In today’s digital world, content should be at the heart of any great integrated digital marketing strategy.
Valuable content adds to the overall user experience and helps you boost search engine visibility. If you invest in creating a high-quality site that contains original content, search engines will help you get more exposure, improving your site’s ranking and therefore leading to a better performance of your business and attracting the right type of users to your site.
The evolution in technologies and social media channels means that content marketers must be constantly innovative to get their content noticed and remain competitive. Content should consistently be unique and niche, targeting the specific interests of your users.
For instance, long-tail keywords play special role in drawing traffic to your site as this traffic is more focused and has a clearer user intent. Addressing a clear need and providing value to users should be a marketer’s top priority. It’s no longer enough to provide regular content, but also write about specialized concepts that your users want to know more about.
According to a research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, developing a better understanding of what makes content effective as well as regularly creating engaging content that reaches the right audience remains a top priority for UK marketers in 2017.
Social media is the most often used content marketing tactic, followed by newsletters and blogs. However, with regards to effectiveness, the majority says that blogs and in-person events are their top performing tactics.
So, do you know which are the most searched-for topics in your industry? Do you know what the pain points of your target audience are? Content marketing is not just about promoting your own brand, but delivering real value to your readers by truly listening to them and finding solutions for their problems.
Creating content is no piece of cake and it requires a lot of research, planning and consistency. It may not be easy, but if you get it right, it’ll be worth the effort. With marketing content expected to be a $300 billion industry by 2019, now it’s the time to invest in a high-quality strategy.
Here are five of the best online tools for generating content ideas to help you get started. Some are free and some have paid subscription options, but they all are worth trying out.
For those of you who want to make the most of your content marketing strategy, there is a bonus tip at the end of this article.
To be effective in content marketing, you must be creating useful and engaging material that users are interested in. There is no point in spending time and effort into writing articles on topics that are not interesting or relevant to your audience. Answering questions that no one is asking would just be a waste of time.
Therefore, before you start brainstorming for new topic ideas, you need to know exactly what your target readers are interested in, and this is where Answer the Public does the hard job for you.
Answer the Public is an automated autocomplete keyword research tool that presents you with an aggregated view of questions, prepositions and alphabetical lists that relate to your query. It helps you monitor and measure user intent and provides you with great ideas for more content. You can easily find out what users are searching for and write about it.
The results come back in a visual form. Once you type in your keyword, you’ll see a visualization of questions that relate to your search query. For example, these are the results for the query ‘digital agency’:
The first set of data is organised into questions that begin with wh-question words. You also get preposition results and an alphabetical list of keywords. If the “wheel” view seems too difficult to follow, you can always choose to view your results in a data format.
Answer the Public will give you plenty of potential topics, but you need to be very careful when choosing. It is a tool that gives you a general idea of what people are searching for, and can be a great source of inspiration for your blog content, but still some of the results would be completely irrelevant to your brand. The way you’ll be using the data depends a lot on how well you know your customers.
Answering questions that your target audience asks is what drives today’s content marketing. Want to be on top of the game? Ask the seeker… and find your solution.
This is another amazing tool for generating content ideas and having a better understanding of your customers’ wants and needs. Buzzsumo is very easy to use. Just enter any topic and you will automatically get a list of content ideas that have performed well in the social space in terms of engagement and shares.
There are two main ways to find information – keyword-based and domain-based search.
The tool allows you to filter results by time to ensure that seasonality is not affecting your findings, as well as by type of content and location to see which content performs best depending on the place. This helps you find relevant content to share, link to and be inspired by.
After running a few searches, you can see which domains appear the most for your keywords. This will help you uncover influencers in your specific industry that you can reach out to, therefore Buzzsumo is also an effective tool for influencer marketing.
You’ll also start noticing what typically appears in the top results for your set of keywords, helping you find out common themes and topics of content, as well as what is it that is trending in your specific industry. This way you can easily get ideas on which content themes perform best.
The domain-based search option allows you to see what your competitors are doing well and learn from them.
The great news is that you can get these functions with the free version. The paid version allows you to dig a bit deeper, and given the fact that it’s $79 per month, you might consider investing in it.
Google Trends is one of several free Google tools at your disposal. It first arrived on the market back in 2008, and its main function is to show search interest trends over time. It’s a great place to start if you are looking to find information about trends or seasonality. You can view what searches and stories are trending now, or you can look up specific search terms and understand how those terms have performed over time.
The tool allows you to view information about specific keywords or brands by region and data, offering high levels of granularity. It helps you discover the most popular topics people are searching for right now, or examine historical search and see interest levels over time.
When it comes to content creation ideas, Google Trends could be used to look at search data volumes as well to see in real time what people are associating and pairing your brand with by scanning through “Related queries”.
You can also browse through “Related topics” to see what else is popular around your topic, giving you additional content ideas. Another great feature is the “interest over time” feature which allows you to determine whether a topic is trending up or down, and you can even compare trends for more than one keyword.
Another great tool with similar functionality is Google Correlate, which allows you find search patterns which correspond with real-world events. This, again, is incredibly handy for analysing buyer behaviour or coming up with new blog topic ideas.
Often regarded as ‘the tool’ for keyword research, Google Keyword Planner helps you maximise your research before writing your next piece of content. Optimising your content for search engines is essential and that’s where targeting the right keywords plays a crucial role. Keyword Planner is a free tool but you must have an AdWords account to be able to use it.
No piece of content should go live unless extensive keyword research has been conducted beforehand, and this is where Google Keyword Planner comes in. Finding proper keywords requires you to think like your readers and figure out what they would search for to find your brand.
Keyword Planner provides you with average monthly search data, competition level and even synonyms or keyword variations. It also shows you historical data on what users have been searching for, giving you insights on terminology trends over time.
New content should not only be high-quality but also optimised for organic searches. Google Keyword Planner is designed as a paid search tool but the data it provides you with is nonetheless extremely useful for SEO as well. Therefore, it should never be the only tool to use for keyword research. For example, Ubersuggest could be a great alternative.
Ubersuggest is another great keyword research tool to help you create quality content and get good ranking and authority. It can help you quickly brainstorm and find keywords that relate to your product/brand that people are searching for.
By simply typing in a keyword, you get an almost unlimited list of alphabetised and numerical keyword variations of this same keyword. It tends to be more streamlined than Google Keyword Planner but it won’t give you any information on search volume or competition.
A noteworthy feature is the “expand this keyword” feature, which shows you synonyms and related queries to the keyword you’ve chosen to expand. In this way, you can generate hundreds of content ideas, simply by using Ubersuggest.
An extra tip: Another great, but often overlooked (by marketers) source of content is the most commonly asked questions in your business, known as ‘frequently asked questions’ or FAQs. They represent an amazing, and completely free, opportunity for you to create highly useful written content for your site that is relevant to your target audience.
The easiest way to identify which are the most commonly asked questions in your business is by asking customer-facing staff for their most popular queries, or by polling your customers directly.
Investing time and effort in creating an informative and in-depth FAQs section on your site will help you not only come up with enormous amount of top quality, useful and informative content to your site but also deliver excellent customer service and keep your readers happy and well informed.
Coming up with fresh content ideas can be a struggle. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit on your own and do the hard work yourself.
These tools can assist you in your process and help you come up with content that works for your brand and brings enough traffic to your site. If you are interested to know more, this article about the huge importance of content and its many variations, is a great place to start. And don’t forget, never underestimate the hidden power of your FAQs section.