8 Tools That Will Help You Get Inside Your Readers’ Heads

head

Do you hate the phrase “getting inside your reader’s head?”

Although you know you are supposed to be able to do it, you don’t have any specific instructions on how to do it.

Of course, it’s important to understand your current readers and those you are trying to attract with your content, but that’s one of the hardest skills you have to develop as a writer.

It’s going to take years of continuous improvement to become really good at it.

However, there are ways for you to get this information much sooner—namely, formulas and tools.

In this post, I’m going to focus on the latter.

I’ve put together a list of the eight best tools for getting inside your readers’ heads.

They will give you tangible data you can use to produce content that resonates with your readers.

Download a list of 8 awesome tools that will assist you to get inside your readers head.

Finally, I’ll show you how to use the key features of these tools. I promise that none of them are difficult to use and that they are worth your time. 

Tool type #1 – Hard demographics data

If you want to know what your readers think, you first need to know who they are.

That’s where demographics come in.

Essentially, any statistic that describes a characteristic of your audience is a demographic. The most common are:

  • age
  • location
  • device preference
  • gender
  • marital status

The tools in this section will help you figure out who you should be targeting in the first place. They can be used whether you have an existing audience or are just starting off.

1. Demographics Pro for Hootsuite

This tool is one of the most complete I’ve ever come across when it comes to demographics.

The only significant limitation is that it draws its data from Twitter.

However, as long as people in your niche use Twitter (which is likely), it’s really useful.

While you can sign up for Demographics Pro directly, it’s pretty simple to use this Hootsuite app.

When you click the link in the title for this tool and then click the “Install App” button on the page, you’ll be taken to Hootsuite, where you’ll see a pop-up like this (if you’re signed in):

image04

Once you install the app, you’ll see a new tab on your account called “Demographics Pro for Twitter.”

image03

To use the tool, simply enter a Twitter handle (e.g., “@NeilPatel”), and click “get profile.”

That’ll automatically bring up some basic data:

image15

More useful, though, is the “view full profile” option. Click that link, and you’ll see an extremely detailed panel like this:

image11

From this, you can get a ton of demographic information about your (or their) followers and even some psychographics (more on that in section 2):

  • gender distribution
  • marital status
  • parental status
  • age
  • average income
  • location
  • types of jobs they have
  • types of hobbies they have
  • types of brands they like

It’s a gold mine of information.

If you’re already using Twitter, start with your own profile.

Then, get the stats of some of your top competitors. If you don’t know who they are, head to Buzzsumo’s amplification tool, and search for some keywords that describe your niche:

image05

2. Sprout Social

This is a similar type of social audience analyzer. However, it analyzes both Facebook and Twitter, so there’s a potential to get a few different insights.

Once you sign up for an account (free trials available), you can connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts (only your own).

That will populate your account with a bunch of social trends data, but more importantly—demographics.

image13

On top of getting a gender distribution of the audience on each platform, you get a detailed breakdown of their age brackets. That’s another important insight into your audience that will come in handy.

3. Google Display Planner

It might surprise you to find out that the Google Display Planner is another decent source of demographic data even though it isn’t the tool’s primary purpose.

When you open the planner, you have two options for searching:

  • keywords, topics, or sites
  • a landing page

I recommend doing both, and several times if possible. The larger your sample size, the more accurate your demographics data will be.

You can enter your own site, a competitor’s site, or keywords that you will be targeting with SEO.

Once you’ve picked an option, click the blue button to proceed:

image06

On the next page, you’ll get a whole bunch of suggestions for ad keywords. Ignore them.

The only thing we care about here is the panel in the center of the screen that breaks down the demographics of people who search for the terms you entered (or terms found on the page you entered).

It looks like this:

image00

Again, you get a gender and age breakdown.

Additionally, you can record which devices that audience prefers to use.

Is all this information redundant? It is to a degree, but it’s still useful. By now, you have demographic data from three different tools.

That data may look the same, but there may be differences because it’s collected from different sources.

