Brainstorming content ideas can be such a slog at times, but it doesn’t have to be that way. End the torture and set yourself up for success with these six brainstorming tips that will make your content ideation process a breeze.
Table of contents
1. Perform keyword research
Keyword research is an indispensable part of the content creation process. It’s not enough to simply cobble together a list of keywords that you would like to rank for. You need to know which keywords on that list are actually attainable and worth the effort.
Thorough keyword research can help you brainstorm new content ideas, but it also allows you to prioritize your content topics based on their reachability and value.
There are a lot of tools for keyword research out there. If you’re just getting started, here’s a few of the most popular free or “freemium” keyword research tools among SEO professionals:
- Google Ads’ Keyword Planner: Although this tool was designed for advertising purposes, it often pulls double duty as an organic keyword research tool. In addition to giving you new ideas for keywords and ad groups, it provides keyword search volumes and traffic forecasts. If you’re running concurrent SEO and PPC campaigns, Keyword Planner is especially helpful because it can help you learn which keywords are best suited for targeting with advertising and which are best suited for organic search.
- Keyword Tool: This tool uses Google’s Autocomplete feature to generate hundreds of long-tail keywords for any given search term. If you’re using the free version, each search term will yield up to 750 longtail keyword suggestions (which is pretty darn good for a free tool). If you use the paid version, not only is there no cap on the longtail keyword suggestions, but you’re also given additional data on search volume, trends, competition, and CPC for all of those long-tail keywords.
- Answer The Public: This free tool generates keyword lists and visualizations of questions people are searching for on Google. Simply type in a keyword, and Answer the Public returns an easy-to-digest report of all the why’s, what’s, when’s, and how’s pertaining to that keyword.
Looking for a more robust keyword research tool?
There are several premium keyword research tools that offer more advanced insights. Many of them offer trials, so you can test each one out to see which suits your needs the most:
2. Identify content gaps
One of the best ways to identify new blog ideas is to take a look back at the content you’ve already published and ask yourself, “What is missing from this article? What can I expand upon?”
Of course, if you have a fairly extensive blog archive, it can be pretty overwhelming to sift through hundreds of posts. That’s where a content cluster strategy comes in handy. By organizing your content by topic into “clusters,” you have an eagle’s eye view of all the content pertaining to a particular topic. This makes it easier to identify gaps in your coverage of a particular topic so you never have to worry about running out of blog ideas.
3. Revisit your legacy content
Sure, new content is great and all, but don’t discount the value of your legacy content! Revamping existing content with useful new information bolsters your authority in Google’s eyes — especially if it’s content that has historically done very well in search.
Imagine your content archive is a garden. If you aren’t watering, weeding, fertilizing, and pruning on a regular basis, it doesn’t matter how many new plants you keep planting — it’s going to be a total mess.
The necessity of actively managing your legacy content is another reason why organizing your content through a content cluster strategy is so useful. As new content and links are added into a cluster, those changes reverberate throughout the entire cluster. Content clusters help you make plans for maintaining your older pieces of content.
Of course, not all of your legacy content will be worth revamping. In some cases, it may make more sense to consolidate it or even remove it completely from your site. When you’re evaluating whether you should revamp, consolidate, or “sunset” a piece of legacy content, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this content align with my current business goals?
- Is this content well-written and following SEO best practices?
- Are any statements or links in this content outdated or irrelevant?
- Do I already have a piece of content that covers this subject more effectively?
- Are there any content gaps I should consider for future blog topics?
- If a revamp is needed, how much time and effort will be required?
- Do I have a process for sunsetting content without hurting my domain authority?
4. Take a peek at what your competitors are doing
Steve Jobs once said “good artists copy, great artists steal,” and that couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to writing content.
To be clear, when I say “steal,” I don’t mean “plagiarize.” I mean taking note of what other people are doing and seeing how you can innovate it.
That could mean writing a comprehensive “skyscraper” article that puts your competitor’s content to shame, or it could mean extracting one point made in your competitor’s article and going super in-depth into it.
Start by asking yourself the following questions about your competitor’s content:
- Are there any points made that I can expand upon in my own piece of content?
- What unique insights or experiences do I have that I can bring to the table?
- Can I write something more comprehensive and useful on this topic?
5. Ask your audience
Even with all the keyword research and fancy content models in the world, brainstorming content ideas can still feel like guesswork. How do you really know if your audience would find your content topics useful?
… Well, you could always ask them?
You can quite literally “ask” using social media polls or survey campaigns, but you can also find out what’s going on in the heads of your audiences using social listening tools. Another easy and simple tactic is to liaise with your social media and sales team to see what kind of questions they’ve been receiving on the front lines.
6. Don’t underestimate blog title generators
Even if you’ve broadly defined the general keywords and topics you want to write about, it can be challenging to pin down the working blog title you want to use while writing.
Need a little inspiration or guidance for constructing an engaging title? The BlogAbout blog title generator will get your gears turning and set you on the right track.