One question I get asked over and over again is how to find ideas for creating new content which will boost SEO and generate more traffic. It's now widely accepted that having your content linked to by high quality websites in the same field and shared via social media channels carries significant ranking weight. The theory is sound, but in practice unearthing new content ideas and actually writing a quality blog post or creating an interesting infographic is outside the comfort zone of many website owners. So, how can you make the content creation process easier?
First, you need to come up with new and original ideas for content topics. This is an aspect of content creation many people find difficult, even the most experienced bloggers. So below are three different content generation strategies I've previously used to good effect:
What Are The Most Common Questions Your Prospects Are Asking?
The best type of content, from both an SEO and conversion perspective, identifies a particular problem faced by your target audience and offers a novel or interesting solution. But most businesses completely ignore one of the most valuable sources of content ideas…their own customers. What common questions are your customers asking about the products or services you sell? Can you categorise these questions to provide a series of articles around various topics?
To start off, simply jot down a list of the most typical questions you get asked by customers. If you struggle to come up with at least 20 or so questions, have a brainstorming session with some of your sales & customer service staff who have customer-facing roles. The great thing about this strategy is that the article titles reflect the actual words and phrases your prospects are using to search online for your products or services.
For example, if you sell digital hearing aids, your customers might be asking the following questions:
- Are there any grants available to buy hearing aids?
- What is the most suitable hearing aid for a child?
- How expensive are hearing aid batteries to replace?
- How often do I need to change my hearing aid?
- Can I swim with a hearing aid?
- Is a hearing aid uncomfortable to wear?
It's likely that if customers are asking these questions to your sales staff face to face, or perhaps by email, there will also be many others typing similarly phrased questions when searching online. Having a blog article with a title which incorporates the exact phrase boosts your chances of ranking well in the search results, particularly if it attracts good quality links and picks up some social shares.
Turn Customers Complain Into Positives
It might seem a little negative to focus on things your customers complain about but, trust me, this is a gold mine of content ideas. The trick with this approach is to:
- Show that you understand and take on board the customers' views
and, just as importantly…
- Provide a solution which will improve the customer experience
An example might be an electrical retailer selling televisions. A customer might have purchased an LCD TV, but complains that the picture is blurred or “laggy” when watching sport. The retailer could take the opportunity to write about the technologies used in the different types of screens (LCD, LED, Plasma etc.) and explain how these affect the viewing experience when watching different types of programmes. Then they could list the range of TVs in stock and highlight the type of viewing suitable for each set. Special offers & promotions might be subtly referred to the in the article, but the primary purpose is to ensure the reader finds the content useful and informative. If the article is perceived as a glorified sales message, there is a danger it could dilute its potential impact.
Challenge The Accepted Wisdom Within Your Industry
There are firmly held beliefs in every industry which often go unchallenged until someone has the “audacity” to question the perceived wisdom. Challenging the status quo often prompts debate and generates a positive knock-on effect for the original article through high quality links and social shares.
Take, for example, a web design company that questions the modern trend for having an image carousel or rotating slider on a website home page. The article could focus on the effects this has on site load speed and potential impacts on SEO, usability and conversions. The article should reference respected sources, whose opinions are worthy of note, and examples of websites which have taken an alternative approach to good effect.
Any article which questions strongly held beliefs must be coherent and provide a logical, balanced argument. Intelligent online debate can grow the “authority” of the originating blog (and author) and generate a significant amount of keyword-rich content to drive “long tail” traffic.
While there are countless sources of content creation ideas, the emphasis should be on publishing stuff people will find interesting and has potential to be linked to or shared. But even the best content sometimes requires a “leg up” to find its way in front of an audience which is more likely to generate discussion or share within their social media network. This will be the topic of my next post.