If you haven’t yet made up your mind as to what you are going to write about this year, it’s time that you plan your content out. The beginning of the year is the slowest season for most of us: Use it to work on your editorial calendar. Get organized!
If you feel like everything has already been written and you have no idea what else you can write about, here are 6 content ideas for you that will definitely help you come up with valuable and engaging content this year:
1. Find Out What People Are Asking Online
Question research offers a few important marketing opportunities:
- Questions give you lots of insight into what your target audience is struggling with and how to best help them. Questions are your best content ideation source.
- Covering niche questions online opens up more organic search visibility opportunities including getting featured and ranking in “People Also Ask” results
- Asking a question on social media is one of the most important ways to increase your social media engagement because whenever they see a question mark, people have that natural reflex to stop and find an answer. So ask questions on social media often and engage with every answer you receive.
TextOptimizer is a smart content marketing tool that, among other features, offers question research. Just type your keyword into its “Topic Ideas” section and it will generate a list of topic ideas for you:
[Every question is rated based on how many people are searching for it (i.e. demand) and how many sites are covering it (i.e. competition) helping you to make an informed decision]
Clicking any questions brings you another cool feature, i.e. TextOptimizer’s search optimization section which I am also using for content building. The tool searching for your keyword (in this case, your question) in Google, extracts Google’s search snippets and using semantic analysis, finds:
1. Related terms and concepts for you to include in your content:
2. Your topic categories (for you to structure your content well). Uncheck any you don’t want to cover and the tool will refine results based on your remaining categories to help you out better:
3. Related questions (i.e. editorial suggestions). Most of these questions will likely become my article subheadings:
Once you build your content to answer the core question in the best possible way, run the tool again (this time choose the option “My Text”) for TextOptimizer to compare Google’s search snippets against your text and suggest some improvements.
2. Turn to Your Actual Customers for Ideas
You know who you really need to listen to? Correct, your current and future customers. You want your content to make a difference for your bottom line, not just bring your word out there, no matter if anyone is there listening or not.
You don’t just want to be heard, you want to be heard by your target audience.
You can even gamify that process by building up your surveys with visualizing tools like Wyzerr is a good way to get more results.
[Wyzerr gamifies your surveys engaging more customers]
You can offer a good mix of generic questions [i.e. ask about their lifestyle] which would help you build up your customers’ personas and target them better and your brand-specific questions (i.e. “what questions did you have when browsing our services? Were they sufficiently covered on the site?”). The latter will help you improve your site performance too.
The cool thing is you will also be able to use your survey results in your articles making your content more trustworthy and linkable.
It’s also a wise idea to set up a well-defined routine to help you record your customers’ questions as they come. This will help you in both content planning and social media goals.
Slack is a nice tool to help your in-team communication and idea sharing. Simply set up a separate Slack channel and encourage your customer and support team to send your customers’ questions there as soon as they come across any.
3. Take Seasonal Trends into Account
There are holidays and seasonal trends to include in your content editorial plans. When you catch a trend, there’s always a huge boost of interactions, new followers and clicks.
The great thing about seasonal trends that you can plan your editorial calendar months in advance because they are easy to predict and repeat yearly (so you’ll even be able to re-use your calendar year after year).
Simply sit down and plan your content assets for upcoming big holidays, seasonal events (e.g. flu season, spring cleaning season, etc.) and professional days.
[You can use Google Spreadsheets to create your content roadmap for 2019. To better focus on ideation and get more inspired, I usually start with planning my seasonal content using a printable calendar which you can easily find using these steps]
There are handy calendar apps that can even integrate into WordPress to keep track of those holidays you may want to include into your social media editorial plan.
You can schedule social media updates as far as one year ahead to make sure there’s always something going on your brand channels no matter how busy you get. Try Cyfe (Disclaimer: This is my content marketing client) for scheduling those shares as well as monitor your stats, all from within one dashboard.
4. Get Out Into The World
We have a tendency to look for our inspiration online because we are targeting the Internet-based audience, which is totally fine and understandable: you can discover so many wonderful topics on the web. It just isn’t the only place we can look and actually limits our scope and so our returns.
The most popular article is one that comes from the real world. People love personal stories!
Go out into the real world. Seek out events in your industry, or things that are tangentially related. Discover how everyday experiences connect to your niche and use your social media channels as a platform to explain and share with others.
Get out of cyberspace and into meatspace!
A good way is to engage with your local community. For instance, let’s say a festival is going on. That could be a great opportunity to go out and speak to people to find out what they would be interested in learning about. It is also a chance to introduce people to your brand that might not have known about it before.
Check Meetup.com: Are there some events going on around you. Meet real people and generate lots of social media content inspiration from real people and real places.
Using Facebook Events to discover local event worth participating is another idea.
You can also connect with other local brands, businesses, and business owners and potentially work out some topic ideas that way.
Search DirJournal.com to find local business you can connect to and feature them on your site and build your content around them. This could result in long-lasting friendships and partnerships!
5. Use Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research is not just for SEO! They can give you in depth insight into your audience’s interests, questions, and struggles. Research and address them in your content!
This tool will give you pretty much everything you need to create a good topic list. Or at least point you in the right direction. Look at the left-hand channel to find popular concepts around your main topic and build your content around those!
This one you may not have heard of. It features an irritable looking man called The Seeker, who impatiently awaits your questions. You put in keywords or phrases, he suggests some interesting topics.
Apart from being a great keyword research tool, this one also great for question research (see my #1 tip on the list!)
6. Learn The Art Of Content Re-packaging
Right off the bat, re-packaging content is going to be the best weapon in your arsenal. It takes what you already have and makes it stretch, getting more out of every piece you write. A lot of those prolific writers are using this tactic, albeit at its extreme. That is how they manage to get so much out without others writing for them.
So what does re-packaging content entail? It is creating new content directly from the old. Some ways to do that are:
- Collecting articles into an ebook to give away on your site
- Creating a webinar with the information you have written.
- Turning your content series into a (mini) email course.
- Creating newsletters.
- Recording a podcast with old post content.
- Shooting a video with old post content.
- Converting info from posts into infographics.
- Making a Slideshare presentation with condensed slides.
- Writing new posts based off of small details mentioned in old posts that have been expanded.
These are only a few examples, but you get the general idea. A piece of content should never remain on its own without some form of recycled item coming out of it.
Looking at that list of ideas for re-packaging old content, did any of them stand out as forms of media you have never tried before? It may be time to start expanding what you create and producing something brand new.
This will attract a new kind of audience, one that is drawn to the media in question. Usually write blog posts? Start making infographics or videos. Never done a Slideshare slideshow? Consider it now, and see if it gets any bites.
You will be able to recycle your content better this way, and it will keep you from being burnt out. That will inevitably have an impact on the speed that you create new content.
Which tools are you using to brainstorm engaging content ideas? What are you planning to blog on in 2019? Let’s discuss!