Updated: Aug 26, 2020
Content matters. Your customers and prospective customers use content to get to know your products and expertise, so they can feel confident in their decision to work with you.
In fact, many buyers, especially in the B2B sector, want to review a virtual mountain of content before making a purchase decision; the average B2B buyer reviews 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision.
And, regardless of your industry, more content means more potential traffic; companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get nearly 3.5x more organic traffic, all of which leads to greater awareness and more prospects in your funnel.
The question is - how do you, a busy business owner, generate the amount of content you need to stay relevant with your audiences and to ensure they’re getting information that moves them toward a purchase decision?
Coming up with the amount of content isn’t always easy, and there’s a sweet spot between creating content that answers your buyers’ questions and creating content that performs well online to attract new organic searchers.
To be able to create the best and most relevant content, you need to focus on searcher intent, then turn that intent into useful content that answers questions.
Searcher intent is the primary goal a user has when they type a question into a search engine. If two people are both looking for childcare for their school age children for example, one might type in “after school nanny” or “elementary afterschool tutor,” while another might search for “babysitter” or “childcare services.”
These searchers are asking for the same thing but in different ways. Helpful content will align with the questions behind the questions; it answers the specific question they’re asking but also guides them to additional content that aids in the decision making process.
To capitalize on searcher intent, you need to get a good idea of what people are looking for when they search for your product or topics adjacent to your product. How do you do that?
Yes, you heard that right.
The first thing to do when you’re trying to figure out what people are looking for on Google is…ask Google.
There are a few resources Google provides that can be tremendously helpful in generating those content ideas, and the simplest methods can often be the best. When it comes to online search, you want to think like your consumers, not like an expert on your product.
Enter a Google search, then scroll to the bottom of the page and take a look at the related searches at the bottom of the page. You’ll get a better idea of other similar keywords or topics that might be of interest to your searcher, and that might be a content gap you can fill.
For example, say you searched for “women owned businesses.” Your related searches will include similar terms, but have a little additional depth that may make it easier to understand what searchers are looking for and to create new content that addresses their needs.
You may get slightly different results from using different search engines as well. The results above are from Google, while the ones below are from Bing.
Answer the Public scrapes autocomplete entries from search engines and can give you some raw insight into what people are currently searching for, and what search engines are presenting them during their search process.
These queries can be tremendously helpful because they’re natural language searches. They present their results in the form of a question, which means they’re more likely to be well-suited for natural language search.
Natural language search works well for voice search, and 50 percent of all online searches are expected to be completed by voice search this year, and 2 in 5 adults use voice search daily.
Take a look at the chart below. Just answering these questions generated through one Answer The Public search will give you a full slate of content ideas around your desired topic, and this is just one of the several graphs generated for my chosen topic.
Pinterest is a leader in organic search, and the visual discovery engine is full of ideas that can work for your business. Go to Pinterest, and search for your desired topic.
Here, we’ll try searching for women-owned businesses again.
This search can give you ideas about what people are most interested in and the types of content they want to consume. Clicking on a specific pin can give you an idea of how much interest there is around a certain topic, or can help you delve deeper into searcher intent around that particular topic.
When you’re generating content around this topic, you don’t have to just write a post that’s super-similar to the posts you find in your search. Instead, think about ways you can present the idea in a fresh way. Charts and infographics built around your topic can be a great way to add visual interest to your content calendar, for example.
You can also take some of the headlines from the pins you like, type them back into Google or other search engines, and see where that takes you.
If you’ve ever doubted you can get every single thing you need on Amazon, here’s definitive proof. Amazon can be a goldmine for content generation ideas.
Search your desired topic, then narrow your search to books. Here, you have a couple of choices.
1. Use book titles to generate content ideas.
As you scroll through your results, are any book titles piquing your interest? Consider using those topics in a few different ways, including:
Reading the book and posting an online review or lessons learned.
Writing your own take on the book’s topic. For example, when you search “women owned businesses,” you might come across books with titles like “The Decision to Scale: 25 Tips for Women-Owned Businesses Looking to Grow (Business Development Decisions Series) or “Capitalizing On Being Woman Owned: Expert Advice for Women Who Have or Are Starting Their Own Business Including Marketing Research, Planning, Government Support, And Tax Breaks.” Do you have your own related story, or does your business offer advice that ties in with these titles?
Use their titles and topics as a jumping-off point; make sure to give credit where credit is due as well.
2. Use book reviews to generate ideas.
In addition to using the books themselves as a source for content ideas, you can also use their reviews to add to your list. After all, we’re looking for quick ways to compile a content list, and thoroughly reading and reviewing an entire business book is not necessarily conducive to quick content generation.
Read through the reviews and see what type of common themes you find in them. Starting with medium-level reviews (three stars) can be beneficial, because the people writing them took time to read the book and post honest feedback, but they also must have felt there was something missing in order to give the book a mediocre rating.
As you’re reviewing, you may see that readers wanted the writer to organize the content more cohesively, which could lead to a multi-part content series. Or, you might see that they wished the author had gone into greater detail on a specific area, such as in our women-owned business search, successful marketing programs for women-owned businesses.
Look for areas where readers found the content to be over complicated, overfilled with industry jargon or overwhelming. Then, figure out how you can take that content, break it down into bite-size pieces and make it accessible and actionable for them.
Where do the people you’re marketing to tend to congregate?
Going back to our “women owned businesses” search term, are there Facebook or LinkedIn groups led by women and focusing on female entrepreneurship? Watch those groups and see which questions tend to come up frequently.
You may see trends or seasonal topics that arise - how to find a good accountant, what types of holiday gifts to send clients, etc. Figure out ways to answer those questions (and, once you answer them, make sure you share your content back to the people in those groups, so you can answer them, fulfill their needs and boost your traffic all at the same time!).
Now that you have a big list of ideas, the next thing to do is start planning out your messages and where you plan to use them. You can create content across all your platforms with this list, using it to inform your decisions on:
Website landing pages
Email marketing campaigns
Start breaking your content down in ways that make sense, and lay out processes that make it easy to repurpose - amplifying and reinforcing the same topics across social media, email marketing and your website.
Look at the ways you can structure your topics to move your prospective buyers through the marketing funnel from awareness to their purchase and beyond. You should have well over 100 topics by the time you complete these searches, enough to build out a year’s worth of content that makes sense for and is relevant to your audiences.
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