What Is Content Discovery and Why Should You Care About It?

Christy Walters


July 15, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

red and yellow neon sign that reads discovery

You probably think you have the best industry content on the web. Maybe you’re biased, but probably not. It may confuse you why you’re not getting the reach, page views, or conversions you expected from your content marketing. Your distribution methods and channels could be the key. Today, we’re looking at content discovery and how this process puts your pieces right in front of your audience with topics like:

What Is Content Discovery?

Content discovery is the process readers and viewers use when finding content online. What tools or platforms do they use? How do they encounter your content? What do they do when they find it? Most people looking for information online probably don’t even realize they’re using the content discovery process. It’s now hard-wired and programmed into us, especially with the ease of tools like search engines and curated feeds.

Writers and content creators also take part in content discovery when researching keywords and topics for their pieces. The process is the same for both your writing team and your audience, where each step involves:

  • Visiting a search engine or website with a search feature
  • Typing words, phrases, or sentences in the search bar related to the information you hope to find
  • Browsing through results lists or pages to see what content exists on the topic
  • Choosing one that best suits your needs and interests to engage with in some way
  • Clicking to dive further into more content from the same source

What Are the Two Keys to Understanding Content Discovery?

As the marketing team, you don’t just want to think about what’s best for your brand. You’ll also want to focus on what’s best for your audience, leads, and clients. To do that, sometimes you have to step out of your role as a brand promoter, and into the role of a casual internet browser.

When you do this, you can better understand the thought processes and actions of the people you’re trying to reach with your content. When you understand your audience’s intent behind their search, you’ll have a better idea of what to create to offer more value. And audiences that find your content valuable are more likely to share it across other platforms, expanding your market reach. Consider these two most important areas of content discovery:

Audience Research

The better you know your audience, the better you’re going to know what they want to see from your content and how they intend to find it. But knowing your audience is more than just looking at a profile picture or knowing what they buy. Understanding your target market, or the largest group of people your content attracts, helps you figure out what people want to see and how they want to find it.

For example, a landscaping company’s target market could be anyone with a landscaping need—from cutting grass to hauling mulch and rocks—making this a broad group. But within that broad market, the company also may have multiple segments. These are smaller groups of people that have different levels of interest or different needs from the company.

So in the case of the lawn care market, you may have homeowners who want to add curb appeal to their properties or businesses that require regular grounds maintenance. The point is that understanding these audiences and what they’re looking for helps the company produce valuable content for each segment, increasing the potential for content discovery.

Related: Target Market and Target Audience: What’s the Difference?

Search Intent

Search intent is the reason your audience is engaging in content discovery. Why are they looking for whatever they’re looking for? Search intent helps you understand your audience better. But it also gives you insights into the best types of content to create. The more you understand the people searching for the content and the pieces most valuable to them, the better you can understand both sides of the content development process. There are four primary types of search intent your audience may use during content discovery:

  • Commercial investigation: People are looking for information on products and services they intend to buy. They may do comparisons across brands to find the best option or deal.
  • Informational: People search to find knowledge or facts on a topic. They may look for how-to guides or informational articles and statistics-based pieces.
  • Navigational: People are looking for a specific designation or piece of information. They may want a website’s home page or the phone number of a local business.
  • Transactional: People are ready to buy a product or service, or complete an action online. They’re looking for ways to make those things happen.

Related: Search Intent: An Introduction for B2B Marketers

How To Do Research for Content Discovery

To learn more about your target audience and uncover their content discovery process, use research to answer questions like:

1. What Are Your Audience’s Demographics?

Demographics are the most basic informational qualifiers about your audience. They help identify your overall target market because they cover wide categories where many people fit. They answer questions like:

  • What’s the average age of your audience?
  • Does your audience live in a specific geographic area?
  • What technological devices do they use to access your content?
  • What channels do they use to find content?

2. Do You Know Your Audience’s Pain Points?

What struggles does your audience have? Why are they seeking solutions? If you know what’s troubling your audience, you can determine what problems they might be trying to solve. For example, to use the landscaping company again, the marketing team may find that some of the customers’ biggest pain points include pests invading their landscaping.

If pests are the problem, what are some possible solutions? Pest control options may be one. Another may be redesigning the space with plants and materials that are pest resistant, but still human- and pet-safe. The thing is, when you know your customer’s pain points, you’ll have a better idea of the type of content they’ll find valuable during their discovery process.

Related: 5 Secrets To Discovering Customer Pain Points

3. Does the Most Valuable Content Already Exist?

There are two sides to the content discovery equation: the audience looking for content and the content itself. Anytime you’re dealing with search engines, especially with something like search intent, you have to pay attention to what’s already out there. Who’s your competition for every piece of content you want your audience to find?

