We all know it: content marketing is so hot right now (Zoolander, anybody?).

While the idea isn’t new, content marketing as a discipline has invaded marketing departments across industries. Using engaging content to achieve marketing goals attracts a well-targeted audience without the guesswork required in advertising, and organically promotes word-of-mouth sharing. One of the challenges for content marketer is finding topics that are timely and in line with what their customers are interested in consuming. The good news is there are a few tricks to make the process simpler.

In a recent post my colleague Tom Treanor wrote that the first step to an effective content marketing strategy is to “focus on quality first,” and producing quality content requires insight into your industry and your customer. The fastest way to kill traffic to your blog isn’t bad promotion, but bad content.

Luckily for me, and you if you’re a customer, Meltwater specializes in pulling insights from big data on social media and online publications. This makes it easy to find nuggets of info that can lead to a new story or pepper it with great stats and insight not easily gleaned from simple Internet searches.

Keep reading for three different ways to find and vet topics using the monitoring and analytics features in the Meltwater Buzz and Meltwater News platforms.

1. Word Cloud

Trends pulled from industry news and social media mentions are great indicators of topics that will resonate with your company’s audience. A word cloud (or theme/topic cloud) displays trends graphically, with the more widespread trends represented in bigger size font.

The above word cloud is from a Meltwater Buzz search campaign for “content marketing.” Salient topics in content marketing in the last week include “search engine,” “seo strategy,” and “pinterest.” A click on any of the words within Meltwater Buzz displays the full list of content that included the keyword.

Playing with filters for date, location and channel, or filtering using a keyword can further focus the word cloud and yield even more relevant topics.

2. Sentiment Analysis

Reactions in the press and on social media to industry news, competitor’s campaigns and product launches can guide your own content. In Meltwater News and Meltwater Buzz automated sentiment analysis groups together the most negative and positive results from your search. To vet a potential topic, create a search in Buzz or News and look at the sentiment surrounding it.

Sentiment graphs are interactive, so click on them to display the list of positive or negative results to dig deeper.

Sentiment is also one of the filters that can be applied to the word cloud in number 1 above. Don’t forget that there may be value in looking at negative sentiment to help figure out the wrong approach to take on a topic.

3. Conferences

After attending an industry conference, it’s usually very clear what current and upcoming trends are. Going to conference websites, even months before the conference, can give you an idea of trends and topics. Look through the list of speakers, their talks and any workshops.

Don’t forget that the speakers and organizers at conferences are usually influencers themselves. They’re the folks who help shape trends in your industry and they’re out there right now giving talks, writing books and sending tweets. If you’re not following influencers already, start now! Meltwater Buzz helps you find online influencers and segment them. Keep an eye on posts from influencers to stay on top of topic trends and don’t forget that you can always throw them into a search to see who else is writing about them and how they’re received.

 

As opposed to most advertising, investing in content marketing is playing the long game. Writing about topics that engage your audience means building trust with them, giving your company a personality and turning prospects into customers and customers into advocates. Finding and vetting topics doesn’t have to be hard – especially when there are tools out there to help. Start writing on things that you know will resonate!

Unlike Zoolander, I know you can learn to turn left.

If there are any other topics you’d like to see on the Meltwater Success Blog, or if you’d like to write a guest post, send me an email at chris.dotson@meltwater.com.

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