blog-post-ideas

24 Untapped Ways to Get Ideas for Your Next Blog Post

Blogging requires an inspiration to consistently publish high quality content that your target audience wants to read, share to their colleagues and helps your site earn links from relevant blogs/sites.

Generating better blog post ideas is a skill that can be learned easily and improved through research, reading content marketing blogs and investing on data-capturing activities like survey and polls.

blog-post-ideas

In this post, I’d like to share 100 ways to find topics for your next blog post with step by step instructions and real life examples to help you apply every technique in the list.

But before that, here are a few things you should consider to maximize every blog topic generation technique in this post:

  • Don’t just focus on identifying the target keyword of the post/page; try to understand what topic is being discussed in order to create a comprehensive post about that topic.
  • Determine which content format attracts the most number of readers/visitors. Every industry has its own preferred content format (e.g. travel or parenting blogs prefer photo-based content with minimal texts in it).
  • Identify synonyms, entities and technical terms from successful blog posts or pages and include them to your content to improve your page’s relevancy and search ranking potential.

Let’s head over to actionable ways to find blog post ideas.

1. Other website’s successful pages

One of the easiest blog topic generators today is to get inspiration from other brands’ successful posts or pages. Because those pages had successfully brought traffic to a certain brand and got traction on other blogs (links and social engagement), you can rest assured that they have high potential to send organic, social and referral traffic to your blog as well (especially if the post provides unique information about that specific topic).

How to do it?

Step 1: Plugin in other website’s homepage URL (could be a competitor or an authoritative niche blog) to Open Site Explorer.

ose-kaiserthesage

Step 2: Go to Top Pages.

ose-top-pages-kaiserthesage

Step 3: Visit all links in the first page of search results except company pages (about us, our team, etc…)

ose-kaiserthesage-posts

Given that pages in OSE are ranked from highest to lowest referring domains, you know that the topics covered by the top pages have high potentials to attract relevant backlinks in your industry.

2. Use micro-survey tool

In offline marketing, surveys are used to collect data from customers or audience prospected by the brand to make better decisions about their products and create better strategies to promote their content.

This same marketing approach applies to online marketing. Online brands can take advantage of surveys to easily determine their audience’s wants and needs in order for them to create content assets that have highly valuable to the community.

One of the recently released micro-survey products is Qeryz. It is a tool that can help you gather data by asking questions to your visitors. The survey form can be visible in any page of your website.

qeryz-plugin

How to use Qeryz?

Step 1: Install Qeryz plugin to your Wordpress blog.

Step 2: Add questions to Qeryz platform.

Pro tip: You can also link to your important landing page after asking a few questions.

Step 3: Brainstorm blog topics based on the data you’ve gathered from your survey form.

3. Determine topic trends in your niche

An authoritative blog proves its expertise when it covers industry news and updates or at least provide actionable tips in its blog posts that are related to the latest industry trends.

How do you identify niche trends?

Step 1: Go to Google Trends.

Step 2: Search for your head term in the tool’s search bar.

google-trends-headterm

Step 3: Sort the results by global/international searches and dates. You can also use the categories and web search options to get very specific results.

google-trends-categoriesStep 4: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at the queries section.

queries-google-trends

Think of how you can create the best content around those queries.

4. Get insights from Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMAs)

Reddit is one of the user-generated websites where you can find community-ranked content that is well-received by its members.

One of my favorite topic generation sections in Reddit is Reddit AMAs. The interviews for each industry expert can provide you tons of ideas and questions people want answers to, which are good topics to consider for your blog.

How get ideas from Reddit AMA?

Step 1: Go to Reddit and search for [head term] AMA (e.g. parenting AMA).

parenting-ama-reddit-search

Step 2: Select a Reddit AMA in the search results that gained several comments in the discussion.

parenting-reddit-AMA

Step 3: Skim all the questions in the discussion and list those that are relevant to your brand and you know you can answer thoroughly in your post.

comments-reddit

A few more tips to create content using this blog ideation technique:

  • Target at least two questions in your post and answer them with most comprehensive details/information.
  • Provide useful data (case study) in your posts to answer those selected questions.
  • Make your answers straightforward and clear to your readers.

5. Data-based infographic

Most infographics fail because they do not provide real value to their audience.

Infographics are meant to share data to readers in order for them to apply to their daily activities the information and message contained in the infographic.

How to find ideas for your infographic?

Step 1:  Go to Reddit.com/dataisbeautiful

data-is-beautiful

Step 2: Check the first 10 infographics in the Reddit search results.

Step 3: See how you can do the same formats or concepts to your brand’s content.

You don’t need to replicate the same image but just get inspirations from those infographics.

6. Famous quotes

Quotes provide bit sizes of learning for everyone.

Because you can learn one good message or tip from a quote, you want this to share to your friends or colleagues.

Famous quotes can be one of your topic ideas for your blog.

Take a look at this page on Okdork that lists down all famous business and internet marketing quotes.

okdork-quotes

How to find famous quotes?

Step 1: Go to BrainyQuotes and click on the topic(s) of your choice.

popular-topics

Step 2: Choose quotes that are related to your industry and categorize them under sub-topics (e.g. parenting for general family quotes).

family-quotes

Step 3: Publish it on your blog.

7. Case studies

Case studies give emphasis to your experience as a service provider or product creator simply by allowing people to know how you improved your services for your client, your content, your website or your business using a tool, service or strategy.

Why case studies work?

  • They show the expertise of the brand about certain topics people in the industry would definitely care about.
  • Stories make it more compelling for others to share the page or even link to it from their relevant blogs or sites.
  • When turned into a visual (e.g. infographics), the content is much more likely to be picked up by media outlets (journalists) and will create stories around it, especially if the data gathered is unique and interesting to their audience.

