Updated on Aug. 23, 2021. Originally published on April 28, 2016.
Unearthing original ideas to write about on your blog can seem impossible at times. The feeling of despair that hits after you perform a quick search and find that your blog content idea has already been written about (multiple times) can definitely put a damper on your confidence.
Don’t let that discourage you, however. The answer might lie in the places you already look but have never seen as content inspiration — until now.
Similar to using Google’s advanced search tool, finding your next great content idea requires a bit more thought and homing in on what it is you really want to find. To help, below is a list of lesser-known places you and your team can look for blog content ideas:
Google Analytics is, of course, an extremely useful tool for observing and monitoring search traffic, audience behavior, conversions, and many other metrics, which makes it particularly valuable for improving your content efforts.
Found in your analytics tab, keywords offer valuable insight into the searches that lead people to your website. Organic search traffic can help you determine and refine your own keyword parameters to help your team continue to drive traffic.
This tool really drives home how diverse your audience’s searches are, what they’re looking for more information about, and, therefore, what kind of content you should create.
Want to learn more about how you can use content marketing to improve your SEO and vice versa?
When you receive a lot of client emails, you might begin to notice a pattern of questions or issues that are experienced across the board.
If one client has a problem or question about something, other clients are probably running into similar issues. If you can identify some common themes, you can dedicate a few articles to explaining them and then direct clients to that content, helping them further understand.
Publishing these posts on your blog is also great for driving organic traffic to your website. The use of long-tail keywords will drive more specific searches regarding reservations that prospective clients have prior to purchasing your product or service offering.
Answer the Public is a website that displays an aggregated view of people’s Google or Bing searches and highly searched similar phrases. Just type in the keyword and refine by location, and this tool will show you what people are looking for.
You can further refine by location and find really interesting results that can provide you with valuable content ideas. For example, I typed in “search engine results page” and was able to view common search phrases, ranging from “search engine results page advertising” to “search engine results page ranking.” Questions about design and statistics came up a lot, so a blog post exploring these topics could be valuable.
Scroll to the bottom of your Google search results, and you can see a list of related search results. Daniel Russell, a senior research scientist at Google, noted that when a searcher instigates a search task, “the problem is sometimes framed in terms that are relevant to the searcher but not necessarily in the language of the literature.”
This is why related searches are so useful; they shape your understanding of what users are looking for when they conduct a search. If you search “content marketing strategy,” related searches will include content marketing tips, planning, goals, and content creation. Noting these related searches, you’ll have a better idea of how to frame your blog content and which keywords to use.
Your competitors — and blogs addressing similar audiences and topics — can hold the key to some valuable content ideas. Try this method of developing new content by reading a competitor’s article, listing key themes or ideas, and identifying any ambiguity, further questions, or alternative angles.
Once you’ve done this, you can identify gaps in the article that might make great fodder for your own content. Any questions that weren’t answered or ideas that could be explored further can be fuel for future articles.
When it comes to generating content ideas, it’s simply a matter of anticipating where your audience is heading and what they’re searching to learn more about your product or service offering — and addressing any reservations or misconceptions they might have prior to purchase.
Mike Bird is a co-founder of Social Garden, a digital marketing agency specializing in data-driven lead generation and marketing automation. Mike is an influencer in the spaces of social media marketing and Facebook advertising, and he contributes to Social Media Examiner, Social Media Today, Yahoo! Business Advisor, and, most importantly, the Social Garden blog.