Buyer Intent Topics: Finding Blog Topics That Make Money
In the past, I’ve covered in detail how to find blog topics that bring in traffic. As anyone who has ever had a post go viral on social media can attest, however, traffic isn’t necessarily valuable. Sure, maybe you can get some value out of it with display ads, but when it comes to making real money – selling products, getting affiliate commissions, and so on – pure traffic isn’t as important as the intent behind that traffic.
It can be helpful to use a metaphor to understand the differentiation here.
Imagine you have a retail store. Your shelves are full of products, some for typical prices, some on good sale, some loss leaders, and some profit-makers. The usual selection, you know. Now, which is better:
- You run an ad on TV, in the newspaper, and in local mailers about how a celebrity will be in town hanging out, signing autographs, and doing a meet and greet in your store.
- You run an ad on TV, in the newspaper, and in local mailers about how a popular, usually expensive product is going to be on 50% off sale.
Both of these mailers can get feet in the door. You might get 5,000 visitors that day, but the value of those visitors will be very different.
The visitors who come to see a celebrity will be there to see the celebrity. The fact that it’s in your store is secondary. Some of them might buy something – a piece of media for them to autograph, a beverage while they wait in line – but for the most part, you aren’t going to benefit from that additional foot traffic.
The visitors who come because of a sale on a popular item, though, are in your store with one goal: to make a purchase of that item. Every single one of them will, given the chance, buy that product (as supplies last), and many of them may also buy other things while they’re there.
One topic for your marketing is much more valuable than the other.
There’s also the matter of scale and percentages to consider. Imagine that 5,000 people show up to the celebrity meet and greet, and only 1,000 show up for the 50% off sale. But, if only 500 people in the celebrity visit buy anything, but all 1,000 people for the sale buy something, the sale is more effective.
All of this is calling back to one concept, which is the intent of the traffic that comes to your site.
Identifying Buyer Intent in a Topic
To take things back to online marketing, consider your sales funnel when a blog is involved. Generally, your blog is full of pages that serve various purposes. Some are essentially glossaries for specific terms to educate visitors. Some are tutorials for using a product or completing a task. Some are more directly advertising for your products, and teach users the benefits of using your product to solve problems.
Different kinds of content serve different purposes in your sales funnel. Information and tutorial content help bring people in, build brand awareness, build trust, earn backlinks, and build search ranking. None of that is inherently valuable in terms of money in your pockets, but it all helps smooth the way.
Buyer intent content is specifically content aimed at capturing people who are shopping for products or a solution in your class and often comparing your product to others. It’s also content that teaches people how to solve problems they’re having using your product.
- An article about the chemistry behind why vinegar is a cleaning solution is not buyer intent.
- An article about using vinegar to clean, with affiliate links for vinegar, may be buyer intent.
- An article comparing different kinds of vinegar to your conventional cleaning solution can be buyer intent.
Buyer intent can be conditional. A lot of buyer intent topics are informational topics with a good opportunity for a call to action. Others are more clearly transactional; people searching for “buy BrandName ProductHere” have a specific goal in mind.
The goal is to identify the intent behind a query and how to capture that intent most effectively with your content. Sometimes, this is clear; other times, it’s not.
A good example is someone searching for the name of a movie.
- This may be informational; they want to know what the movie is about and who stars in it.
- This may be transactional; they want to see showtimes and theater locations.
In these cases, you have three options. You can create content to satisfy informational queries, transactional queries, or both. A post that gives the details and reviews of the movie would be the first, a page with local theater and showtime information would be the second, and putting both kinds of content on the same page (here’s what the movie is about; here’s where you can see it) satisfies both.
All of this is the theory. How do you put it into practice?
First, Find Topics
The first thing you need to do to create buyer-capturing content is come up with topic ideas.
There are a lot of different ways you can generate topic ideas. You can sit down and brainstorm them. You can use tools that systematically harvest Google autocomplete data, you can use a tool with preselected topic templates that slot in your chosen primary keyword, you can harvest information from questions people ask, and so on.
Or you can skip all of that and check out Topicfinder.
Now, yes, I’m biased. I made it, after all. But I think I speak for Future You when I say it’s better than the competition. Why use basic Google completion or template topics when you can get thousands (or tens of thousands) of real-world, in-use, highly valuable topic ideas? And we’re not talking about “What is PrimaryKeyword?” or “How to PrimaryKeyword” topics here. We’re talking about specific, actionable, narrow, and eminently writable topics.
What’s the difference between keywords and topics? Keywords, even at their narrowest, are still broad. A keyword could be something like “North Beach Campground,” whereas topics would include How to Visit, Things to Know About, Reviews of, and so on. Keywords require additional input to be turned into topics. Topics can be taken and written as-is into excellent content.
