A fantastic idea is at the heart of any content campaign or project. The buzz around an article sustains you through the long hike of creation and gets your target audience to keep sharing your content. Putting effort into a bad idea is a waste of resources and can lead to high bounce rate, loss of credibility and in a worst-case scenario, your job. Hence, it is quintessential for you to come up with the right idea that leads to higher traffic and conversion rate.
How do I find inspiration for content marketing articles?
The swipe file
Ideas exist around us; a good place to start is in the old-fashioned swipe files. If you don’t have one, you should start collecting a file of images, technologies, ideas and approaches that inspire you. When you need motivation, you can always refer to it for great ideas that have performed well in your niche throughout time.
Brainstorm with a group
Everyone brainstorms ideas but few people are adept at it. Successful brands use a professional copywriting to create content ideas. These firm gather two or more brains around shared goals either online or offline. The team includes people who have some experience in the niche along with those who have no familiarity because they bring a fresh perspective that first-time visitors will relate. If you’re creating your own brainstorming team, ensure you include members from different niches to get a holistic view, sometimes you need a designer to offer the latest innovation in visual technique.
Follow the competition and see what’s working for them; there is no shame in deriving inspiration for your own content using what’s working for others. You have two types of competition; those who are vying with you for a share of the business within your physical location. For example, if you run a bar in Brighton, the competition is the other one down the street selling the same product. The other type of competition is in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) trying to rank for “Best Bar in Brighton”. Do your research to cover the following questions: What type of content is working for the top brands, what’s trending in your niche? what keywords are top traffic earners using? What is getting people to share? Who follows whom and why?
The best place to see what’s trending is at Google Trends. Google has a massive wealth of information in their database and to capitalize on trends you need a fast content creation process. Choose your niche’s category>subcategory>explore that category. Use rising keywords to search for trending topics to cover your blog posts or articles
Moz research tools
Moz is a great resource to see the best performing content in a niche. Simply use the Open Site Explorer to view pages getting the most links with your competitors and see who those links are coming from. This offers details to what types of content and topics resonate with your audience.
Who follows whom? What are they sharing?
There are some helpful tools online like Followerwonk to evaluate who your competitor follows, their tweets and their audience favourites and retweets. BuzzSumo is a popular search tool to view trending content on social media.
What kind of content are top brands sharing?
On Google Alerts there is a tool called Fresh Web Explorer ideal to locate brand mentions online and see what type of content they’re sharing to gain attention.it is also a good way to find link opportunities and intel on people’s perspective of your brand.
A good way to get a fresh take on an idea is to look at it sideways from a new angle no one has thought of. The success of lateral thinking lies in provocation, which jars us out of the traditional thinking patterns. Asking the opposite question instead of the expected question is a fantastic way to jumpstart lateral thinking mode. Excellent content marketers ask “What if” or contemplate the map upside down to create mental instability that pushes the writer to develop new ideas.
Some companies base their content marketing on newsjacking but new webmasters will look to find the balance between iconic posts that stay with the readers for a long time and timely ideas to deliver perspective on fresh, trendy topics. What will be going live in your niche when you release your content? Movie award shows, new computer game releases or seasonal changes. Use an editorial calendar to keep track of important events and create content geared towards those events. The ideal strategy must contain a mix of evergreen pieces and viral content with an emphasis on evergreen content that offers more to your brand in the long run.
Provide value for your target audience based on the personas
Its’ a good idea to conduct an audience research for your content strategy and use this information to create personas to shape your ideas. To get started, use the same process of gathering intel on your competitors and get specific with your own company and the type of customers you’re trying to attract.
Create a set of model people to mirror your target audience using a basic demographic information with few assumptions on goals and pain points. Two options include a basic persona sketch or detailed personas. A visual image of your target audience reminds you who the content is for.
Understand your audience
As you’re pulling information together, consider your audience as part of the process. It’s not enough to know that they like a topic, find out what information they’re after and create content that lead to conversion. What is the average age? What type of TV programs do they like watching? Are they college graduates?
Ideas from difficult or boring topics no one wants to touch
This is a goldmine if you handle it well considering you would be giving a fresh take on a topic that’s not been covered before so others who do their own take will most likely have to quote you as an authority. Creating content for topics without having sufficient resources is easy when you use the lateral thinking habit to get the best angle for the story. It might be a good idea to look into a reputable copywriting agency with a proven record of accomplishment for writing timeless, captivating pieces out of boring headlines to maximize your content marketing goals.
