And the most common question I get asked as a strategist is, "How do you think of so many ideas when the client or business is just so niche?"
We can just run out of ideas……It’s happened to us all
The answer is to not rely on one channel of data. Yes, keyword research is massively beneficial and will help spot areas that we can improve, but creating content is just so much more than optimising for keywords.
I’ll be talking to you about 3 main areas to think about when it comes to content ideation
How to find inspiration and what tools are available that are out there, and FREE
2. How to tap into emotions and create content that genuinely resonates with your audience
3. How to keep content updated and relevant to the world we live in and how we can make sure the language we use is still correct
A standout moment in my career: We wanna rank for ‘mild steel angle irons’, can you create a 6 month content strategy by next week.
Me years ago.
This is me now! And how did i manage to start feeling like this?
Because I have the tools to become an expert overnight
So, the problem is we have very little search volume for long tail keywords
So, we need to get creative
I’ll talk you through my top tools and tricks that I use for content ideation
Quora is a platform where you can ask niche questions
Users go there are post about super niche topics and look to receive answers from the community of specialists on there
We as consultants, and brands, should go there and ask questions based on the pain points of our target audience.
By getting other experts to answer questions, You'll get insights into your audience and develop content ideas that genuinely resonate with them.
Reddit is an amazing platform to help you become an expert overnight
Head to reddit and search for your ‘Subreddit’ or topic
Look at what’s being asked on those communities? Is there anything recurring? If there is - we can consider that for our content strategy
The great thing about reddit is that you can search with openers such as ‘How do you’ and ‘How can I’ which is great for getting ideas for informational style content
Look for questions/topics getting the upvotes - this gives us a good indication on what people are interested in
Looking at site search data and what people are searching your site for is massively beneficial to see what popular topics people want to know more about.
You can see these queries in GSC and GA
Not only will knowing what people are searching your site for will help with navigation, but this will help fill gaps in your content
Look for pages on site we can optimise that exist already, if a page doesn't exist. Create one .
Take another look at queries that drove visits to your site
If rankings, CTR, and impressions are low, look at the URL ranking and carry out some analysis
Maybe content isn’t answering the questions it needs to answer
Go back and review and make the required improvements
Our customer service teams are the gatekeepers to our customers
Interview your customer service teams
Ask them to share the questions they receive and find out What are they repeatedly being asked?
If they’re being asked the same question. Create a page on site, they’ll be relieved that it’s one less query they have to answer.
Talked to you about the tools and tips I use, so now i’ll talk about how we can tap into emotions and create content that resonates with our audience
The decisions you make today are driven by emotions
The best way to get your message across is to make an emotional connection with your audience.
By making users feel something, we can engage them, and answer their problems
We’re providing them with help, and they won’t forget this!
Throughout this presentations you’ll see me use both personal and professional examples of my experiences which will hopefully help you resonate if you’ve found yourself in similar situations. But I put this example together a while ago - whilst being obsessed with love island. I looked at the sentiment around love island and the departure of their partnership with fast fashion brands. Love was the top reaction with 47% of people feeling this emotion
Overarching feeling is that people loved this shift. So before we create any content - we know people are going to love sustainable fashion, ethical fashion, recycling, environmentalism and gives us a starting point for ideation that will resonate with our audience.
Although we know what emotions are driving people’s decisions, we need to make sure this aligns to search intent. So for example if people are interested in sustainability, are they researching who are the best sustainable clothing companies and how are they sustainable.
The new useful content update rolled out in September and this targets websites that have a high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content and where the content is written for search engines first. So it’s now more important to provide useful information.
So going back to ensuring we’re aligning with intent. A little while ago, a whiskey client came to me with a specific idea of what they THOUGHT their audience wanted, I didn’t think they were right, so I challenged them.
They wanted to produce an ‘awareness campaign’ by targeting ‘whiskey distilled near loch ness’
But this term suggests buying intent not awareness intent.
But, taking a step back, if we’re building awareness that probably isn’t the right keyword to target.
The term whiskey for beginners is a much more appropriate term from building awareness, and coincidently gets a higher search volume anyway.Sometimes, brands may think they know what they want, but it’s up to us as consultants to challenge this!
