9 ways to generate content ideas for your business
By Ben Robson
The keys to successful content marketing sit in ensuring your content is all of the following:
To achieve this and find ideas for your content in under ten minutes, try out some of the following. We’ll base the following examples on a fictional company, that for the purposes of this blog article specialises in kitchen design.
Although one of the more manual ways to create content ideas – Google suggestions is a great way to see searches relevant to your own offering.
Simply start typing a question related to your service and check the suggestions that appear. Any you don’t have covered on your site are opportunities for new blog posts / videos / social media content and more.
Answer The Public
A great tool to identify a wealth of ideas for your blog is the free to use, https://answerthepublic.com/.
Type in any search query or keyword and ‘The Seeker’ will generate questions that people are asking online about that topic, e.g. ‘Kitchen design.
It presents the data to you in handy graphs and data format, allowing you to export questions with a click of a button.
Pop these questions into your monthly content plan and start building up your blog content, providing you with an near endless supply of useful, informative resources to share across social media, email marketing and more.
- It is worth bearing in mind that these suggestions from Answer The Public have no indication of search volume associated with each of the queries. Make sure you check them in Google Keyword Planner (see below) to get an idea of popularity.
A great way to decide on the type of content to produce / ensure you have covered all of the bases is to see which content has been successful for your competitors.
Login to BuzzSumo – they have a free trial available – paste in the URL of your competitor in the search bar and hit ‘Go!’ In this example, we use Kitchen Design company, Magnet.
You’ll see a list of the content they’ve created that’s been shared the most on social media. This is a great way to see what content could be successful for you. Below, they talk about different colours, for example – Fusion Champagne and Planar Cream. Could you create an article that gives different colour considerations for the seasons of the year, from Spring to Winter, for example – and which colours complement each other?
With the paid version, you can also click on the tab for ‘Backlinks’ to analyse which websites your competitor is featuring on and the type of content they are featured in. This is another great way to decide on the type of content you want to produce yourself, so that you in turn can achieve links back to your own site from relevant websites (aiding your search visibility in the process), as links from reputable sites relevant to your topic / industry act like word of mouth, positive indicators that your site deserves a higher ranking in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
Explore Google Trends to discover the most popular keywords and searches (and those growing in popularity) related to your service. This is a fantastic way to stay ahead of the curve and produce content proactively, based on growing interest on line for that type of content.
Go to https://trends.google.co.uk/ and enter in a search term e.g. ‘Kitchen Design’, or keyword related to your service. Scroll down and look at the current trends in searches relating to that topic. Write content that caters for it – simple!
You can even change the date range e.g. past 12 months, past month etc. as you wish. You can also view graphs for ‘Interest over time’, to see if there is any seasonality affecting when people search for related content. This could help you to decide when to publish your content / plan for the future in your company’s content plan).
The image below shows the rising trend in people searching for the listed terms relating to kitchen design, worldwide, in the past 12 months.
The image below shows interest over time – seasonal trends of when people are searching for your related search term
Moz Open Site Explorer – Backlink analysis
Moz has a host of tools to help you monitor and improve your search rankings and optimise your website’s content.
One such tool is Open Site Explorer. Simply create an account and paste in the URL of your competitor. Then Click on ‘Inbound Links’. This will show you all of the links from external sites that link back to your competitor’s site.
Use this data to discover the types of articles your competitors are featuring in and create similar content for your own site. You could even approach the sites that link to your competitors and ask them if they’d be interested in publishing your content.
Run a survey and ask your audience
One of the best ways to find out the type of content you should be creating is to ask your customers! You can also find out where and when you should be sharing your content by collecting survey data – for example, do your customer prefer Facebook over Twitter? Are there particular times of the day that they’re online? Do they not like using social media at all and prefer industry specific print magazines or TV programmes to get their information?
Set up a survey in a tool like Survey Monkey and ask your customers everything you want to know. It’s easy to set up and comes in different packages depending on your audience size and number of questions you want to ask. We’d suggest trying to keep it to around 15 questions maximum and allowing open fields for your customers to voice their suggestions for you to improve your service etc. while you’re at it.
Ask them the type of content they’d like to read, how they’d like to receive it e.g. social media, email marketing, editorials, press releases etc. and how frequently and allow your customers to steer your content strategy. Once you’re done, send out your survey via email and analyse the data at the end of your survey period.
Run a survey outside of your existing customer audience
Want to find out what your target demographic care about? Set up a survey using Google Surveys, targeting people in your target demographic (age, interest, affluence etc.). Ask questions such as what topics they find most interesting e.g. how to guides, latest trends etc., and even questions such as what influences their buying decisions.
Once you have the data, write content that highlights that your company is a trusted source for information and what makes you stand out from the crowd.
Check out Google Surveys.
Use Google Keyword Planner
Find out how many people are searching for terms relating to your product and service each month / year and create content on your site to cater for these searches.
Simply go to Google Keyword Planner – You’ll need an AdWords account setup to use this tool (you don’t have to actually run any paid ads to use it though).
Enter in a list of search terms relating to your service (for example some of the question terms you gleaned from your Answer The Public research, or simply some terms you think would be related more specifically to your service e.g. reputable kitchen designers, and click ‘Get search volume and ideas’.
You’ll be presented with a list of terms, including how many people are searching for them per month. You can also change the location you’re focusing on in your settings e.g. you may want to cover nationwide (UK), or just locally in the county your business is based, for example.
This is a great way to ensure your site content caters for these searches, in addition to finding out how to optimise your page titles, meta descriptions and header tags to ensure they match the most popular searches.
Hop on social media and ask your audience
If you have an active audience on social media, why not run a poll to ask your audience the type of content they’d like you to produce. You can even ask what medium they’d like the content in e.g. video / blog posts etc.
There we have it. Some easy to follow recommendations to help kickstart your content strategy and plans. Give them a go and comment below if you have any other questions.
Thanks for reading.
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