Advent Calendar 15 – A peek into the kitchen

Written By: Emanuel Updated: December 16, 2022

“Peeking into the kitchen (#kindagross)”


Hallo ihr lieben,

and welcome to day 15 of our Advent Calendar. And behind today’s door is actually kind of a little glimpse “into the kitchen”, where lots of German learning content online is prepared.
And just like in a normal kitchen… it ain’t pretty
Many of you probably kind of low key know at least part of this, but I’m sure most of you are not fully aware of the extent of it.
So let’s take a look at

How (a lot of) Language Learning Content is made

Normally, if someone sets out to explain something, by for example writing an article, we would assume that their goal is to … explain it.
Of course, there might also be a financial reason. A journalist for a science magazine for example doesn’t just write because they want to tell us something, they also do it because it’s their job.
But you’d usually expect the person writing an explanatory piece to be somewhat knowledgeable in the field and ideally, they also have an innate desire to share their expertise.
So someone writing articles about some grammar aspect of the German language should have a passion for it, know what they’re talking about and ideally also have a “desire” to share their knowledge.

Instead, what often happens today is this:

Step 1 – The Goal:

You have something to sell. That can be a language learning app, your online course, your Amazon web-shop that is centered around German learning. Or you just want to do affiliate marketing and profit from “helping” other sites sell their product, by linking to them and getting a commission.

Step 2 – Setting up a Website: 

So you set up a website. But there’s a gazillion websites out there, so you need to find ways to get traffic.
One is to just run ads, but those can get quite expensive. For one click for something related to German learning for example, you need to fork over at least an average of $6 dollars to Google. FOR ONE CLICK. And that can easily go to hundreds of dollars if your niche is something related to finance.
So you also want users to find your website organically through Google or Bing or whatever. Because that’s free and also it builds credibility for you. Like… the user found you while searching, so you must be relevant in the field.
To get this “organic traffic” you need content that a search engine can show to users.
So you add a blog to your website.

Step 3 – Finding Topics:  

Now you need to fill your new blog with content. But you don’t really know what to write about because you don’t really care about the field.
You just want to market your product or shop. So you go to Fiverr or Upwork or whatever and hire a freelance SEO expert to run a keyword analysis for you. SEO stands for search engine optimization and it’s basically the knowledge of how to make your website show up as high as possible on search engines.

The SEO expert will then analyze your niche for popular search terms. In our case, the niche is learning the German language, and popular search terms might be stuff like “German online course” or “doch usage” or “German cases simple” or “why does german grammar make me feel like an absolute stupid moron”.
I mean… not sure how popular that last one is but I am sure someone somewhere has typed this into Google at some point.
Also part of this analysis is how much “competition” there is for a given search term aka. keyword. The keyword “German grammar” for instance is very competitive, because there are hundreds of thousands of pages that fit this description.

But a keyword “doch meaning” is popular while at the same time not too competitive. So a fair amount of people search for it every week, but there are not too many websites dealing with this particular topic.

This is the sweet spot. This is what you want, because you have a good chance to get (manipulate)  your piece to the top 10 of the search results, and that means you’ll get free visitors to your site that you can then sell your product to – your initial and ONLY goal.
Notice how at no point so far we had something like “I think doch is really interesting and I think I can explain it well”.

So, through such an analysis, you build up a list of topics. And that’s where we’ll take a little break because this is getting long already. We’ll continue in a few days and trust me…

it’s not getting better.

Let me know in the comments what you think of it and if this is actually interesting for you :).
Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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