Here are a few examples of case studies that you can check out for references:

8. Interrelated topics using Wikimindmap

Understanding the depth and width of the topic that you want to cover on your blog can help you create the perfect content theme for your website.

How to do it?

Step 1: Go to Wikimindmap and search for your head term.

wikimindmap

Step 2: You can click on one topic and bring it to the center of your mindmap.

wikimindmap-parenting

Or use the plus button of the phrase/word to see more connected ideas.

wikimindmap-plus-button

Step 3: Discuss those ideas in your blog content or create a spreadsheet of terms/keywords that you might want to include to your posts to increase their relevancy factor.

9. Influencer’s top words in social

If you are new in blogging, one of the best ways to get inspirations for your blog is to stalk your influencers’ social profiles. By identifying their most used words/phrases in their tweets, you can determine what topics they’d like to share religiously on social platforms, particularly on Twitter.

How to do it?

Step 1: Go to Followerwonk and search for head term + blogger/journalist/researcher. Select a social influencer among the search results.

followerwonk-fashion-blogger

Step 2: Grab his or her Twitter profile to AllmyTweets. Click Hide Replies and Hide Retweets.

allmytweets-fashion-blogger

Step 3: Copy and paste the page and paste it on the TagCrowd’s Paste Text box.

tagcrowd-paste-text

tagcrowd

Find interesting words/phrases in TagCrowd and write blog posts around those ideas.

10. Success and failures

Transparency is one of the key factors to succeed in niche blogging. The more transparent you are to your audience, the more likely they will trust you and your works as well (content).

A few things to keep in mind when sharing success and failures on your blog:

  • Add disclaimers to your content if necessary, such that, saying that you’re not an affiliate marketer or promoter of a certain product or service – if in case, you will include any to your post.
  • Provide actual data to your content – never add or remove things/elements just to add colors to your page.
  • Content with more words in length (thousands) gets more attention than simply publishing a 500-word article.

Let’s take a look at this success post by Matthew Woodward.

matthew-woodward-case-study

The post earned a lot of attention from the internet marketing community (encouraging more people to start their own blogs from scratch).

Things that make Matthew’s post work:

  • Emphasize learnings instead of just bragging about his strategies that worked effective for his blog (the first section What You Will Learn adds value to the readers).
  • The post ended by asking feedbacks or shares to his readers, which put more eyeballs to the content when people started to share it to their followers.
  • Provide more ways for new visitors to see his content by making the post sticky on the top side of the website.

The focus of the success post is on your blog, website or brand alone not on specific products or services you are offering, otherwise, they are considered as case studies already.

There is no step by step guide on how to do this because this is a case to case basis – if you succeed, then you can write about your success on your blog.

11. Twitter hashtags

Twitter is the best source of trending ideas in the community, whichever industry you are in.

Because people usually engage with other folks on Twitter, you can find a lot of questions, comments or updates that will inspire you to write your next blog post.

How to do it?

Step 1: Go to Twitter and search for #headterm (e.g. #parenting)

Step 2: Skim for interesting ideas, links, articles, questions or comments about that specific head term.

twitter-parenting

Step 3: Check out related hashtags and prospect for more status updates on Twitter.

12. Common mistakes in your niche

In any industry, there are mistakes to commit. For parenting, not spending too much time for kids is a huge mistake for them already. For SEOs, blocking your important pages in your site’s robots.txt file is a mistake to be considered by many folks.

The point here is to use mistakes as a topic for your blog.

How to do it?

Step 1: Do a Google search for [niche] mistakes (e.g. parenting mistakes).

parenting-mistakes-Google-search

Step 2: Visit each page in the search results and skim to what specifics you can discuss in your post. For my above example, parenting mistakes can be classified into two: parenting mistakes with kids and parenting mistakes with teens. In this case, you can either focus on one type or discuss both topics.

Step 3: Gather all the points (mistakes) you’ve found in your research (Google search).

You can also ask questions to niche bloggers in order to get more information for your blog post.

13. Amazon Book Search

Amazon is one the most popular book stores today, bringing millions of visitors to their website every month.

Digging into online book stores is one of the untapped content ideation techniques. Topics discussed in books and subcategories in book stores are inspirations that you can take advantage of for your blog content.

How to do it?

Step 1: Go to Amazon Book Search. Search for your target head or secondary term/keyword.

amazon-parenting-search

Step 2: List down ideas from news & notable section. You can also check out book titles that are unique and interesting to your audience.

new-and-notable-amazon

Step 3: Populate your list by adding ideas from subtopics section of the Book (left side of the page).

subtopics-amazon-search14. Collect content contributions from top personalities

Collecting content contributions (insights) from influencers or experts in your industry is one of the best ways to generate a blog post these days, given that the collaborative content can create a detailed explanation of the topic chosen to be discussed by the blogger.

Tips from subject matter experts can bring out untapped knowledge to the community, which will make the content unique and outstanding to its audience.

Below are some good examples of crowdsourced content from two industries.

weight-loss-tips

Best Weight Loss Tips

frugal-living-tips

Best Frugal Living Tips

Actionable tips to collect content contributions from experts:

  • Choose a very specific topic and bloggers whom you think could provide valuable insights to your question (the more they’re interested to the subject; the probability of earning highly valued tips is higher).
  • After collecting tips from experts, invest in making the collaborative post attractive to readers (add some visual designs if necessary to entice visitors to share or link to it from their blogs).
  • If it is possible, provide incentives to contributors to encourage more participation from them in the future.

