Research What’s Popular

This content is for Fizzle members only.

We discovered all the little steps a person might go through as they relate to your topic. Now I want to switch gears and see what’s popular in the wide world of the internet about your topic.

It’s a surprisingly uncommon strategy, to see what questions, opinions and articles are already popular about your topic. These are ideas and articles that are proven, you already know people want to know more about these things because they’re the most popular topics in your niche.

So, for instance, let’s say I sell insurance for boats, and I want to start a blog to get more people to know about my boat insurance.

It makes sense that I’d do some research to see what content boat owners are already finding and loving to give me a better understanding of them and what questions they’re actively looking to answer.

So, I’d start with some google searches, looking for the most popular articles and websites that boat owners are frequenting.

By the way, there’s a whole process for researching this stuff, which I’ll tell you about in a moment.

So, we’re going to do some research to see what’s popular in the world already to our audience. And here’s why: because these are proven topics, there’s proof that our audience is asking these questions, so they’re GREAT ideas for blog topics

You don’t have to be the first person to write about something. In fact, you rarely will be. But we can be the best for our audience right now, connecting them with the best information to their most important challenges… and that’s what researching what’s popular online helps us do.

There are lots of tools you can use to help find popular content ideas. I’ve curated a list of these tools and methods for you below. Follow the lesson text below and complete the popular posts research, and when you’re done I’ll see you in the next lesson where we’ll put together our content strategy.

Action for This Lesson

Now you’re going to do some research to find out what questions and blog posts are popular for your topic.

First, start by making two lists:

  • Make a list topics and concepts related to your main topic. For example, if your main topic is “making great coffee at home” you’d list things like “home coffee brewing,” “making espresso at home,” “pour over coffee,” “measuring coffee and water,” “coffee grinders,” etc., etc. Refer to your reader journey map for ideas. Make as long a list as you can.
  • Next, make a list of the most popular blogs and sites in your niche. Try to list at least 10 sites. If you aren’t familiar with which sites are popular, do some digging and searching to find out.

Next, we’re going to use your list of topics and popular sites to dig up a bunch of research.

Topic-based research

Here are two of my favorite services to use for topic-based research:

Answer the Public — enter a topic or keyword into this site and it will return a goldmine of questions and phrases that people are searching for, generated by the auto-suggest results provided by Google.

Quora — this is a giant Q&A site on all kinds of topics. Sign up for a free account, then use the search box to look for questions related to your topics.

Site-based research

And these are two great apps for site-based research:

BuzzSumo — enter the URL for a site that is popular within your niche, and BuzzSumo will show you which specific posts and pages have been shared most on social media.

SEMRush — enter a URL here and you’ll learn which keywords are driving the most traffic to the site. Click through to the keyword and you’ll find the specific post that is attracting all the keyword traffic.

Note that you can use these two services for topic-based research as well.

OK, now you have a list of topics and competitor’s sites. You also have four great tools that will help you dig up popular questions and web content.

It’s time to do some research. Spend an hour or two using the methods I described here to make a list of possible future content ideas for your own site. Whenever you find a question or interesting blog post, add it to your list. Keep your list somewhere handy because we’ll use it in future exercises.

When you’re done doing content research, I’ll see you in the next lesson.

Bonus: Recorded Coaching Session #5

When this course first launched, we led a cohort of students through the material and assignments over the course of 10 weeks. These coaching sessions are very in-depth (each session was 90 minutes to 2 hours). We spent most of the time answering student questions and reviewing assignments.

These sessions are recorded if you would like to follow along. They will appear here, at the end of lessons throughout this course. Keep in mind that each session covers more than one lesson, so only 10 of the 17 lessons will include recorded coaching videos like this.

Enjoy! Here is session #5, which covers lessons 7 & 8: