As a content marketer, you’ll be all too aware of the daily struggle to generate fresh, shareable content. You might be an expert in every aspect of the products or services you provide, but if you can’t come up with content that will be read and shared by the right people, you’re going to struggle to remain relevant.
Fortunately, you don’t just have to go it alone. Make use of the following 5 tools to generate ideas for content that will prove a hit with your target audience.
Use this for: Jumping on the newsjacking bandwagon
‘Newsjacking’ should be a word you’re familiar with by now. It involves taking a current news story and then putting your own twist on it, so it resonates with your audience. If you’re struggling for ideas for your content, this is a great way to tap into people’s interests, establish your brand as an authoritative voice and get your personality across. A good site to use for newsjacking is Alltop, which ranks the most popular stories and sites from across the web.
You can also get a run down of what’s being talked about in your industry, as Alltop lists posts from the most influential brands and bloggers. A quick search for ‘content marketing’, for example, throws up blogs from the likes of Joe Polizzi at Content Marketing Institute and Copyblogger, as well as insight from more niche corners of the internet. If you scroll through the variety of titles on show, you’re bound to find an article or two from which you can take inspiration.
Use this for: Informing and inspiring shareworthy content
BuzzSumo’s primary purpose is to inform you how content is performing online, giving you an insight into how to tailor your future output. As the Content Marketing Conference succinctly puts it, BuzzSumo ensures ‘your content is getting the attention it deserves’. Although you’ll have to pay to use the full version of the tool, it’s indispensable if you want to stay on-trend with current topics and viral content.
The BuzzSumo Content tab is particularly bountiful if you want to discover what the most shared items of content are for particular keywords. Simply enter your search term, and BuzzSumo will scan the major social media platforms and, for Mike Kaput of PR2020, “the result is a priceless trove of data that tells you exactly what content resonates with audiences searching for a particular topic or keyword.”
BuzzSumo can also let you know who the top influencers are in your particular field, allowing you to identify guest posting opportunities and keep your finger on the pulse in regards to the topics being discussed by thought leaders.
Use this for: Adding colour and character to long-form blog posts
In this article for Cornerstone Content, digital marketing manager Dustin Christensen vouches for the all-round value of Quora as an ideas-sourcing platform, saying ‘Though it’s more of a platform, I use Quora to not only find content marketing ideas and topics, but to discover and engage with experts that I might not find otherwise. It’s a great way to generate content ideas, while also demonstrating one’s own insight by answering relevant questions with unique value.”
Quora allows you to track topics, search by relevant keywords and also add your own input, giving you an idea of what questions people are asking about the particular subject area you’re based in. You can extrapolate these questions, and their answers, to form a crowd-sourced blog post, or you could simply use trending topics as inspiration for your content marketing titles. This Buffer post offers further insight on how Quora can be utilised as part of your marketing strategy.
Use this for: Researching keywords and optimising content
Soovle is a search engine combining the top results from the likes of Google, Bing, Yahoo and Wikipedia. It comes in useful if you want to research how people are currently searching for your target keywords, so you can optimise your content accordingly. Just search for two or three of your main keywords, and the search engine will return with the most common entries across all the main sites. You can save your results for future reference, and if you’re still at the content planning stage, we’d suggest diversifying your entries, making a note of these keywords in a spreadsheet, and running them through one of the title generators covered above, so you can come up with multiple pieces of content that target as wide an audience as possible.
This useful video from the Social Ghost gives you further insight into how you can use Soovle to search for potential content marketing ideas.
Use this for: Piquing interest and generating shareworthy blog titles
There are plenty of tools on the web which throw up blog title suggestions if you enter a couple of keywords, with HubSpot and Portent being two of the most popular. I prefer TweakYourBiz, however, as the results are organised into different article ‘types’, including how-to’s, listicles and question-based titles.
Of course, the generator works off an algorithm, so some of the suggestions will be nonsensical. If I enter ‘social media marketing’, I’m confronted with ‘Get more and better sex with social media marketing (it would be interesting to see how that would work!) but the generator also suggests ‘5 creative ways you can improve your social media marketing’ and, interestingly, given how active and confrontational he is on Twitter, ‘what Donald Trump can teach you about social media marketing’. You could easily plan and write two blogs based on these titles and, as the generator comes up with hundreds of possible options, you could keep returning again and again, which is especially useful if your keyword focus is quite narrow, or you find a particular term generating plenty of interest among your audience.
Now we’ve introduced you to our reliable brainstorming sites, how do you come up with fresh, interesting ideas for your content? Share your tips with us in the comment section below…