This is a Guest post by my colleague David Schneider from NinjaOutreach.
I put out a lot of content.
Between two blogs, on which I like to write every week, and guest posting, I’m writing almost everyday.
Even with all of the different aspects of business, entrepreneurship, and marketing, I still sometimes struggle to come up with content ideas.
Luckily, I’ve devised 5 methods, which I turn to in a drought to reinspire me to write something amazing.
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The Recipe Formula
I like to think of articles as being a recipe.
A little bit of this, combined with a little bit of that, and you’ve got yourself a tasty article.
What are the parts?
I break them into three
Tier One Topic + Tier Two Topic + Twist = Interesting Headline
Let me define these:
Tier One Topic – The general topic of choice. For example, if I’m in the business niche this might be customer service, partners, marketing, prioritization, etc.
Tier Two Topic – A subset of the tier one topic. For example, if my tier one topic is customer service, then tier two might be channels.
Twist – This is the little word, often an adjective, that is going to add some flavor to the article. Examples might be “interesting”, “need”, “virtual”, etc.
If I combine the examples above; Customer Service, Channels, and Need, I might end up with an article like:
5 Customer Service Channels Every Startup Needs
How about Lead Generation, Techniques, Surprising
4 Surprising Lead Generation Techniques…That Worked!
Once I’ve got these ideas, I’ll create the headlines for them.
Naturally, you can mix and match the different parts. Here’s what it might look like in a table:
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QuickSprout Tool To Analyze Blogs
The method above is great for coming up with ideas fast, but it’s a very me-centric way to go about things.
How do I know my audience is going to enjoy this article?
Perhaps a sharper method is to include some research of our competitors and find out what is working for them.
For this, I’m interested in seeing which of my competitor’s articles have been shared the most.
For example, I run a business website and my “competitor” (I use this term simply to mean that there is some overlap with our audience) is Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income.
If I want to know which of Mr. Flynn’s articles received the most social shres, I can use this tool from Neil Patel.
Plug in the URL and head over to the Social Analysis tab.
It’s easy to tell from the above that his podcast article is one of his all time best. Additionally I can see that people enjoyed a guide to FB pages, a backlinking strategy, and some blogging tips.
We can browse through additional pages to get some more ideas, or enter in a different competitor.
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BuzzSumo To Find The Most Shared Posts
Eventually you might run out of competitors, in which case you will simply want to see in general how posts are doing across the web for a particular topic.
A tool I like for this is BuzzSumo, in which you can type a word like Business Leadership and get hundreds of results from the last year.
What’s nice is that they break down the shares across each channel, and allow you to view the backlinks and the sharers.
One should be careful though, as the top ranking posts often come from websites that simply have very large audiences.
Still, it does provide excellent insight into what their audience enjoyed the most!
NinjaOutreach To Find The Top Ranking Posts
Instead of social shares, why not just consider the top ranking results in Google?
After all, this is the ultimate form of voting isn’t it? If an article is ranking at the top, it has received not only shares but backlinks from across the web.
One convenient way to accomplish this is through our tool NinjaOutreach.
Simply plugin in your keywords, and NinjaOutreach will return the top ranking content on the web with a whole slew of other data points.
Some neat things about this tool is that it shows me the contact information of the writer, as well as social and SEO metrics. For example, I can sort the posts by social shares of an individual channel.
Also, once I am ready to promote the article, I have a list of people, with whom I will want to share my post once.
If I choose, I can use Ninja Outreach’s outreach capabilities and custom templates to do some promoting!
Turn Real Life Into Case Studies
More and more blogging is requiring real data.
With all the articles on the web that people have to sort through, they want authoritative ones that involve a case study.
If you’re in the marketing niche and you just increased your opt ins by 117%, write about how you did it.
If you’re in the fitness niche and you got six pack abs in 4 months, write about how you did it.
At it’s core, blogging has always been about telling a story.
Some people even make their entire blog a case study, such as Groove.
Groove made themselves famous in the blogosphere with their journey to 100k blog (now achieved).
Every week I tune in to check their progress. Their story gives me something consistent to follow.
Here are two examples of case studies you can write.
One Off – Tells the whole story in one article, something like: Reddit Marketing: How We Got 10,000 Pageviews and a PA 48 Link from Reddit in 2 Weeks
Ongoing – Announce a live, ongoing case study that people can follow along with. You don’t know the results when you start like: Jon Haver’s Authority Website Case Study.
Coming up with content week after week doesn’t have to be tedious.
I recommend sitting down once a month and blasting out a few ideas. Pick the best ones and add them into your content calendar.
How Do You Come Up With Content Ideas?