Content should be the most important part of your online marketing strategy. After all, how can you expect to bring in traffic and convert them to paying customers without it? Then, go ahead and factor in the importance of content for SEO and all of a sudden it’s mission critical.
Content matters, we know that, but so many businesses, both large and small, fail to come up with ideas that work for them. But if they do somehow manage to think up an idea, it often only works for part of their business.
Content can be used for many different purposes; promotion, traffic generation and even just for SEO. But the goal should be that every article is used for all of these objectives.
What’s the Big Deal?
The main problem is that companies are throwing away thousands of dollars each year in extra content and tens of times more in lost potential profits.
If a single piece of content can only be used for SEO and serves no purpose for content marketing or social media, you’re wasting money. Your goal should be for each article to serve the Google overlords, be great for marketing and also appeal to social media.
If any piece of content doesn’t achieve success on all three angles, you’re not choosing the most optimal topic ideas, forcing you to create more content to achieve your goals.
On the other side of the problem, by not creating content that kills on all three fronts you’re leaving money on the table. After all, if a post is easy to market, slays on social media and is SEO optimized, it’s going to convert and end up ranking for huge keywords.
Cultivating Cross-Company Ideas
Coming up with these kinds of ideas is impossible if you leave it up to a single department, especially in larger companies where employees might not know each other. Instead, you need to work across departments, bringing in the opinions of people from each front.
Only then can you expect to come up with ideas that are going to make work possible for all departments.
If you don’t do this, then you’re inevitably going to end up asking a marketer to promote the impossible or a social media intern to market something sub-optimal.
Cultivating the opinion of your entire team is critical.
What Makes an Amazing Content Idea?
Hopefully, it’s clear by now that an amazing content idea needs to be equally dangerous on all three fronts; SEO, social media and promotion. For a piece to succeed it should be able to gain traffic from as many sources as possible.
Let’s go point by point and figure out what makes an idea great.
- Firstly, it needs to be capable of ranking for a keyword that is going to bring in targeted traffic that is going to convert into paying customers. This means that the keyword needs to have the right level of competition such that the website stands a chance of actually ranking for it.
- But just as importantly, that keyword needs to bring in targeted traffic that’s going to convert. It’s useless for a car salesman to rank for a cheerleading search. Instead, you need to focus on finding keywords that your ideal customers are searching for.
- Secondly, the idea needs to have the potential to succeed on social media. Most people aren’t in an educational or purchasing mindset when they log into their social media. Instead, they are more likely to want to read something entertaining or interesting.
- Finally, the idea needs to give your team the room that they need to promote it through outreach, guest posts, and content marketing tactics. Without this, it’s unlikely that you’ll acquire any links that would help the article to rank for the desired keywords.
For an idea to be ‘marketable,’ there needs to be a significant number of websites that would be willing to feature or link to your article. In most cases, this means that it shouldn’t be excessively promotional and it must provide value to the readers of those websites.
As you can see, all of those fronts link together, and that’s why a great content idea succeeds; it creates a storm of links, traffic and social shares that feed it from all angles.
How to Come up With Great Content Ideas
Let me repeat myself; you must work as a team if you’re going to come up with mind-blowing content ideas that work for all departments of your business. Nobody on your team can generate those ideas themselves; you need differing perspectives.
Once you’ve gathered your team, you can start by identifying pain points in your industry. This is a great starting point because problems are often searched for on Google, they will force people to click on social media, and they are educational enough for promotion.
Just looking at the huge range of potential problems that your customers could face should allow you to generate a significant list of article ideas, which you can narrow down.
If that’s not enough, it’s time to pull out SEOcrawler, Ahrefs and BuzzSumo. SEOcrawler manages your your entire SEO campaign from keeping track of efforts to rank positions and traffic results. Ahrefs is going to allow you to input your competitors URL’s in the Site Explorer and filter for “Best by Links.” This will show you the pages on their website which have the most backlinks pointing to them.
Similarly, BuzzSumo allows you to input a domain and see the pages which have the most social shares. Using this information you can cross-reference the data to see which articles succeeded on both social media and promotion.
But we’re not done yet.
If you go back into Ahrefs, you can filter by “Top Pages” under “Organic Search,” which will show you the pages which get the most traffic from Google. With these three sets of data, you can figure out exactly what types of content work best in your specific industry.
Now that’s powerful.
Clayton Johnson has been doing search engine optimization for 12 years, and has seen the shifts and twists and turns. He knows how to dodge the penguins and panda’s and wrestle the SERPS.