15. Entertaining images

Images when compiled can also be turned into blog content. A good example of this is the link building process in GIFs post on TripleSEO.

link-building-process-tripleseo

How to collect entertaining images for your blog?

Step 1: Choose a topic that is related to your industry. Prefer it to be a process or flow that can be logically presented through images.

Step 2: Select pictures from images found here and in this site. You can also create your own GIF image using this tool.

gif-site

Step 3: Arrange images with creativity and publish as one blog post.

16. Advanced Twitter Search

Searching for trending or hot social topics is easy with Twitter Advanced Search.

How?

Step 1: Do a Twitter search for your head term or keyword. Then click on Advanced Search in the left side of Twitter screen.

twitter-advanced-search-section

Step 2: Use available features in Twitter Advanced Search to look for specific tweets, questions or comments about a certain topic or keyword.

advanced-search

A few tips to maximize the use of Twitter Advanced Search:

  • Enable the location feature to find localized tweets or topics.
  • For international searches, it is better to choose the specific language you only want to see in the search results rather than the default option (any language).
  • Check the Question option to find only question tweets in your Twitter search.

17. Emphasizing benefits and features in products

Product reviews had been the common type of post for many affiliate marketers in almost every niche today. Aside from the monetary benefit it can provide for bloggers, product review is a great way to demonstrate their authority about a certain topic by adding benefits or value to their readers (showing how the product can make their readers’ lives better).

Here is a good example of a product review in the parenting category.

singlemum-product-review

Things to make your product review earned the desired attention from community:

  • Use your own screenshots and not just grab existing screenshots of products being used.
  • Add disclaimer sentences to your post to make your audience aware that links pointing to product sites are affiliate links.
  • Don’t add many external affiliate links (at least two within the body of the content is enough to be noticed by your readers).
  • Categorize your product reviews and use subcategories in URLs like this example below.

category-product-review18. Favorite blogs/bloggers

Curation removes mental blocks of writers because doing it only requires them to organize things under the same category in one big post.

Examples of curated content are:

  • Social influencers in the industry (e.g. Top 10 Parenting Bloggers You Should Start Following)
  • List of recommended products
  • List of companies sorted by highest to lowest revenues
  • Favorite blogs or bloggers you should start reading or following now

Now, let’s focus on the last example.

How to curate your favorite industry blogs or bloggers?

Step 1: Do a Google search for niche  blogs (do it in case you still don’t have any list of popular blogs in your industry). But if you already have a list, just grab your notes and just start researching more info about your favorite bloggers.

google-search-parenting-blog

Step 2: Think of how you will organize your list of blogs/bloggers. You can try any of the following:

  • Organize according to the highest to lowest traffic potential (use Alexa Rank).
  • Organize according to their engagement levels (use # of comments per post and social shares as your basis).
  • Organize according to their number of social followers (e.g. Twitter followers).

Step 3: Choose whether you want to make your curation weekly, yearly or in no-time (evergreen). For yearly curation, your only disadvantage is that you need to publish curated post year after year while for evergreen, you’ll just need to update the post (add new popular blogs or remove non-existing sites from the list).

google-search-parenting-blog19. Keyword Tool

Keywordtool.io is one of the effective keyword research tools that can provide instant long tail keywords as well as topical terms that you can target for your blog content.

How to do it?

Step 1: Search for your head term in Keywordtool.io.

For non-english blogs, you can choose your International Google search and language in the drop down menus.

parenting-keywordtool

You can copy all the terms in search results by clicking on the Copy All button, then paste those terms to your document (e.g. spreadsheet).

copy-all-keywordtool

Step 2: Populate your list using secondary term keyword research.

parenting-tips-keyword

Step 3: Identify two or more related terms talking about the same topic and target them all in your high quality content (don’t keyword stuff, just optimize for the topic you want to rank for).

20. Soovle

Soovle is another keyword research tool that you shouldn’t miss when doing content brainstorming, particularly for high-end researches.

Soovle can provide niche-specific terms from Wikipedia, Amazon, Answers.com, Google, Youtube and Bing, which makes the tool a one stop keyword research arsenal.

This will help you create a better high quality content through the context that you can write for your audience (e.g. the use of LSI terms).

How to use Soovle?

Step 1: Go to Soovle.com and search for your headterm. The website will automatically provide a list of relevant terms coming from different sources.

soovle-parenting-search

You can collect these terms straight from Soovle by downloading the list in .csv format.

Step 2: You can also use the Top Internet Keywords feature of Soovle to prospect for more keyword research terms.

top-internet-keywords21. Ultimate resource/guide

Strive for better marketing lies on improving the brand’s content marketing campaign. This includes producing only high quality content on the site that can resonate with the community being targeted by the brand as well as improving older pages that can potentially rank in search results and bring more new targeted visitors to the site.

In the skyrcraper technique on Backlinko, Brian Dean shared three basic steps to increase search traffic through content creation:

  • Find link worthy content
  • Make something even better
  • Reach out to the right people.

This is a very simple process but will require huge time and effort to master this content approach.

I’m going to talk about the second step - make something even better.

One way to surpass the quality of someone else’s content is to understand what lacks within its context, its design and structure and most importantly, the information that a reader in your community should obtain from the post.

Here’s how to do it?

Step 1: Do a Google search for a target keyword (you can grab one term from your keyword list gathered from the methods I’ve shared with you earlier).

parenting-tips-for-preschoolers

Step 2: Identify what’s lacking in the pages listed in search results. It could be the design, structure and information provided by the page. List all these important notes in one document so that it will remind you as you create your content.

first-page-search-results-parenting

Step 3: Make your content the most comprehensive resource targeting your keyword.

