Ryan Gains
Ryan Gains 23 October 2017

5 Ways of coming up with educated content ideas

Coming up with content ideas is pretty easy, everyone has ideas, some good, some bad. Coming up with good ideas based on evidence that they will resonate with your audience is another matter.

This is the kind of content that can really be successful as it taps into a customer pain point. Here are 5 ways of coming up with educated content ideas.

1. Exploring content subjects

Tools such as Buzzsumo are perfect for exploring popular content within certain subject areas. You should use it to research key terms from your industry, for example, if you were in the automotive industry, terms such as ‘sports cars’ ‘classic cars etc would be a good start. 

You can then start to form 1 or 2 ideas about what content themes are popular within certain niches. You may find that rarity of classic cars is something that is covered a lot or of consistent interest within the industry. What you want from this is several angles or themes that you know are consistently talked about.

From there you can start to expand on these themes, what did well before? Why? How could it be done better? Could this article be reformatted into a different content type?

2. Exploring publisher trends

If you have an idea of the kind of publishers that you want to be hosting and or sharing your content you can then start to have a more specific look at what kind of content they regularly publish. It’s likely that your content research will bring up some suitable publishers that you can explore further in Buzzsumo by pasting their domain name into the search bar.

Do they publish something similar every year? Are there industry events coming up that they covered last year? What type of content do they publish when they work with other brands? Can you collaborate with them to actually produce the content piece? 

3. Keyword research

If you rank well for a core key term then you also probably have the opportunity to rank for a long tail variable of that key term. This means you can be bringing in extra hits to your site at an earlier stage of the customer journey. 

For example, if you rank in top 3 positions for ‘Gear boxes’ and your keyword research shows that an additional 250 people search for the term ‘What gearbox to put in my car?’ then you probably have a good chance of ranking well for that term with the right piece of content.

What you really want to do when it comes to ranking for long tail key terms (Or any search term) is to effectively end the user's search i.e. your piece of content is so good at answering their search that they don't need to click back to Google and look elsewhere. 

Moz is obviously a useful tool for keyword research as is Adwords keyword planner. 

Another great tool for generating content ideas around keywords is Answer The Public. If you put a key term in here it will generate just about every variable of that term you can think of. It’s valuable if you’re looking to build up a hub of useful content on your site and you’re not sure where to start. 

4. Using internal site search as a data hook

You know that search bar at the top of your website? Turns out it's not just useful for your customers it’s a really useful feature for you too. 

Depending what kind of company or industry you are in, the data collected by this search function may pull up all kinds of stories and angles that will generate a content idea that publishers will love. 

You can find this information in Google analytics under ‘Behaviour’ and ‘Site search’

For our client in the private number plate business, we analysed over 4 million site searches for personalised number plates. We found the following data that could be used as hooks for all kinds of publishers.

  • Explicit terms are very popular, even more so than ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ 
  • LFC is the most popular football team for a number plate related search
  • Site searches mirrored popular trends, Paul Pogba inspired ‘dabbing’ was on the rise whereas TOWIE’s ‘Reem’ was on the decline.
  • There was a big postcode war between the more affluent areas of London such as Notting Hill and Chelsea
  • People were actually searching for ‘Trump’ and ‘Brexit’ related number plates

 You can guess at what angle the Mail Online went with….

5. Using internal site search to plug gaps in content

As above, your site search history will basically show what your users are interested in finding. This information can be used as a data piece of content but even more so it should be used to create content that satisfies these popular internal searches.

In Google analytics under the ‘search terms’ tab you will find the following:

  • Total unique searches
  • Results pageviews
  • %Search exits
  • %Search refinements
  • Time after search
  • Average search depth

You can use the above metrics to determine whether a popular and common search on your site is actually being satisfied or not. If the % search refinements are high they may not have found what they were looking for on the initial search. Likewise, if the time after search and average search depth are low figures it may suggest that nothing really came up after the user's search. 

Take this information and start to weave in useful content that will show up when a search query is undertaken. For example, if you are receiving 2,000 searches a month for ‘Jobs in Papua New Guinea’ but there is limited content that is provided after a search. 

You can start thinking about useful content that plugs this gap in content such as ‘Everything you need to know about living and working in Papua New Guinea’

In summary, if it seemed too easy to come up with your campaign idea then it’s probably because there wasn't enough research involved.

This article originally appeared on

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