{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Last month I released the Periodic Table of Content Marketing, a kind of visual checklist to help people create the right kind of content to support their business goals. But what is the right kind of content? 

The table is an overview of the key elements of content marketing, but it stops short of suggesting specific subject-orientated ideas relevant to your brand / audience.

That’s where James Welsh comes in. He has built a search / suggestion tool based around my table, and it works surprisingly well. I thought I’d introduce it, as well as a few other tried and tested content idea generators. They will help you brainstorm ideas.

So first, onto the tools (click on the screenshots to access them), but be sure to read the section underneath on advanced idea generation. Dan Shure’s post is a tremendous resource for those of you prepared to go the extra mile. The tip I have focused on should save you a lot of time. 

Content Marketing Ideas Generator

This tool invites you to add keywords before suggesting a bunch of ideas based on the elements in my periodic table. You get formats, as well as headlines, and you can define your target audience.

 

Portent’s Content Idea Generator

A lovely tool that explains why it suggests the words and phrases it uses in headlines.

Hubspot’s Topic Generator

Another useful headline generation tool. Hubspot also produced a useful companion spreadsheet for you to play around with. 

Soovle

An oldie but a goodie… this tool takes your keywords and uses Google Suggest to deliver ideas, ranked by popularity.

SEOGadget’s Content Strategy Generator Tool

A Google spreadsheet that you can copy and customise.

Advanced idea generation

A little research can go a long way. You know a lot of the topics and subjects that your audience is interested in, but there will be others that might be off your radar. 

Have you identified the specific keyword queries that people are using to find your content? What else are they searching for? 

There are a few techniques to help you brainstorm ideas beyond the obvious. I want to focus on just one timesaving tip, which I spotted in a very detailed, very brilliant post on how get the best out of the Google Keyword Planner. It’s one of the most useful articles I’ve read all year, so do spend a little time to digest it. Take a look at this screenshot...

What do you notice about the above screenshot (other than the small text - my apologies)? 

That’s right, I didn’t enter any keywords into Keyword Planner. Instead, I simply used a URL. For those of you low on time or high on laziness, this should appeal.

I’ve used our own blog as the ‘landing page’, which I’m obviously familiar with, but I could use other URLs (competitors, publishers, blogs, reddit, Hacker News, etc) to find new phrases to consider writing about. It’s so wonderfully simple.

Once you have added a URL, flip on the ‘Keyword Ideas’ tab and the tool will extract a bunch of keyword suggestions based on the content found via that URL. You can also sort the results, ranking them by average monthly search volume, or - intriguingly - the 'Suggested Bid'...

These bid prices are very revealing, and should sharpen your mind. You can expect to see more articles on this blog on the topics of ‘automated email marketing software’ and ‘predictive analytics marketing’ (I’m 100% serious).

Cross-check your own search positions for the most expensive phrases. These are pricey for a reason: they are highly sought after and reflect real buyer intent. 

Can you do better in organic search for these terms, now that you know what they are? 

Once you’ve done some gap analysis you can start to prioritise the creation of new content. Use the tools to help you.

As an aside, for those of you still trying to win the budget: one clear business reason for investing in content is so that you don’t wind up paying £70.20 per click to pull in traffic from Google! I’ve actually worked it out: based on an average cost per click of just 25p this blog saves the business around £1m a year (and given some of the bid prices in the table above, the real number could be considerably higher). 

As well as Keyword Planner, there is Google Trends to make use of. I always reference Trends before publishing new content, to figure out what my chances are of hitting the top spot in search. 

Ok, let’s wrap things up. As ever, do leave a comment if you have other ideas or pointers. 

Mine the gaps! Use the tools! Prioritise your ideas! Create!

Chris Lake

Published 8 April, 2014 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (11)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Stuart Waterman

Stuart Waterman, Online Community Manager at AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians)

"a very detailed, very brilliant post on how get the best out of the Google Keyword Planner" links to the actual Google Keyword Planner - any chance of getting the link to the original source?

about 2 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Stuart - ah yes, thanks for flagging that up. Now fixed. Tuck in!

