Pop Quiz: Picking Topics for Your Content Marketing

How good are you at juggling? Can you keep two balls in the air? What about four? In our new guide, From Keyword Research to Content Strategy (part of our Digital Marketing Toolkit), we look at four factors you need to consider when you’re choosing topics for your content marketing.

  1. Search Volume
  2. Competition
  3. Match
  4. Conversion Value

The juggling act will be different for every business. For example, what if competition for a keyword is tough—but the search volumes are promising, the term is an exact match for what you offer, and the conversion value is high? Would you go for it?

Here are a few examples you can think of as content strategy warm-ups—helping you get ready to ace your own strategy. If you were the marketing manager for these five very different businesses, what would you do? Pick your answers. Then, we’ll share our take.

Five Content Strategy Examples

Vegans in the Caribbean

Here’s a real example from one of our clients at JB Media—a healthy cruise. Your typical Caribbean cruise is a great opportunity to binge drink morning to night and gain a dozen pounds or so. But this cruise is different. A conference and vacation, this experience offers entirely vegan, plant-based cuisine, as well as talks by leading experts on veganism and healthy lifestyles.

We did keyword research to help them target their SEO efforts. Here’s a snippet of that research:

When you’re picking top priority focus keywords for this site—the this-is-it keywords you’d use in your homepage meta title—which would you go for?

  1. Caribbean cruise
  2. Vegan cruise
  3. Health cruise
  4. Vegetarian cruise
  5. Meat free cruise

Skip to answer.

Solar Lanterns for Charity

This company is a new social enterprise start-up. They make solar-powered lanterns for camping. Of course, a lot of other companies are already doing that. But this company gives away a solar light to people in developing countries for each one that customers buy for camping adventures. Solar light bulbs run on free, renewable power—and they help people take care of their families or run their businesses in places that don’t always have power.

Here’s a look at what we see in the keyword research:

If you were this company, which channel(s) would you prioritize in your digital marketing?

  1. SEO
  2. Social Media
  3. PR and Outreach
  4. AdWords
  5. Local SEO

Skip to answer.

Sit-Stand Desks

This is an established company that’s been making convertible sit-stand desks for over a decade. They’ve been selling them mainly through big box retailers and Amazon. Now they’re shifting their business model to attract more customers through search. Their website has some links and it has built up reasonable authority over the years.

They think they have a pretty cool product: desks that automatically convert from sitting to standing with the click of a button, for about $600. There are cheaper options, but these desks are classy looking, fully automated, and easy to use. Customers love them.

Here’s some mini keyword research:

Which keywords would you prioritize for this site?

  1. Sit stand desk
  2. Electric standing desk
  3. Electric sit stand desk
  4. Best sit stand desk
  5. Sit stand desk reviews

Skip to answer.

Hello Ergonomics

One of the owners of the sit-stand desk company just started a consulting business on the side called “Hello Ergonomics.” She wants to travel to companies across the U.S. and provide consultations on how to make workplaces more healthy. There are lots of upsides: fewer sick days, fewer worker’s comp claims, happier employees, and better staff retention. Still, this isn’t a service that has crossed most corporate executives’ minds.

The owner is choosing blog topics to help her reach more of those corporate execs. Here’s part of her keyword research:

Which of these blogs would you write?

  1. How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel if You Work at a Computer
  2. How to Use a Laptop Ergonomically
  3. Sitting Hurts! How to Avoid Back Pain at Work
  4. How to Prevent Workers’ Compensation Claims
  5. How Ergonomics Increase Productivity

Skip to answer.

Home Loans for More Families

A well-established national network of local credit unions wants to run a campaign that will raise awareness about home loans they offer for low-income families. Many potential homeowners think they can’t get a loan because they’ve been turned away by banks—or they know their neighbors have been turned away.

This campaign is targeting people who are raising families and have a steady job, but don’t make very much money. The credit unions have found that these customers are reliable when loans are structured to meet their needs. They want to write an in-depth guide that will get the word out to their target audience. Here’s some of their keyword research:

What do you think would be the best topic for the guide?