Having data from multiple sources ensures that it won’t be skewed. You can take an average of all the data you collect or keep it as a range (i.e., average age might be 25-34 and not just one specific number).

4. FollowerWonk

The final tool in this section also uses Twitter to retrieve demographic data. However, it provides one important feature that the others miss.

Once you create an account, go to the “Analyze” tab on the top menu. Enter your Twitter handle, and let the tool scan your followers.

On the next page, look for a graph like the one below that shows at what times your followers are most active.

image10

This information will be useful when you are promoting your content, especially on social media.

Tool type #2 – Understand your readers’ thinking (psychographics)

Once you’ve nailed down who your readers are or will be, it’s time to start figuring out how they think.

Ideally, you want to answer questions such as:

  • what are their biggest problems?
  • what type of content do they like the most?
  • what kind of language do they use?
  • what bores them, and what excites them?

The tools in this section will help you answer these questions and eliminate guesswork.

5. Faqfox

This is a simple tool that makes getting useful data from forums easy.

Basically, you enter a keyword and sites to scan, and the tool pulls up relevant thread titles for you. You can search multiple sites at once.

Start by inputting a keyword into the first field. You could manually enter sites, but an easier option is to simply pick one of the preset categories. If you’re not sure which one to choose, pick “generic”:

image09

The tool will load the results after a few seconds of search:

image01

I recommend downloading the results into a spreadsheet and analyzing them there.

Remember those questions you need to answer? These results will help you do that.

You’ll have some irrelevant results, so start by removing those.

Once you have a few hundred relevant threads left, dig in.

Note down:

  • common questions (those that come up more than once)
  • any phrasing that you wouldn’t normally use yourself
  • any other keywords that you haven’t thought of (that you see in the titles)

Then, repeat this whole process at least a few times with different keywords.

6. Crazy Egg

If you know me well, you know I founded Crazy Egg.

I’ll let you judge the tool for yourself, but it can be incredibly useful for understanding the behavior of your readers.

The one catch is that you have to actually have readers before you can use the tool.

Assuming you do, Crazy Egg will give you a variety of heatmaps that will show you exactly how readers interact with your content.

There are two types of maps you’ll want to look at.

First is the scroll map, which tells you how people scroll through your page. You can tell what portions of the page they pay more or less attention to.

image08

It’s natural for the percentage to decline as you scroll down, but you might see that it declines at certain sections in the middle of the content.

This is a clear indication that something on your page didn’t interest your readers.

For example, if I looked at a heatmap for this post and saw that there’s a huge drop off within this section, I could conclude that my readers don’t like reading about heatmap tools (or potentially about psychographics).

Similarly, hot spots lower down the page indicate that you’ve touched upon something that excites them.

Record this information for all your content, and you’ll start seeing patterns in the type of content, the tone, and the format your readers like.

To get even more insight into your readers’ preferences, you can use click heatmaps, which show you what readers clicked on:

image12

You’ll see that certain things attract their attention more than others. Again, look for patterns.

7. Buzzsumo’s Top Content Tool

The heatmaps can give you a lot of insight into what excites and bores your readers.

However, sometimes you need more, or you don’t have enough readers to use heatmaps yet.

That’s where Buzzsumo’s top content tool comes in.

You’ll want to make a list of keywords you’ll be using within your content. Then, search them one by one in the tool:

image14

The tool will return a list of the most popular content in the past year (sorted by total shares).

Visit as many of these pages as you can, and record down the answers to these questions in your spreadsheet:

  • What format does the content use? (lots of images? videos? big font? small font?)
  • What tone does the content use? (news articles? personal stories? conversational?)
  • Why would your reader be so excited about this topic?

You can leave the last one blank for now if you don’t know, but come back to it later.

When you have a good understanding of your readers, you should be able to figure out why these top articles would appeal to them more than the average content.

Finally, search all the answers to all those questions for patterns.

For example, if a large chunk of the most popular posts are mainly image-based, you know that your readers love images.

Tool type #3 – Assemble your data, and make it useful

If you’ve used every tool up until this point, you have a lot of useful data.