Another example from my professional experience is working with a client in the finance sector
They wanted to rank for ‘installments as a service’ but do people know what this is?
Perhaps other users will feel this confusion too? SO we need to give them options.
We introduced “vs” style content.This is when we started driving conversions
I one month of launching this content we had 12 people fill in the self-onboarding form and 3 people fill in the find out more form. We’re creating more of this content in future strategies because we know it works!
Another way of tapping into emotions is to look at Social channels as source of ideation
Your audience are already engaged with your brand on your social platforms
But look at your competitor channels, not just your own channels
What are you repeatedly being asked in your DMs.
If there is a recurring topic, get a page live on your site, or post about it on your channels
Social channel are a source of ideation
Another real life example i’m gonna talk to you guys about is that recently my best friend got engaged, and he wanted to start planning his wedding pretty much straight away. When browsing on TikTo we were presented with a world of information
Advice from real people
Small business who were selling products that my friend wuld relate to
The hashtag alone receives over 18m searches.
But, flipping that in it’s head, not all sources of content are useful.
Search the same term on Google and your presented with really negative stories because what’s happening in the news is dominating the results.
Which can be extremely demotivating
Not engaging at all - most people will not relate
We need to bear in mind that not all sources are the same - What works on what platform may not necessarily work on another - We should spend time and efforts distributing content to platforms where are audiences hang out.
Hands up if you know what these are!
Apologies to anyone who works for Gu in here.
But i’m the biggest advocate of this brand. I love them, and I love the recycling hacks that i’m constantly coming across on Tiktok.
Yet, Gupots don’t have a user generated content strategy. They make the smallest reference to ‘how people love to reuse and reshare’ their pots in their FAQs and that’s it.Content is literally being created for them and I feel like they’re missing a tick. If they created a hack video, made up of this user generated content and places it on site, they traffic they’ll stand to received will be incredibly beneficial and the hard work has been done for them. Yes, it may not encourage people to buy, but it will definitely encourage people to recycle and reuse their pots, which is just as important for brand loyalty.
An example of a brand who did user generated content perfectly was the the vanish stain removal hub. This is the perfect example of a user generated content strategy. Users submit a question to the site of how to remove a stain, then Vanish created a guide to answer that question.
When they launched the hub, they saw some amazing results. 1k backlinks, 10k organic keywords ranking, and 14k visits per month
Whilst we’re talking about results, it’s important to think about the KPIs we can report on other than keyword and traffic data. We can look at things like
Goal completions, assisted conversions, or lead generated
Did our content drive orders
Did our content drive direct revenue?
Is our content helping to increase market share?
So, i’ve talked to you about the tools out there, and also how we can start thinking about tapping into emotions. So now I want to talk to you about how we can update content to be relevant to the world we live in. Maybe people are under the assumption that content strategy is all about creating new content, and this isn’t true. It’s just as important to go back an update existing content to ensure it’s up to date.
These is just a snapshot of results we achieved from a refresh. Current account went from 8 to 3. And this was a core term for them. One important thing to remember is that has there been a shift in language used to describe or refer to things
Has there been a shift in language?
Refresh your copy and keep up with language and shifts - know what's representative and what’s not.
When searching around weddings in my earlier example. The term transexual popped up in an artcile whilst research. This was surprising as this is such an outdated term and not representative to this community. Google Trends is a source of confirmation to ensure topics we’re using are still right and not outdated. In this example, we can clearly see that transgender is a much more encompassing word, its more widuely used, and is representitive - update severely required.
We’ve talked about how language has changed between the example between transexual and transgender - but we need follow this through into accesibility.
Think about the way we categorise fashion sites. It’s mainly men’s fashion and women’s fashion
We need to move away from keywords and focus on what your audience wants. There are multiple steps we can take to make sure we’re making content accessible to everyone. Can we start opening these conversations up to clients and decision makers?
Think about what changes can we make to language to not exclude communities out there?
There are so many more points and so many resources out there.
There's more - much more - you can do to create a content ideation that is based on actual insights and not just keyword research
Best part? Many of the above cost much less in time and money than proper audience research. And it's information any company can get access to and retrieve easily.