The Internet is saturated with lots of great content, and coming up with ideas for content that can stand out is a real challenge. Not to mention the emphasis Google and other search engines are putting on the development of not only good content but extraordinary content. So how do you go about coming up with compelling ideas for your site or blog? Keyword research can be a formidable instrument in helping you in this process. Done right, it can provide valuable insights that will kick-start your creative juices and give you an edge among all of the others who are developing similar content. Here are five tips to help you get started.
1. Identify types of content you want to develop. This first tip is not specific to keywords but it lays a good foundation as you develop your content development process. First, creatively identify the many types of content you might produce. Here are a few to get you going:
- Tips or how-to’s
- Little known facts or factoids
- White papers
- Relevant and timely statistics
- Take a poll and share results
- Invite guest authors
- Top 10 lists
- Case studies
- Live events or webinars
- News or press releases
Find what type of content works best for you and make plans to come up with creative ideas that will engage your readers. Remember, you are not looking to develop just good content; it needs to stand out and make your readers want to share it with others. If you need more ideas, check out this article by Brian Clark on “22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue.”
2. Social media monitoring. One of the things I love about social media is that it provides a new way to conduct keyword research. In the past, you could hypothesize about the intent behind the use of a keyword phrase but now with social media you can add context to its meaning. This method provides great insights into using keyword research as a tool for content development.
Just entering a keyword search into a social media tool like Social Mention, Technorati, Google Alerts, TweetBeep, etc. can bring up tweets or blog posts where people are using that particular keyword. Then as you monitor the conversations, you can get a better idea of what is currently on people’s minds. This should be enough to not only identify good topics but will allow you to focus your thoughts to fit the current conversation.
3. Google Insights. My next favorite keyword tool for generating content ideas is Google Insights. The thing that makes this tool unique is that it not only provides trending data on keywords, but it has a predictive algorithm built in that forecasts keyword performance. As you can see in the chart below, we can see the performance for “tablet computers.” It started to trend down, and then between 2010 and 2012 it began trending up. The neat piece of data is the trend prediction for 2013 and what the performance is likely to be.
Google Insights also provides a list of keywords that are trending up. This is a very cool feature. Keywords that are on the rise represent content opportunities that are forecasted to be hot in the very near future. In the chart below, you can view the top search terms and their performance but over to the right you get a glimpse of the search terms that are on the rise. Take the time to study these terms further to understand why they are increasing in popularity. By doing so you might be able to pinpoint a compelling idea or insight that can be used for your next article or post.
4. Analytics monitoring. One of my next favorite tools to use for content ideas is Google Analytics. Really, any analytics tool that provides keyword performance for your site or blog will do. By looking at the top keyword searches that are driving traffic to your site, you can get a good idea of what people are interested in. The nice thing about this data is that it pertains directly to your site or blog and what you have to offer and provides a more concise picture.
In the example below, you can see that “credit card machines” and “small business” is a common occurrence. You might consider writing articles specifically around the small business community, not necessarily about what you offer but of things that might interest this audience or persona.
5. Bringing it all together – content editorial calendar. The final tip is more of a process tip that will help you pace yourself in the development of content and help you get organized. Developing content isn’t easy and as a result we usually take a reactive approach to doing it. By establishing a calendar with an outline of current and future articles, you can become more proactive and provide a place for what you have learned in the previous tips. You can quickly whip up a spreadsheet like this one to help you track and plan your content. Some may call it an editorial calendar.
As you gather content ideas, you can add them to your calendar and modify your ideas as you go along. In the example above, I have columns for:
- Date. Include the date of the post date.
- Title. Can be a working title.
- Content type. For example, a case study, blog post, tip or how-to, etc.
- Topic/category. You can have a general topic or category like SEO, keyword research, etc.
- Keywords/tags. Place your keywords here that you have researched. This may generate ideas for the topic and working title.
- Media. Include any anticipated media types like infographic, video, images, screenshots, etc. These take time and need to be planned ahead.
This is just an example. Feel free to make up your own to suit your needs. The idea is to become more proactive in your approach to content development. Keyword research can play an important role in this process. As you listen in and use these tips, you will find your content can be more relevant, engaging and shareable, and ultimately help you stand out among the crowd.
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