Don’t just put it on a spreadsheet and forget about it.

Instead, create reader personas. It will help you and your team when you need to be reminded for whom you are writing.

I created this final section for a single tool because I feel that—although it is a small step you need to take—it’s a very important step.

8. Make My Persona

This tool was created by Hubspot, and it’s brilliant.

It guides you through a simple process that uses all the different demographic and psychographic information you’ve collected with all the other tools.

It also ensures that you don’t forget any key part of creating a reader persona, e.g., putting a real name or face to it:

image02

Once you answer all the questions, the tool will produce a well-organized persona summary:

image07

First, you should share this with everyone who helps you with content.

Next, you should be looking at this before you write any content yourself. Always ask yourself what this person would find valuable and interesting. Print it out, and hang it up if you need to.

Note that you can create multiple personas if that’s what the data supports.

Conclusion

This is not a huge list, but every tool on this list can be useful.

The better you understand your readers, the more you’ll be able to write exactly what they want to see (and value).

I recommend trying at least a few of the tools, but if you really want to get a clear picture of what your readers think and care about, use them all.

If I missed a tool that can help writers understand their audiences, please post it in the comments below, and I’ll give it a look.

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Comments

  1. I use buzzsumo alot, its a really good tool. A few of these other i have not heard off. Will go check them out now! Thanks

  2. This post fits in perfectly to your last post on video ads.I picked up a couple of strategies here on researching demographics. Great post Thanks

    • The more clear you become, the easier your marketing will be. If there’s anything else I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  3. Nice list, more tools to play with 🙂
    Quick question… how the heck did you enable to push notifications about your blog on my Chrome browser?

    It’s all cool by the way, love your stuff, I’m just curious as I don’t think I clicked or opted to get such notifications… unless, I wasn’t paying attention… which is rude I know!

    Anyways, curious to hear lol

  4. Neil,

    Another great article!

    After what point do you think you should sign up with a tool like HootSuite Pro to analyze your followers data and interests? (how large should your following be)

    I have never noticed that Google’s Display Planner could show us such useful data. For instance, I just discovered that 52% of my readers use their my mobiles to browse D&C. Awesome!

    Now, to add some value here, I think that Amazon Affiliate Links also help you understand your reader’s interests.

    By tracking the performance of different books you link to, you can monitor the interests of your readers and get some insights on what info/books they are looking for and buy the most!

    -Damian

    • I don’t think it depends on the size of your following more than it depends on how valuable that information can be for you. If you have 1,000 people it may not be a lot, but if that data helps you create and sell a better product, then it would have been a good decision to get it.

      I really like the idea of analyzing the books they read, that’s a really good idea. Knowing the books your audience is reading, will give you a really good understanding of what they’re thinking.

  5. Awesome Tools Collection! 😀
    Thanks A Lot For Sharing Such Useful Stuff With Us 😀 😀 😀

    • You’re welcome Abdul, I’m so happy this was helpful. If there’s anything else you want help with, don’t hesitate to ask.

  6. Great post Neil 😉
    You have compiled most of best tools and some of them which I don’t know earlier. One tool buzzsumo which is works very well for me and every content marketer should use.
    Thanks for publishing this amazing article.

    • I agree, buzzsumo is one of the best tools out there for content marketers. Let me know how the others work out for you.

  7. Very useful post Neil. Thanks for sharing.

    Currently, I am using Google Analytics. It shows some basic demographics information like age, gender and country.

    I would like to try Demegraphic Pro for HootSuite. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • The more nitty gritty you can get with that information, the easier it will be for you to market and sell your products. Let me know how Hootsuite works out for you.

  8. Hi Neil, what an awesome list of good tools. I am new to a few of them, but I use Buzzsumo for every post I create on my blog. It is one of the best thing that happened to Content marketing. Will try out the rest of the tools! Thanks.

    • That’s great! It’s a VERY valuable tool. Keep me posted on how the other ones work out for you, maybe even leave a review in the comments with your findings.

