I’m pretty strategic about how I write my blog posts (who would’ve guessed, right?). The content marketing strategy that I’ve developed for myself always starts with SEO keyword research and then goes into the outline phase. (I actually have a whole workflow, which I give as a bonus in my Systemize & Scale course!)
But even before I get to that point, the very first step of any content marketing strategy is actually coming up with an awesome idea. Sometimes the “idea” can be the hardest part of the process! You really want to create content that your audience is gonna love and is super interested in. And sometimes that’s a lot of pressure!
You can almost kind of get writer’s block when it comes to coming up with ideas for your content, because you really need to make it count. Especially these days, where one single piece of content basically lives forever!
We’re all into creating “evergreen” content and repurposing it into social media posts, newsletters, videos… So that one singular idea has to be pretty bangin’. No pressure. 😅
But don’t panic! I’m going to help you come up with some content ideas for your business that you can use to create those really good pillar content pieces that you can then repurpose over and over and over again.
I actually have seven different ways that you can come up with ideas for your content marketing strategy, including three super targeted ways to get ideas coming directly from your audience. Because who better to know what they’d be interested in then….them, right?
1. Social Media
The very first way that you can get content ideas for your content marketing strategy is through social media. You don’t want to copy these ideas but they can sort of help you get the gears turning. You can take one of these topics and put your own spin on it.
Pinterest Can Help Fight Writer’s Block. Really.
So let’s just say that you’re interested in writing content on Instagram marketing. (But whatever your general sort of area of expertise is in, you can use these tips for any of those areas! Adapt these tips for your business’ needs.)
If you search “Instagram marketing” on Pinterest, you can get a whole bunch of different ideas!
Everything that comes to the top of the search results is going to be what’s most popular. So those are the types of content that do really well, which can help you pick exactly which theme or topic to go with.
Related: How to Get Traffic to Your Website Using Pinterest
Instagram is More Than Just Pretty Pictures
Another social media platform that is really good for content ideas is Instagram. When you search your term, such as Instagram marketing, you can discover some of the popular accounts that focus in that area. Scroll through their posts and see which ones are getting the highest engagement, then review each one to see what topic the post is about.
For example, I found this one lady, Xenia, who is talking about the connection between companies and their customers, and how social media can help you bridge that gap. Basically she’s saying that if small businesses use social media for just 15 minutes a day, you can still get results!
So it seems like a lot of people are really into the “how little can I do and still get results?” type of theme. Something that riffs on that could be a piece of content titled “How To Master Your Social Media in Less Than 20 Minutes a Day” or “How To Get Really Good at Social Media Marketing — Even if You Only Have 20 Minutes.”
You can use popular posts that you see on Instagram around whatever topic you’ve chosen, take the theme that they’re talking about, and use that to spin off on it and come up with your own unique content ideas!
Make Facebook Groups Do the Work for You
Another place to look for content ideas is Facebook groups. If you guys know me at all, you know that I LOVE Facebook groups. And *gasp* they’re not just good for getting clients! Facebook groups are also really good for content generation. I use them for content marketing strategy ideas all the time.
One of the best things to do is go through Facebook groups and just look at the questions that people are asking.
And one of the best places to find questions are Q&A threads! You can find questions just in the main discussion area of a group. But some groups have dedicated Q&A threads. This is a perfect place to look for content ideas because it’s literally full of questions! It’s like…HERE YA GO! All the ideas!
Literally just find a Q&A thread and scroll through it. Dozens of topics at your fingertips, voila!
It might not be very specific to your topic, so you may need to scroll a lot. But even just reading questions about other topics can sometimes help give you some inspiration, get those gears turning, and before you know it, you’ll have tons of really good content ideas to add to your schedule.
The second way is Quora. A lot of people recommend Quora, but I actually think this is probably the least effective method for generating content ideas that’s on this list — just fair warning!
I still wanted to include it because so many people suggest using Quora for content generation. But I’m only going to mention it quickly, because I don’t think it’s actually that powerful.
I looked up Instagram marketing and a lot of people are asking stuff like “What is Instagram marketing?” Or “How do you use Instagram marketing?” That just isn’t specific enough for me! We want really targeted topic ideas that are going to blow your audience away. Everyone and their dog probably has a piece of content on how to use Instagram. Being more specific is going to do a better job of getting your audience’s attention.
I was able to find a few decent ideas, like “What is the biggest mistake people make with Instagram marketing” and “What are good Instagram marketing tools and softwares.” Those make for much better content ideas…but that’s just two ideas! That’s not nearly enough for the time it takes to scroll through the results!
You can definitely use Quora if you want, but just remember that it isn’t the end-all-be-all for content idea generation. There are definitely some more powerful ways that you can generate topics for your content marketing strategy.
3. Learn From Your Competitors
The third way that you can get some amazing ideas for your content marketing strategy is directly from your competitors.
And again, I want to stress this — I do NOT mean that I want you to go to your competitor’s websites and copy their blog posts word-for-word. Again, that is not what I want you to do.
But you CAN look at your competitors’ websites to get inspired and help think up some ideas.
Maybe you’ll look through their blog posts and you’ll get an idea. Sometimes just scrolling through blog posts written by other people on whatever your topic is helps you brainstorm and get in that mindset.
It’s also a good idea to have a close eye on the content your competitors are putting out, because you always want to be keeping a pulse on the market. If you go to somebody else’s website and they’re a pretty popular person in your industry, it gives you a sense of what is trending.