Using the above example page, below are a few things that a parent blogger can add/remove:

  • Featured/customized image.
  • Experts’ insights/tips (tips from popular parent bloggers)
  • Actionable step by step guide for each tip in the list.
  • Remove distractions in the sidebar such as images and image links to make the content standout (you can customize the page format in your Wordpress dashboard).

22. Faqfox

Questions are great sources of ideas for blog posts because they directly tell you the deepest needs of your audience.

Commonly, those questions are the exact phrases people use to search for references or resources in search engines.

And with the introduction of knowledge graph, the more direct, useful and authoritative your answer to a specific question, the possibility of earning the top spot of search results for the exact phrase or question is higher.

what-is-link-building-google-search

How to look for frequently asked questions (FAQs)?

Step 1: Go to Faqfox.

faqfox

Step 2: Type in your head term/keyword. Select the category of your choice or if there are no categories to choose from, simply select Generic. Then click the Search button.

parenting-faqfox

Step 3: Create a list of questions by simply downloading the spreadsheet from Faqfox.

download-spreadsheet23. Email newsletter

Email subscribers are the most engaging audience you would really want to connect to for content ideation. Because they are already familiar with your brand, you can easily ask for feedbacks and get their responses quickly via email.

If you already have existing subscribers, you can send them an email, asking for a topic that they’d like to discuss on your blog.

If you want to apply this blog ideation technique, you can replicate this email by Pat Flynn.

pat-flynn-email

Why this email works?

  • The question is straightforward, Is there anything you want me to write a blog post about?. The email also includes that question in its subject line.
  • There is an indirect call to action at the end of the email (All you have to do is reply to this email)

You can do the same technique for your brand and make it easy for your team to create a content discussing a topic that your followers are looking forward to read on your blog.

24. PR Distribution Sites

PR Distribution sites can be sources of inspirations for brand asset creation (stories) and for blog posts that can potentially become viral in your community.

How to do it?

Step 1: Go to any PR distribution site.

For this post, I’ll use PR.com.

Step 2: Type in your niche term in the search box, then choose Press Release from the drop down menu list. Then click on the search button.  

parenting-press-release

Step 3: Visit each news page in the search results. Skim the post and look for relevant terms/keywords used in the article. You can also look for content-led stories like new infographic produced by a certain brand and learn how they obtain real data and create content from there.

press-release-keyword

If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter and Google+.


scalable-content-marketing

How to Improve the Value and Volume in Content Marketing

scalable-content-marketing

The uprising trend for the term, “content marketing” is inevitable. Perhaps, the primary reason would be the growing benefits of it as the core part of a business’ inbound marketing strategy.

The enabling power to amplify the reach of the brand to its targeted audience is the benefit that I loved the most with content. It almost becomes the business’ automation tool for brand promotion and traffic generation that allows its visitors to tie up to the brand instantly.

Ensuring that the value and volume of content increases over time is a perfect way to enhance content amplification strategy and to stay ahead of the competition given that almost all brands  do content marketing in their space.

Scaling content marketing lies directly on each phase of the content marketing process. Improving the quantity and quality of each element in the phase can positively affect the outcome of each content piece produced by the business.

Here are a few tips to help you get started at scaling your content marketing.

Automate topic discovery

Topic research is a time-consuming task given that it requires an extensive amount of time and energy to digest the market’s needs and align it with the message of the content asset.

However, you can ease the process of finding keywords/topics and at the same time getting assured of its results by using a few handy tools.

First in the list is IFTT. Utilize this tool to receive email updates from sites/blogs that regularly publish thematically-related content assets. Tie IFTT with HARO (use its RSS feed) to generate timely niche-specific news and blog posts right in your inbox.

haro

Buzzsumo is another topic discovery tool that you can also take advantage of. Its filter options allows you to track the most-shared posts in your industry based on the preferred date and content type.

Collaborate with your client’s other departments to get insights about the most common queries your client’s customers asked. Customer inquiries represent the needs of the large portion of the market sector which can strengthen the brand’s mindshare if these inquiries were used as an inspiration for the content.

For small brands, comments from webmasters on their blogs are good opportunities to track questions that your readers want to be answered through your blog posts. Use this plugin created by SEER Interactive to grab all comments on your blog.

Use Content Discovery Scraper List to automate the process of combining content templates with a specific topic (e.g. “The History of Weight Loss”). In almost all industries, this list can be used to get quick inspirations for your blog especially on your site’s first month of content creation.

Start with authors to prospect for more content topics. Use advanced search operators, blog directories and content submission sites to find industry influencers. You can check out this guide for easy influencer prospecting.

Co-authorship

Quality is much more evident when two heads are combined to create a great piece of content (ebook, guest contributions, guide, etc..). The reach of co-authored content asset is being amplified by the combined efforts of both parties involved and by their social and blog’s followers.

art-of-seo-co-authorship

Shameless plug: I and Moosa will be launching an awesome link building book soon.

Content conversion

Turning your piece into other content formats is a cost-efficient method in content marketing. For low-budgeted marketing campaigns, content conversion maximizes the value of every piece of content which can give you more time and energy in planning for your future content assets.

For video product reviews, you can convert them into “still images” and upload to image sharing sites. Check out this list of image sharing sites.

Turn your highly linked/most visited and/or most shared blog posts to pages. Pages tend to rank higher on search engines than blog posts which can add more search traffic to your site. Use Google Analytics to track the top ten blog posts with the most number of visits, Ahrefs to identify your blog’s top pages and Social plugins for social shares evaluation.