  9. Hey Neil,

    Good post Amigo!!!!

    Just tested out Webpagefx and I have to say that provides some great data for my website.

    I was looking at compiling a FAQ section and this really helps you find questions being asked in relation to my keyword.

    Thanks,

    Chris Pontine

    • Awesome, glad I could be of assistance! If there’s anything else I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

  10. Mamta Chhikara :

    Great post Neil again. Surely these tools will help a lot.

  11. Thank you for this post Neil, I’m building a new web project..I have some idea for my campaign with help of faqfox and google display planner..

    Thanks for mention it in your post 🙂

    • Sounds like this was a great place for you to start! Good luck on your project, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

  12. Buzzsumo is really a popular tool and not to mention, crazyegg is also very famous. Heard of them a lot in many blogs from over the world, worth a try.

  13. Thanks for sharing, Neil. The tools are very useful, but without a process, we cannot take full advantage. Content Marketing is not a one-shot-deal. It’s a process of optimization. Once the content is created, it shouldn’t be forgotten. The writers should keep tracking of the performance of the content and find ways to improve it (attract more traffic, engage more readers, etc.).

    Do you have ideas about content optimization process tools?
    Thanks,
    -SR

  14. Great Information. Especially the Avatar tool which just seals the copywriting. Thanks Neil.

    • I’m happy you enjoyed reading this post. If there’s anything I can help you clarify, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  15. Neil I haven’t read your blog for awhile because im trying to get acquainted with other bloggers, but Quicksprout posts are one of a kind.

    Really liked this one, good actionable read with some tools im yet to use.

    Its amazing the amount of information we can gather. 🙂

    • These days, there are no more excuses for poor content 😉

      I’m glad you enjoyed Matt. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions if there’s something I can help you with.

  16. Md. Saddam Hossain :

    I specially love Buzzsumo & use it regularly. But curiously want to know about buzzsumo sharing statistics. Does it always provide real sharing social statistics? I just want to know about your opinion please.

    BTW, thanks a lot for this great tools resources. Some tools are completely new to me. 🙂

    • I don’t know how frequently it’s updated, but I would say it’s fairly accurate and good enough to help with your decision making.

  17. I’ve heard of almost none of these. Wow, what an array of tools to work with! I suppose some will be more effective than others, but it’s a starting point to experiment and learn. Grateful for this new information.

    And, by the way, how in the world did your notification pop up in the corner of my Chrome browser? This time I wasn’t even signed into my email. Learning something new every day.

    • You may like using some of the tools better than others, but just play around to feel what’s comfortable and provides with the data you need to make better decisions.

      That notification comes from chrome. I talk about it in detail on an upcoming post 😉

  18. Amazing Tools. I love Buzzsumo, but never used some of the tools in the list. Will definitely give them a try.

    Thank You

    • Buzzsumo is great, I find myself using it almost everyday. Sounds good keep me posted on how the others work out for you and let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

  19. Phoenix Headshots :

    I’d like to get more comments on my blog platform. Years are a long time.

    • You can do it much faster than that, but you need take massive action with your content marketing and promotion efforts.

  20. Gustavo Fonseca :

    Neil , Fantastic .

    I believe it is essential to know and deeply understand our customer , without it there is no way to succeed . This is how Sun Tzu. And there’s no way to create a connection with people you do not know them . Many of these tools I did not know , I’ll try .

    I see many who are not so accurate here for Brazil. I saw a well that is statsocial.com found very interesting though that twitter is not already very strong in Brazil.

    I would like to know if you have a tool like this for Facebook ?

    Thanks,

    I’m a big fan of yours from Brazil

    Gustavo Fonseca

    • These are the same tools I’d suggest for facebook. I haven’t come across something better than this yet, but I know there are quite a few apps out there in the making. Facebook’s insights are pretty solid, at least to give you an idea. Then by hooking up these tools, you can take it one step further.

