5 Content Marketing Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Content Brainstorming
Launching a content marketing strategy or improving upon past content success can seem like a daunting task. As a content marketer, one of the questions I’m faced with on a daily basis is, “What am I going to create next?”
I’ll admit there have been times where I have thought to myself, “There is NOTHING else to create around this topic.” While the thought itself is real, the reality is that there’s always something that can be added.
To help my fellow content marketers overcome these hurdles, I’ve put together a list of five content marketing hacks that help me when I’m brainstorming content ideas to add to the editorial calendar.
1. Leverage Keyword Tools
An effective blogging strategy takes keyword research very seriously. Here at KoMarketing, our content and SEO teams work in tandem to construct a list of keywords (and their long-tail variations) to start filling in our editorial calendar with targeted topics well in advance.
While keyword tools are a great place to start when determining the right phrases for the brand to target across online marketing efforts, they can also lead to ideas for high-quality content assets.
What do I mean? Let’s take a look at some of the keyword ideas that Google’s Keyword Planner yielded when I searched for “B2B content marketing:”
Looking at this screenshot alone, I see about five queries that include our core term, but also narrow down the focus a bit, creating an excellent opportunity for a content asset. A couple of terms (and possible styles/titles) I would mark as opportunities in this example include:
- “What is content marketing” This one is simple. The keyword tool indicates people are searching for an answer to this question. As a result, I’d consider creating a unique piece of content to meet that need.
- “B2B content marketing strategy” A piece of content for this query could offer the readers some tips and tools to improve their B2B content strategy.
- “B2B content marketing examples” Here, I would consider putting together a thorough list of what I believe to be high-quality examples of B2B content strategy to assemble into a blog post.
Want more information about keyword research? Check out this previous post.
2. Examine Search Results for Keyword Targets
After I feel like I’ve given keyword tools a thorough pass for ideas, I typically move on to SERP analysis. Before you create a piece of content, it’s essential to understand the types of content that are appearing for the targeted phrase.
SERP analysis provides a snapshot of what Google sees as valuable content and getting involved in the conversation could propel your content to the first page of organic listings, real estate that’s reportedly responsible for 90% of Google’s traffic.
Here’s a snapshot of Google SERPs for the aforementioned “B2B content marketing” search query:
Looking at these results, I noticed a couple trends that I would use to think about developing content for this phrase, including:
- Reports: If the resources were made available, it appears as if a thorough content marketing survey and associated report would go a long way when trying to get on the first page.
- Tactics: Alongside reports, the first page for this query is filled with content that I would classify as “tips.” As seen above, some of the popular formats include checklists and best practices.
Want to learn more about Google SERPs? Check out this post.
3. Identify Successful Assets from the Past
This one can easily be overlooked while getting caught up in the hoopla of trying to create “never before seen” content assets. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are, you may never create a piece of content that’s made up of 100% original elements. The infographic below shows what happened online (back in 2013) every minute:
However, not all hope is lost. Your next best content asset could be an idea that came from an existing piece of content. If you work for an agency, analyze the results of content across your clients’ initiatives. If you’re providing content for a single brand/organization, dig into whatever analytics tools they have available to see what has worked in the past.
By doing so, you may realize that you could modify an existing title to provide a different angle or simply create a “part two” version of highly-performing assets.
Want to learn more about generating ideas from past success? Take a look at this post.
4. Ask Customer Questions and Monitor Conversations
While appearing on the first page of Google is a fantastic content win for a competitive term, successful content always piques the interest of the audience. At the end of the day, each and every content asset should be able to be used as a reference or tool for those consuming it. One quick way to ensure you’re meeting the demands of the audience is to simply ask and listen.
Content marketers should always listen to what’s being said on social media or in forums/communities. Oftentimes, questions being asked across social media channels could be used by content marketers to turn their questions into valuable content assets that provide the answers they’re looking for.
The screenshot below shows a Quora query pertaining to content marketing:
As you can see, this question resulted in 6,458 views of the thread, opening the door for content marketers to provide answers and gain traffic to their sites.
My colleague Casie wrote in a recent post, “The key is realizing that there are actually some really easy ways to come up with new ideas that your audience will want to read. Namely, answering their questions.”
In my opinion, this is one of the most overlooked strategies when it comes to content creation. We spend so much time thinking about how we can get our customers to buy our product or use our service but we don’t always think about the basic necessities they need to do so.
Know what your customers are asking about and give them the answer.”
Want to learn more about asking customer questions? Read the rest of Casie’s post.
5. Make Sure It Hasn’t Been Done
Last but certainly not least, make sure whatever content you’re producing is unique to your site. While it’s extremely difficult to be 100% unique (mentioned earlier in the post), you should make sure the content is at least unique to your site. Duplicate content could result in a poor user experience and possibly penalties within search rankings.
I often rely on performing a “site:” search to ensure the content I am about to produce for a given site has not been done before. Here’s an example of the existing content assets we have on KoMarketing for the “B2B content marketing” phrase:
After thoroughly analyzing the pieces of content that have been created using this phrase, I then move on to the planning and execution portion of the asset.
Hopefully this post has provided some quick tips that will help you get by your next brainstorming road block. What other places or tools do you use to identify new ideas for content assets?