5 Resources For Generating Content Ideas

“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.

  1. QUORA

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’.

2. BUZZSUMO

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.

For example,

“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.

2. SURVEY

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?

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5 Key Metrics For Measuring the Success of Your Content Marketing

Are you publishing content, but unsure how to measure success?

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of data when it comes to content marketing.

If you’re tracking everything from page views and time on page, to comments, likes, and shares, you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed and begin to wonder if publishing content is worth the effort.

Your best bet for effectively measuring the impact and results of your content marketing is to focus on these 5 metrics:

1. FIRST POINT OF CONTACT

Firstly, building an email list should be your number one priority if you want to track how visitors become customers. Managing your contacts and analysing subscriber activity will allow you to identify how, why, and when prospects decide to buy.

To capture leads, you need to offer gifts such as free guides, checklists, reports, and white papers. You can also use contact forms, converting people to subscribers by offering free assessments, consultations, or quotes.

Therefore, one of the most important metrics you should measure is the First Point of Contact. The First Point of Contact is the specific URL that your new subscriber opts-in from.

For example, let’s say you’re a Financial Advisor, and you write an article titled “5 Tips for Doctors Who Want To Get The Best Home Loan Deal”. Anyone that opts-in from this page should have this article attributed to their First Point of Contact.

Similarly, you might offer a free content download, such as a “Home Loan Preparation Checklist.” Again, new subscribers who download this checklist will have it attributed to their first point of contact.

Keeping track of this metric will help you determine which content is converting readers to leads. It will also help you understand exactly what your subscriber is interested in, allowing you to offer a more relevant and personalised experience.

In the first example above, it is highly likely that the new subscriber is a Doctor, so you can tailor your message to speak directly to the problems, challenges, and goals that a Doctor might be facing.

2. SOURCE OF DISCOVERY

Another important metric that you need to track is the Source of Discovery. Source of Discovery is a measurement of how the website visitor found your site.

We’ll talk more about how to track this later, but first, it’s important to understand why we need to measure this. Tracking the source of your website visitors helps you to determine which social and advertising channels are driving traffic to your website, and which clicks convert to new subscribers.

For example, you might discover that a lot of your traffic is coming from your Facebook Posts. You might then dig a little deeper and see that videos on Facebook are producing a lot of traffic. You can then use this knowledge to increase the number of videos you publish on Facebook.

Perhaps you notice while a lot of traffic is coming from Facebook, not a great deal of those visitors are converting into subscribers or customers. However, you might see that a large percentage of people who find who through Google Search become subscribers, which would suggest you should put more time into ranking higher on Google.

The insights will vary from business to business, and what works for one person may not work for you. The only way to gain relevant, valuable data is to publish content and track your results.

3. PROFILE BUILDING

How many pieces of content do you think a visitor or subscriber needs to consume before engaging with your business?

According to the Demand Gen Report, 2016, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. 

This goes back to the adage of ‘trying to marry someone on the first date.’ A mistake that a lot of people make is trying to close a new subscriber immediately. You wouldn’t propose on the first date, and digital marketing is the same. Subscribers usually need to consume at least three pieces of content before they even consider engaging with your business.

Therefore, we need to keep track of what content each subscriber is consuming, so we can begin to promote unseen content, manage relationships more effectively, and analyse buying behaviour.

By tracking each subscriber’s consumption metrics, you will start to notice patterns. For example, there might be three pieces of content that are always consumed before a subscriber engages with you or makes a purchase.

You can use this knowledge to refine your email marketing campaigns, and you can improve your sales conversations by building the content that converts into the sales process.

There are plenty of awesome tools (see below) that you can use to measure this, and the data is incredibly valuable.

4. TRAFFIC & SUBSCRIBER GROWTH

Traffic and Subscriber Growth is also an important metric, as this is going to help you determine how often you should be publishing content.

