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Keep It Real – Keep it Relevant: Finding Content Development Inspiration

Keep It Real – Keep it Relevant: Finding Content Development Inspiration
Kent Height

We know the importance of keeping our content ‘real’ and relevant for our audience – if we’re not giving them what they want, they’ll find it from our competitors. But when the well of content ideas runs dry it can be hard to find the inspiration we need to produce really compelling, engaging content – what’s a marketer to do?

There’s no doubt that the most challenging aspect of content development is coming up with ideas for creating inspirational and socially sharable content. So here are 6 ways to help you make sure your content marketing is going to really hit the spot with your audience:

1. Dig Your Data
When in doubt, place your faith in the numbers. The obvious key advantage of online marketing is the sheer amount of quantifiable data available at your fingertips. Your Google Analytics data, for instance, is a storehouse of inspiration for content development ideas:

a.) Review the most popular pages on your site – both by page views and time spent – in your Google Analytics dashboard. This will give you valuable insight into the kind of content that your audience is consuming, sharing and returning to, so it stands to reason that this should give you a steer on the type of content you should produce. If your most popular pages are lists, then create more list-based content. If your visitors love strongly worded opinion pieces, create more of those. Or if infographics are what hit the spot… well, you know what to do.

b.) Review the most popular search terms used to reach your website. If you can spot a cohort of similar keywords frequently used to reach your site in the search engines, it would be a good idea to create content around these search terms. Again, it’s not rocket science but it’s easy to forget just what a great source of information Google Analytics can provide to allow us to reach our audience with content that we can be sure will really create an impact.

2. Ask The Audience
It may sound overly simplistic, but sometimes the best way to find ideas for content development is to ask the audience itself. A simple question: “What kind of articles would you like to see on our website”, posted on Twitter/Facebook, on the website, or in your next email can give you many valuable content development ideas. You’ll be surprised how eager your audience will be to help you out, especially if you’ve built up a loyal following. Plus, it shows that you’re keen to engage on a more personal level with the very people that you’re trying to build relationships with – they’ll love you all the more for asking.

3. Get Inspiration from Forums
Forums are a goldmine of inspiration for content development. Hobby/industry specific forums usually attract passionate enthusiasts who spend hours asking and answering questions. A quick survey of leading forums in your industry will give you a lot of data on the kind of questions being asked, and the problems people face in your industry, which should serve as powerful fodder for your content development plan.

4. Scour Q&A Sites
Similar to forums, Q&A sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers and Answers.com can provide you with a lot of useful content development ideas. Search for prominent keywords in your niche/industry to see the kind of problems people face, and their possible solutions. A recent trend among web-savvy marketers is to leverage questions on Quora to gather suggestions from the audience and create content accordingly. This approach not only ensures that your content is relevant, but also positions you as the go-to source for information – a great way to become the authority in your field.

5. Deliver News
If we’re passionate about what we do we want to be in the loop on the latest developments in our niche area – don’t underestimate your audience’s curiosity to keep up to speed with what’s happening in your industry. By becoming the source for news and the latest trends, you are again positioning your business/brand as the authority – that’s a great position to be in! Satiate the curiosity of your audience and develop a powerful, loyal following.

6. Follow the Buzz
In the age of social media, trends change by the hour. By piggy-backing content on the latest trends, you can leverage existing buzz to amplify your marketing efforts. Use social media monitoring tools and Google Trends to identify what your audience is talking about, and craft your content accordingly. This can also be a powerful way to understand your target audience better and craft content that satisfies their needs.

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