Content sourcing

Content sourcing is placing your content piece on other related websites to increase your brand’s signals on search engines, absorb followers/readers from those sites and build hard to do things that your competitors can’t replicate (i.e. relationships).

If you want to start or have started with regular contributions, then here are some tips to improve the value of your content efforts:

  • Start with those who’ve already linked to you in the post or have shared your posts. There is a higher chance of accepting your submissions from those bloggers since they know the caliber of your content and you have built relationships with them beforehand. Start pitching them by thinking for linking/sharing your content, and then eventually ask if they’re looking for regular columnists.
  • Build a content portfolio on your site so you can link to them from your regular contributions. Your site’s inner pages will then pass its link value to other pages where they had linked to.
  • Set stricter metrics when prospecting for content placement sites. Domain authority (using Mozbar), SE traffic price (SEMRush metric), engagement (blog comments) and social shares are some key considerations of the quality of the pages. Contributions on these highly-valued domains have higher chances of ranking for long tail keywords.
  • Standing out when pitching would really require a solid sample (preferably content published on the client's site - to effectively demonstrate expertise).

These actionable tips came from the one and only, Jason Acidre.

Continuously sharing new industry insights on roundup posts both from closely related and general niches can strengthen your site’s domain authority and influence in your community. Tip: You can use this as an angle when pitching for guest blogs given that this is a proof of your expertise in the field.

how-to-promote-your-blog-roundup

Build a solid content team

Continuous improvement on the part of the content workforce is a solid method in scaling content marketing given that the team members are the most important element in content creation.

Kyra Kulk wrote a comprehensive guide on how to develop and maintain a content marketing team. You can check out that post (it’s worth reading!).

Here are some key tips to get you started with running a content marketing team:

  • Set strict editorial guidelines for all content pieces (i.e. no duplication, proper external links to authoritative sources, etc..)
  • Provide training resources to team members to enhance their skills and improve their output. Tip: Get them read at least two blog posts from Inbound.org that are related to content marketing.
  • If you’re not an expert in the industry, then this guide will help you.

Content optimization

Proper optimization of a content piece both for search engines and users helps you win the 50% of the battle. Given that search engines are using relevancy and authority to rank well-optimized pages higher on search results, it is a must to consider to improve the value of your content assets.

Here are a few tips to a proper content optimization:

  • Use keywords in the title, header tags and first 50 words of your content.
  • Include industry-related terms in the context of your content so it will have a better chance to rank for other long tail phrases (learn the concept of latent semantic indexing here).
  • For internal linking, use long-stringed anchor texts to increase their click through rates for the other inner pages of your site. You can also check out this guide about internal linking.
  • For guest contributions, link to your site’s related blog posts to get them receive more referral traffic from guest blogs and improve their rankings on search results.

Strategic content promotion

The 50% success of the battle lies on your brand’s content promotion strategy.

Using other inbound marketing channels will help your content promotion perform better in  terms of gaining new visitors/subscribers and/or potential customers.

One channel that you shouldn’t miss out is email marketing. Combining its power with content marketing is a solid foundation in brand promotion since these two channels can support each other. Content becomes an email generator for potential customers of the brand whereas emails get the content in front of its interested readers.

Bryan Harris from Video Fruit shared a case study on how he got his first 100 email subscribers using ten email strategies. You can check out that post together with this case study on Smart Passive Income blog and with this eCommerce email marketing tips.

Another effective channel to maximize the value of a content piece is social media advertising (i.e. Facebook ads). Matthew Woodward wrote a case study on the different ROIs he got from testing different Facebook campaigns. He emphasized the use of different images to capture clicks from Facebook users (check out the post to learn more).

My most favorite content promotion method is blogger outreach. This enables the content publisher to establish strong relationships with other webmasters (especially when both parties are given the benefit/value).

Outreach Resources:

For more content marketing insights, you can subscribe to this blog (use the subscription box below) or follow me on Twitter and Google+.


content-development

Creating and Developing Content Assets Like A Pro

Content assets had been one of the greatest investments of almost all size of brands today. It became such a phenomenon in the industry that everyone wants to have a piece of asset for their site's content development.

However, content marketing is not just about creating content pieces. It’s more on delivering the best value to your target audience. Without including your audience as a contributing factor in your marketing campaign, you would be more likely to lose track with your goals/objectives. Remember that your customers are the reasons why your brand exists in the industry. Therefore, they should be given the top priority in your content marketing campaign.

I’ve seen a lot of improvements in content marketing and how those improvements affect the thinking of many content marketers in delivering a useful and targeted content. This made every phase in the content process looks more challenging than before.

Five Stages of a High Quality Content Development

To surely make the most value out of your content efforts, it’s very important to take every stage in the content creation process as a chance to win over your competitors. This may require strategic planning in those stages to truly provide a reliable and useful content piece for your audience.

creating-and-developing-your-content-assets

In this post, I will share to you actionable tips to help you outrank your competitors with every content piece that you will be creating.

Ideation

There are several ways to get ideas for your content that are not only catchy to the eyes of your audience but are also seasonal and/or traffic-based keywords (which means that they can give a boost to the traffic of your site if those keywords/ideas are optimized on your content and your content pieces ranked high on search results for those certain keywords).

Let’s get started..

1. Comments on other site’s content

Blog commenting is not only used for link building purposes but also for finding keywords for your content. If you have a list of authority sites in your mind, you may want to visit once in a while to get some ideas.

I’ll get Moz as my example.

Every post on Moz (the main blog) managed to get an average of a hundred comments just the time they were published on the site.

This Whiteboard Friday edition by Michael King received 119 comments which is a good amount of blog comments for one post.

whiteboard-friday-michael-king-number-of-comments

Those comments would give a significant value when looking for content ideas given that every word commented by a blogger could be words/phrases that they may/might be searching for in the search engines.

