Tips and tools for cultivating terrific content

Coming up empty for your next online post? Try these ideas to identify your target audience, find out what they’re curious about, and provide meaningful insights.

At some point you’ll struggle to come up with potent, relevant content marketing ideas.

Whether you’re a novice communicator or a pro, eventually you’ll draw a blank. If you are in a rut or simply need new topics to align with your strategy, follow the tips below to guide you to new ideas:

Keyword research

For people who like to get going quickly on creating content, keyword research can seem like a drag on the process. The opposite is true: Keyword research can drive your content strategy and get you to your end goal faster than if you skipped it.

Once you have your marketing strategy in place and a strong understanding of your target audience and the actions you seek from them, start your keyword research to identify key phrases on which to build your online presence.

Keyword research for SEO identifies the exact phrases people use to search for the products, services, information, answers and solutions that can lead to them becoming your customers.

Once you’re aware of what those phrases are, you can address the topics through your content and blog posts.

Editorial calendar

An editorial calendar will help ensure that your content aligns with your strategy, that you’re staying on track for productivity and that you have a guide in case you get stuck.

Great keyword research helps you sculpt your editorial calendar.

Try these tools to cultivate content ideas:

1. BuzzSumo

This search engine ranks content, covering most any topic, by how often a given article is shared.

Once you have a list of keyword phrases, use BuzzSumo to see what types of content people are creating and sharing. You can pinpoint the topics you’re considering for upcoming blog posts. Don’t use this tool with the intent of copying posts. Instead, review the posts and see how you can improve upon them, make the ideas your own and intersect your content based on the top results.

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With BuzzSumo, you not only see how many shares a post has, but also which websites have linked to the content and who has shared it.

2. Keywordtool.io

This keyword tool helps you “find out what your audience is looking for” and helps you identify precisely what people are typing into search engines.

Keywordtool.io returns the actual questions people ask about specific terms, revealing intent in a search phrase. As you weigh what to write about, answering questions you know people are asking helps you get into a blogging routine and attract an audience.

3. Google Search: Forum + Your Topic

Most industries have active bulletin boards and forums where people seek information. Users will often specify what they are looking for and what they can’t seem to find. If you look at these forums enough, you’ll identify trends and hot content threads.

Type in “key term + forum” or “key term + board,” and you typically will find results related to the business or industry you’re searching for.

Side note: These forums can be great for networking.

4. Quora

If you’ve never used Quora, check out this “platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers.” Type in any topic to find content ideas.

5. Your sent email

You’ve probably answered numerous questions in your emails and don’t even realize it. Go through your email and search for questions your customers have asked, how they talk about their issues, what they like and don’t like, and so on. You’ll be amazed at how many topics you’ll come up with.

What other tips or tools would you add to this list?

A version of this post originally appeared on Duct Tape Marketing.

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