For example, you might notice that your traffic and subscribers increase by 3X when you publish content twice a week, as opposed to once a week. You can then calculate the value of a subscriber and determine whether it’s worth it for your business to publish content twice a week.

Keeping track of your traffic and subscriber numbers relative to the frequency and type of content you publish is essential for refining and improving your content marketing strategy. It will also help you identify which types of content are resonating with your audience, allowing you to refine and optimise your publishing strategy.

5. SALES

You need to justify your investment in creating content with sales, so tracking how your content converts to a dollar value is essential.

However, it’s also important to focus on how you measure sales and attribute the result of a sale to specific content – that way, you can start to track the ROI from each piece of content.

Let’s say a subscriber converts to a paying customer, and makes a $1000 purchase. You should then revisit the subscriber’s profile and attribute a dollar value to each piece of content they have consumed. Additionally, you should also attribute a value to the First Point of Contact.

Here are a few important points about measuring sales and content together:

1. Content is compounding – this means that the ROI from a single piece of content will INCREASE over time. This is why timeless content is so valuable.

2. Not every piece of content will be a winner – some of your content won’t attract any subscribers or sales, and may even fall flat when it comes to traffic and engagement. It’s important to keep in mind that a) your best performing content will easily make up for the duds, and b) each piece of content helps you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.

3. Don’t expect quick, immediate results – producing content is a long game, and most people need more than a few weeks or months getting to know you and your company before marketing a purchase. So don’t worry if the sales and subscribers start off slow – keep producing content, and soon enough the wheel will turn.

Okay, so we’ve established the key metrics that will determine the effectiveness of your content marketing.

But how do we keep track of everything?

These four tools are all super handy, so if you’re not using them already, make sure you check them out.

1. GOOGLE ANALYTICS

This one’s pretty obvious. No doubt most people have heard of Google Analytics and probably use it as a default. Google Analytics is going to help you keep track of page visits and traffic sources, so it’s a great one for keeping track of First Point of Contact and Source of Discovery.

2. BITLY OR GOOGLE URL SHORTENER

If you’re publishing content on several social media platforms (and you should be!) then Bitly or Google URL shortener are handy tools you can use.

Creating unique URLs for each platform and piece of content will give you an additional source of data that will enable you to track clicks and views easily. This will give you some handy data regarding Source of Discovery. 

Google’s Campaign URL Builder is also a more advanced tool you can use to track custom campaigns in Google Analytics.

3. CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM) SOFTWARE

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software such as HubSpotInfusionsoft, and Salesforce, is an essential part of digital marketing today. These all-in-one sales, email marketing, and customer management platforms will help you keep track of all the important metrics discussed above. They are also equipped to help you build some powerful Subscriber Profiles that show you exactly what content and web pages your leads have consumed.

You can connect all these tools with Google Sheets, which will enable you to store and collate all your data in one place. They do come at a cost, so if you’re looking for a more affordable solution, consider using HubSpot’s free features and pairing that with Email Marketing Software (see below).

4. EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER (ESP) SOFTWARE

An Email Service Provider (ESP) is a type of software that allows you to manage your email marketing strategy. Software like Active Campaign and Drip are incredibly powerful and can be used to build customers profiles and track subscriber activity.

Converting a website visitor to an email subscriber is the first step towards profile building, so building an email list should be your number one priority. Active Campaign and Drip allow you to build automated workflows that will deliver specific content to subscribers based on their Source of Discovery and their First Point of Contact. 

Tracking how each contact becomes a subscriber and what content they opted-in for will allow you to deliver personalised, relevant content that will increase your chances of becoming a valuable source of information. From there, you can continue to nurture your contacts until they either become customers or decide you’re not the best fit.

Active Campaign & Drip subscriptions start off at very affordable prices and will provide a huge return on investment when used effectively. They also allow you to build custom forms that you can publish on your website, making it easy to automate your opt-in process.

If you have any questions about content marketing or measuring the results of your marketing strategy, then feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll help you out.