Content ideas seem to fall under the realm of feast or famine.
We either have a ton of ideas (and not enough time) or sit wondering what to create and where to begin.
The beauty of having a ‘bank’ of content ideas (for lack of a better term) isn’t so much that you always source those ideas or use what you’ve gathered. The beauty is that once you create those ideas you then know where to go when you’re looking for inspiration.
Of course, the first place we’ll always recommend you start is with your business goals (which is the core framework for the Content Creators Planner).
The Monthly Campaign page is set up to walk you through that process:
The goal of this is to keep things really simple.
Which means you have to get out of your head. You want to think about:
- Awareness: where your visitor/customer is in relation to the journey with you, your products, and services
- Category: what type of content you’re creating (the subject matter, ex: educational, inspirational, case study, data-driven, storytelling, etc.).
Let’s say you have 3 different people consuming a piece of content you’ve created.
Visitor 1: Brand new to your site, hasn’t read/consumed any of your content yet.
Visitor 2: Current email subscriber who is familiar with your content, but isn’t a customer yet.
Visitor 3: Customer. They’ve already bought from you.
The action your visitor takes on your website will be relevant to their awareness of you and where they are on the customer journey.
Category (subject matter of content)
There are lots of different categories you can create content on, but we’re going to keep it simple and stick with a few.
Storytelling: Kind of obvious, yes, but this is where you tell stories that are relevant to your business that can be of value to your audience. One example of this is the story we shared of how we went “From a Failed Kickstarter to over $40,000 in a Month”.
We pulled back the curtains and shared our journey. The content medium was a live stream that we then shared as a blog post.
Other types of stories:
- customer and client case studies
- your personal journey
- lessons learned
- business update
Educational: this is where you’re teaching someone how to do something. Pretty straightforward. The challenge with this type of content is that if it’s not evergreen you may have to update on a somewhat regular basis (this is the case with content based on technical how-to).
If you can create educational content that is based on fundamentals and strategies vs. tactics, it’s much more likely to be evergreen.
Educational content can be:
- Answers to questions your customers and audience have
- Industry guidelines and updates
- How-to (there is a ton of how-to content you can create within any market)
Tools & Resources: this is also self-explanatory, but keeping your audience up-to-date with valuable tools and resources is a great way to provide value. However, this content can also produce an audience or list of subscribers who are more interested in the latest ‘shiny object’ only. This is why it’s extremely important to test and try different types of content (that you enjoy creating).
Where to Find Content Ideas:
This is in no particular order.
Pick 2-3 to start with and see what you can come up with first, then revisit the additional suggestions when you feel you need to fill your idea bank.
- Google Analytics: it’s no secret we believe in measuring what you’re doing so you can gauge where you’re going and what’s working. If you’re new this is going to take more time, but if you have content look at Google Analytics to see which is your best performing content and either create more of that OR update what you’ve already published.
- Search hashtags on Instagram: this was part of the reason we moved forward with creating the Content Creators Planner. By searching the hashtag #journaling we realized there was a huge market of people who still used pen and paper.
- Buzzsumo: Buzzsumo is an amazing tool for researching and finding the best performing content in your market. With the free account, you can view the top 10 posts. The premium account is $99 a month and worth it if you’re doing this for a living and are doing consistent research.
Check out BuzzSumo here
- Medium: I am a HUGE fan of Medium. I pay for the premium account (which is either $5 a month or $50 a year) and love the content on Medium. It’s simply articles without all the noise. The quality of the content tends to be higher, you can create a publication, and you won’t be penalized for publishing duplicate content from your blog (simply republish on Medium).
Check out Medium here
- Facebook Groups: FB groups are another great place to see what questions people have, what’s trending, what people are working on, and how you can help them. Make sure that you don’t use someone else’s group as a research tool (we tend to kick people out of Content Creators when then join and start posting polls and research questions without providing any value or connecting first.
Join Content Creators Here
- YouTube Videos: Don’t forget that YouTube is a search engine. Go to YouTube, search your topic, keywords, and industry to see what has the most views, engagement, and comments. You can even read through the comments to see where you can take the content further.
- Industry trends & publications: Search major industry publications and leaders to see what is most recent and top of mind.
- Quora: Quora is a great place to see what questions are being asked about your market and the answers are ‘crowd-sourced’, meaning other quora users will respond and answer questions. You can also use Quora to answer questions and extend the authority in your market.
Check out Quora here
- Answer the Public: Similar to Quora, but the answers are based on search results as opposed to user-generated answers. With the free account, you’re limited to the number of searches you can do but it should be plenty if you’re simply researching content inspiration.
Check out Answer the Public Here
- Revisit old content: Can you go back to content that previously did really well and improve it? Update it? Essentially give it a fresh coat of paint with additional content that is timely and valuable.
- Google Alerts & Google Trends: You can create a Google Alert for your market or keywords and have articles emailed to you on a frequency that works for you. I have a Google Alert for ‘content marketing’ and am sent a daily digest of new articles. Google Trends will allow you to compare a few different keywords to see what is trending.
- Amazon: Search new books in your industry. Look at the top-selling books, read the reviews and comments, and even look at the ‘suggested’ section to see what else people are reading. This is also a great place to search for inspiration for headlines and titles.
- Pinterest: Just like YouTube, Pinterest is a search engine ( as opposed to a ‘social platform’). Search your keywords and market to see what is trending and what people are talking about. You’ll also see other content created in your market for inspiration on what you can create.
- Podcasts: Podcasts are a great and often overlooked type of content for inspiration and ideas. Ideally, you have podcasts you listen to that are relevant to your business, but if not, simply search and take a look at the top 10 podcasts in your market. Look at episode titles, listen to some, and even read reviews. You’ll quickly find there are a plethora of ideas.
- What do YOU like: I often start here. Pay attention to the content you’re drawn to, what you liked about it, why you read it, and see if there is something similar you can create that will connect with your audience.