  21. Thanks Neil ,

    These are new tools for me .I used google keyword planner but never tried Buzzsumo and Crazy egg.Now i think i should try it at least for once. :p

    • You’ll get a lot from using Buzzsumo and crazyegg. Keep me posted on your experience and how they work out. If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask.

  22. Great post Neil.
    I didn’t know such tools were available.
    Thanks.

    • Luckily you found this post 🙂

      If you have any specific questions in regards to these tools or have anything else you need help with, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  23. Holy Moly Neil…always picking up awesome stuff from you!

    FAQ Fox is freaking awesome! Already started digging in and checking out ‘some problems to solve’ in my niche!

    Cheers!

    • Nice! Tools like these will definitely get your brain to shift into a higher gear.

      If there’s anything you need my help with, let me know 🙂

  24. hi Neil
    a useful post….I tried almost every tool mentioned in this post and got some really useful insights…will try implementing those

  25. Hi Neil,
    You have combination of best tools and all of them are new for me so please refer one of them for me as beginner.
    Thanks for publishing this amazing article.

  26. Hey, Neil … I just want to be an entrepreneur whether Online or Offline. But I want to be on online first. These days am striving too hard but I know I will get there …..

    • That’s awesome! Remember that success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal. As long as you can keep going, you will reach your goals. If you have any specific questions I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  27. Ashutosh Kumar singh :

    Hi Neil,
    Currently I am working on this website (nationkart.com) the Alexa of our website is quite good ie nearly 9000 & also PA / DA of our website is around 40 but still not getting page rank for this website.Would you please suggest me that how could I get the page rank for this website though I am implementing white hat seo techniques as well.
    Thanks in Advance

    With regards
    Ashutosh Kumar singh
    Digital marketing Manager
    Nationkart

    • What keywords are your targeting? You’re in a relatively competitive field, so it’s important that you build some high quality back links. Also not sure if it’s my connection, but the site seems to perform a bit slow.

  28. Ashutosh Kumar singh :

    I have read your post found really helpful.

  29. It’s really great list of tools. I’ve just started and I think this is good to know about your target audiences, followers and competitors. By collecting all this data one can do little research about writing, promotion strategies and get maximum benefit from it.

    Thanks for sharing this info. This is really great.

    • The more data you collect and understand, the more effective decisions you’ll make. That’ll lead to better choices and ultimately better content that your audience loves and can connect with.

  30. Interesting tools. I had not heard of followerwonk or used Display planner for demographics.I found that 55% used mobile.

    You always manage to come up with new ideas. 🙂

    • Awesome! Everything you learn will help you become more and more effective with your decision making. Let me know how things work out for you or if there’s anything else I can help with.

  31. Thanks! Been looking for something like MakeMyPersona, especially since starting the Advanced Marketing Course.

    Cheers!
    RJ

    • Perfect! These should help you get the information you need to put together the exact person you should be marketing to.

  32. Neil,

    That’s an interesting post!

    These tools are like oxygen for any content marketer. To make the most of your content marketing, you should be using these tools smartly.

    Thanks for the tips!

    Best,
    Akshay

    • lol… the more you know about your audience the better. Otherwise you’ll spend a lot time trying to figure out something that could have been understood within a day or so.

  33. Thanks Neil! Bringing FAQFox to my attention has already given me lots of content ideas 😀

  34. Most of the tools you have suggested in your post are new to me. Surely I’ll try few of them. Thanks for the awesome share.

  35. Thank you for sharing these helpful tools. I’m currently using Hootsuite will try Buzzsumo’s.

  36. I never knew about this sir! But this tools can really help newbie like me to understand and write articles that will surely love by our readers. This is a life saver!

    • Wonderful! These tools will help you visualize your audience and have a better sense of what to do and how to do it.

  37. Hi Neil,
    thanks for the very informative article. after reading your blog i realized that smo is not a small thing as I was thinking.if, I am to become a expert smo so many things I have to analyze too.

    • No, definitely not a small thing, but rather a part of a big whole. As you become better in every area, your skills will begin to stack on top of one another.

