When you get started producing content, it feels like a breeze.
You’ve got plenty of ideas, and they flow out of you onto the page, screen, or anywhere else that works.
Over time, however, it can become more challenging to generate new ideas to share with your audience. You may also find that, as your audience grows, they start to expect more from you.
To make sure you stay on the good side of your visitors, it’s important that you know how to consistently generate epic content ideas. Not just what the competition is doing. Not just what you thought of in passing thinking, “that could work.” I’m talking EPIC.
Without these great ideas, your content will stagnate, and you run the risk of losing that audience you worked so hard to build.
So, how do you generate epic content ideas?
There are all sorts of methods designed to help you get them. But of those methods, there are three that consistently deliver successful and impactful ideas.
These are tried and tested. Combined with your tenacity, they should net you amazing topics to create content around.
Keyword Research for new content ideas
Keyword Research is perhaps the method that content creators will be most familiar with. Keyword research is closely tied to knowing what people search for on search engines like Google and Bing.
It’s really simple: If you know what terms and phrases are popular with your audience, you can create content that will attract attention to your business.
There are dozens of top-tier services to help you identify the best keywords for your business.
As a starting point I would recommend the following:
The old stalwart. This is a great place to get started building a foundation of useful and popular keywords.
It’s a tool created by Google to help marketers and businesses who advertise on Google’s search pages—so remember that although it’s great help in generating ideas, there are lot of features in this free tool that you don’t really need to use.
To crack open the tool, you need to create an Adwords account. You can use your Gmail log-in here.
Set up the account here by inputting the account name you want to use and your website’s URL.
Once you’re in, navigate to the Keyword Planner.
Click Keyword Planner from the Tools drop-down menu. You will be sent to a page that will ask you what you want to do based on your objectives.
To carry out basic (and fundamental) keyword research on the Google Keyword Planner, choose the first one, “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category”. Remember that this tool will help you find ideas around your existing ones. They are not to be used for research without anything to start with. That said, it’s a nifty tool to understand the topics that are also searched for around the general topic you are covering.
To get the most out of the Google KP, be specific with the information you input.
How well you fill up these prompts will greatly affect the quality of ideas you get.
After filling it up, you will be taken to a page that includes a list of idea suggestions which you can use as jump-off points in creating new ideas for your content.
BuzzSumo is a web app that helps you to see most shared pieces within topics of your choice and even within your industry. Simply, it gives you straight which content related to your topic is performing the best.
This allows you to quickly identify patterns for success and apply them to your own content. For example, people interested in Big Data may like their lists, while amateur gardeners like pictures.
From the ideas of others, you can create similar posts and make them even better.
Essentially a questionnaire service. Seed makes it possible for you to distribute questions about search habits directly to your audience. This allows you to get an accurate read on the exact terms your audience uses, and an insight into how they use language online.
All of these methods are useful for creating content that people will find immediately interesting. However, you should also be assessing upcoming trends to identify the topics and keywords that will do great for you in 6 months time, or even a year.
Not everything you write is going to be a smash hit straight away. There are thousands of people writing content and trying to ride the current wave. Which means the likelihood of your piece of content getting seen, and propelled to viral status, is lower. If you can be one of the first to write about an upcoming popular topic, however, your content is more likely to get the attention it deserves. Use Google Trends to see whether a term is growing in popularity, or on the downturn. Correctly responding to these trends will put you months ahead of your competition.
Spend Time With Your Audience
Your content is dependent on being read and shared by your audience if it wants to make a substantial impact. Your audience, therefore, should be at the heart of your content strategy. The first things you should do when developing a new piece of content are:
?Make sure you’re writing it in a way that your audience will enjoy.
?Research which platforms and services your audience is using the most.
?Match the content to the platform you want to promote it on.
Pay particular attention to that third point. All the keyword and platform research in the world won’t help you if the content you produce doesn’t work for the channel you release it on.
For example: Let’s say you have an audience that is interested in audio equipment. You write a great article about the best way to choose a soundboard that fits your needs and then post it on Linkedin. Now, your investors may hang out on Linkedin, but your audience almost certainly doesn’t. That content is going to go to waste.
The good news is, if you’re doing keyword research, you’ll identify channels and types of content which your audience likes as you go. Be sure to refresh that information every 6 months, though. Tastes change, and new channels emerge to displace the old favorites. Remember that your audience is a living thing, and it will change, so you need to be ready to as well.
Not sure where to start looking for your audience? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Used properly, this site is a goldmine. People gather on this site to ask questions that are important to them. Often they end up on Quora because they haven’t been able to find the answer elsewhere on the web. So if you see a question related to your business that’s getting a lot of traction, it’s time to start producing content around it!
Yes, this is a little broad, but different audiences are going to favor different social networks. Besides the obvious networks like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Linkedin, identify any specialist social networks that your audience uses. Audiophiles might spend time on Soundcloud while developers favor sites like Stack Overflow.
Mainstream and Popular Media
Where does your audience get their news? Are they pop culture junkies? Often you find the websites your audience loves by keeping an eye on their social networks. Notice they’re all sharing one site? Go and check it out, see if there’s anything they’re doing that you can emulate. If you notice that your audience has a taste for a particular type of TV show or podcast, see if you can integrate that interest into your content. For example: What Do Comedy and Content Marketing Have in Common?
Spending time with your audience isn’t just a reactive process. As with keywords, take some time to look at what’s going to be popular in the future. Likewise, if there’s a piece of technology or some innovation which you feel will be important to your audience, invest early. Epic content is often the content that gives your audience exactly what they need, the moment they want it. A simple, well-timed article can be just as successful as a complicated infographic or flashy video.
Speaking of infographics and videos…
Refresh and Repurpose Your Existing Popular Content
One mistake we see from a lot of businesses time after time is the creation of excellent content that gets ignored after its initial success. There’s a tremendous amount of value in refreshing and re-visiting popular content a few months after it was first launched. Not only does it give that content a second, third, or fourth chance to shine, you also make it available to a part of your audience that missed it the first time around.
Here are a few different ways you can refresh your popular content:
Update existing content pieces
This is an easy one. Did you write a top-ten list six months ago? Is it still correct in your opinion? If not, update that sucker and re-publish it with an explanation why. Not only does this put it right back in front of your audience, it also shows them that you’re dedicated to staying relevant. Here’s a great example of a blog that’s regularly refreshed and updated to stay relevant.
A lot of people are visual thinkers, so a detailed blog post might put them off. Consider whether you can turn your blog posts into infographics, or informative videos. Not only will visual thinkers thank you, but infographics and videos are also very shareable, and so could help your content go viral.
Do you have five great takeaway points in a popular piece of content? Consider separating them out and turning them into tweets or individual posts. Publishing these small snippets on social keeps your brand present, and reinforces your messaging.
Sometimes the simplest way to make great content even more valuable is to go deeper on it. Can you expand on the points you made in a blog? Maybe each of those points, as well as becoming social snippets, could be blogs of their own. Expanding on something you’ve already written is a great way to re-engage with readers who showed interested in that particular blog. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of your expertise.
Have you used any of these methods before? How did they go for you?