What I’m gonna do is to find keywords in the comment section that are related to link building, content and branding (because this is my field!).

By using the Find and Replace in Chrome Web Browser, I was able to find phrases that are related to my keywords.

first-moz-comment

second-moz-comment

third-moz-comment

Oh! An expression!

Finding these keywords is not enough. You have to see whether or not they are the most commonly searched terms in your industry. To do this, we can use Google Keyword Planner (for search volume) or Google Trends (for seasonality).

Let’s see the trend of each keyword.

google-trends-content-related-terms

As you can see, the word “great content” seems like a good keyword and the interest for that keyword progresses over time. Gold!

“Amazing content” (though it may not be a seasonal term for now), looking at its seasonality would give us an idea that it might be an interest-rich keyword for content in the future.

And if you’re targeting an audience located in India and USA, those aforementioned content-related terms is a must to consider for your campaign.

Another Tip: Click the box saying, “email me when new comments are posted” right below the post of your target site, this would help you track if there is a new comment on the blog post (you’ll receive a Wordpress email).

comment-section-moz

2. Authority Sites through RSS Feeds

Competitive research will never be excluded in every marketing campaign of SEO practitioners given that it would help them identify their strengths and weaknesses as brands which are necessary to bring those campaigns into success.

Determining what authority sites are doing with their blogs based on the content they’re publishing would give you a feel of what you can also do for your content strategy (outranking them with better content than they have).

If you still don’t have any authority site in your list (perhaps, you’re new to the industry), you can use this tool to look for websites that have a large number of subscribers. The reason you want to consider the number of subscribers when finding authority sites is that most of the time, those websites with a large amount of subscribers managed to build a community for their brands. This community could get them share their content on social and provide useful insights (which is commonly about their offerings) in the comment section of their blogs.

Type in your keyword in the search bar of the tool and it will give you a list of websites that are ranked according to the number of subscribers. Use Feedly to get those sites on track. Once in a while, visit those authority sites, read their content pieces and analyze how they create content (based on content format, concept, posting frequency, etc…).

instant-rss-search

 

You can check out this huge list of free link building tools to find more link prospects.

3. Repurpose other people’s content

Most of the time, posts that get a lot of attention are those content that are just repurposed from another content (made by them or other brands). This would save you time and money especially if you’re tight with your budget.

Repurposing blog posts to UGC content pieces is a good strategy especially if the original content garnered several shares/links. Outreaching to the linkers/sharers of the original version would yield much better results in terms of outreach response rates.

original-content

Original content

repurpose-content

Repurposed content

4. Keyword-rich URLs

Authority sites don’t rank easily without optimizing their pages for search (unless they’ve been in the webspace for over 2 years or so). For those sites that are new in the industry (6 months to 2 years) but tend to get  to the top spots of search results for targeted keywords, there must be some on-page optimization that they are doing for their pages.

Let’s take Kaiserthesage as my example (do you still wonder why I always link to him?).

By simply looking at each url of every page, you have an idea of what keyword the webmaster is trying to rank for that page.

kaiserthesage-scalable-content-marketing

Or you can use Ahrefs to find their top pages (where you can see their keyword-rich URLs). Click on the top pages.

top-page

kaiserthesage-top-pages

5. Anchor texts of referring domains of your competitors’ content

If you’re tired of searching for an idea that doesn’t have a potential to gain continuous traffic to your site (through search), you should make some analysis of your competitor’s backlink profile. You won’t be getting the list of referring domains that linked to your competitor’s site/page (to reach out and get the same types of links). Instead, you will only look at the anchor texts that your competitor’s referring domains used to link to your competitor’s page.

anchors

anchor-texts-referring-domains-kaiserthesage

Get those anchor texts and put them in a spreadsheet. Use your keyword tool to identify which of them could be considered gold for search volume.

6. Ultimate Industry Guides

Not all industry guides are perfect guides. Every portion in the guide would support the main subject/theme of the content. However, those portions are just descriptions, which means that they are not so detailed (which is a good content idea that you can use for your own content piece).

Let’s give an example.

hobo-beginners-guide-seo

There are portions in this industry guide that are not so detailed but when you see it in the overall view, it is a comprehensive and useful content. Use those portions to create another content piece (not necessarily be an industry guide, could be visuals) but ensure that the content piece is specifically optimize for the keyword you’re looking at.

rich-snippets

7. FAQs

You’re familiar with this. I’m sure a lot of brands have their Frequently Ask Questions page to better serve their customers by answering their most common questions. This would help the brand to know any problems that their customers might be experiencing when they use their products (questions that are not answered or solved by their FAQs page).

personal-finance-FAQs

FAQ pages could also be used for content ideation. What you will do is to get all the listed questions, place them all in a spreadsheet and take each one of them into Google search (don’t put all the phrases; pick up those related terms in the question).

If there is any page that is already targeting those questions, you could put another phrase in Google search until you find one that has not yet been targeted by someone.

8. Dissect Google+ Hangout videos

You will not strip the video into shorter ones but you want to know what ideas/insights have been discussed in the hangout that can be covered in a blog post (or any other content format).

Listen to the hangout video (it would be great if you could listen to a group interview). There are tons of ideas that are accidentally shared by industry experts (they could just say anything that is sometimes not specifically pointing to the topic they’re discussing about).

List those points in the spreadsheet and get back to the list once you’re done with the content ideation.

9. Two seemingly-irrelevant but relevant topics

Connections are what would make your content looks more natural and appealing to your readers. You could connect two seemingly-unrelated topics and turn that combined idea into a blog post.