  1. Credit Unions Versus Banks: Pros and Cons
  2. How to Apply for a Mortgage—and Get It!
  3. How to Get a Home Loan: 5 Steps for Success
  4. How to Buy a House with Low Income
  5. How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

Skip to answer.

Answers: Our Take on Content Marketing Strategies

That was fun, right? And there are no absolute right answers. There’s always more than one way you could approach a content strategy. But here’s our take.

Vegans in the Caribbean

Our answer:

B) Vegan Cruise

This one’s a real-life example. At JB Media, we optimized Holistic Holiday at Sea for “vegan cruise” and they rank near the top of Google results for this term! Here’s why we picked it:

“Caribbean cruise” definitely gets more search—but even if this company managed to rank for that highly competitive term, most of those people wouldn’t pick a vegan cruise. “Vegetarian cruise” or “health cruise” are a better match, but “vegan cruise” is a perfect match—and it has higher search volume. “Meat free cruise” gets close to no search, so we can rule that out.

I go into more depth with this example in my content strategy e-book, which can be downloaded as part of our Digital Marketing Toolkit .

Solar Lanterns for Charity

Our answer:

B) Social Media and C) PR and Blog Outreach

This company is too new and small to rank for competitive keywords like “solar camping lights.” And no one is searching for the thing that sets them apart—that they donate solar lights to charity. While there’s no reason not to optimize the site for relevant keywords, this start-up should prioritize telling their story through social media, PR, and blog outreach. Especially with such a unique story, they might get listed in some of the top articles about “best solar camping lights” and piggyback off those articles’ strong SEO.

Sit Stand Desk

Our Answer:

C) Electric Sit Stand Desk

Broad keywords for these products are extremely competitive, so we want to target highly relevant niche searches. “Sit stand desk” is a better match than “standing desk.” Adding “electric” helps target even more qualified searches. As for queries that include “best” or “reviews,” there’s no point in trying to rank for those. Articles that compare options are always going to be more relevant results. Instead, it would be smart to see which articles are ranking for those searches and try to get featured in them.

Hello Ergonomics

Our Answer:

E) How Ergonomics Increase Productivity

The first three topic ideas get a lot of search—but this is a brand new start-up that can’t hope to compete for broad, competitive searches. Even worse, those topics are targeting the wrong audience. This consultant doesn’t just need to reach office workers. She needs to reach executives or managers who might hire an ergonomics consultant. Either of the last two options (how to avoid workers comp claims or how ergonomics increases productivity) speaks to the interests of those higher-ups. Of the two, the second option is more relevant for this business.

Since this is a new business, it definitely needs to amplify its articles through social media, PR, and blog outreach. It doesn’t yet have the authority to count on SEO bringing in much traffic.

Home Loans for More Families

Our Answer:

D) How to Buy a House with Low Income

Here’s why we picked this over the others:

Credit unions versus banks is not directly relevant for this campaign. Guides to applying for a home loan or getting a mortgage are too broad—they don’t speak to this specific audience. Not to mention that those topics are extremely competitive! The credit unions don’t necessarily want to lend money to people with bad credit. “How to Buy a House with Low Income” nails the campaign topic exactly—and this nationally recognized network has the authority to compete for those 590 monthly searches.

But there’s a catch. Many people in their target audience already think they can’t get a home loan. So they may not be searching. The credit unions can reach more of their target audience by promoting this guide on social media, targeting for income level.

Learn More About How to Turn Your Keyword Research into Great Content Idea

If you want a more in-depth understanding of the factors that go into shaping a successful content strategy, check out my guide From Keyword Research to Content Strategy, found within our Digital Marketing Toolkit.

You’ll learn:

  • How to size up the competition
  • What to do if a keyword is too competitive
  • How to decide which keywords are the best match
  • When to target keywords with low conversion value

If you’re still working on getting your keyword research down, check out the great Keyword Research Guide by my colleague, Leah Quintal. You can get all of these guides, 20 in total, by downloading our Digital Marketing Toolkit!

Posted in: CONTENT MARKETING, EDUCATION, SKILLS
Rose Jenkins Written By:
Rose Jenkins, SEO & Content Strategy Specialist at JB Media Group.