I decided to take a look at Alex Tooby’s website. She is the most successful Instagram marketing person that I personally know of. And she has some really good blog posts!
Looking at competitor’s content could give you some good ideas. Try to determine what the most popular and trending ideas are. Maybe do a double whammy and go look at her Instagram feed to see if she promotes her blog posts on there and which ones have the most likes and comments.
We’re just trying to get some inspiration here, and personally I find competitors very inspiring!
Look Beyond Blogs
And, remember — you don’t have to limit yourself to looking just at blog posts. You can also look your competitors’ Facebook Live videos, Instagram stories, podcast episode topics, etc. There’s so much more content out there that’s being produced other than blog posts that you can get ideas and inspiration from.
I went over to the Stitcher website and searched for Instagram marketing, and sorted by “episodes only.” And there’s so many good ideas in there!
This kind of research is just really helpful. There are so many good ideas in there, and I bet a lot of you aren’t taking advantage of these kinds of tools that are literally at your fingertips!
The next way to get amazing ideas for your content is Ubersuggest. Ubersuggest is actually a free SEO tool that Neil Patel created.
Just go into the tool and search for a topic, and then go to “keyword ideas.”
I searched for “Instagram marketing” and there’s a ton of suggested topics like Instagram marketing secrets, Instagram marketing campaign, software, videos, hashtags, core strategy tips, influencers, ads, templates, proposal strategy, best practices, etc.
There are so many different ideas here that you could use to create a blog post on Instagram marketing! So. Many. Ideas.
Related: How to Get Clients with Search Engine Marketing
5. Utilize Your Own Facebook Group
The last few ideas are going to be more specific to getting ideas from your already existing audience. The first way is to use your Facebook group!
One of the things that you can do with a Facebook group (if you have one) is to create an intake form. Go into your group settings and add questions that people are encouraged to fill out before being accepted into your group.
I’m sure you’ve seen this before, if you’ve ever requested to join a Facebook group. A lot of them have 1-3 questions that they ask you before you join the Facebook group. This can be a great opportunity where you’re right in front of your potential audience members to ask questions.
So, what do you ask them?
What do you ask? You ask them for topic ideas, that’s what!
I feel like a lot of people end up not even utilizing this feature because they just sit there like “uhhh what questions do I ask?” And it’s important that you actually be strategic about it and not just ask them, like….what their favorite animal is (unless that’s weirdly important to you).
So how can you actually take advantage of these questions? Because they’re sitting right in front of your audience’s face, and they’re primed to give you an answer! It’s time to make them work for ya.
Here are a few suggestions:
- What are you struggling with in your business right now?
- What’s one question you have about your business that you wish someone would answer for you?
- How can I best help/support you?
- What are questions that you have about [insert topic here]?
This is a really great opportunity for you to take advantage of the fact that you’re right in front of these people’s faces and they’re on the hook. They’re ready to join your Facebook group, and all they have to do is….tell you exactly what you need to know!
Then you can basically keep a running list of any new questions or topic ideas that people are giving you in this intake form. And it’s a gold mine of ideas, all directly from your audience. A list of exactly what they want to learn about. And all you have to do is give it to them.
6. Your Website’s ChatBot
Another amazing ways to gather ideas for your content marketing strategy is by using a chatbot on your website!
A lot of people think that the only chatbots out there are the ones you set up in ManyChat that are connected to Facebook ads. But, another type of chatbot is the one you can install directly on your website! It’s an app that you can put on your site that allows people to reach out and directly ask you questions. (It’s the best + coolest thing ever!)
Personally, I use Drift for this. When someone goes to your site, this thing pops up that says “Do you have any questions?” So it’s literally perfect for generating topic ideas.
Sometimes people come on and ask me about my services, which allows me to chat with them and sell them on working with me. Or they just have a general question, which is great for my list of topic ideas!
It also gives people a nice personal touch where they can actually chat with you and get an answer to their question. Sometimes people just don’t know where to go to ask their question…make it easy for them! They can ask you!
But also, sometimes people want to chat with you but don’t have a question. They have trouble even thinking of what they need help with. So I use specific language that’s geared to prompt them, which helps get their gears turning so they actually want to use the chat feature.
7. Use Your Email Sequences
The very last tip I have for you today is to gather ideas for your content marketing strategy using your email marketing sequences!
Hint: If you’re not already using email marketing in your business, you definitely should be!
You can get even more questions and topic ideas from your audience with your email sequences — in your welcome sequence specifically, which is what goes out to your audience right after they first sign up for your list.
This type of email sequence can be really powerful because typically it gets the highest open rates out of any other sequence you have. So take advantage of this opportunity to ask them questions and get them interacting with you!
Sometimes they don’t ask specific questions. But just knowing what they’re interested in and what they want to learn more about is extremely helpful. It’ll also help you see what is most popular.
And it can help you figure out what NOT to write about. Even if you’re interested in something, it doesn’t mean your audience will be.
These 7 things can help you not only generate content ideas, but also give you a really good overview of what the people want and what types of questions they are asking.
Besides just using your list of ideas for your content marketing strategy, it can even help you create products! Maybe your audience is asking for the SAME stuff over and over and over again.
Hint: You should probably create some type of revenue-generating product or service on this topic! Because it’s clearly really freakin’ popular. And then the next time someone asks you for advice on that topic…BAM! Promote your offering. 💁♀️