Content is more important than ever before. SEO is no longer reliant on strings of keywords and hidden title tags. Content is becoming vital to staying in the SEO game, but it is first and foremost essential for attracting and converting visitors. Your content idea generation strategy should be to strive for evergreen content that might still be useful 3 to 5 years from now. Or make sure to be the first one breaking the news with something.
To create the amount of content required to stay relevant, you might need help consistently generating content ideas. Here are a few idea generation techniques to help you create useful evergreen content for your visitors.
Your Single Goal When Ideating Content: Aim for Unmatched Quality
Content quality trumps quantity every time. You want your audience completely wowed by your content. Only quality content will attract visitors, backlinks, and more. Your content therefore should:
- be unique: don’t copy from what’s already out there
- include the “you”: your very own personality, stories, and expertise
- share previously secret insights (or, at least, provide unmatched education around or solutions to problems)
- have a clear message: Always have the audience and your goal with them in mind when creating your content. Before even crafting the title, know how you want your audience to be transformed by the post and keep that goal first.
Where to Start: 5 Proven Content Idea Research Strategies
Aside from collecting your own questions (maybe by creatively brainstorming first), find out what others are currently asking.
Option 1: Google Tools
Do a few Google queries to start getting ideas for content to create based off of demands or issues that other people have.
- Google: Just start searching and watch out for search suggestions coming up
- Google Keyword Planner: Find the keywords to target, then take it one step further with Übersuggest. Test them further with the SEOmoz Keyword Difficulty Tool.
- Google Trends: See what’s trending right now
Option 2: Amazon
- Browse Bestsellers on Amazon
- See Inside: Look at a book’s Table of Contents
- Check whether there are poorly-rated Amazon books (and their bias, see more detailed 3-star ratings for clues) on the topic or topics still missing
Option 2: eHow, Quora & Yahoo Answers
- Google this: site: quora.com [term]
- Alternatively, Google: site: answers.yahoo.com [term]
Option 4: Boards
- Product Hunt
Option 4: Social Media
Get a handle on the social media chatter on your subject. Use hashtags, tags and keywords to see what people are talking about across social media.
Option 5: Forums
If forum threads you find are relatively recent, write a blog post or article, addressing the need or the problem. Once you have published it, try going back to the thread as a user and commenting with a brief summary plus a link to your article for more information.
- Google this: forum: [term] (make sure you type in “forum” and not “forums”)
- Browse these forums, look for an on-site search
- In the search input field, type terms like: “help”; “looking for”; “bad”; “hate”; “can’t find”; “no clue”; “newbie”; “question”; “advice”
If All Else Fails…
If idea generation does not work, reach out or look to others for help on content ideas.
Ask your audience. Ask them what they want to hear. Ask on social media or set up a survey.
Do a competitor analysis. Use tools like BuzzSumo, which will show you, based on your search query, content that is already doing well. Type your subject, check out the results and then make them better or more unique. You’ll also want to check other well-performing blog posts for relevant keywords found on Google. Figure out how you can replace them with more recent knowledge, summarize insights from widely spread sources, enrich or otherwise improve them by adding experience and numbers from your individual experiments and include helpful and easy-to-understand charts you created.