As many marketers know, the elixir of life, so to speak, for inbound marketing is content generation. The strategy surrounding content mapping, ideation, creation, and implementation is one that becomes so delicate for each individual company, that it is vital to know what your audience is actually looking for before you can accurately begin.
We recently reviewed a tool called StoryBase that aims to substantially help this content planning process. StoryBase allows you to “see the world through your reader’s eye” and plan out your content strategy with their topic-based search tool’s categorization of search results. We have reviewed similar tools like this in the past, but as you will see in our following review, we believe StoryBase to be better than anything we have tested before.
The ClearPivot Review of StoryBase
Upon login, the StoryBase dashboard is very simplistic and straightforward for the new user. The categories offered to the user include an overview tab, questions, phrases, words, and audiences. Each tab’s findings are ranked by relative popularity (or search volume if you select the dropdown option by popularity).
The overview page allows for bird’s eye view of the overall results from your search. Including the total number of phrases regarding your topic and the total number of searches involving those phrases that occurred in the last 12 months.
As you dive deeper into the different tabs StoryBase provides, you can see that under the questions tab in particular, the search results render complete questions asked in a calendar year with your given topic. For example, our topic we researched was ‘digital marketing’. When we moved to the questions tab, the top question that was searched, with a search volume of 1,000, was ‘what is digital marketing’?
Moving on to the next tab, StoryBase walks you through the top phrases associated with your search. Where the Questions tab maps out sentence structured questions that are searched, the phrases tab picks up more concise searches that incorporate the keyword. For example, the top phrase was actually ‘digital marketing’, which also happened to be the key search term for this test.
The final tab in the actual search results section is the words tab. Breaking down search even further, this tab picks up the singular words that are searched in a year’s time. As a standalone for analyzing search results, the words tab might not be as helpful as the questions, or even the phrases tab, but as a whole, it can also provide insight into what keywords might work best for search engine optimization purposes. For this test of StoryBase, it was discovered that the top associated word for ‘digital marketing’ was actually ‘marketing’.
Now, as we mentioned briefly above, our particular topic lends for some pretty generic high-ranking search results, but when you look at the questions, phrases, and words that generate as a result of the topic, as a whole, you begin to gain a better sense of the big questions people are asking and even what keywords would be good to use in your content generation strategy. For instance, ‘marketing’ might be a broad keyword to pull from the list, but ‘trends’ and ‘news’ (also high-ranking search terms found under the words tab) might give better insight into the type of content that people are looking for.
The final category offered by StoryBase is the audience tab. This tab gives you the averaged gender and age of the audience search this particular term. This is a great tool for either establishing an ideal customer persona, or reaffirming the existing customer persona your company has. For example, for the search term ‘digital marketing’, based on search results, the audience is ⅔ female and ⅓ male, ranging in age from 36-49.
Digging into the why of these audience results might require some research of your own. For instance, the reason this particular search rendered a more female than male audience could be because marketing, in general, seems to be a more female-heavy field of study and inquiry. The age range of 36-49 could also lead to the deduction that this search term is more widely searched by individuals in mid-career positions, ie: Marketing Directors and Managers.
StoryBase is a simple, easy-to-use tool that allows marketers to determine what questions are being asked surrounding their topic, what phrases are being searched, corresponding words, and just who is searching that topic to begin with. While this is a great tool for that initial content mapping research, there is definitely some limited functionality to this tool that makes secondary research necessary for thorough content mapping strategy - for instance, you cannot click to see who has published content with the search questions or phrases. To get that information, you could pair up StoryBase with an app such as BuzzSumo to pull in data on content currently being published and shared in your subject matter area. StoryBase also only compiles search results for the United States and Denmark at this time, making the tool ineffective for other countries or companies with markets outside of these regions.
Pricing for StoryBase is a very minimal monthly fee, and free for accounts with only 10 searches a month, so we encourage you to take a look for yourself and let us know what you think!