How to master the art of content ideation

Companies blog for several different reasons. Some post informative content to demonstrate their expertise while others write blogs for engaging audiences and creating awareness around their brand. Successful businesses will have a strategy that incorporates a mix of content. Regardless of why you’re creating content, every blog needs to captivate its readers.  From affiliate marketing sites to personal travel diaries, if it isn’t interesting, people won’t read it.

You could be the best writer in the world, but it won’t matter if your subject matter isn’t relevant.  If you struggle with content ideation for your posts – don’t panic – you’re not alone! Below, we’re going to share with you our top tips for mastering the art of ideation for blogs.

We discuss some simple ways to get people to read your content.

Plan and stay organized

If you take anything away from this article, it should be this next piece of advice.  Plan your posts in advance before you start writing them. This is important for a few reasons. First, while coming up with a good idea doesn’t have to be a headache, it still takes time.  As you’ll see below, content ideation takes a lot of time and effort but is necessary to identify the best topics for your blog. If you jump straight into writing after you’ve done all your research, it’ll be hard to maintain focus. If you can’t give it your all, your writing may suffer, and it may waste your idea.

Another great reason to plan your posts is that it gives you time to change your mind.  You might realise later on during your research that there’s a better way to approach a topic.  If you’ve already written the article, you’ll have to spend time rewriting it. If you’ve already posted it, taking a new approach may seem repetitive. The number of articles you plan is up to you; at some point, you will need to start writing. 

Lastly, planning in advance means you can structure your posting strategy.  You’ll have more control over the order in which you post topics. This will prevent you from posting topics that are too similar next to each other.  It will also allow you to plan multiple-part posts that keep your readers coming back.

While it may go without saying, planning is only truly effective if you record your work.  You can list your ideas and how you came up with them. You should also store any references you’ve found that you want to draw on when it comes to writing.  How you do this is again your choice. For some, a simple spreadsheet will do, although apps like Evernote can be a great help.

Where to find ideas

Remember, your blog is not for you; it’s for your customers.  So, where can you find out about what your target audience wants to read?

  • Social media: Check out relevant Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to find out what people are currently talking about.
  • Reddit:  With subreddits for nearly every topic imaginable, it’s easy to focus your search.
  • Other blogs:  You don’t want to copy the work of others’, but you may find some useful inspiration. You might even find a blog on a topic you feel is relevant but doesn’t do a good job of covering it.  Prove your expertise by doing it better!
  • Product reviews: If there are specific products your readers may be interested in, check out the reviews they’ve left.  You can also look at the reviews of books written about your field.
  • Your customers: You can reach out to your customers and ask them questions about what they care about.  If you don’t want to speak to them directly, ask for feedback from your customer service and sales teams.
  • Industry leaders:  Most industries have their own “celebrities.” Why not reach out and see if they’d be happy to let you interview them?
  • Technology: there are great tools that can help you with content ideation and simplify the process.

Between these sources, you’re bound to hit upon topics that will be a hit with your readers.

Learn how to write like a content marketing pro.

Content ideation tools of the trade

The age of technology means you’re not alone in your search for great ideas.  Fortunately, there are plenty of great tools at your disposal.

  • Google:  Aside from the obvious Google Search, the company also offers a number of other great tools.  AdWords can help you look for keywords and phrases to identify the most discussed topics within your industry.  You can also set up Google Alerts that will notify you when someone mentions a specific subject.
  • Quora: Question and answer sites can be unreliable, but Quora is usually a safe bet.  Experts answer most questions, and it will give you a good idea of what people want to learn about.
  • Ubersuggest: Ubersuggest is a great free keyword tool that can give you some inspiration for your searches.
  • Feedly:  Ideal for receiving topic updates in one place. You can receive updates from news publications, social media, blogs, Youtube channels, and even RSS feeds. If you’re part of a content marketing team, you can integrate Feedly with apps like Trello, Evernote, and Slack.

While some content marketers dread having to come up with blog ideas, it’s actually one of our favourite parts of the process.  You won’t just end up with engaging topics to write about – you’ll end up with a much deeper understanding of your audience.

Speak to a SYNC consultant to learn more about content marketing and PR. Drop us an email at [email protected]

This article has been updated on 10 June 2020

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