You have most likely arrived here on this page as you are looking for content marketing ideas for your company or website. Content ideation is indeed an important factor in the content marketing process. After all, isn’t content marketing all about great content ideas? I beg to differ, and here’s why.
Content marketing ideas do play an important part in effective content marketing. However, it’s all about the overarching strategy that is wrapped around the ideas and the framework that has nurtured the ideas. So, before we dive into content marketing ideation, let’s look at where content idea generation sits in terms of the overall content marketing strategy.
The content marketing strategy setting process we use here at 8MS involves the following steps:
The most important element in the strategy setting process is the beginning i.e. the objective setting phase. Here, you determine why you engage in content marketing, a question that needs to be answered before you get into the ‘what content are we going to produce’ area.
So, before you look at content ideas, just make sure that you have:
- Set objectives for content marketing
- Researched the audience segments you would like to reach
- Determined the content strategy framework (i.e. answered the question: how are you going to reach your content marketing objectives?)
If your content strategy framework includes a company blog or magazine, you might be looking for a blog post content idea. If your content strategy requires you to develop an interactive asset a specific audience segment will find useful, you will be looking for an interactive asset idea.
Whatever content type you are looking to create, make sure it’s tied back into a specific objective, is targeted towards a target audience segment and is aligned with your overarching content marketing strategy.
Now, let’s look at content ideation tools you can use for developing content ideas:
- Google Instant Autocomplete – Use Google’s search bar and its autocomplete functionality to see what people search for. It offers a different way to explore search phrases and includes more up-to-date information than the Google AdWords Keyword Tool (another useful tool to unearth what your target audience is searching for).
- Web Analytics Site Search – Look at the search terms your site visitors are typing into your site’s search bar. Frequently, this offers ideas for content gaps on your site that you can cover by creating relevant content.
- Google Trends – Assess the seasonality of keywords and get an idea of rising topics and related queries which might spark some good ideas.
- Buzzsumo – Unearth the top content of your competition to spark a content idea.
- Customer Touch Points – Review your customer touchpoints (in-store staff, customer service staff, social media conversations…), perhaps there are frequently asked questions and topics that come up all the time you could cover in a useful, evergreen piece of content?
- Survey Monkey – Put together a bespoke survey to get answers directly from the source.
- Answer The Public – A tool which looks at the questions and queries people search for on Google and YouTube and pulls it all together in a nice visual way.
- Quora – Use the site: command on quora.com to see what questions are being asked around specific topics. A good source if you are looking to write a piece of content providing expert advice.
Once you have come up with a pool of potential content ideas, you might want to evaluate them against a set of parameters to judge their appropriateness and potential impact.
Here are some parameters which we use frequently:
- Is the content idea going to be unique on the web?
- If not unique, does the content add something uniquely valuable, an additional angle which will be useful?
- Is your content idea going to fit in with your objectives?
- Is your content targeted to and relevant for a specific target persona? Does it solve a need for the target audience (what will their intent be when they come across the content)?
- What emotions is your content going to stir in your target audience? If no emotions come to mind, that means your audience is going to be indifferent towards your content. Best to rethink that one!
- Is your content likely to be shared by your target audience? Have a think about why the audience will like and share the content? If you can’t come up with a clear answer, review the idea.
- Is your content customisable i.e. can it be repurposed for other audiences and topics?
Finally, once you have dwindled down your content idea options to the most powerful, make sure you work out how the target audience will actually find the content. It’s super important to consider content promotion and distribution at the content ideation phase. Don’t wait until the content has been created and launched as retro-fitting a promotional strategy to the content at this point is likely going to be a lot harder.