A quick Google search will yield thousands, if not millions, of results. Listicles, videos, even articles adjacent to your search appear almost instantaneously, giving you a googolplex (excuse the pun) of options.
Every month, approximately 70 million blogs are published on WordPress alone. 4.4 million blogs are posted every single day across several platforms. That’s a lot of content. And a lot of this content can resemble each other in terms of topic and style so it can be difficult to stand out.
But building a lot of content is necessary in order to rank high on search engines and to build a following that will be loyal to your brand. Which is why brands need to think up new ways of creating content.
But because there’s so much of it already available, it can be difficult to identify something new. They say that there are no more original ideas, just new ways to make combinations of them and new ways of presenting them.
Some recommend starting with a general idea and then digging deep into a niche. Others recommend using online tools that reveal some top content ideas for a topic. There are plenty of ways to get new content ideas and there are even more ways to write them.
But how do you come up with relevant content that addresses a reader’s needs without it being too similar to others’?
How much content do you need?
Many businesses are advised to create company blogs to forge a connection with their readers and consumers. Having a blog gives a voice to your business and gives a reader something to respond to, providing them with an understanding of not just what you do, but what you stand by, what you value, and what you believe in.
It also ensures that they can find you on Google searches, given that you create high-quality content that makes proper use of SEO keywords, landing you high on results pages. SEO content is the joint venture between good writing and strategic keywords to attract an audience when they find your pieces on the first pages of search engines.
This can be a challenging battleground for small and medium businesses with limited capacity, especially for those that have just started. Which is why creating a lot of good content from the very onset is vital. But how much? And how many words does each piece need?
Search engines love long-form, at least 2,400 words. And for businesses that are more niche, at least 1,600 words. Consumers also prefer comprehensive content as they provide more value than shorter pieces that don’t accurately address the reader’s questions and lack trustworthiness since they don’t seem too promising in terms of tackling the issues a reader has.
In terms of frequency, while there will always be things to consider like target audiences and how often they engage with your business, it’s still proven that the more a business posts, the more traffic they’ll experience. Still, you have to make sure it’s consistent and timed properly.
While the amount of content needed monthly or yearly depends on the audience you have, the brand you’re running, and what kind of topics you’re discussing, a good estimate for a small or medium enterprise is roughly four times a week, or 16 times a month. This ensures that you’ve got a good groove going, you are constantly churning out high-standard work, and you build trust with your audience, generating leads much easier.
This frequency will assure your readers you have something new and powerful to say and, if you’ve got consistently quality work, you’ll always have excellently-written pieces that are relevant and timely.
5 ways to find ideas for your content
Now that you know all the basic information, it’s time to equip your business with five effective ways you can generate ideas for your content.
1. Content strategy
Without a content strategy, you might as well be walking into content creation blind, unsure of where to start and taking stabs in the dark for what might work and might not. Content strategies are crucial to a business as it cuts through and finds its audience despite an overly-saturated market. You can’t move forward confidently without one. Building a business requires a ton of planning and so does the content it produces.
Content strategies require direction and an understanding of not just your audience, but of your prowess as a content creator and a consistent tone, voice, and frequency. It requires a list of goals you want to reach (whether it’s generating leads, directing more traffic to the site, or engagement with the post) and understanding that content can come in many different forms like videos, blogs, podcasts, and others.
By putting together this strategy, you end up understanding what your customer wants to see and read and you can cater to them directly instead of trying to purposelessly cast a wider net of random consumers. You cut through the white noise and find the people you and your business wants to interact with.
2. Use a research tool
Research tools are often overlooked as a strategic move but they actually are a big help when it comes to trying to generate new ideas. They provide keywords similar to the ones you’re already using, giving you a better idea of what consumers are searching for. Identifying those new keywords can be the key to giving you new ideas for content.
Cloud-based platforms like Buzzsumo and Ubersuggest allow for better opportunities by helping you discover popular keywords that are relevant to your brand.
