One of the biggest barriers to content marketing faced by many businesses is ideas generation.
Many decide it’s not even worth considering because they don’t feel able to come up with the constant stream of information a content marketing strategy demands.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult to generate ideas; you just have to look at things a bit differently.
How do you go about coming up with content topics at the moment?
Do you just sit at your desk and stare into space hoping for a blinding flash of inspiration to strike?
That might happen now and then, but you can’t rely on that to generate the constant stream of ideas you need.
That’s where Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Quora, LinkedIn and your customers come in to their own.
Want to know more?
Google – the ideas machine
Google can help you in a couple of ways: through Google Suggest and its related searches results.
With Google Suggest, all you have to do is enter your keyword in the Google search box and then wait for Google Suggest to do its magic.
Below you can see that I entered ‘How to train a puppy’ as my keyword and then Google provided a list of alternative popular searches, providing me with a range of topics that I can write about.
As an added bonus, when you search for that keyword, at the bottom of the search engine results page Google then provides you with a further list of related search terms .
So, from one simple action I now have multiple ideas for content generation.
Yahoo! and Quora
I’ve put these two together as they work in fairly similar ways.
Yahoo! answers and Quora provide content marketers with a plethora of information. They are a great place to start your research. Browsing both sites, using your keywords, will throw up all sorts of ideas based on the questions being asked by users.
After all, if people are asking questions it means they are looking for answers, so they are the topics you want to be writing about.
YouTube isn’t just a video viewing website, it’s also a great source for content ideas.
It works in a similar way to Google Suggest in so far as you enter your keyword into the search box and then YouTube will list other related searches.
As you can see I’ve used the same keyword as in the Google example, but here YouTube has come up with a different range of suggestions, so now, one keyword has generated several different content ideas.
Are you a member of any LinkedIn groups? If so, you’ve probably seen the emails that are generated when someone poses a question. Again, these questions are a rich source for your content ideas. Use them to write informative articles that you can then post on LinkedIn, your blog and other article sites etc.
Last, but by no means least, are your customers.
What better source could there be? Talking to them directly, or monitoring their questions (via email and social media) will unearth a rich source of content ideas, giving them the information they want.
Generating ideas for your content marketing strategy is easy. All you have to do is decide on the subject area you want to cover and then do one or more of the above to generate a whole raft of ideas that you can write about.
Do you use any other methods to generate ideas? If so leave a comment below and share them with us, it would be really interesting to get your take on this subject.
Sally Ormond is MD and head copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd.