If the first few steps of our content exploration were about building a content strategy and creating strategy documentation - the next logical step is to arm you with great ideas. After all, if a content’s success is to be measured primarily through metrics including likes and shares, creators need to constantly keep up with the content their target audiences have come to trust, love and share.
We know, great ideas can seem ephemeral and abstract, but the good news is, there are tools you can use to stay inspired and brainstorm content topics.
Here are 9 that will help you do just that.
1. Hubspot blog topic generator
Working with a blog topic generator can quickly help get your creative juices flowing.
One of our favourites is the Hubspot Blog Topic Generator - simply enter up to 5 different nouns in the text box, click the “Give Me Blog Ideas” button, and you’re off to the races! A week’s worth of blog ideas just waiting in your inbox.
BONUS: Want to get a year’s worth of content ideas in a snap? Hubspot will give you a list of free ideas after you fill out a short form. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy. Here’s how it looks:
2. Answer The Public
What’s the intention, emotion, or motivation behind nearly every internet search? To get an answer - we know, groundbreaking stuff. Duh. We love Answer The Public because it aggregates long-tail keywords from Google and Bing to give you an idea of the questions people in your target market are asking on the daily. Simply enter a keyword and you’ll get content ideas in seconds.
The results are beautifully visualized phrases chock-full of creative potential for blog, social media and video topics.
Not quite convinced? See how Edward Sturm used Answer the Public to find keywords for his blog posts and boost organic traffic by over 200%!
3. Medium newsletters
Get updates about the comings and goings in your industry by subscribing to publications on Medium. Each publication has highly curated stories focused on a particular niche or industry. And by 2016, Medium had already published a total of 7.5 million stories – which means there’s no shortage of insightful industry content to engage with.
Once you subscribe to publications that pique your curiosity, you can opt to receive a Medium Weekly Digest newsletter which compiles a list of top content and trending topics for the week. There you go: we just took a few hours of tedious research right off your plate. #Winning.
You can also get content updates from the authors, publications and topics you follow.
Most professionals make it a habit to browse online and check out social media for content inspiration. That means most professionals have also fallen down the corresponding rabbit hole of content that eats up hours of your time before you realize you’re watching yet another video of otters holding paws as they sleep. Come on – you know you want to watch it … No? Just us?
Every time you see a story with potential, you can save it to Pocket and add tags like “Blog inspiration” or “Video ideas”. In time, those saved stories could kick start a blog post or future video project. Brain food for creatives - we like it!
5. Lists and Twitter Communities
They say birds of a feather flock together (we’re sorry, we couldn’t resist), but how can you find and connect with the fellow feathered leaders in your niche? Here’s an idea: explore lists of influencers and professionals on Twitter.
HACK: Just type 'site:twitter.com,' on Google and add the desired industry or topic in quotation marks.
In this example, every list related to “content marketing” is composed of relevant professionals and publications. Check out the profiles of each list member to discover thought leaders and businesses.
6. LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic platform for keeping a finger on your industry’s pulse. If you need some inspiration, check out the latest posts from the groups you joined. Haven’t joined any groups yet? Simply use the search box to find groups based on keywords in your industry and click “Request to Join”.
You can also check out your newsfeed to view top stories from the groups and people you follow.
7. Your team
Marketers don’t have to go at it alone. If you’re running low on creative fuel, ask for ideas from people on your team, network or business. First, talk to people who deal with customers directly like sales or customer service reps, and ask them to tell you more about…
- Your business's main features and benefits from their POV
- Frequent customer feedback
- Trends and predictions based on ground floor experience
Having conversations with sales reps will help you create content based on what customers want to learn or need to know about your products. It also lets you discover insights for future content and foresee any challenges or miscommunications.
We mentioned Feedly in our beginner’s guide to content creation as one of the best ways to monitor the latest blog posts from the publications you follow. But you can also use it to get the scoop on what your competitors are up to.
Let’s say your business sells tools for marketers. Some of your competitors could be Hubspot, Moz, Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. View their latest posts and sort their popularity on Feedly.
The share count - the number located beside the publication - indicates how popular the post is. For example, the post titled, “Google Algorithms Are Not Google Penalties” has a 500+ share count so it could be an interesting topic for your content strategy.
Quora is quite simply a place for people to ask questions and get answers from those in the know. Once you get started answering other’s inquiries, you’ll start to see patterns in the information people are missing and seeking out. The best part: you won’t even have to do any complex analysis of target markets and demographics; they’ll be the ones asking you for information!
BONUS: back link to existing content you already have lying around about relevant topics and questions. That way, you’ll create an ecosystem of helpful content all the while driving people to your website. Win-win!
There you have it folks - a magic bag full of tricks and tips you can keep up your sleeve, or pull out of your hat, whenever your content well runs a little dry. Tune in next week to discover 8 key metrics you need to be keeping tabs on to measure the success and impact of your ambitious content strategy!
Article written by Monique Danao