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jack Jarvis, Owner at The Website Review Company

If you are currently or about to use content idea creators then stop. Has anyone not learned that the popular SEO fad's of today are the Google penalties of tomorrow?

Using an automated system to create content subjects, really?

Content is a great strategy, but who knows your industry the best, an automated system or you?

If you use these systems you will just waste time creating low value content that nobody wants to read, let alone share.

if you read this article and thought, today I will review the content generators and see whats best, stop! Use that time to create your own plan based on what your customers actually want.

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Paula Charnock

I think maybe a combination of the two would work - use the ideas generator and then be selective as to which you go with, incorporating your own ideas/content.

about 2 years ago

Paul North

Paul North, Head of Content and Strategy at Mediarun

I agree with Jack on this. Using tools and methods like this will result in average, derivative, uninspiring content. But you'll have loads of it!

What other creator do you like solely because of the volume of their output? No author, painter, musician, filmmaker or other artist/creator has ever become popular simply because they created tons of stuff.

I hope for the internet's sake that marketers create fewer pieces, put more effort into each and focus on the quality of their work and maximising its impact.

about 2 years ago

Stuart Waterman

Stuart Waterman, Online Community Manager at AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians)

I don't think using tools to help you with ideas for content is necessarily the same thing as producing 'low value' or 'uninspiring' content. In many cases I think these tools would just help you work out angles from which to approach topics.

It's still a human/team of humans creating the stuff, so surely the quality will depend on the skill of the individuals involved? As Paula says, combining the two would seem to be the logical way to approach this kind of thing.

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jack Jarvis, Owner at The Website Review Company

It's a simple case of supply and demand.

Content idea generators create ideas based loosely on search volume at best, which is not demand.

I would not create a report based on what keywords are popular as there is no evidence that the audience want to read it, they are just collectively searching the terms generated.

Do your customers ask certain questions, have you already completed some research that needs to be published?

This is the angle you should approach content from. Simply adding content based on popular search terms may temporarily increase your visibility in this area, however if users do not find the content useful the will not be engaged and your rankings will slide.

Also, tying in with my earlier point, if these tools become a trend, all your competition will be doing the same, all talking about similar subjects which will dilute their value.

Be original, create something completely unique from subject to main content, don't write anything at all, create a video etc.

You will never win a race by following others!

about 2 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Jack - I totally disagree. Tools are there to help, they're not going to do your job for you. They can speed up the brainstorming process, and they can inform the insight and prioritisation phase, all of which requires human brainpower. Using a tool to come up with lots of ideas should not lead to lots of low value content: people create content, not tools.

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jack Jarvis, Owner at The Website Review Company

@Chris - I agree that people create content not tools, however if you are using tools to generate content ideas you have to question the reason you are creating content.

Are you creating content because there is a genuine demand, or you have something really insightful, or are you using a tool to help create more content for the reason of...boosting SEO?

These tools are there to help those looking to create content, great content is created by those looking to help people.

about 2 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Jack - It's more a case of using a variety of tools and brainpower to identify the vast number of opportunities. The filtering, and the type of content you create comes next. SEO is a definite goal for me, but large quantities of low quality content is not the way to go about securing top spot on Google. Quite the opposite, in fact. Remember that SEO is simply a byword for 'awareness', and making the right impression is what really counts. Rubbish content will leave a bad taste.

about 2 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Sofi Fox

Hi Everyone. I hope I can find great people here to share my thoughts with. Recently, I've made my first steps into the online business and marketing and this book was very helpful for improving my e-mail marketing campaign. So if you are starting your own business or you are a newbie in the internet marketing world, then this kindle book may provide the answers your looking for.

Here is the link of the book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ET9VCPA

Thank you

almost 2 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.