How to generate content ideas quickly
So how do you decide what topics you should cover for your particular organisation or industry? Before committing yourself to using your time and budget towards producing content for a particular topic you need to determine:
- Are there enough people searching for this specific topic on a regular basis to make it worth the effort?
- Do you want to cover this particular topic in detail?
- Do you already have content that covers this topic?
If the search volume for your chosen topic is low, it means there aren’t enough people interested in it to make it worth your time. Likewise, if you already have content on this topic, there’s no point in re-creating it – just review and update it, so the quality is as high as possible. Add internal links to make it easy for users to navigate and maximise your SEO potential.
So how do you find out the search volume is for each of your potential topic clusters? The answer is keyword research.
Start by brainstorming around your chosen topic and coming up with some ideas of problems and questions that people may be researching.
Then feed these general ideas into keyword research tools to come up with a list of longtail keywords to focus on, with an estimation of the monthly search volume for each.
A longtail keyword is a specific variation of a more general keyword; for example, if your main keyword is “financial planning”, some longtail keywords might include:
- Financial planning software for retirees
- Financial planning services for retirement
- Financial planning for students
- Financial planning for retirees
- And so on…
You can also generate a list of even longer tail keywords from each of these results. So longtail keywords for financial planning services might include:
Financial planning services in Brisbane
Free financial planning services
Financial planning services for low income
As you get more specific with each longtail keyword, it’s likely that the monthly search volume will be lower - but the competition will also be weaker, meaning it’s easier to rank. I.e Your content will be found.
You can take advantage of this by creating topic cluster pages for each longtail keyword, each of which will improve SEO for the primary “financial planning services” keyword.
There are many paid and free keyword research tools available, and you’ll probably want to try out a few to see which works best for you.
Keyword Research Tools
Keywordseverywhere.com – a free browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox that shows the monthly search volume, cost per click, and competition data for your keywords.
Trends.google.com– useful for coming up with general ideas in the brainstorming stage, or seeing trends for a particular keyword (if searches are gradually increasing for a keyword, this is a promising sign. However, if searches are decreasing, you may want to skip that keyword. You can also see seasonal variations in keywords)
Answerthepublic.com – comes up with actual questions that people are searching for based on your keyword. It’s great for coming up with longtail keywords that you can use to base your topic clusters around.
Here’s one of the visualisations that answerthepublic.com comes up with for the keyword “financial planning” (there are several to explore). You can get some ideas from here that will help you to structure your topic clusters.
So while this may seem like a long process, it really isn't. Why? Because this process will allow you to generate a years worth of content ideas in the space of an hour or so. That's pretty good bang for buck.