Perhaps the trickiest aspect of content marketing is consistently coming up with fresh ideas that will resonate with a target audience.
Regardless of your subject matter, writing with insight and creative flair is a grind. You can always recycle or repurpose content, but your readers (and Google) prefer originality.
If you need a creative boost, try these six helpful resources:
Google’s Keyword Planner can help you build Adwords search campaigns, but it’s also useful for discovering topics related to your keyword search.
To use Google’s Keyword Planner, set up a free Adwords account. Google will ask you for your billing details, but you can skip this step if you just need the search functionality.
The keyword planner will shed light on the volume of monthly searches, the competition and suggested bid price for keywords related to your query. To search for content ideas, don’t limit yourself to concepts closely related to your search terms.
Look for more creative ideas, phrases and search terms in the “Customize your search” section, then make sure that the “Only show ideas closely related to my search term” option is off.
After you enter your query, the keyword planner will generate a long list of ideas based on the relevance to the keyword. Explore trending topics with high competition for your query, and peruse less popular yet common keywords that could bring you traffic over the long run. Here is an example using “unified communications”:
The keywords I have chosen and circled are “cloud-based unified communications” and “benefits of unified communications,” each of which has average monthly searches ranging from 10 to 100. There’s a potential springboard for a blog post.
This wonderful tool helps you identify potential topics by fetching Google search query suggestions and presenting them in discrete categories.
Just enter a keyword, select a country, and Answer the Public will suggest hundreds of content ideas in seconds. Here is a screenshot of a query for “cybersecurity”:
Suggestions are divided into two main categories—questions and prepositions—and then separated into subcategories for tidier segmentation.
What’s hot right now? What are people searching for, and where are they searching from?
Regardless of your products or services, Google Trends can guide your content marketing. Let’s say your company sells spatulas. Just typing “spatulas” into Google Trends reveals that you’d be wise to geo-target the folks in Kansas and Iowa, who appear to have spatula fever.
This is also a great resource for newsjacking. See what’s trending, and craft your content to dovetail with major news stories.
This question-and-answer website is a gold mine for unique topics, insights and ideas.
When you register for a Quora account, you can select your interests—which range from broad topics (such as marketing) to niche subjects (such as discussions about the email marketing software MailChimp). Specifying your interests helps create a personalized feed of questions.
Quora is a great tool for uncovering fresh topics, and it’s a tremendous platform for promoting your existing content—provided you have something relevant to share.
Feedly compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources. This handy resource condenses and consolidates news that’s relevant to you. Instead of sifting through dozens of news sites and blogs, Feedly is a one-stop shop that can fuel your content direction.
Feedly also enables you to organize topics by category. For example, I have separate tabs for marketing, sales and technology, so I can scan updates on relevant subjects.
Here is a quick preview of Feedly’s dashboard:
Flipboard stockpiles popular stories and conversations according to any interest you have. Just pick your favorite topics, and Flipboard personalizes your feed.
Content idea generators
Whenever your well of creativity is running low, Portent’s Content Idea Generator will get your juices flowing. Just enter a topic or subject, and it will create a title suggestion. Portent generates one idea at a time, but sometimes that’s all it takes to ignite that creative spark.
Another similar tool is HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator. Hubspot’s tool asks you to enter three nouns, and it suggests five content titles based on those nouns.