“I know I need to publish content, but I don’t know what to write about!”
Does this sound familiar?
One of the big reasons business owners don’t put more effort into their content marketing is due to a lack of ideas for content.
The good news is, there are 5 easy, effective, and free methods you can use to discover great ideas for content assets.
If you invest just a few hours exploring these sources, you should have at least 3 months worth of content ideas to work with.
Quora is a question-and-answer website where users ask questions and provide answers as part of an open discussion.
You can use Quora to search for a keyword or phrase that is relevant to your business. It will then show you a list of the most popular questions and topics being discussed.
For example, let’s say you’re a naturopath. You might search the phrase “natural remedies”. As you can see below, a list of results will then show up giving you some great ideas for content.
As you can see in the above example for “natural remedies”, the questions that appear when you sort the list by “past week” have very few answers, if any. It also provides you with ideas that are perhaps new and unique, giving you great ideas for content that should perform well in search engines.
In the screenshot above, the question titled “Is there any natural way to correct myopic eyes with natural remedies?”, has 6 Followers and 0 answers. This indicates that there are a good number of people out there that haven’t found an answer for this question, so writing a few paragraphs with a link to your more detailed article should generate a good amount of traffic.
SIDE NOTE: Use links sparingly, and make sure you provide value first before including any links to articles from your site. The last thing you want is Quora to flag your site as ‘spam’.
Buzzsumo is a handy tool for content marketing and SEO campaigns. It offers insights on what content performs best for any given topic or niche.
On Buzzsumo’s homepage you’ll see a search bar where you can enter a keyword or phrase and hit search. The site will show you a list of published content that relates to your search, along with statistics on shares and comments.
For this example, let’s say you’re a physiotherapist, and you want to know what content is performing best for the search phrase “injury prevention.”
A closer look at the results will give you some great ideas for articles, including “Hand-Positioning Tips to Prevent Injury in Weight Bearing Poses”, “The Core Workout That Prevents Injury”, and “How NBA Star Brandon Ingram Manages Knee Tendonitis”.
The key here is to use the theme of the post and offer your unique take on it. Avoid simply copying the content. If you just copy paste the article it will be flagged as plagiarism and your site will be punished. Study the article, in particular the comments section, and find what questions are left unanswered. You can then take that feedback and create your own article.
With a free trial, you can also access other tools including ‘Question Analyzer’, which will populate a list of common question being answered (much like Quora), as well as more in-depth content analysis.
3. ANSWER THE PUBLIC
True to its name, Answer The Public helps content marketers identify the best topics for content by giving you a free report of what questions people are asking about your niche in Google search.
This time we’ll put ourselves in the shoes of a Podiatrist (pun intended), and search the phrase “running”.
As you can see above, you will get a massive list of questions that you can use to plan content. Some great examples from the list above include “How running
affects your brain”, “How running reduces stress”, and “are running machines any good?”.
You can also get a lot more specific and search for niche phrases.
For example, a podiatrist or physiotherapist might search the term “shin splints” to see what common questions people are asking about the condition. You’ll then see a whole bunch of questions that you can use to create an epic article about managing and treating shin splints.
As well as the list of questions, there are also several tabs that provide other content ideas. The Prepositions tab also shows you a chart of search phrases from users that contain your keyword with prepositions such as can, for, to¸ and the like.
The Comparisons tab shows you a chart of phrases that users search for containing your keyword and comparison cues such as vs, versus, or, and like.
The Related tab shows you a chart that displays incomplete phrases containing your keyword. For example, if you type in the keyword “swimming pool”, the Related tab will show you search phrases such as “swimming pool Sydney” or “swimming pool near me”.
You have the option to download an image file of the charts from each tab, or you may opt to download the data from all the tabs in a CSV file for future reference.
4. FORUMS & FACEBOOK GROUPS
Jump on forums that relate to your niche and see what people are talking about. What common questions are people asking? What problems are they running into?
To find forums that relate to your niche simply type “[your niche] forum” into Google. You can even get more specific and search for ‘Australia forum’. Scroll
through the list of results and you should find multiple forums that are great for finding content ideas
If you can add value on the forum, even better – sign up and start engaging with other forum members. You can build up relationships authentically and ask members to share their questions with you.
Just don’t jump on and promote your website and business straight away – you’ll come across as spammy and be quickly booted out.
Much like forums, Facebook Groups are a great resource for generating discussions with your target market and finding ideas for content.
Let’s say you’re a Chiropractor. A simple search for Facebook Groups for the phrase ‘Back Pain’ will return a ton of handy results
Again, try to add value wherever you can.
5. EXISTING CUSTOMERS
Your existing customers are perhaps the best source of content idea generation, and they’re usually more than happy to give you feedback. There are a few ways
you can go about sourcing ideas from your existing customers:
1. QUICK EMAIL
If you want to know what your customers are thinking, just fire off a quick email asking what questions they have and what problems they are facing. The key is to
keep it short and sweet.
“Hi [name], what’s your biggest challenge right now with X? If you have any questions, hit reply to this email and I’ll help you out.”
This should generate some great ideas that you can turn into value-packed content assets.
If you want a more in-depth view of your customer’s mindset and pain points, a survey is a great option. If you don’t have any customers yet, or you just want to
get in the minds of people who are your target market but haven’t purchased your product, you can also reach out to people and request an interview.
You can quickly set up a survey using Google Forms, or a service like Survey Monkey.
Here are some questions we recommend asking your existing customers:
1. What is your biggest problem right now regarding X?
2. What questions about X are you struggling to find answers for?
3. What in-depth guide or article would you find most helpful for ‘X problem’?
4. What key questions did you want answered before purchasing X?