Building a content calendar for your business can feel daunting. For B2B businesses and niche offerings, it can feel as though you’re repeating yourself with your content or rehashing the same messaging over and over again.
But don’t fear – we’re here to help! Below, we’ll take a look at the best places to look for some much-needed inspiration to keep your content calendar feeling fresh.
Content marketing focuses on the creation of valuable, interesting, and relevant content, marketed to your target audience. All businesses have – or should have – a target audience, and the point is to create something that will entice them into learning more about your brand.
While many people think of content marketing as just blogs or website copy, it’s actually broader than that, and also includes:
- Social media
- Images and infographics
- Video content
- Books or eBooks
- Research, studies, and whitepapers
- Press releases
There is a wide range of benefits to creating a content marketing strategy. The first benefit is that by creating content that appeals directly to your audience, you’re able to build a relationship with them and become a thought leader in your market. Although they may not be ready to buy that instant, they’re likely to think of you first next time they need a product or service like yours.
The second benefit is that it can save on marketing costs. The great thing about content creation is that it can often be repurposed. For example, podcasts and videos can be cut into short segments to share on social media, can be used in your emails and even repurposed as a blog. Infographics can be used to showcase research and knowledge, which are great pieces of content to help create backlinks, guest blogs and social media content.
There are also website and SEO benefits to a great content strategy. By adding regular content to your website, you’re showing search engines that your information is relevant and up to date; this makes their algorithms more likely to boost your organic presence. You’re also more likely to gain referral traffic from other websites, which will help boost your domain authority – again, leading to SEO gains.
So, where should we look for content inspiration? Below, we’ve outlined some places to get started.
Using data from the search engine’s 5.6 billion searches a day, Google Trends is a tool that helps you to understand trending topics and search terms. This can be broken down by country or worldwide, and you can explore the search volumes over a certain time period; from as little as the past hour to back in 2004.
Under the search bar, you’ll also see a ‘Recently trending’ tab, which will show you the current trending searches online. Check here regularly to see if a topic that you can explore in your content strategy is outlined here. It also doesn’t have to be too specific to your brand, product or service, but you can ‘piggyback’ on some of these topics to gain some traction and create a relevant piece of content.
As well as Google Trends, Google Alerts is an effective tool to use. You can create an alert about anything, such as your own brand name, your product or service name, or related topics such as ‘review websites’.
Simply type in a search term (ideally 1-3 words or so), and you can create an alert that will send information to your inbox – in a regular timeframe specified by you – about any relevant news, industry insights, research, or other content based on this. Based on the results, you might find some opportunities to create relevant content.
While it’s key to be ahead of the curve, you must also keep an eye on your competitors’ activity. Don’t just include similar businesses of your size but look at those businesses which appear above you in the search engine results, as well as any big market leaders.
Some places to watch are:
- Their blog
- Social media platforms
- YouTube channels
- Personal and company LinkedIn profiles
You can also set up an alert from Google to give you a heads up when your competitors are mentioned across the web using Google Alerts, as outlined above. To go even further, set up a social listening tool such as Awario with triggers when competitor brand names are mentioned on social media. This will show you a range of conversations taking place on platforms like Twitter, where you should be able to see complaints from users and discussions about the brand between users, as well as the customer sentiment of comments online.
By looking at competitor content and keeping up with their activity and topics, you’ll be able to find some inspiration for your own.
In a similar vein to Google Trends, social media hashtags are a brilliant way of understanding trending topics.
LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube all use trending topics and trending hashtags to showcase the hot topics of the day. To make the most of this, putting together a short blog can gain you some short-term traction when posted online using the hashtag or trending topics. Then, expand on this with a bigger piece of content afterwards.
Much like social media trending topics, the news is a big source of inspiration too. Although it only appears on the TV a couple of times a day, following reputable news outlets on social media such as Sky News, BBC News and The Guardian will keep you in the loop. What’s more, topics usually begin to trend after appearing on the news, so by creating a quick turnaround piece, you can really capitalise on a trend before it takes off. You can also view Google News for similar results.
Search engines such as Google are a great place to start if you want instant inspiration. There are a couple of ways to gain insights on in-demand content using Google:
- Type in a keyword, and review the auto-fill suggestions before clicking ‘search’
- Search for a keyword, theme, or topic, and review the ‘People also ask’ section on the search engine results page (SERP). This shows relevant questions that people are asking based on that particular topic
- Or, simply key in a search term and scroll to the bottom of the page. This will give you ‘Searches related to [search term]’ which will help too
By using these methods, you’re using search engine data to understand the exact queries people are searching for. Often, these are things like ‘ideas’, ‘how to’ or ‘what’ topics. These are the perfect inspiration for a piece of content and will help you reach your target audience directly, helping them to solve their query as they need it.
For super-speedy content ideas, try a tool such as BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo is a content discovery platform that helps you to do content analysis and review trends and news, as well as analysing customer keywords and questions, covering a lot of the actions we’ve discussed already in this piece!
As well as understanding trending topics, it can also support content research by creating evergreen content ideas. Evergreen content is anything that will be relevant for the long term. While trending pieces are brilliant for short-term and quick traffic, evergreen content will serve your audience for a longer period of time. You can also set up alerts similar to Google Alerts to scan blogs, forums, online communities and news sites for anything published about your brand and competitors.
As the biggest retailer in the world, there’s no shortage of customer data available through a quick Amazon search. For B2C and smaller businesses, you can use Amazon to find new content ideas and keywords that you might not have considered covering.
For example, if you sell vegan snacks, a quick search shows a range of additional keywords that you might not have thought of in the auto-fill box, such as:
- Healthy vegan snacks
- Vegan snacks hamper
- Vegan snacks book
- Low-calorie vegan snacks
After the auto-fill suggestions, you can continue to search for vegan snacks, which will show products with different related keywords, including:
- High protein
- Gift hamper
- Vegan chocolate
Although your vegan product is likely to already be healthy and plant-based, this might not be made clear on your website. But Amazon is showing you that there’s a continued demand for this sort of product. So, as well as creating video, infographic, or social media content, try tweaking the content on your website too, to better address these keywords.
As you can see, there’s no need to face writer’s block when looking for content marketing inspiration and trending content ideas, and so much of it is low-cost, free, and easily accessible. So, the next time you’re stuck, try some of the above ideas to give you a nudge in the right direction.
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