How to Quickly Research Topics for Content Outsourcing
Content Marketing

How to Quickly Research Topics for Content Outsourcing

6th October 2020

One of the first steps that you should take when you’re looking to outsource content is to figure out what content topics you’re going to cover.

If you’re having trouble learning how to research content topics, you’ve come to the right place. We have several tips on doing this, especially if you’re engaging in content outsourcing.

Research Your Audience

In order to write for your audience, you have to know your audience. There are several ways that you can get to know what your audience likes and what your audience doesn’t like.

Find Out What They’re Asking

One of the best ways to get to know your audience is by looking at what questions they’re asking on different search engines. You can take your time doing some searches on Google, Quora, and other searchable sites. You can even look at the “most asked questions” pages on your competitors’ sites.

quora topics research

Think about where else you would ask questions or find answers if you were one of your customers and take it from there.

Run a Social Media Survey

Another great way to conduct audience research is by running a social media survey. You can do this on any social media site.

Come up with one or a few questions to ask your audience. These could be general questions about what they want to see from you or specific questions about a topic that you’re thinking about writing about.

Post One Question At a Time

Once you’ve created your questions, you need to make sure that you are only posting one question at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience or make them think that they’re taking a quiz.

Also, posting one question at a time can help you focus your audience on specific answers. They are more likely to give you more detailed answers if there are few questions to focus on.

social media survey example

Be sure to share your question or questions on your social media platforms and take note of the comments. Most of your audience should be pretty quick about sharing their opinions.

Explain The Purpose Of Your Survey

As you’re asking the questions, you should make sure that you’re highlighting why you’re asking the questions. You need to make sure that your audience understands that you’re asking them because you appreciate their input and value what they have to say. People love hearing that their participation is important, and they’re more likely to participate if they’re told so.

Make Your Survey Sharable

You should also make sure that your survey is shareable. You can encourage your audience to share the survey with your friends or ask your friends to share the survey on their platforms.

Interact With Your Audience

Don’t stop your survey at one question. Make sure that you’re interacting with your audience once they’ve given answers.

You can respond to the comments, ask additional questions, or even just like responses that your audience is giving. Any kind of interaction shows each individual responder that you’ve read and listened to their specific comment. This builds relationships with individuals and can help you grow your business one person at a time.

Share Your Insights

After you’ve conducted audience research and social media surveys, you should share what you’ve found. Believe it or not, your audience may be interested in what’s going on in your industry and what may be coming up next with your company.

If anything, it can give your audience a chance to correct you if you haven’t collected the correct conclusions. They may also share which of the conclusions they would prefer that you focus on.

Sharing your insights can also be a great way of pointing out certain responders and other audience members that you may have gathered your conclusions from. For example, you may share a quote from someone who replied to your survey. You can quote them and give them credit while building your relationship with that person and showing that you did actually read and intake all of the replies.

sharing survey insights

Do Keyword Research

Once you conduct all your research and gather a few different content topics that you may want to cover now or in the future, it’s time to get down to the keywords.

We’ve lined up a few steps that we think you should follow when you’re looking to gather keywords for your topics.

Step 1: Brainstorm Your Pillar Topics

At this point in your topics research, you should match your audience’s challenges to the challenges your product solves to find a common topic.

For example, I’m an agency selling writing services (product) to help businesses outsource their content (problem). The concept of ‘content writing service’ sounds like a good pillar topic here.

Try to choose 5-10 pillar topics to keep your topic strategy focus clear moving forward and keep them in a file that you will expand on later.

Step 2: Use a Keyword Research Tool

Now that you figured out your pillar topic(s), you can start building your keyword list from there.

Take those search terms and plug them into a keyword research tool. This can help you find other relevant and more popular keywords to include with your content. You may be surprised as to how other people are phrasing their questions or what keywords they’re using to find their answers.

keyword research tool

Add those keywords to your keyword list and move on to the next step.

Step 3: Extend Your List with Competitors’ Keywords

You can extend your list of keywords by looking at what your competitors are ranking for. Again, you can use keyword research tools to look up what similar websites are using for their keywords on the same topic.

This tells you what your target audience is looking for and gives you the opportunity to rank higher than your competition.

competitor keyword research

Don’t think that using your competitors’ keywords will automatically put your site before theirs. Keep your content original, fresh, and of high quality to rank high on search engines.

Once you’ve added your competitors’ keywords to your keyword list, get down to categorizing.

Step 4: Group Your Keywords Wisely

Break down your keywords by different topics (which will help you choose the right keywords for each post) and by intent (to help you match the right keywords with the right posts according to your marketing funnel stage), removing any irrelevant keywords along the way.

keyword list example

When outsourcing creation, send this list of keywords to your writer in a content brief, detailing the keyword’s search volume, keyword difficulty, and average CPC. This can help the writer prioritize the most high-value keywords in the post.

Competitor Research

If you’re looking to outdo your competition, you need to get some insight into what your competitors are doing. This means that you should research their blogs and pay attention to the content they’re putting out and the tags and keywords they’re using.

You should also conduct a keyword gap analysis to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for but you aren’t.

keyword gap tool

Lastly, you should look into repurposing your competitors’ content. Take topics that they’ve covered and put a spin on them, ensuring to make yours more updated, valuable, and helpful.

Content Ideation Tools

Content ideation tools will give you an idea of the hottest and potentially trending topics that you may be able to rank well for. In order to use content ideation tools more effectively, you should follow a few steps:

  1. Choose one or two high-volume keywords that you’ve found using your keyword research tool and build your topic research around those.
  2. Use long-tail keywords for headings for your articles.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use question keywords as they’re great for using for your article structure.

content ideation tools

How to Learn More

Grasping how to research topics and keywords to engage your audience can seem like a difficult task. We hope that our tips and tricks have helped you get a start on how to research topics for your content strategy, whether you’re writing the content yourself or outsourcing your writing.


Written By
Maria Raybould is a Online Marketing Specialist at SEMrush.
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