Content ideation is the process of finding relevant topics for content creation and deciding which ones would really resonate with your brand’s target audience.
There are many ways to look for ideas for content pieces. Some of the common ones are:
- Doing a Google search for head terms and identify what topic is most commonly discussed.
- Use Ubersuggest or Google Keyword Planner to find keywords/terms with high monthly searches.
- Look at Google Analytics to see which landing pages have the highest page views and replicate their formats in future content efforts.
The aforementioned content ideation techniques are a great place to start, but the following are more actionable methods to add to your content marketing arsenal.
Interviews are best sources of topics for content because they bring out the questions people in the industry are commonly asking.
To find interviews in your industry, you can go to Reddit and search for recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) by doing a search on the search box (use [topic] ama).
Choose a niche-related Reddit AMA from the search results and start to grab some interesting ideas from the discussions.
A few considerations to maximize this content ideation technique:
- Don’t always read primary questions, but follow-up questions as well. They can provide you more interesting ideas that you can discuss in future blog posts.
- Check out links or URLs used as references by participants to find common niche resources or sites.
- Use the find (Ctrl+F) option to easily find secondary keywords related to your industry. You can also toss them in your favorite keyword analytics tool to determine their monthly searches and consider them targeting for your brand’s pages.
Straight Answers From Micro Survey Tool
Surveys are commonly used in offline marketing to collect feedbacks either from existing customers or potential customers or audience who’re also willing to participate with any data gathering activities of the company (e.g. answering specific questions in the survey).
In online marketing, you can also use micro-survey tools like Qeryz to get feedback from your visitors on any page of your website.
Actionable tips to use the tool for content ideation:
- Use at least 2 questions to get straightforward answers from your visitors.
- Don’t add any irrelevant questions to ensure that you’ll only get answers that can be turned into topically relevant content.
- Enumerate choices for answers (for ABC type of question) that are short and directly related to the question.
Competitors’ Top Pages
Learning from your competitors is one of the untapped ways to find topics that are well-received by your target readers or content consumers.
Use a tool like CognitiveSEO to find pages of your competitor’s site that are ranked from highest to lowest referring domains.
Four ways to get content ideas from competitors’ pages:
- Identify the content theme or topic of the page not just the keyword it is targeting.
- Find loopholes in the page or ideas that need further discussions.
- Search for the author of the page and research on topics he or she is most commonly writing on.
- Visit pages that are linking to your competitor’s top pages/content and understand why they are linking to your competitors. For instance, you can find a roundup post that includes your competitor’s page, this will help you discover related topics straight from the roundup post itself.
Analytics From an Email Marketing Tool
People who are already connected with your brand are the most interactive audience that you can engage with for your content ideation process (collecting some content ideas that refer to their needs and pains).
Things that you can do with email analytics:
- Analyzing what type of newsletters have the highest open and click-through rate (the data will be more effective if you’re providing different email formats to your subscribers for testing or experiment). Replicate the topic or newsletter type to your content. You can use a tool like GetResponse for email analytics activity.
- Learn from complaints or negative feedbacks from your customers. This will help you in developing your product as well as understand your audience’s pain points, which is good to consider for content creation.
- If you’re asking for regular feedbacks in newsletters, then you can get very specific data that you can include to your content.
Every week, you should talk to your clients and ask questions related to your industry in order to discover content opportunities.
A few questions you can regularly ask clients:
- What marketing activities are they doing offline? Sponsorship opportunities can be turned into a page/content that can increase branding and exposure for the company.
- What interview and press opportunities are they receiving both offline and online? This can help you setup branded pages for them targeted to specific groups of media outlet sites.
- Do they have social media profiles? If you can dig in to their social accounts, you’ll get much success with content brainstorming (you can see specific feedbacks from their engaged customers).
- What events, seminars or workshops are they participating? If they took notes at those events, then you can ask for a copy and get some ideas from it.
- Do they have offline publications or magazines or at least contribute insights/posts to any offline asset? Again, ask for copies.
By simply asking questions, you can get good topic ideas that are already popular and only need some content to open up the discussion.
The above techniques will surely help you brainstorm ideas that are well targeted to your audience and can help you achieve your goals for your brand. Do you have any other techniques you use to generate ideas? Please share them in the comments below.
Featured Image: SplitShire. Modified by author for Search Engine Journal.