By now, you likely have heard about content marketing. The concept is simple: you come up with a steady stream of interesting ideas that can be translated into blog posts, images, and infographics that can then be shared on your website, blog, social media channels, or newsletters. This content will help to grow your business, make your brand feel more personal, situate you as a top mind in your industry, and more. In fact, having new content up on your website regularly also helps to boost your SEO.
Understanding that content marketing is good for your business is the easy part, however. Creating the content is also not even the main issue, as you can always have other team members or freelancers write content for your blog. The problem is- how do you come up with ideas? If you have an active blog for your brand that you update several times a week, how do you continually come up with unique content to write about? While it takes some work, there are plenty of resources out there that can help you come up with topics that will be relevant to your brand and your target audience. Here are a few ideas to help get you started.
Research your specific industry for inspiration
The best way to get started coming up with great content is to take a look at what is already out there in your industry. This can be taken two ways. First, simply look through anything you can find that is related to your industry- search through hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, surf through boards on Pinterest, or Google concepts that are related to your brand. You will be surprised what might come to you if you just take some time to look. Maybe you see a unique way to use a certain product, and that inspires you to find (and write about) unique ways to use yours. Even something as simple as an image may spur your creativity.
The second way to approach this research is to look at actual blogs and websites that are related to your industry to see what they are writing about. This does not mean that you steal their ideas- that is definitely something you never want to do. What you should do instead is look at what is working (and what isn’t) for related brands and see how you can turn those topics into something fresh that you can use. If you look at a lot of related websites you likely will see content that is similar, and there is a reason for that. Related brands are targeting similar audiences, meaning that what they share will likely be related in some ways. That’s okay! While you shouldn’t spend all of your time on other’s people’s blogs, and it is true that you will want to develop your own totally unique content that other websites will then want to update for their own use, there is nothing wrong with taking some time to see what other people are doing.
Determine relevant keywords
If browsing through Instagram isn’t helping you out, don’t worry. There are plenty of tools out there that can help you come up with topics. To start out, use a keyword research tool that can give you related topics based on the word you select. Google Trends is a great example that gives you a look at topics that are popular right now, and also lets you search for specific keywords.
In this example, the keyword was ‘yoga’ and from this came related topics that people are searching for a lot such as ‘yoga pants’ and ‘hot yoga.’ Figure out your relevant keywords and then do some digging on those words to see what people are searching for when they use that word.
Another great tool that will come in handy is BuzzSumo. This is a similar program that gives you data based on what is really popular right now. If you type in a keyword, it will return results on the most popular content from the last year containing that word. Again, don’t steal the idea and use it for your website, but by having an idea of what people find most interesting, you can come up with related topics.
Write about yourself
When searching for great content ideas you likely are spending a lot of time looking all over the Internet and various places. But where you should spend some time is with yourself! Having a variety of material is what makes for great content marketing, so don’t be afraid to include a more personal section to your website or blog! If you are running a small ecommerce brand, for example, you could have a weekly or monthly post about your path to success. You can discuss your struggles, mistakes, and how you overcame them. Not only will this make your brand more personal, but also everyone will be able to relate to your story in some way, and that’s a great thing.
Create topics that can repeat
A great way to make sure you always have something new going out on your blog is to create some type of “regularly scheduled content.” This should be something that you post either each week or each month, and while the topic is the same, the content varies. You could do a Member of the Month feature highlighting a different customer each month, for example. If you are a health foods brand, you could post a new recipe each week using some of your products. This is just another type of content that you should be adding into your overall content marketing plan. While these posts still involve planning, you don’t have to spend as much time up front coming up with a totally new idea.
Ask your audience
Finally- don’t be afraid to go right to the source of who you are trying to reach! Asking your audience what they want to see or read about is a great way to start a conversation with your customers, and of course, to get ideas! At the end of each blog post you should definitely encourage your readers to comment their thoughts and ideas, but you can also reach out via social media. One popular way to do this is by hosting a Twitter chat. Schedule the chat several days in advance and be sure to promote that it is happening. On the day of make sure you allow enough time and have provided people with a hashtag they can use so that their tweets are seen by you. Listening to your customers is a great way to gain ideas for fresh content to create, so make sure you give them opportunities to speak!