Buzzsumo operates through four areas: Content discovery, content research, media monitoring, and influencer research—these will all assist in earning a good ranking on search engines.
Ubersuggest’s keyword overview breaks down into three main sections: overview, keyword ideas, and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) analysis that allows you to see what kinds of keywords rank high and will work best for your content.
For example, if we type “content strategy” on one of these research tools, not only does it give us content strategy related keywords and websites, but results that are adjacent or associated with content strategy. “Visual storytelling in marketing” and “Instagram content strategy” were also results, providing us with new angles and possibly new content.
Research tools can provide variations to what you’re searching for, exposing you to similarly relevant content that can be your next topic.
3. Understand your SEO keywords
What’s considered content strategy’s perfect match is the marriage of good content and smartly-utilised SEO keywords. One way to rank is the use of relevant keywords people look for and another way for Google’s algorithm to approve of your content is through high-quality work.
Creating useful, engaging, high-quality content won’t be of much use if SEO keywords aren’t employed in them. And stuffing a poor piece of content with as many keywords as you can won’t get you anywhere, either. The two need to work together to bring about the best results as search engines love comprehensive content with plenty of SEO keywords.
Some of the most commonly used tools you can also choose from are Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Moz Keyword Explorer, and Ahrefs Keyword Generator. These can lead you to the SEO keywords that will rank your content higher or find you keywords that have less competition.
Finding similar SEO keywords can give you an understanding of what people are also searching for, especially if they don’t rank as high, giving your new idea less competition and a better chance of a high ranking. SEO is vital in this way, allowing you to target the phrases, questions, or statements that people enter into search engines.
4. Ask your audience what they want
Sometimes going directly to the source is a good way to gather information and new ideas.
Addressing your audience directly through forms and surveys and asking them what they want to see or read can bring about better ideas since it comes from them immediately. The people who will judge if your content is appealing or not is your audience and asking them for what they believe is good and relevant is one of the most straightforward ways to gather new ideas.
If you don’t want to go the direct route, you don’t necessarily need to put out surveys or interviews to gather their thoughts. Instead, look through their comments, see which pieces they engage with the most, and comb through comments. These methods will also give you an idea of what’s working and what isn’t. Many audiences don’t always enjoy answering surveys, so find other indirect means through social media.
With this information, you can redirect your content strategy to what people are engaging with more. And by doing that, you’ll increase the likelihood of even more interaction and generate leads for your business.
It’s also good to get the perspective of someone who isn’t in your business as you can get absorbed in the process of creating your content that someone outside the circle can provide you with vital feedback on how to adjust.
5. Discover what questions people are asking on Quora
People have always turned to Google for their most urgent questions. Whether it’s sudden symptoms they’re having or about a book they’ve just read, Google supplies answers (albeit not always the kinds we want to hear).
Which is why Google and Quora, an online community that allows users to ask questions and other users to answer them, is a perfect match for Google’s algorithm.
Google loves to show web pages that address questions. Which is why Quora ranks so high on search engine results pages. When it comes to the online community, the more reputable or comprehensive answers are upvoted by others to make sure they’re more visible and appear first in the results. And, often, a person’s credentials are shown on Quora to make them seem more professional and have a more well-informed answer.
Quora generates around 300 million monthly visitors. And it will continue to grow as more and more users take advantage of the site.
People ask all kinds of questions on Quora and these questions that require answers can become your next topic to write about. Since there are a plethora of unanswered questions, you can easily make that the focus of your next blog, providing an answer and creating good content for your blog at the same time.
Generating content ideas can be time-consuming and headache-inducing as sometimes writer’s block can get the best of us. But with just a few tools or even online communities, you can find the best new topics to write about while remaining relatively original and positively relevant to your audience. Fresh ways to write about different topics can crop up from anywhere and these different areas and tactics can definitely aid you in your endeavour to find new content ideas.