A new year is here. Now people all across the web are getting ready to launch their new marketing campaigns, with high hopes for 2018. The time is right for some fresh, exciting content. But unfortunately, coming up with relevant topics can be difficult, especially when you're planning out an extended editorial calendar - meaning you have to think of many, many, many topics to cover.
With so many subjects covered so many times before, how can you find valuable content ideas, of relevance to your audience?
The great thing about content is that it's an ever regenerating source of information and creative flow. You just need those juices to get pumping again - here are some ways you can keep those ideas coming.
Cluster Your Keywords
Good old fashioned keyword research is the most effective way to come up with content ideas.
Every content marketer knows what keyword research is, and how valuable it can be for generating valuable data-driven content. But if you've ever actually tried keyword research, you also know how overwhelming it can be. I get dizzy every time I start scrolling through hundreds, if not thousands of Excel rows - every little variation of pretty much the same phrase is a separate keyword.
In some cases, it may actually prevent you from getting inspired instead of helping your creativity.
I've found that getting organized with your keyword research is the key. You need a higher-level picture to get creative.
You copy and paste your keyword lists in and Serpstat will break your keywords into groups, so you can get the whole picture and more easily brainstorm topics and concepts to cover in your content:
Expand those topics to see more keywords inside each one (these can help structure your content into subtopics)
Follow Social Media Discussions
It can be difficult to come up with topics on your own, even with a lot of help. When that's the case, having a couple of resources at hand can really help. But what would those tools look like? Here are some of the ones I really like:
- Reddit - Don't mistake this one - I don't mean you should do what so many shady content mill websites do and steal people's posts to make a compilation list for cheap ad clicks. To use Reddit effectively, in a content research sense, find interest things people are talking about in relevant subreddits, then write your own take.
- Quora -I love Quora. It has so much useful info from so many different people in positions of authority that you can learn pretty much anything. I love trawling through it for potential topics, especially by looking at the questions people are asking most.
- Twitter - Want to know what people are talking about? Twitter's live search feed will tell you. This one speaks for itself.
- Pinterest - I'm a full-on Pinterest junkie, I am not going to lie. It wasn't until a couple years ago that I started using it for content ideas, rather than a place to store recipes and DIY projects I'll never get around to trying. You can discover interesting topics and awesome boards when typing your core term into Pinterest search box.
Keep Up with the News
There's a lot of inspiration to take from the news these days, and you might be surprised by how easy it can be to relate a current event that might not, at first glance, seem connected to your industry.
Controversial topics that make people hot under the collar provide a fantastic opportunity to open up a conversation (or cause a fight, which can still be pretty great for traffic, to a certain extent).
Facebook is a great way to keep up with trending topics and news, both within your niche and outside of it.
Whenever you're on Facebook connecting to family and friends, keep an eye on those trends and see if there's anything that can be turned into a content idea to promptly catch the interest peak.
Connect with Influencers
This one has multiple benefits and is one of the number one marketing trends of the moment. Influencers are people who've created a sphere of authority and branding on social media. Sometimes this is through a network platform, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, other times it's content-based, such as through a blog, or a YouTube channel.
Connecting with these influencers can be mutually beneficial, because it gives you both content ideas and a new base to widen your scope and viewer base. You can feed off of one another's ideas, expand old ones and give them a fresh new outlook, and a lot more.
Viral Content Bee is a good platform to start your social media interactions with niche influencers because it's heavily based on interactions. Submit your content and see social media influencers share it, then reach out to thank them and build on those relationships.
Generate a Random Headline
Still starved for ideas? You could always go the random route.
There are tools out there that can take your keywords and generate random topics based on them. Think of it as content madlibs - they aren't perfect (and you'll definitely want to re-tweak them before you use them), but they can, at the least, get your started.
There are two well known generators that I would recommend:
- Hubspot's Blog Ideas Generator - This one takes three nouns and creates five potential topics based off of them. They're not good, it has to be said, however they're generally enough to get you thinking of how to improve the topics, which can lead to you generating ideas. It's like jump-starting your brain.
- Portent's Content Idea Generator - This generator gives you a single topic based off of one subject. It then breaks down how each section can be improved, why it works, etc., so you get some ideas on other similar titles to make. You can refresh it for others anytime.
Valuable Content For a New Year
Start the year off with a boost to your content. That starts with good ideas, which are totally within your grasp. All you need are the tips above, a couple of free tools and you will be on your way.