4 Ways to Generate Effective Content Ideas

We’ve previously written about How to Write Content in Times of Upheaval and wanted to follow in that trend. But what is a good idea in these trying times or the future? We will show you four ways to generate effective content ideas below.

1. Ask Questions

Get into a problem-solving frame of mind before you start generating ideas for content. Your goal is to solve a problem your current or future customers may have. You are looking for the questions they want to answer. In fact, we’ve previously written about writing content for answers. In this instance, you are thinking about the questions your readers will have. It could be things they ask at their place of work, what they type into a search engine, ask colleagues, etc.

I’m a marketer. I usually get asked for marketing tips. Since I am a professional, I may take on a piece of content with a twist such as “Marketing Tips for Marketing Professionals.” Even a beginner in the field would probably want to read it. Get your core content and keep a special, unique twist in mind when asking questions.

2. Look Around for Content Ideas You Can Use

Content ideas are everywhere. You may search your industry for problems that seem to be arising and put your spin on them. For example, are you an HVAC seller that regularly sees something like “Top 5 Air Conditioning Units?” Maybe this particular piece of content came from the other side of the country. A compelling content idea for your HVAC company could be “Top 5 Air Conditioning Units for (insert city).” You know which AC units work for your area, residences, and weather.

We also recommend you utilize your industry forums, magazines, and more. Don’t just visit the usual targets. Go to their social media accounts. While you’re on social media, examine the hashtags attributed to topics in your industry? Don’t forget to search on YouTube as well. Look for everything from interviews to product demonstrations. Finally, don’t forget to look for content in unusual places like documents on Quora or slideshows on SlideShare.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

3. Generate Content Ideas on Your Own

You may prefer to create ideas on your own or have to before you pass them along. Here are a few tips for doing so:

  1. What are your clients’ reading habits? Do they read your site, blog, newsletter, social media? If so, which are the most popular?
  2. What is the competition doing? You know who they are. Do they edge you out content-wise or sale wise? Check out what they are doing and see what content is most popular there.
  3. What is the internet doing? Your industry has tons of leaders, publications, and more. Visit them regularly or even dig around for past articles. You can also use a site like Reddit or others to see what’s hot. For example, I typed “marketing” into BuzzSumo and saw which articles have the most engagement.
  4. Utilize Your SEO. Do you have Search Console or another tool to view which search terms are directing traffic to your site? Those of you with a marketing team on staff or for hire can ask them which are the leading ways people find your content.

4. Generate Content Ideas With Others

While you have your marketing team on the line, get their opinion on what are the best content ideas for your site. They may have extensive knowledge of your industry and which pieces of content work best.

Effective content ideas can come from any department in your company, from the CEO to the administrative staff. You may want to host a brainstorming session with all or some of them. Here are a few tips for conducting an effective session:

    • Pick a time and date that works best for all. Usually, after lunch is a good time. Make sure to put an end time as well.
    • Ask what are the problems and issues your company solves? This list of issues should include past, present, and future options.
    • Define the rules of engagement. One good rule is “there are no bad ideas.” Anything that is office appropriate goes.
    • Ask what the queries they get the most from clients are.
    • Use a whiteboard to jot down the ideas.
    • Have each idea justified and explained by its proponent.
    • Vote on the best.
    • Does the proponent of the idea want to write the content?
    • Leave the brainstorming session with a clear plan of action.

    Of course, these are not hard and fast rules. Your particular business may have different needs, which is why inviting an outside expert to provide a review can be significant.

    And there are tons of other expert ways on how to generate effective content ideas that are not listed above. Each effective idea drives visitors to your site, your brand, and can hopefully lead to a sale and long-lasting relationship. Be sure not just to end content abruptly. Offer related articles and calls to action such as forms, subscription prompts, offers, etc. to keep them hanging around. Feel free to contact the Zen Marketing team generating and creating effective content.

Any Small Business Business Can Improve With Content Marketing

If you have read this far, you are living proof of the advantages content marketing can bring to any small business. When properly executed and part of a well-defined marketing plan, it can establish you as as thought leader, fill your sales pipeline, and reduce your advertising spend.

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