It’s easy to think if you write great content that the audiences will come. You used to be able to get away with this mentality ten years ago even, but today the internet is saturated. There are over 91.8 million blog post published every month on WordPress along with over 211 million pieces of content created every minute. This data was pre-covid so at least double that today.
So how do you stand out in a field of accomplished writers, content creators and social experts?
You start by doing what most people won’t and you test whether your idea for your blog post is going to be a great article or just another piece of content that is floating around the internet.
Here is how I validate my ideas and how I’ve produced articles that have driven over 4 million eyeballs to my writing globally. I’ve used the video version of this on LinkedIn and created the most commented video on the platform in 2018.
1. Find Out If Anyone Is Even Interested In Your Ideas
Most people when they start writing assume that their idea is going to have an audience, they then pour hours into creating an amazing piece on the sixteenth-century hygiene habits of the clergy to find out no one wants to read about it.
Your content may be great but it also may not be read by anyone if the idea is only appealing to you and four other people on the planet.
Here are the tools that I use to validate my ideas and content:
The cornerstone of all good ideas comes from finding your minimum viable product and seeing if people will buy into this before you invest your time and energy into building out the finished product.
The same goes for your writing, you want to see what themes are consistently being shared across the internet and whether or not your idea is one of those things.
Buzzsumo allows you to do just that. A tool used by a ton of content marketers it allows you to analyze and report on what content is performing well across the internet based on the number of shares across social channels and the backlinks that are pointing towards that piece of content.
Here is an example of a search I did below:
As you can see there isn’t a high volume of shares for the leading piece of content for personal trainer marketing.
This tells me one of two things:
Nobodies really interested in the content
Nobody has written great content for that term
We can validate this by exploring the links that Buzzsumo has given us or we can try another search idea or explore what the competitions most shared content may be.
Here is an example of a competitive analysis of another site’s content I follow www.girlboss.com – immediately I can see that the most shared content for their website is “The 14-Step Guide To Starting Your Own Business”. This piece of content has 6.9 K shares and I can now look at the article and decide if I’m able to publish something that this article may be missing and improve upon the concepts within it.
One of the most successful articles I’ve written for Influencive and secured me the accolade of “Most Shared Contributor” is called “Why Your Work Ethic Is More Important than Intelligence” which has over 3.8 K shares and 70 K views came from the idea came from of an article I found on Buzzsumo regarding emotional intelligence.
Here is a quick tutorial on how to use BuzzSumo:
1. Head to www.buzzsumo.com – where you’ll be greeted with a screen like this below
2. Enter in the idea you had for your blog post into the search bar and hit “Go!
3. You’ll get a search screen like this above and you can follow the links by clicking on them but you’ll also get the top websites that have produced those articles from here you can throw any of those sites back into the search bar and try again to continually provide you with new ideas
Use this process as often as you like to validate your ideas or weigh them against what is currently out there to get a good guestimate if your content or idea is going to perform well or not.
This leads to our next tool and another way to validate whether your idea will be a hit or a flop.
Google Keyword Planner
For anyone in the world of digital marketing, this tool is a necessity of any good online business. Essentially Google Keyword Planner allows you to identify the total search volume for a word that is entered into Google.
When using keyword planner you’re going to be able to tell if the idea for your blog post is searched often and the total volume for those searches.
Here is a quick example:
I entered the words “female entrepreneurship” into the keyword planner and I can see a total volume of 1 M – 10 M per month globally.
You can also see below this that there are other search terms and their related monthly search volume which can give you even more keywords or ideas to jump off of.
This means that if you include some of these keywords in your title you know you’re going to appear in the search results on Google and may bring additional traffic to your blog.
Here is a quick guide on how to use the Keyword Planner (You will need a gmail account to do this):
1. Type the search term Keyword Planner into Google and hit enter
2. Head to the first link which will look something like this:
3. If you’re new to Google and haven’t used Google Adwords before which hosts the Keyword Planner tool you’re going to need to set up an Adwords account – this is what the screen will look like:
Enter your email and password.
From here you need to select the words “Skip the guided setup”.
Hit “Save and continue” or change the time zones to whatever best suits you.
5. From here select “Keyword Planner” and then enter in whatever ideas you have for your blog post and get as much data as you need.
By using these two tools in conjunction you will at least know if people are going to be interested in what you have to say and whether it’s got an audience.
2. Putting Some of Your Idea To Work
Now that you have an idea that you know people are interested in it’s time to find out if people are going to like what you have to say.
Here are the channels I use to preview my content.
Most great content often starts off as a spark or lingering thought, it then transforms into an idea which we flesh out and finally we start to investigate if this idea has viability or not, and finally we share some of that idea with the public.
Here is where Quora enters the picture. Quora is a social media platform this allows people to answer questions asked by anyone and everyone.
This has been a breeding ground for some of my blog posts and has contributed to over a million views on my content. This is how I use it for validating my ideas.
Start by searching to see if someone has asked a question that is relative to your blog idea:
I searched for a blog topic that was of interest to me and I answered the question to the best of my ability.
There are two metrics to tell if your answer is performing well. The first is upvotes which are basically similar to a like on Facebook the second is comments. You can see here that my answer has had 1910 upvotes and had over 167 K views which is pretty good for an answer that took me just under thirty minutes to write. If you’re getting a ratio of 100 views to 1 upvote you know your idea is going to perform well elsewhere.
As a result, I now know this piece of content would be perfect for repurposing on some other platform and could be elaborated upon even further.
I used to try to write an answer on Quora daily when I was trying to perfect my craft.
Here is a quick guide on how to use Quora:
1. Head over to www.quora.com
2. Go through the sign up process which is very basic you can use either your Facebook account or email account
3. Go through the preferences section and select areas that interest you or areas that you have personal expertise in and fill out your bio with some basic information don’t worry about a profile picture you don’t need one here unless you want to add one
4. Once you’ve gone through this process head to the of the page and select “Search Quora”
5. Enter in a question relating to your blog idea and voilà you’re now able to enter in some of your idea in 200 – 600 words without the blood, sweat and tears of writing an entire blog post
This leads to our second testing method.
All Other Social Media
Almost all of us have a following or audience on any of our social media channels whether this is our colleagues, friends or acquaintances all of these people have voices and they will share their opinions with us through a like, heart or comment.
Here is where you can again test an abbreviated version of your work and see what people have to say.
I do this in a number of ways but this can but it can be a LinkedIn post.
It can be a post on Instagram:
It can even be something you share with your friends and family on Facebook:
Essentially all you’re looking to do is get your idea out into the public and see their reaction. The bigger the reaction the more validation you will have for putting the time and effort into that idea. This process allows you to find out if your idea is one that is worth chasing or if it needs more work and saves you the pain of writing something that people don’t want to share or read.
I’ve learned a lot about writing in the last three years and there are two things that have stuck out to me when I’m developing ideas.
The first is that good writing revolves around timing, significance, proximity, prominence, and human interest.
The second is that if you can’t get an idea off its feet with an audience that you already know who are your friends and want to support your ideas you’re going to struggle getting strangers to read it.
As you develop your skills as a writer you will begin to get better at knowing what will stick and what won’t but the tools outlined in this article should definitely give you some clarity when starting out.
Don’t let you or your team continue to put out content you think people will like, get some data and make the content you know people want.