Content marketing is a critical component of any SEO program, but many site owners struggle to come up with a steady flow of topics to actually write about. The key to a strong content marketing campaign is consistency and that means you want to have a running list of topics ready to go so you’re never at a loss of what to write about.
Here are four places you can look for content marketing inspiration:
1. Customer service or sales teams
Every time a member of your customer service or sales team gets asked a question by a prospect or customer that’s a great source of a blog topic (or even a full blown white paper if the answer is complicated enough). Chances are that prospect or customer isn’t the only one with that question and if you can anticipate the needs of your target audience BEFORE they even have to ask you’ve just become that much more valuable to them. For example, if you own an enterprise software company you probably get a lot of questions about what exactly your program can do and how to go about doing it. Consider creating a series of how-to videos that guides users through each functionality of your software. Don’t just explain how it works; also highlight why it’s useful to your audience and what problems it solves.
Consumer questions are also a great place to start is you are looking to build an FAQ or self-help forum on your website. The most common questions and answers can be incorporated right into the FAQ while more in-depth, complex or unusual questions can become fantastic blog posts.
2. Your own HitsLink or Google Analytics
Take a look at your HitsLink or Google Analytics account and see what kind of keywords visitors are searching for to find your website. Chances are there are some keywords in there that you aren’t actively targeting (maybe you had never even considered them) but they could be a great source of content marketing inspiration. For instance, if you provide accounting services for SMBS most of your keywords probably center around accounting and finance related services. But perhaps one long tail keyword pops up in your analytics account about “skimming fraud.” For a cash business owner this could be a serious concern, so you could write a blog post about the top 5 signs of skimming fraud or how even a white paper about to handle your finances after you’ve stopped skimming fraud scheme in your business. The goal of any content marketing campaign is to create content that appeals to your target audience (both the influencers and the decision makers) at every stage in the buying cycle. The more times you can interact with a potential customer the better chance you have a building a strong rapport with that visitor. By using your HitsLink or Google Analytics as a content marketing inspiration tool you can see exactly how your target audience is searching and cater your content to match.
3. Long tail keyword research
Let’s say you own a hobby shop (the kind that sells model airplane kits and such). Since you operate in a very specific niche chances are you cater to a very specific audience that has very definite goals in mind when they search. Those long tail search phrases are a great source of content marketing inspiration and can help your business appeal to searchers right when they need you. For instance, you could write a blog post (or maybe even do a video) entitled “How to Repair Broken Foam RC Plane.” That piece of content probably isn’t going to get 1,000s of visitors, but it is going to get exactly the right kind of visitors you want coming to your hobby shop site. You show them home to repair a broken foam wing AND provide them with a link to the page where they can purchase all the materials they need to do so. Those long tail keywords are a great way to round out your content marketing campaign and hone in on visitors that are most likely to convert.
4. The competition
Check out the blogs and content marketing resources of your direct competitors. Seeing as how they are targeting the exact same audience as you chances are they are creating the kind of content your target audience is interested in reading (unless they completely missed the mark). What hot topics does your competition concentrate on? How can you offer a new and unique approach to the same topic? Can you find a better way to explain a complicated process/concept? Remember, you only want to use the topic as inspiration—the main goal should always be to product better content than your competition.
Also look for what the competition ISN’T writing about—are there any holes in their content marketing efforts that you can take advantage of and become the de facto expert in. Their missed opportunity is your chance to dominate the SERPs for a very specific set of keywords/themes/ideas that target a specific segment of your target audience.
These are just four ways you can broaden your content marketing inspiration sources. Many B2B and B2C website struggle with content creation but coming up with great ideas isn’t nearly as hard (or as scary!) as you may think! The key thing to remember is that information that is old hat to you is completely new and mind-blowing to someone else. It’s easy to forget that when you work inside your niche day in and day out but new customers are starting at square one. You want to create the kind of content that resonates with the needs, wants and search behaviors of your target audience.
About the Author
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Boston SEO services company Brick Marketing (http://www.brickmarketing.com). With nearly 13 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his SEO knowledge by writing in the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.
Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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