As an agency that produces a lot of content marketing for our clients, we will be the first to hold up our hands and say:
“Consistently finding new and interesting topics that your clients want to read about and learn from can be a BIG challenge”
This dilemma is also probably the biggest reason why businesses stop the important task of creating copy that boosts search engine rankings. Positioning themselves as industry leaders and brings invaluable sales.
The relentless re-hash of old topics into new content is a drag, so people simply give up.
But worry not! In this article, we call on our experience and outline 5 hacks for creating highly compelling, unique content.
Use Content Pillars
Inbound marketers LOVE pillar content.
Pillar content is usually a large piece of content which focuses on a main theme for your business. This may be a particular service or product you offer or a challenge that your customers regularly face.
For example, at Make It Mana our content pillars include influencer, social and content marketing.
Best practice usually dictates that businesses create pillar content, for example, an eBook or whitepaper, and then break that content into smaller chunks, which can be used across social media, blogs posts etc.
However, we have also found that working backwards can work well in the development of pillar content. This works by deciding on which topics would be key pieces of content for your brand and then breaking those topics into the smaller chunks which make it up. By systematically creating content covering those smaller chunks, you can then create a directory of those as your pillar content.
Take for example influencer marketing. We may create shorter blog posts on influencer selection, influencer outreach, leveraging influencer content, building influencer relationships and the laws and regulations around influencer marketing. Once that is done, we could create one piece of pillar content which either contains or hyperlinks to each piece of individual content.
One of the biggest mistakes we ever see being made with content marketing is marketers trying to use every tool and trick in the book. All in an attempt to work out what their customers want to learn about.
But they never actually ask their customer. This is an incredibly quick win when it comes to creating unique ideas for content marketing. Simply by asking clients what they want to read or which challenges they are facing you put yourself in a great position to create value.
Of course, using some other methods in this article will be useful. Customers do not always know their pain points until you help them find them. However, a survey is the quickest, easiest and most valuable win.
If you don’t think your customers have or will give you the time to find out what content would be useful, try offering some incentive such as a donation to charity in their name for some of their time.
Jump on Trends
If you have ever attended a presentation where the presenter was attempting to prove the increasing popularity of something, whether that be prosecco flavoured popsicles or hair styling for dogs, they probably used a graph from Google trends.
The tool is used to show the number of searches for a particular phrase or keyword over a given amount of time. Therefore highlighting its growing popularity.
However, the tool also has a lesser used feature which is a goldmine for those looking for new and untapped topics. By typing a relevant keyword, the results allow you to see ‘related topics’ and ‘related queries’.
By simply selecting the ‘rising’ tab you will bring up a whole list of up and coming searches related to your topic. For example, we ran this for ‘influencer marketing’and found that rising queries included ‘what is influencer marketing’ and ‘Instagram influencer marketing’, so we may choose to create some content in those areas – focusing directly on what people are searching for in the area of our expertise.
BuzzSumo is another good tool which can be used to identifying up and coming trends in your industry. This option is certainly worth exploring if you have some budget put aside for content marketing tools. It also fulfils some other needs such as influencer identification.
Go James Bond
Ok, this is a loose analogy, but we had to slip the British icon in somewhere.
For a moment forget the explosions, bond girls and evil villains and focus more on the spying. One of the greatest sources of content ideas should be your competition. This is especially true if you have much larger competitors who have the resource to invest a lot of time in market research.
But when we say spy, we don’t mean copy. Instead, you should use your competitors content as inspiration. What questions have they not answered? How can you add more value?
You can also check what questions their customers are asking, either in the blog comments or on social media. This allows you to helpfully answer their questions and gently encourage them to choose you instead.
For content marketers the fear is real. You don’t want your customers to think you are simply stealing others ideas and representing it as your own. But this shouldn’t put you off touching on the same subjects as your competitors.
Instead of avoiding repeating subject matter, ensure that for every piece of content you produce adds value to the conversation. This may occasionally be in direct contrast to your competitors. For example, you may offer a completely different viewpoint on a subject. However, it may also be aligned with your competitor’s view, instead of adding depth and breadth to the conversation.
If the reader isn’t learning anything new by reading your content, then you need to rethink your strategy.
Finding new, engaging and worthwhile content ideas can be hard work. Especially in industries where the scope of products and services are small. However, using a few tested methods such as those we have outlined above can keep great new ideas flowing.
For some business owners and marketers, their time is better spent focusing on the wider picture. Leveraging the time and expertise of others in the formulation of content. Make It Mana work with businesses to maintain the flow of valuable content, from ideation through to publication and promotion.