Are you tasked to write content for your business, but sometimes running low on inspiration? We’ve all been there, and most marketing experts would probably suggest writing about the topics you are an expert in, using Google Ad Keyword Planner to find topics related to your service, or scanning what competitors are writing and making it better. Nothing wrong with those and they are still relevant, but there’s one problem: everyone else is using those methods, and it’s hard to stand out!
So here are six sources of content ideas:
1. Think of someone you know and aim your story at her
Marketers use personas, fictional characters, to describe their desired client, and quite a popular technique is to create an illustration of the typical customer with some of the key characteristics (e.g., age, gender, job role, etc.). The fictional character then guides the content production, and the aim is to keep the content consistent and targeted at your audience.
However, personas are almost without fail quite vague and too generic and do not really help to spark your imagination when running low on ideas. To get inspired, we recommend you to select one person, either your friend or a customer, and target the story to that person. What is that person passionate about or what is she afraid? How would your product or service make her look awesome?
All of a sudden, it gets a lot more interesting. It does not need to be someone you know particularly well, but writing a story touching the pain points or roadblock questions of a real person makes the content creation process more inspirational.
2. Use the skyscraper technique
The skyscraper technique can help you to identify shareable content ideas around a specific topic. In a nutshell, the concept of skyscraper technique is relatively straightforward:
- Use tools like BuzzSumo to find the most popular posts about a particular topic relevant to your business.
- Analyse why those posts are performing well and how you could make them even better.
- Finally, write your post and promote it to influencers sharing the original piece.
3. Extend posts with the highest engagement on your website
Google Analytics has a lot of hidden gems, and one of them is the ability to compare the 'Page Views' and the 'Average time on page' allowing you to compare the performance of each page to the rest of the content on your site. This feature will provide you with a list of the most engaging posts on your site. Analyse the posts and list reasons what make them successful – it might be the topic, content type or style etc. that resonates with your audience. Then either create posts copying the identified success formula or update the existing posts with up-to-date information to improve the conversion rates. It does not always make sense to create more content – you might achieve better results by optimising the posts that are already bringing traffic and engaging your audience!
4. Patterns in the most popular posts of user-generated content campaign
Have you already created user-generated content campaigns for your business? They are a great way to engage with your audience and increase the brand awareness. Authentic, peer-to-peer content inspires potential customers to buy your products.
In addition to inspirational content, UGC campaign will create a vast amount of data, and social media aggregator tool like Flockler will help you to analyse which are the most popular pieces of content and who are the most influential customers.
Analyse the most popular content to identify similarities, themes, and patterns. If plenty of your customers are sharing an Instagram image in a specific environment (e.g., families having fun in a park and using your product), based on the data you know that sharing something alike will spark the attention and be engaging!
5. Amazon book reviews and forum threads
I’m sure you are reading books related to your business and regularly hear about new “must-reads” via blog posts, social media, and your colleagues. One excellent source of inspiration is to read the reviews on Amazon and see what the things people do not seem to get or feel the book is missing are. Concentrate on the ones that have given three stars, and try to find content gaps.
Forum threads are another similar source of content ideas. Almost every industry has news sites and forums (plus Reddit!) where users post questions and discuss the products. Forums come in handy when finding niche keywords and topics for your SEO efforts, too.
This post is inspired by podcasts helping marketers to get better results. If you do not know where to get started and where to find podcasts relevant to your business, simply Google ‘best podcasts [insert industry/topic here]’ and download iTunes or Overcast from your AppStore. For marketing inspiration, we recommend you to try at least The Fizzle, Content Champion, Copyblogger FM, and Social Media Examiner.