Content is your best friend when it comes to content marketing but it can also be your biggest problem.
In order to be successful, your content needs to be fresh, timely, engaging, appealing (eye candy of some sort), and uses mixed media like pictures, videos, etc… In short, a boring 400-word or even a gazillion word article doesn’t cut it anymore.
The good news is, the internet provides a stream of ideas on every topic and every niche imaginable. You just need to know where to look.
But first, you have to have a place where you can jot down what you find online. Ideas come and go really really fast and if you don’t capture them you may not get them back. So having a spreadsheet or notepad where you keep all your ideas is advisable.
Now let’s dive in and look at some of the resources you can use to generate ideas.
Your customers will give you a lot of things to write about. If you are a local business owner, a quick chat with a customer can give you lots of ideas. Here are some things to look out for;
- Common Problems
- Service related questions
- Product related questions
This is a great technique because it enables you to address real customer concerns and deliver exactly what they want. This also builds your reputation as an expert in your niche and allows you to get to know your customers better.
Industry Trends Via Google Alerts
I can’t describe the service better than the creator so I’ll just swipe the description.
Setting up Google Alerts
If you have a Google account (I don’t know why you wouldn’t), you can immediately start using Google Alerts. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts and enter a keyword in the “Search Query” field. You’ll immediately get a screenshot of what’s new on that particular topic.
See below example where I put content marketing.
For the result type, you can choose either
I particularly like news and blogs because you want to dive in and create or curate content immediately when something new pops up. You’d want to get your share of traffic and publicity while something is still hot. That’s what news and entertainment websites like Huffingtonpost do.
How often? Depends on your niche but once a day should be good. Make it a habit to read about your niche when you get up in the morning and before you sleep at night. That should keep the juices flowing and writing new content will come easy for you.
How many? I go for “only the best”
Create as many alerts as you like so you can cover different keywords and be able to attack ideas in different angles.
Refining Your Alerts
If you want results from .edu or .gov sites you can filter your alerts by adding site:.gov or .edu in the search string. This is very useful especially for those selling information products like health related ebooks. Not only you’ll find new ideas, you will also find relevant blogs to get involved in.
Here are more tips from Google Business
Join Facebook Groups to Learn About What’s Hot and What’s Needed
Facebook groups can be a gold mine of ideas minus the spam adverts. Better if you can join moderated or closed groups in your niche, if not, just be a little vigilant in skipping spam.
Here’s an example of ideas you can get from Facebook groups
Here’s what I would write about to target each of the concerns above.
- How to Use TribePro for Social Engagement and Generating Backlinks
- A Quick Guide to Facebook PPC
- Why Facebook PPC is a Lot Better than Adwords
- Suiting Up Your Forum for the Best Search Engine Presence
The title is very important so make sure to write catchy titles that will appeal to readers. That is one secret to getting more clicks in social media sites.
Join Forums that Talk about Your Niche or Service
Another great thing that was brought about by technology is that “word of mouth” has become digital as well. Niche forums is one avenue where people with the same interest interact and share good and bad experiences. This is also a place where they ask questions that you can turn into a great content.
Here is one great post I got from a forum. If you are in the air conditioning and cooling systems niche this is a great opportunity for you to showcase your expertise and create an informative content about the problem.
How to Find Niche Forums
Google is a powerful tool to do forum research. Simply enter your keyword + forum and the search results will contain forums relevant to your niche. I particularly like using Market Samurai for forum research since it makes the process a lot easier.
Once you have a list of forums, filter out the bad ones and create an account on the good ones. User activity is a very good indication if a forum is active or dead.
Get Active on Google +
Like Facebook, Google + is a gold mine for content ideas. You can follow people that are experts in your niche and join active communities.
Communities are like Facebook groups only better because they have categories. This makes your search easier since topics are already categorized.
Generating ideas for content marketing is both exciting and time consuming. You’ll hardly notice the time when you’re at it but when once you stop you’ll know you’ve spent half a day or so looking for ideas. It’s hard to stop once you’ve started the process so set a time limit in order to manage your time and be able to do other stuff.
- Create a spreadsheet or a document where you can capture all your ideas.
- Take time to communicate with your customers in order to get new ideas and build rapport.
- Use Google Alerts so new content is delivered to your email automatically every day.
- Join Facebook Groups and swipe ideas from group members.
- Join niche forums and list down problems, complaints, and suggestions.
- Join Google + communities and follow experts.