analyzers out there, and the Coschedule one works great for me. I highly recommend trying it out if you're a blogger. I use the Coschedule Headline Analyzer to get my headlines rated. Its [sic] a great "second set of eyes" for my headlines.” - Mac M. on Capterra
Looks aren’t everything, but if you’re not lucky enough to work with a designer, making your content beautiful can be a real headache. These tools help you look like a pro, imposter syndrome free:
If you’ve got a tone of voice for your website, you’ll understand the importance of visual cohesion.
Canva lets you use templates to create awesome graphics, source and edit photos, and generally make anything you’re doing look spick and span – giving your content a unique look and feel. It’s free but paid plans give oodles more features and storage.
“This has been very useful for all my creative needs. The good UI has made it effortless to do work and just feels natural. I didn't need any tutorials or anything so well done. I also love the templates provided by the tool.“ - Renz R. on Canva’s reviews page.
11. Remove Background
A handy tool to pair your new Canva skills with (so much so that Canva has just acquired it) is Remove Background, which cuts shapes out of photos – ideal for creating professional-looking headshots while we can’t do photoshoots!
You can sign up for a paid plan based on how many cutouts you’ll need per month. It integrates with other tools and has different elements for different industry requirements.
Enter Flourish, which helps you tell stories with data: from bar-chart races showing change over time, to interactive survey data and graphs. You’ll hardly need to write a word.
“This software is a powerful tool for creating great presentations, which can make a difference when telling your story. Use your imagination, use the simple tools of Flourish Studio, and make a difference. You are the main actor, and you know how to tell the best story about your product or service.” Manuel Silva Robalinho, Data Driven Investor
Content creation tools are making podcasting more accessible than ever. It’s a fantastic way to build your audience and deep dive into topics, as well as sharing audiences with your guests and collaborators. Let’s get started! 🎙
This new live podcasting tool has seen phenomenal growth in a really short space of time. Start a live-streamed conversation, or join other people’s – Serena Williams, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Drake are all members – you’ll feel like you’re at a conference, without leaving the house/office/car.
“The superpower of @joinClubhouse is the ability to instantly drop in on an incredible range of conversations...washing the dishes has never been more interesting... of course many ways this can go wrong but so much positive potential 🙏 🔥" Mike Maghsoudi
The ephemeral nature of Clubhouse is one reason it’s so popular: you can be holding a live event and reach a community instantly, without the perfectionism or preparation. We’re excited to see how it grows.
Media mentions for invite-only app @joinClubhouse hit a 2021 peak yesterday after a weekend appearance from the world's richest man, @elonmusk.— BuzzSumo (@BuzzSumo) February 2, 2021
But mentions have seen an upwards trend for the past month – is the beginning of global success for the app? pic.twitter.com/cxvMZ596Xa
If you want to start a podcast, one thing that shouldn’t get in your way is a lack of access to software. Free tools like Audacity, and Spotify’s anchor.fm offer simple audio software that is making it easier and easier to get your (actual) voice out there. Record, edit and upload your masterpiece, either remotely or in person. Who says there are too many podcasts?
"Audacity was the first-ever audio-editing software I ever tried, and it's still something I use regularly. I really like its ease of use. Our cohost is not at all tech-savvy and has a 10-year-old computer. I gave him a USB mic and told him to download Audacity to record and export his audio, and we've had smooth sailing ever since.” Joey H, on G2
When you’re trying to demonstrate something to your audience, it might be better shown through video or live webinars. No equipment? No problem – there are several content creation tools to turn you into a director today 📽
Without an in-house editor, making videos look professional can be extremely time-consuming. If you’re creating educational content or hosting a webinar to show something off, biteable is the perfect content creation tool. It has in-built templates and effects to decorate any footage or presentation.
A paid plan gives even snazzier effects, but with the free version you’ll be jazzing up your content in no time.
“From the ease of use to the wonderful customer service, I have been thoroughly impressed. I had to create a small campaign video and this site far exceeded my expectations. The ease of use is what did it for me. I was able to upload images, change colors and themes, upload music as though I was a pro”, Baronica on Trustpilot
16. Video Peel
Online reviews can be murky – it’s hard to know what’s real sometimes. Seeing a video of someone recommending your product is a much more reliable way to get customer feedback.
Recently Exploding Topics showcased the explosive growth of the SaaS tool, Video Peel, which lets you create User Generated Social Proof Content by rallying your own customers. You have to pay to subscribe, but the genuine, heartfelt recommendations are worth their weight in gold.
“We used VideoPeel to send out a small campaign… and we got 10X the result. It makes it easy for us to represent ourselves in a more authentic way.” – Peter Knecht, Business Director, American Heritage School Worldwide
Which brings us to the end of our list. 16 awesome content creation tools, to help you stay on top of the ever-broadening skillset that working in content creation brings.
And if you heard anything you liked about BuzzSumo, be sure to grab your 30 day free trial to try it out for yourself.
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