Paul Shapiro Shares “5 Ways to Uncover Content Ideas That Deliver”

Paul Shapiro Speaks at Confluence Conference

Paul Shapiro, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Catalyst, kicked off Day Two of Confluence.

This morning, Shapiro urged all of us to use different methods for coming up with content ideas and to break away from only using Google Keyword Planner. He says, “SEOs are too reliant on Keyword Planner.”

He goes on to give us alternative ways to research content ideas. Being the horror movie fan that he is, his examples are all based on horror movie keywords and demographics. Perfect for those super excited for Halloween and #PSL season.

How to Come Up with Content Ideas for your SEO Using Data

He began by sending us to Slideo to send in our answer to the question, “Who is your favorite content provider?” The top answers included: Netflix, Hulu, Gimlet, Your Mom (very funny), ESPN, Amazon, and Buzzfeed. “My favorite content provider is Netflix,” said Shapiro.

So, we looked at how Netflix comes up with content.

He told us they monitor bit torrent traffic. Through this monitoring, Netflix noticed that in the Netherlands, people were downloading a ton of Prison Break episodes using bit torrents. So, they brought the show to their streaming content in the Netherlands.

Another example is the Netflix series, House of Cards. Netflix discovered that people who really liked the original House of Cards on BBC (that’s right, it’s a remake) also liked Kevin Spacey and David Fincher. So, Netflix invested a lot of money in the first two seasons. It was a huge success and they decided to make multiple other seasons. Needless to say, this worked pretty well for them.

Netflix is not the only service using this tactic. Amazon also uses data to inform their decisions for content creation. Once a year, Amazon has what they call Pilot Week. During this week, they share the pilot episode of several different original Amazon series and ask their users to vote on their favorites. They only create the entire season of the most popular pilots.

Buzzfeed is another great example. Buzzfeed Quizzes target micro-niche communities, have them answer a bunch of questions, gather a ton of data, and use that date to make content decisions for their audience.

Content sits right in the middle of Organic Search, Paid Search, Social Media.

Shapiro tells us, “Content is a cornerstone for all of these and it’s really, really important.”

How can we use data to inform our content decisions?

Reddit – “Reddit is one of my favorite sources of content decision,” he says. You can find anything you can imagine on Reddit with “really, really passionate users who want to discuss that subject matter in detail.” He urges us to look at each topic’s number of up-votes and comments.

“The one word I’d use to describe what we’re trying to measure for our content is engagement. If we can tell when we’re producing work that people are highly engaged with, for us that’s a sign of success.” Or more simply, high level engagement is more indicative of success.

When branding goes up, organic traffic goes up.

Shapiro used Airbnb as an example of a brand who is doing content well and salutes them for taking the time to build their brand. Their branded mentions continue to increase drastically, while unbranded vacation rental searches are decreasing.

How do we build our brand to get organic traffic?

Look at engagement and search volume.

Gain insights from Reddit using Reddit Keyword Research Tool. To do this, follow the pattern:[]/top/

Other resources were shared including:

You should look at social media data by asking, “What are these little nuances that make this content better for one social network than another?”

Look at content based on links and ask, “Who has linked to it?”

What else can you do?

Data mine emails – If you have a team of dedicated sales people, you can download their emails to use as a source to look at email content ideas.

Read Blog Comments – especially blogs that have a really passionate audience

YouTube CC – Go to a YouTube channel and download all the auto-generated captions.

Facebook Groups – look at what the community likes and what topics resonate with them

Slideshare – Shapiro tells us this is “an amazing place for content.” He urges us to look at browsing categories and the featured slides that have gotten the most views. Look at the content included in slides and topics that recieved the most views.

Social Mentions – Look at the top keywords mentioned on Twitter and other social media resources. For more details on this, read his blog.

Google Trends – Research related and rising queries as these are great sources for content.

Auto Suggest Data – Utilize the auto-populated searches in engines like Google, Amazon, Bing, and Pinterest.

Quora – Look at which questions are getting the most views and answers.

Google Search Console – See what is successful and unsuccessful in Google. Shapiro warns us against getting “too bogged down with what is too successful instead of looking at what isn’t successful.”

Know Thy Audience

Shapiro shared resources for creating a successful and informative audience analysis.

He referenced:

  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook Pixels
  • Google Display Planner
  • Bing Ads Intelligence
  • Surveys

He ends the speech by telling us “We’re way past Google Keyword Planner! Be less reliant on Google Keyword Planner.”