Use Answer The Public
This is the best replacement for Ubersuggest and satisfies the need for long tail keywords and content ideas. You can start with a simple search phrase like “get questions”. The tool provides answers categorized in questions, prepositions, comparisons and alphabeticals. The “Questions” section is the best place to get content idea but don’t ignore the other areas. You can view the data as a visualization, text or export the data to CSV.
Quora is a question and answer forum where any topic goes and users think outside the box in terms of both the questions they ask and the feedback from other users. Search a question and Quora reveals related answers from its’ database.
Revisit failed content
There are various reasons why failed content perform badly, not necessarily because the research lacked credibility or the content was poor, sometimes the problem is with the execution. Try presenting the idea from a different format using a fresh perspective or use a new set of eyes to offer unbiased view to see what could work better.
Recycle successful content
Evergreen articles are useful because when you run out of ideas, you can pick it up and do a fresh take, knowing it’s’ going to be a winner with your target audience. However, be careful so it doesn’t sound like you’re repeating yourself, the last thing you want to do is bore visitors with stuff they already know.
Use stories and testimonies
Storytelling has been all the rage for content marketing and higher conversion in recent years. Mesmerizing characters that grab the viewer’s attention and pulls him in from the first sentence with compelling narrative to keep them spellbound is always a winner with the audience, especially when it has a happy ending. Studies demonstrated that using stories as a tool to evoke affirmative emotions in your target audience leads to trust and customer loyalty. If your product is top quality, it shouldn’t be hard to get testimonials from your readers and aggregate them into a blog post but be careful not to sound self-promotional; let the satisfied customers do the talking.
Create a detailed brief
The best content starts with a detailed brief explaining how you’ll organize your content article, what each section contains and specific information points that will be included. If you’re outsourcing to a writing agency specializing in content marketing, don’t assume a writer knows what you want, they can’t read minds so include all the necessary details such as what you want in the content, the target market and purpose of the article. Samples of similar work will help the freelancers know what kind of style you like and it will be easy to create a bespoke piece befitting your website.
Tips and Tricks
People are always looking for knowledge bases, so it’s a good idea to provide content with helpful information and tips about subjects in your niche. The concept, when applied to daily life, has evolved into the popular “life hacks”, you could add that to your title for more attention.
What not to do and mistake analysis
They serve as the opposite for best practice posts describing the worst strategies to follow on a given subject. It could take the form of a cautionary tale or humorous tone to make it more interesting and light-hearted for the readers. With mistake analysis, you delve deeper into an error and figure what went wrong alongside steps to correct it.
Create winning ideas
Once you have an idea of the persona you’re targeting, it’s time to narrow it down to the top contenders by:
- Cross off boring topics
- Remove anything outside your parameters that will take too much time or money to complete
- Highlight compelling ideas
- Can you turn it into a series or is it a one piece content?
- Look for ideas that are informative and relevant
There are false assumptions, misconceptions and myths surrounding practices in every industry. Talk to customers, see what your competitors are posting and examine your own experience with such misconceptions to create a compelling article based on thorough fact gathering and hard evidence.
Use Questions for your topics
The primary idea behind every content marketing article is to solve problem for the audience, so you need to identify problems your audience has and create content centred around the solutions. Great sources to find questions include blog comments from top performing articles and question & answer forum sites.
What makes a great content?
Research by Dejan Marketing revealed that only one in five people read web content word for word and a large population only scan and read key areas of interest. According to Matthew Brown, great content that readers will read word for word must have the following attributes
- Relevant and recent – don’t write about how users can start their own YouTube video blog, instead write about how an Influential person used a YouTube video blog to change lives.
- Long-Form – Dig deep into the information instead of writing the same summary like everyone else.
- Target a specific persona – your content is not for everyone, to optimize conversion rate, make your content vital to a small group who will be loyal followers of your work.
- Evergreen content- When you invest money in a content, you want it to remain fresh with readers for a long time by updating the content regularly so it retains relevance.
- People relate better when you use content they are familiar with; its’ a good idea to use location addresses to target content in areas your readers reside.
- Customize your own template and plugins instead of using the generic article template
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