Content marketing is a fantastic way to get people talking about your business and raise awareness about your products and services. It’s also a way to engage with your customers and even build a dedicated community. The majority of your competitors are focusing on content marketing, and you should be too!
While every business knows they need to develop a solid content marketing strategy, it may seem overwhelming to get started. It shouldn’t be! Your content marketing strategy is simply a roadmap to attracting people into your tribe. A solid strategy will tell you the who, what, and when of the content you should be creating.
If you’re new to content marketing, you may be asking yourself, where do I start? The truth is, if you pay attention and listen to what people are asking about, you will have all the content ideas you need. However, this may be easier said than done.
How to Come Up With Creative Content Ideas
Before you get into brainstorming content ideas, it’s best to get in the right frame of mind. When developing your content ideas, always understand you are in the business of solving problems or answering a question from your target audience.
This mindset will help you create your content plan, give suggestions of where to find inspiration, and help you find the time to stick to your creation schedule. Let’s dive in!
Ask Your Audience
If you’re at a loss about what content to create, simply ask your audience what’s on their minds. Feedback provides valuable insight about your audience that you can use to benefit both you and them! You can do this by using social media posts or surveys, or, if you have built an email list, you can poll your subscriber list to see what they are interested in reading.
With this method, you may discover a pattern of answers that indicates a pain point or challenge. You also may find an existing service that covers the exact problem your survey uncovers (or reveal a possible new service!). The easiest way to gather information is simply to ask a question.
Scan Google Trends for Inspiration
Google Trends is a quick way to see what the hot topics are at the moment in your niche. You can drill down to the interest by location, date range, and search region. Even if you aren’t sure of the specific key term you want to look for, Google Trends will have a list of recently trending topics easy to peruse for content ideas.
Using trending content is a way for you to give your unique perspective on a topic. Your audience follows you because they trust your opinion. Instead of reiterating the same information, use the opportunity to provide your compelling take on a given subject.
Keep a Content Ideas Journal
Do you ever find yourself lying in bed and an idea pops into your head? Content ideas may appear out of nowhere at any given moment. Carrying a journal – or at least having one close at hand – allows you to write down these ideas wherever you are. Don’t kid yourself and think, “It’s such a GREAT idea. I’ll never forget it!” You’ll forget it.
This idea journal (or it could be a simple note on your phone) is where your brain-dumps live. Just write down anything that comes to mind without editing your ideas or thoughts. Use this list when it comes time to layout your content calendar or when you sit down to write. You’ll be glad you did!
Find Inspiration from Competitors
After staring at a blank page for an hour, wanting to throw in the towel, take a moment to look at what your competition is doing. Research one of the big dogs in your space – take note of trending content and start there. As mentioned above, you can easily create a unique piece of content just by giving your personal spin to it.
Repurpose Your Old Content
If we lived in a perfect world, all content would be evergreen! Sadly, our ever-changing landscape doesn’t allow that, and we must update our range from time to time, depending on the market you serve. There is always a new, latest and greatest, way to do just about anything! What if you could take one piece of content and turn it into three or more pieces for multiple platforms?
For example, you can update your old blog posts with new data or case studies. Another example would be to gather a group of your blog posts and turn them into a downloadable e-book or checklist. How about converting one of your old posts into a video for YouTube? Add this task to your content calendar, and you won’t find yourself struggling for something new to share.
While it may be risky to bring certain news topics into your content (religion and politics for example), some news stories may genuinely affect your industry. Hence, it’s worthwhile to talk to your audience about it. Talk about the good and the bad and ask for opinions. Who knows? You may find another content idea in the comment section!
Using current news is a great way to increase engagement. The way to know what works with your audience is to test. If you hear crickets, you know it doesn’t resonate, and you’ll stay away from that topic from now on. If you get comments right away, maybe it’s a subject you’d like to add to your regular calendar.
Conduct Keyword Research
Want to know where to find tons of content ideas? Google. Yep, Google! When you type in the Google search box, there will always be a list of suggested searches. By playing around with topics and related terms, you can also spark some good content ideas.
Other tools like Answer The Public and Ubersuggest are also great ways to discover new topics to write about. These tools display suggested keywords, analyze SEO value, track website traffic, and more. Many of these tools are free to use or at least have a free version to try.
Create Content from Live Events
You don’t need to be a keynote speaker to draw content from live events. Simply attending a conference gives you access to agendas, notes, and white papers to glean content ideas. In addition to that, taking photos with speakers, other attendees, and focus groups will give you more content to share as well.
Not only do images work well, but going live at events is another excellent piece of content to share! You’ll naturally attract more people to your content simply by demonstrating that you are out there learning and expanding your network.
One place you can go and find inspiration is from forum sites like Quora. It’s a place where people go and ask questions about just about everything under the sun! Try typing in a popular topic in your industry, and you will start finding questions people are asking about it.
For example, what are the best tools for scheduling your social media content? From this, you could create a blog post called “Top 10 Content Management Tools for Small Businesses.”
Read Comments on Popular Blogs
Every market has popular blogs that people read. First, identify the top 10 blogs in your industry. Then, start reading them regularly and monitoring the comment section of each post. These people are the same people that could be buying your products or services.
What are they asking? What are they complaining about? From there, you can write your content and provide answers with your spin on things.
Read Relevant Sub-Reddits
Reddit is a great place to find out what people are talking about in your industry. This is one topic source that not many business owners think about, but it can be a great place to discover what to write about. See what people are sharing and where they are engaging the most. Note the number of upvotes and comments. These are the topics you should be adding to your content calendar.
Join Facebook Groups
Social media groups are like forums for specific niches. People join to discuss interests and topics. It’s also a place where people go to look for answers. Join related groups and begin participating in the discussion. Remember to make sure to tie your Facebook profile to your business page. When you answer a question, you will want the user to trace back to your page to view more of your content. This helps build additional trust in you as a knowledgeable source when they go to look for services.
Social Media – People You Follow
Create a list of your ideal readers and follow them. See what they do, share, reply to, etc. You should also be following influential people in your industry on social media. For example, on Twitter, scroll through their feed and look for recommended articles they share. If a tweet has many comments, this might be a topic you can address with your future content.
Have you heard of a roundup post? These make great posts on their own! Simply gather the top 10 articles on a particular topic in your niche. These can be from popular industry sites down to the most minor yet relevant sites. Then, create a piece of content listing these articles with links and providing a blurb about each one and what you find interesting. Curating content is as good as providing your own content as an expert.
Additionally, you can round up content from your website or social media. Do you have a lot of blog posts on your website? Choose one particular topic and round up all of the articles. Place them into an article with links and blurbs about each one and why your reader should dig in further.
Your followers will thank you for saving them the time!
Let’s not forget about your promotional content. Publishing content is fantastic, but if no one sees it or buys from you, you’ve missed the mark. This includes making calls to request more information down to a straight sales offer.
Instead of just sharing one piece of promotional content across your channels, make it more personalized to the audience for each. If you’re connected to people on multiple platforms, they will notice that you’re just copying and pasting your link everywhere. Take the time to make each post different.
Content is King
Content will always be of paramount importance when doing business online. If you don’t create content for your audience, you don’t have an online presence.
Take a few of these ideas and implement them. Even if it’s just one at a time, you’ll be making progress. Need help? Download this guide and get 30 Content Prompts for your social media platforms!