What’s one of the most difficult aspects of being a content marketer? Finding content inspiration. After all, your business should publish at least 16 posts a month—four a week—if you want to get 3.5 times more traffic to your website (Hubspot). That’s a lot of content.
Writer’s Block doesn’t just happen to authors. It’s a problem that every writer and marketer faces on a regular basis. It’s not that we don’t know how to create great content, but we sometimes struggle to figure out what that great content looks like. We constantly ask ourselves the question, “What are people looking for?” but far too often, the answer is as elusive as a warm summer day in the middle of winter.
Content inspiration can be particularly challenging when you have a narrow focus. Whether you’re dialed in on a singular topic, industry, or company, coming up with a thousand ideas within a tight space isn’t easy. So, how do you break past the inspiration struggle to create a compelling 1,142-word blog or quick social media post?
The key is to look for outside content inspiration, which is far more available than you might realize.
1. Your Customers
Your customers should be your number one source of inspiration. They can tell you exactly what they want to learn more about; you just have to be listening. You can look for customer feedback in a number of places:
- Social Media Engagement: Look at the posts where you get the most likes, shares, and comments to see what your customers are interested in.
- Surveys: Send out a quick survey via email in return for a white paper or special blog to get more comprehensive insight into your customer’s needs. Try using a service like SurveyMonkey.
- Blog Engagement: See which blogs get the most visitors and longest reads to figure out what your customers enjoy reading about, and also check out the comments section for more topic ideas.
- Website Analytics: Use Google Analytics to determine where your customers spend the most time on your website and create content based on the results.
- Forums: Forums such as Quora and Yahoo! Answers can help you see what customers in your industry have questions about. For example, let’s say you work in the travel industry. A quick search on Quora provides two topic ideas on the subject: life lessons while traveling and things NOT to do while visiting. And that’s after less than a two-minute search.
2. Industry Professionals
You’re not the only one in your marketing space, so use your competitors for help. Subscribe to your competitor’s blogs and follow them on social media to see what they’re sharing. You should also follow thought leaders within your industry and topic realm to see what they have to say and what their followers say in return. This includes following magazines and publications that have to do with your business. A tool such as Buzzsumo can help you see what content is most engaged/shared online.
You can also join social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn to become a part of niche communities within your industry. This can help you find everything from pertinent topics to areas of casual interest.
3. Keyword Research
For SEO purposes, keyword research might be one of the most valuable ways to find content ideas. You can use tools such as the Keyword Tool or Ubersuggest to type in a basic keyword idea and to get more detailed ideas and results. For example, typing in “airline travel” provides you with 766 keyword ideas that range from “affordable airline tickets” to “air travel websites” and “air ticket booking.” Any of these keywords can be turned into a piece of content or a content series around a topic idea.
4. Trending Topics
If a topic is trending, then it’s one you want to get a jump on. There are many places to look for trending topics.
- Google Trends: This FREE tool helps you quickly explore the most talked about topics of the day.
- Twitter Trends: On the left-hand side of Twitter is the trending hashtag box. This tells you a brief glimpse of what is hot on the Internet.
- Ruzzit: This website compiles the most viral content on the web in one easy-to-use location.
- Social Mention: This FREE listening tool lets you enter a keyword and find out how people are talking and sharing about it on social media right at that moment.
- Reddit: Called the “Front Page of the Internet,” Reddit collects its trending topics right on its homepage, and then you can dig deeper into any idea through subreddits.
5. Browse nDash’s Open Pitches
Browse topics within nDash’s open pitches from writers and subject matter experts and search by keyword, industry, or content type to get ideas that you can use for your blogs, white papers, social media, and more. At any given time, there are hundreds of pitch ideas ready for you to check out. And if you find something you like, you can quickly click on the writer to purchase the topic and the content.
There are endless opportunities to find content inspiration online if you know where to look. So, next time you’re struggling to come up with a compelling blog or to fill out your content calendar, don’t stress. Instead, get out of your head and go online to find what people what to hear.
Editor’s note: This post is by nDash community member Kelly Vo. Kelly writes a variety of business articles and website copy on topics such as Cloud computing, business safety, B2B & B2C marketing, entrepreneurship, e-commerce, and more. To learn more about Kelly, or to have her write for your brand, check out her nDash profile page.