Of course, finding topics is the easy part – when using Topicfinder, that is. Topicfinder is a robust combination of web scraping, AI processing, and metric harvesting that power a variety of useful filters to help you with the rest of the process.
Filter for Achievable Topics
The second thing you have to do, once you have a huge list of topics, is to filter them down into topics you can conceivably rank for and make use of on your site.
Whenever you get a big list of topics, no matter what tools you use – and Topicfinder is no exception here – you’re going to have a lot of items on your list that don’t make the cut.
- Some will be outside of the scope of your site; a baking blog might not want to cover soup.
- Some will be much too technical; your mostly-novice-focused site doesn’t want to dig deep into advanced underlying science.
- Alternatively, the opposite; your advanced blog on niche investment strategies doesn’t need to cover the basics of what a stock is.
- Some won’t be applicable. A downside of web scraping is you’ll get homepages, basic index pages, and other non-topic entries.
- Some will be absolutely too saturated for you to make a dent in. Topics that are exceedingly well-covered by half a dozen huge industry leaders aren’t really viable for a new and smaller site.
- Some will be too niche or specific to a given company; even if you wrote content for them, you’d only get half a dozen visitors a year from it.
So, your next goal is to filter these out. Some you can do automatically, but some will require more manual attention and combing through your spreadsheets.
One of the biggest value propositions I put into Topicfinder is a way to filter that list from the word go. I programmed in a variety of filters, from SEO viability to the Domain Authority of the sites already covering them to the relative size of the sites you’re using to compare. You can also specifically exclude specific domains if you find they keep popping up problematic or unusable topics.
Trust me, while it takes a bit to figure out which filters work best for which kinds of sites and niches, once you get the hang of it, it’s incredibly useful. I use it for my clients in my content marketing agency, I use it for my own blogs, and I’ve helped my customers make great use of it, too. If you need help, feel free to drop me a line.
Whatever method you use to filter your topics, you’re left with a spreadsheet with somewhere between dozens and tens of thousands of topics, all of which are potentially valuable for you to cover on your blog.
There’s one problem, though; you don’t know the intent behind those topics. While some are clear, others are not, and you need to filter out the buyer intent from the informational, tutorial, or navigational intent topics. So, how do you do that?
Find the Buyer Intent
Unfortunately, there’s no automatic way to do this.
Why? Two reasons. First, two different companies in the same niche might have products that have different features. A user’s query about a problem might only be solved using one of those two products. For one business, it’s more of an informational query; for the other, it’s a prime opportunity for a call to action.
Secondly, many topics can be spun however you like, as long as you can think of a way to do it. Unless the topic is specifically focused on a transactional keyword (like “buy latest iPhone” or “sign up for Topicfinder,” you’re going to be left with some room for interpretation.
You simply need to take each topic and think about it.
Here are some things to consider for each topic.
- Does it include specific keywords that indicate buyer intent, such as “buy,” “sign up,” or “pricing”?
- Does it make direct reference to a pain point or problem a user experiences that your product can solve? For example, “Car stereos with playlist shuffle features.”
- Does it specifically include your brand name as an opportunity for a comparison with another product? For example, “Ahrefs vs Moz.”
- Does the topic mention a feature you have but may want to emphasize? For example, “Does Asana have Google Drive integration?”.
- Is the topic about risk reduction? That is, if a user is considering your product but ends up dissatisfied, do they have recourse? “BrandName money back guarantee” is a common example.
These are ways to identify when a topic is inherently buyer intent. That means they’re easy to take, write, and turn into a conversion-focused piece of media on your site.
The rest of the topics will fall into two buckets: the topics that don’t and cannot have buyer intent and that, if you write them, should serve another purpose, and the topics that could go any direction if you think about how you can focus them on buyer intent.
- I don’t recommend discarding the first group. Top-of-funnel topics that don’t capture conversions are still good for awareness, link-building, and other forms of marketing. It’s not enough to have a checkout process; you still need to get people in the door, right? Set those topics aside and use them elsewhere.
- The middle group is, in my mind, the most fun. They’re the topics that are generally informational or even tutorial but which, with the right attention, can be spun into buyer intent and conversion content.
A topic from someone looking for a product review can, indeed, review that product but then segue into talking about how it doesn’t hold up compared to yours, which can be bought right here, wouldn’t you know it?
A topic about how to perform a task can go through the steps of doing it manually while also offering your product as a way to speed up and make the process easier, faster, more foolproof, or whatever other way you can spin it with your value proposition.
This is where your creativity gets to shine. Part of the joy of content marketing is taking these ambiguous topics and finding ways they can be put to work for you while still making them better for their core purpose than the other content that already exists.
Level Up Your Content Marketing with Topicfinder
The end result of this whole process is a massive spreadsheet full of useful topics to fuel your content marketing efforts for years to come. While Topicfinder can’t do all of it for you, it can give you a huge leg up on the competition still stuck using basic Google scraping.
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