Let’s be honest: Every company needs new clients, preferably regularly and without investing too much. This is exactly where Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing start. It is pretty easy: Identify the potential customer, provide him with the right content at the right time and convert him into a buyer; at best turn him into a fan, who spreads the word in his peer group.
To attract the attention of a user, who is searching in Google or in the latest social media posts, product titles and descriptions not only have to be written in a catchy manner and optimised for search engines, but above all the topic has to be interesting for the user. Easier said than done, so what are users looking for?
“A great story”
People love good stories. A good story contains on the one hand relevant information and on the other hand interesting positions. Both elements joined together ensure that the story will be shared in social media, the book will be read and the story will be told around the campfire. It’s the Content Marketer’s job to identify this story. This is where XOVI’s Offpage-Analysis comes in.
Offpage Analysis from the perspective of the author
An offpage-analysis investigates how products perform in search engines. Which topics and target words are of interest and boast a high search volume? Do these target words fit our purpose? Are we able to achieve top positions in search results via content within a short period of time? Who talks about our topic and could be brought on board as a long-term influencer? Only through the evaluation of the real chances and opportunities are content marketers able to clearly define key aims.
In fact, the offpage-analysis enables one to determine topics on the basis of hard facts: What is successful in Google and the social web and what is “IT” composed of? This approach is music in the ears of authors, who can identify interesting topics accurately and with relatively little effort, and home in on them – even if they necessarily belong to their usual field.
XOVI Pro – the Swiss Army Knife
If we want to identify topics, we don’t have to fall back on traditional idea-finding processes. XOVI opens up new horizons for us in which demand, interest and relevance are quantified and measurable.
XOVI provides us with two important criteria: Keywords and links. When it comes to keywords, we are interested in search volume, the ranking of the corresponding web page and its URL. When it comes to links, we concentrate on the web pages that link the URL and the URL of the target web page.
Content Marketing at SAGE
In order to illustrate our strategy, we constructed the following scenario:
A young start-up has developed an ERP software which they would like to bring to market using content marketing. An ERP software is a system which depicts the different needs of a company (accounting, merchandising, human resources etc.) in a single app. The start-up has already identified an “incumbent player” in the market (see Oliver Samwer’s brilliant master’s thesis “America’s Most Successful Start-Ups) we could be useful for the development of ideas – SAGE. In conclusion: SAGE has already achieved what this start up is aiming for and that’s why we are investigating sage.de.
Step 1: Cluster topics
XOVI provides us with a huge amount of raw data when it comes to monitoring our competitors for ideas. We knew this already. In order to exert some degree of control over this data, we structure our subject matter beforehand. Sage.de’s sitemap shows us how: The main navigation contains the sub-heading “solutions”, followed by the following list:
- Commercial solutions
- Resource planning
- Payroll accounting
- HR management
We can assume that these terms represent our potential client’s problems and desired solutions. They are the key topics and potential search terms for our start-up.
Step 2: Define keywords and allocate topics
Now we export those keywords which sage.de ranks. First we sort according to search volume, since the search volume represents the users’ interest in a topic. We concentrate on search terms with sufficient relevance and set our limit to 100 queries per month.
After that we allocate the search items to the previously determined subject areas. The keyword “CRM” fits perfectly for our fictive start-up; it gets an A in the subject area “client management”. The keyword “Act”, a CRM extension in SAGE also gets an A in the subject area “client management”. “Offer and invoice” is allocated to the area “commercial solutions” and “AGB Software” goes to “Miscellaneous”. What is our start up supposed to do with this?
After doing this for all our exported keywords, we count the hits within the subject areas and the corresponding cumulative search volumes. It seems the need for information regarding “HR management” is substantial.
Step 3: Clean up backlinks, define and allocate topics
Next, we export the links which link to sage.de. As a link-giving website we find a mixed bagn of blog posts, catalogue entries and failed link-building attempts. We eat the best and stew the rest, retaining catalogue entries like 123people, link-providers which link to sage.de’s homepage, and link-providers which use anchor texts such as “sage.de” or “next”. Why? Good content doesn’t just contain relevant information, but also interesting positions. The latter tend to arise from from unpredictable discussions of content on these catalogue entries. This process leaves us with backlink providers who actually have something to say.
These link to sub-pages which, using their URL or the anchor text used, we can also assign to relevant topic areas. Due to a lack of space, we won’t analyse the link providers any further here. That would be far too complex an undertaking for this blog, so we’ll stick to the cumulative categories.
Step 4: Bring results together
We have now found out that, given our competitor’s keyword performance, the subjects HR management, CRM and resource planning might satisfy our target group’s main information needs as well. We are able to derive from our competitor’s link performance that the interest of influencers and potential link givers can be awoken with contributions on the topics CRM, HR Management, resource planning and commercial solutions. Since we live in a world of limited resources, we focus on the top 2 – CRM and HR management.
Step 5: (Over)-Engineering & Conclusion
The process discussed here can of course be expanded depending on your needs. For example, a keyword’s search volume could be correlated with your latest Google ranking and the latest AdWord prices in order to check if it’s worth abandoning consistent, low traffic generating content in favour of AdWords which deliver an immediate return on investment.
We could analyse and evaluate the backlink providers more closely in XOVI in order to tailor our content to top candidates.
Time is the only limiting factor which keeps us from developing further analyses and giving them life by using XOVI’s raw data. The quantification of the topic finding process is a great opportunity for content marketing, because it allows marketers to predict a strategy’s success in advance.
But this does not release the author from his primary obligation: delivering a creative idea.