As a content marketer, I spend a lot of time writing, thinking about writing, and trying to get other people to write. I don’t have to tell you that sometimes, it’s just plain difficult. The most common question I receive from the experts I work with is “what should I write about?” Deciding on a topic should be easy for someone with years of experience, right? But unfortunately that’s typically not the case. Often times, the challenge appears so overwhelming that we give up altogether. Yeah, I see you out there, you know who you are.
Fortunately, there are some simple tricks that you can use to help determine where to focus your writing energy. I recently attended the HubSpot Inbound conference (and wrote a recap in a previous post). One of the sessions that I went to was led by Arnie Kuenn, the CEO of Vertical Measures. He gave some tips for idea generation that were so simple, so practical, and so effective that you will never have to worry about finding content ideas again. Here were two of my favorite ideas:
- Let Google do its thing. You’ve heard of Google. It has gotten so smart now, that when you start typing in a sentence or a topic, it will automatically suggest the most common searches that you might be thinking of. For instance, if you type in “How to…” Google will assume you are going to ask how to tie a tie, take a screenshot, get rid of ants, or boil an egg. The same concept can be applied to your business. Try entering basic keywords and see what people are using them to specifically search for. In doing so, you can build content that directly answers the questions that are being asked, and you will likely drive up your organic search position as a result.
- What are the questions that clients ask most frequently? If there is one thing I’ve learned (and I’ve learned a couple), it’s that you are NOT the only person having the problem that you are having. If you find that your clients are asking the same set of questions regarding a certain topic area, chances are the prospective new clients are also interested in hearing the answers. Take each of those questions and turn them into blog posts. For example, “How often should I be emailing my database?” becomes “How Often You Should Be Emailing Your Database.” It’s really that simple.
Spend time on developing content. You likely have the reputable expertise in your field, so share that with prospective customers. It’s a better use of resources than paid search. In fact, according to Group M, 90+% of buyers click on organic links vs. sponsored ads, and 93% of consumers use search prior to making a purchase. So you are doing yourself a service by focusing on putting the right content in the right place so that the right people can see it.