You might need a thorough research to make this thing works! It would take time and effort to create awesome piece like this.

Forbes-news

Imagine if you can create several pieces like this (related to your industry terms), you might be surprised by how many people would link to your content or at least share it to their peers.

10.  Niche-related communities

There is at least one community related to your field that could be a useful resource for your content development assets. Use Google search to find at least one (inurl:forum + “your industry”) and identify if that is really awesome (users participate well and not spammy).

Use the intext:query to find niche-specific phrase/ideas.

Try this one: intext:your keyword + site:yourforum.com

You should only use one word (your main keyword) to find relevant ideas in the forum.

Example:

niche-related-communities-moz

As you can see, there are tons of ideas that you could use to develop your own content. Use again your preferred keyword tool to get the highest search volume and use your personal judgment on which keyword you’ll be using for your own content.

11. Anchor texts of linking domains to your site.

You can’t control the anchor texts that other webmasters are using to link to you (unless you’re the one who approach them about those link opportunities). They might be using phrases/keywords which are uncommon to you but related to your industry terms.

This is great if you have that list of anchor texts that your linkers link to you. However, you can use those texts to create a solid content that matches to each of the phrase. Simply, find a phrase you have not optimized yet for your site. Create a page targeting that phrase/keyword and build links to it (just like what you did for your site’s other pages).

12. Branded link mentions.

You may be tracking every site/page that linked to your website. If you’re already doing this for link building purposes, make sure you do it also for your content strategy. Those webmasters (those who linked to you) have reasons why they did that linking. If you will know their reasons of linking to you, you can have good partnership/relationships with them. Who knows? They might collaborate with you to create an awesome content piece.

You could also interview the person who linked to you (especially if that is a customer). Ask him what pushes him to give credit or mention your brand on his blog/page. Incentivize him to encourage him to talk more about you. Interviewing that person would improve your site’s performance given that people would like to know the feedback(s) from the users of your product.

Remember that you don’t want to make the content be a self-promotional one. Add some twists in it (like asking the person, “Give me some experiences in using the product that almost pushes you to stop using it?”

People love brands that are transparent with their situations/offerings as this would prove how they truly value their customers.

13.  Interview speakers of upcoming webinars/events.

If you’re looking for an easy content piece, this one is good for you. The only thing that you need is to do is to make a list of events (webinar/conference/seminar) that people in your community (local) is so excited to participate in. Gather all the details about each event like the names of the speakers, location and other important details that could help your content (if you’re using this as an angle) to be detailed and useful for your followers.

I wrote a piece of content a few weeks ago about a conference that will be held here in the Philippines. Review that post on how I use event details to make the post more valuable to my local followers.

14.  Product Reviews

You have a product and you got product reviews in the past. You can use that to make an awesome content piece for your brand.

Here is what you can do.

Look at the sites (your own website if you allow ratings/reviews for each of your product or product review sites where your product had been mentioned). Some websites allow you to sort reviews based on ratings so you can get the most value out of those comments/reviews. Check industy-related terms that people had used in their comments. Those terms is what you’ll be using for your content piece given that those are informational keywords (people are using those phrases in their searches).

coffee-amazon-reviews

15. Intext Query

You’re probably familiar with this query. You can use this to find keywords that are placed on any sites (that you should be analyzing as to the content format).

To get the best content ideas from sites that you’re not almost familiar with, don’t add any specific website to this query. Just use the plain query, like this: intext:”financial calculator”.

The reason for doing this is that you want to see all the pages where that keyword/phrase has been mentioned. You will probably see the top pages ranking for that keyword (most of the time, those are authority sites in your industry). In my opinion, you can’t get much value from those pages (as they already had built an authority in the space). You want pages that are still new but are authoritative already in terms of followers/readers and analyze what they did to create a page targeting that keyword.

Click on the lower pages (page 7 or higher) to see how are those sites use that keyword in their content assets.

intext-query-financial-calculator

16. Ask someone about your brand through email or social.

Know what captivates your readers’ interest by asking questions to them. You may have not known they’re waiting for you to reach out and ask their content suggestions. This is one of the most effective ways to get content ideas as those customers/readers/followers is part of the group (target audience) that you’re trying to please with your content. If one of them replies and suggest one idea for your content, don’t ignore him. He might also suggest a content format (infographic, blog post, etc..) that you had never done before for your brand which can make a significant difference to what your site is already doing for them.

17. Use tools to organize your content.

I have Mindmeister in my mobile phone which I use to organize my content ideas and add more to it as I think another idea. The best content ideas that I had for my recent posts came from nowhere. When I’m not facing at my computer, those ideas pumped up!

You can try this technique. It might work for you also.

Another tool that you can also use is wordcloud. This will help you see the common keyword/phrase and some combined thoughts that you can use for your content.

Research

Sixty-five percent of the respondents in the survey conducted by the team of Colleen Jones say that web is an unreliable source.

But there’s still some (45%) who’re looking for sources from web for their own research/content. The reason is that people go to web to get true help or advice. So if you want to get the most value out of your content, you have to consider the credibility of your sources/references which you will use to point out facts/info/data that are relevant to the topic/subject of your content piece.

Aside from what I mentioned in this post about attributes/characteristics that I consider valuable factors when looking for resources for content, credibility should also be taken into consideration.

Why do you have to look for credible sources?

Most often than not, people get confused with the content they searched on the web given that the cited sources are not really credible. The sources were outdated and they don’t really support the main point that the content wants to convey.

This is something that you should be looking at when looking for credible sources.