It’s a waste of time and resources to create content that already exists. You want your content to have a fresh angle on the topic and provide something that competitors don’t. One of the most important steps to take to analyze current content for future topics is a content audit. This process shows you what you already have out there and how it compares to competitors.

Of course, auditing your site content can be a daunting task, but CopyPress can help. Request your free content marketing analysis report today. This report compares your content with that of your top three competitors to see how you stack up against them. It also supplies a list of content gaps that show topics your competitors cover that you haven’t yet. Use these gaps to cover new angles on topics your audience wants to see to make it better than the content that already exists.

“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”

Kevin Doory

Director of SEO at Auto Revo

Related: Are You Creating 10x Content (Definition and Tips)

4. What Is Your Audience Saying?

Content audits and gap data only tell part of the story. Your audience can actually tell you the rest of what they want or need in their own words and actions. Every time someone shares your content on social media and adds a blurb, they’re giving you feedback on what they find important. Every time someone adds a comment to your blog post, they’re sharing why they find the content valuable or why they don’t.

Other ways to find out what your audience wants from your brand include asking your customer service representatives and sales teams what questions they get most often from clients and leads. You can also conduct social listening on your content platforms. Look at trigger words and phrases, like your company name, or the names of your products or services. Follow your current content around the web to see the response it gets. Doing this will show you how audiences perceive your brand and what they want more of from your company.

Related: How To Do Social Listening (With Tips and Tools)

Can I Use Content Discovery for Native Advertising?

Content discovery doesn’t come just from third-party services like search engines and social media websites. People can also discover more content from right within the original piece. We use this method at CopyPress to help direct readers to more content that meets their interests. At the bottom of every blog post and knowledge base article, readers can find links to three more articles or posts on the same topic.

screenshot of copypress content discovery at the bottom of the page

But you can also use this type of content discovery on other people’s websites to get a larger reach for your content. In marketing, this is called native content. It’s a type of paid advertising, but it doesn’t appear like a typical banner ad or pop-up. Instead, it looks similar to the “Read More” section at the bottom of every CopyPress article. The only difference? There’s usually a signifier that denotes whether it’s sponsored content or an ad.

Native advertising allows you to syndicate your content to other websites where your target audience already gets their content. It’s a win for everyone. You pay these sites to show your content so they get money. You get a new avenue to share your content with your target audience, and your audience finds the information they need through their content discovery.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Native Content

What Happens After Someone Discovers Your Content?

The journey doesn’t end after someone finds your content. In fact, it’s only the first step. Having people find your content isn’t what turns them into paying customers. They have to open and engage with each piece and follow your calls to action to discover your brand by browsing through your website. When audiences follow your CTAs through the sales funnel, they’ll convert to valuable leads. Conversions can be anything from signing up for a newsletter to comparing your company’s offers because they’re close to making a purchase.

Paying attention to content gaps, talking to your audience, and following best practices for content creation are all steps toward successful content discovery.

Why Aren’t People Discovering Your Content?

Are you listening to your audience and focusing on search intent but still not seeing your page views increase? Maybe you hoped after six months you’d see some traction with your SEO and rise a few spots on the search engine results page (SERP), but it’s not happening. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re creating bad content. It could mean the rules have changed.

Marketing and SEO are two highly fluctuating fields. Best practices change quickly and it requires constant care and attention to keep your quality content in the right discovery channels. Here are some reasons people may not be discovering your content as you expected:

  • You chose the wrong location: Are you sharing your content in places where people spend their time? Are you using all content channels to your advantage, like emails, podcasts, videos, and social media?
  • The content doesn’t have enough detail: Are your pieces long enough to explain a full thought or topic? Most marketers consider any written piece of content under 500 words “thin,” meaning you don’t have enough information to explain the concept properly.
  • Best practices changed: Google updates its algorithms all the time, as do other search engines. Make sure you’re not following outdated best practices to get the best reach and results for your content.
  • You picked the wrong format: Even if you cover the right topics, you may not choose the right content format. Would your written article be better as an infographic or a video?
  • You’re using the wrong keywords: Just like SEO can change, so can industry terms and concepts. Are you using outdated keywords to promote newer concepts?

If you find people aren’t discovering your content, don’t panic. You can fix it by paying close attention to your metrics and revisiting and optimizing old content as necessary.

Let CopyPress Create Content Your Audience Wants To Discover

To get the most out of your marketing, you can’t have one—either content or strategy—without the other. At CopyPress, you don’t have to compromise. We help you with both. No matter your industry or content type, we create the valuable content your audience wants to see. Then we help you work on a publication and distribution strategy to push it where people discover content online. Ready to get started? Submit our contact form and tell us more about your project. We’re eager to help you make your next big content marketing strides.

Author Image - Christy Walters
Christy Walters

CopyPress writer

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