  38. mohammed asif iqbal :

    Hello Neil,

    Thanks once again 🙂 most of the tools are new for me, except Crazyegg 🙂 .
    I need some advise, to develop myself as a digital marketer, currently I am working as a commercial specialist. what would you advise me to grow more and consistent in digital marketing world? Mr Neil

    I feel that, this question is out of the box for you. But your thought of mechanism will help me more.

    Thank you so much :). I hope & wish that one day I am going to work with you 🙂

    • I think if you’re passionate about digital marketing, keep learning and doing more of it. As you get more clients, monetize your properties, you can begin to transition out of your other job, assuming that’s what you’re looking to do.

  39. Fantastic article, thank you Neil.

    The scroll (and may i suggest click) heat maps are awesome. I found that people were focusing on and clicking my image in our podcast section of the website. However, I didn’t actually have my image going anywhere. So since them I’ve added a popup to it, suggesting they subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.

  40. Its always important to obtain multiple data sources before writing your content! That way you know what to write about, how to write it and who your targeting it to. This makes it way more relatable to your intended target market!

    Thanks for all the tools as well!

    • There is an abundance of opportunity out there, that’s why you’ll want to be very specific with you you want to attract, else you won’t attract anyone.

  41. Thanks Neil. Really are very nice tactics.

  42. Hey Neil,

    Excellent tools and thank you for giving out instructions and screenshots. You really made it easy for us. That’s a great way of getting inside our head. It’s amazing what psychographics and demographics can do for business. Just a little research and the right tools and we can start making contents that appeal to our targeted audience.

    Cheers!

    • All this information will give you a much better understanding in who you’re marketing to, ultimately increasing your level of effectiveness.

  43. Your Crazy egg is my personal favourite, but I am a poor blogger, so the pro version can not be bought. 🙁

    • No need to label yourself as a poor blogger, everyone has to start somewhere. Keep working with and growing what you have. When the time is right, you’ll have all the right tools you need.

  44. I have been using CrazyEgg since 2012 but did not find it that much promising. By the way, Good collection.

  45. nice post bro 🙂

  46. Anil Agarwal :

    Buzzsumo is an amazing tool not only to analyze a domain for its top posts but also helps you connect with the influencers. It’s free version is enough to find out a lot of things.

    Keyword Planner is a gift for keyword research lovers. It’s free, efficient and incredible.

    I personally love CrazzyEgg’s heat maps. Although they are paid versions but they are very effective. They help you find out the behaviour of your visitors so you can know where to put your best pages.

    • Sounds like these tools are working out for you, nice job. The more you can think like your readers, the better content you’ll create.

  47. Your post was really helpful for me.thank you so much for this nice post.

  48. Hey, thanks for the great article. How exactly do you track using Amazon Affiliate Links!? Thanks a mill.

  49. sir i am from india but unable to rank any keyword. could you help me

  50. navneet mittal :

    sir
    there is so much to learn and so much to grasp. knew already that keep doing things properly will help me to succeed one day. But there are too many things i had to remember which i face at the time of execution. Too many things to learn. How to remember everything??

  51. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your website and wanted to say that I have enjoyed browsing your other blog posts. After all, I’ll be subscribing to your feed, and I hope you write again soon!

  52. Vijay Krishna :

    Very informative blog article.Thanks Again. Want more.

  53. Diwakar Kumar :

    Every content of Quicksprout is outstanding.. Thanks man!!

  54. Hi Neil,
    I’ve put my keyword into FAQfox , with several websites where I believe my audience is hanging out…. now I’m not sure what to do with the list of posts FAQfox has listed. Do I gauge my audience’s problems according to the titles of each post? Should I go into each post and find the problems? Not sure what to do with all this info!! Your guidance would be deeply appreciated. 🙂

    Nicky.
    http://www.sincerelybalanced.com

  55. Very informative post. I was looking for information about this topic and this post really helped me a lot.

  56. I am looking for this. My social sharing skill is low and need to improve on that. Excellent tips here. Thanks for this post. My new blog: http://www.sscmtsresult2017.in/

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