Now let’s know what factors that would make the source(s) credible (added info to what I mentioned in that post about content resources)

  • It has a distinct voice. When the content publisher of that source says something, everyone listens to him given that he has proven his authority and influence to his audience. So if you’re looking for credible sources, determine if they have distinct voices (or personality). Does their audience agree with their saying/thoughts? Does the brand owner get several complaints rather than compliments/praises?
  • It makes a clear point. The source should only give emphasis on one subject. I haven’t seen any content piece that already tackles all the terms in the industry. There are pieces that managed to do that (ultimate guides) but most of the time, there’s one topic that the content asset is specifically talking about. Sources are credible when they managed to show off their expertise through those sources (pointing only to one topic).
  • It is useful. As you always get the most useful sources, you enable your content to become more credible in the eyes of your audience (users will learn much from your content and to its sources). This would give them a reason to come back to your site once in a while (to read/consume your content).
  • It guides you to the next step. A source always guides to your next step of learning. If your source does not do it for you, it will not also guide your users. Make sure that you are satisfied first with the value that you’re getting from your sources before enticing others to be satisfied with your content. Otherwise, your users will not read those sources for additional knowledge.

Note: Not because it ranks in one of the top five spots in the search results for the target keyword doesn’t mean it is a credible source.

Here are a few ways to get sources for your content:

  • Use this tool to find industry-related sources/references. Use this as your own advantage to identify which of them could pass credibility and value to your content. Data-driven content is a good source if the content publisher provides source documents of their content.
  • Expert’s insights/advices. Get help from people who know their stuff really well. This post by Rohit Palit is a good example of this. Below that page, there is a section that allows experts to share their own insights about the topic.

Indeed, research takes time. To maximize your research efforts, ensure that you only get credible and relevant sources for your content.

Other Resource:

6 Ways to Find Data to Support Your Content

Conceptual Framework

All the data/sources should be gathered at one place. This phase, “Conceptual Framework” would ensure that your content has a logical flow of information.

One of the mistakes of every blogger or content publisher is gathering all the data at one place without even arranging every single thought that they collected. This would look like a scratch paper (scattered ideas).

Note: There’s no rule in the method of outlining your ideas. Use your own if you already have one.

But here are some tools (they’re the common, ha!) that you can try to make your ideas flow smoothly within your content:

  • Excel Spreadsheet. One way to organize your ideas is using an excel spreadsheet. Make sure that you add a column for “what is lacking” to take down notes on what is lacking in your resources so you can add insights/hooks to it to improve the context of your content.
  • Problem-to-Recommedation Table. This an effective tool to use when you’re creating a guide (how-to) that is focused on helping your target audience solve their own problems. Use this spreadsheet to list down all those problems and take down notes for recommendations.
  • Visualization. It’s easy to create a content when you can see the whole picture of it. Visualization allows you to do this by picking up the main principles/ideas and visualize them in a good format.

visualizations

  • Basic Outline. Use your document tool for this one (e.g. Microsoft Word).Here’s an example of a basic outline.

draft-link-worthy-content

Optimization

I already covered this phase in my post about content promotion. But for additional tips, here are some that you can apply for your content piece.

  • Based on the list of anchor texts you’ve gathered earlier, pick up the best ones and use it to optimize your content. Additionally, you can use this query: (site:abc.com inanchor:content) to find pages where your competitor used anchor texts related to your industry terms.

Make sure that you strategically use those anchor texts to ensure that you’re also passing value to your site’s other content assets. You can also use those anchor texts for your content distribution efforts like guest posts.

  • Optimize the page with the basic on-page SEO. Putting your keyword at the page’s title tag, H1 and at the first sentence of your page would help your page to rank high on SERPs.

It’s also best to use the exact keyword at the first place of your title (there’s an added factor for rankings when you use this).

relationsphip-building

  • Link to your site’s other content assets (especially to your money pages or your top converting pages). Use Google Analytics to find your top converting pages.

You can link to those pages strategically when you optimize your future content assets.

The most common mistake of webmasters is the use of generic words (e.g. click here) as anchor texts for their content. Though you don’t want to use your exact match anchor texts (so as not to have anchor text over optimization), the use of generic words could be replaced by using your alternatives (partial match, long-stringed, etc..) which is more powerful to use than generic words.

  • Don’t worry about keyword density. Focus more on getting links for your content. As long as your keywords are positioned in the right spots (title, h1, first sentence) of your content, you don’t have to make an effort counting how many times you use that keyword alongside your page.

Here is a cool video by Brian Dean about the upside down guest post (where you can get tips on how to optimize your page for search engines and users).

Content Placement

Reminder: There’s no rule in determining where to place your content (on your site or other’s site(s) – guest posts).

But here are a few tips by Moosa Hermani on how to determine if the site (where you will place your guest post on) matches to your brand.

“I always keep few things in mind when reaching out to any place (for guest post or my content)” – M.Hemani

  • Is my audience there?
  • Do they agree my core principles (for instance I do not like Google's idea of hiding keyword data in GA. If there is a great website who have an opinion that is negative to this then I probably will drop the idea of placing my content there as this differs my ideology)
  • Do they have a positive name in the market?
  • DA (obviously)
  • Will I be able to grab some traffic and make them my continuous reader?

Using this list of guidelines when identifying the right site/blog to place your content would help you get the most value of your content distribution efforts.

Other Resources:

Conclusion:

Strategic planning is necessary to every marketing campaign (the same goes with your content marketing). If you perform really well for each phase (ideation to content placement), you’ll be surprised that you almost win half of the battle. The other half is obviously promoting your content.

Image Credit: 1, 2, 3

 If you're looking for high quality links to support your content and grow your business, get in touch with us for effective link building services