Inspiration is hard to fake. The same goes with quality. But what's a business owner or a content marketer to do if they're supposed to come up with great content, and they don't know where to start?
Everyone knows that content is the key to turning a lead into a buyer. Each lead reads through your content and takes away something that they find useful. If your content isn't valuable to them, they're less likely to pay attention to your brand and what you have to say. No amount of SEO, keyword lacing, or fancy gimmicks can replace high-quality content.
So where can you find some inspiration for your content? Here are some ideas:
Start with Your Own Site
Google Analytics Acquisition Overview
If you've already published material on your site, then chances are you also use analytics to see which content draws in the most users. From analytics software, you can see what types of content your visitors are attracted to, what they find interesting, what no one bothers to read, as well as what they find most worthy of comment. You can also use your social media accounts to see which types of content generate a larger following. For example, if you find that your blog post promotions on your Twitter account are getting more attention than your long form content promotions on your LinkedIn account, you may be doing right by Twitter, and you can do the same style of promotion with LinkedIn.
Find the Content the Crowd Likes
The amount of engagement your content gets from social media accounts can tell you which content generates more engagement, and therefore more attention. Count your likes, shares, comments and all forms of social media engagement to give you a clear picture of what content is socially successful. You can also join in the conversation in order to let your followers know that you're listening to what they have to say. Read what your followers have to say about your content and respond whenever they have questions, or whenever they show appreciation for your content.
In addition, you can put your readers to work by encouraging them to post comments. An ending sentence to your comment like "Please share your stories below" or "Please let us know what you think" can be a great prompt for your readers. You can also put up polls and surveys to find out what they think about certain topics.
See What Your Competition is Doing
Google Adwords Keywords Suggestion Tool
Do a sample Google search for they keywords in your site. If you're not at the top of the list, find out who is. Check out their site, and see what they're doing right. Are they using more long form content? Do they have a lot of infographics? What are they doing to get a higher ranking? You can follow up by learning what more people are interested in. Try to emulate what they do when it comes to engaging their readers, whether it's by having more promotions, having content with a lot of links or having interesting content that their readers can easily digest.
Find Out What's Being Asked
Have a look at answer sites like Yahoo Answers and Quora to find out if there is anything that people often ask when it comes to something in your niche. For instance, if your business deals with gardening, find out some of the common questions about growing and harvesting plants, and create your content around it. Social media groups are also a great place to start looking for content inspiration. You can read through tonnes of different questions, and you can even join in the discussion. Answer sites and social media groups are a treasure trove of unanswered questions about your industry that you can use for your content.
Read Up on Current Events
The latest news and trends about your industry can make for great up-to-date content. By finding out what the latest trends are in your industry, you can create a whole range of articles, infographics, and content about it. For example, if you're in the design industry and there's this new kind of software on the market, mention this in your content and show the readers how updated your site is. In addition, you can even make use of RSS and Google Alerts to tell you whenever there's new information on breaking news on topics related to your industry.
Do Trend Searches
Sites like Google Trends, Topsy and Alltop help you find out more about trending topics. Google Trends can show you what people are searching for when it comes to a particular industry. For instance, when people search for recipes, are they interested in video tutorials, tutorials with lots of images or more straightforward text tutorials?
Topsy, on the other hand, helps you search for a certain keyword across social media sites. You can even set it up to a particular location. So if your business is stationed in Sydney, you can search for the trending topics about your industry in Sydney to see what people are talking about. Alltop, unlike Topsy, searches for items from authoritative sites, and shows you what the bigwigs in your industry are talking about. Combine these three search tools and you'll definitely find some content that people are highly likely to view.
Step Out of the Office
Photo: La Biennale di Venezia - CC-BY-2.0 2013 Bruno Cordioli
Content writers and business owners may be so caught up with what's going on in the virtual world that they forget what a rich source of inspiration the real world is! Media like magazines, newspapers, TV and radio are still widely used by people because the content they have is still relevant. Information from these sources don't necessarily have a lot of online attention, which gives you the opportunity to be the one to make this information available online.
Events in your industry allow you to have a firsthand experience with what you'll be talking about online. By participating in seminars, trade shows, and exhibits, you can give your online viewers a glimpse of what's happening in your industry. With the Internet right at your fingertips, you can live Tweet the event, create Vines, or even write a whole article complete with pictures!
Don't let a lack of inspiration get in the way of you being able to produce quality content! Try new ways of finding engaging ideas to make sure that you can stay informed, and that your readers stay interested in your content.