In today’s digital landscape, the appetite for useful, authentic content is only growing. But there’s no point in churning out blog posts about just anything – that’s yapping away at the empty void of the Internet.
In order to succeed with your content strategy and boost brand authority, you want to find out what your audience wants and needs the most – and then give it to them.
First things first, you want to set up a process for finding content ideas so that you’re not wandering aimlessly from platform to platform, hoping to run into something that clicks.
Here’s how that process looks, along with some key points you need to know about each channel.
The formula for finding great content material
Essentially, using these platforms to find ideas comes down to three steps:
1. Pick a topic you want to write about.
Without some idea for a topic, you’ll really be lost and end up in the black hole of the Internet, driven to some completely irrelevant topic, unaware of time and space. So, in order to avoid this all-too-familiar scenario, turn to your topic clusters and pick out what you want to create content around.
2. Find the major struggles concerning your topic.
Now, this is the crucial part and pretty much the main reason you want to use these platforms to help you craft valuable content that serves your audience. Being user-generated platforms, they’ll provide you with invaluable insights on what your target audience is asking and struggling with in regards to your topic.
The way to figure this out is not the exact same for every platform, but it comes down to using the search function and looking for the key phrases people use when they need help with something. These are phrases such as:
- “How can I”
- “How do I”
- “Can someone help”
- “Does someone know”
- “Tips/Suggestions for”,
3. Dig in!
This is the part where you really sink your teeth in: sift through comments, read through threads, and follow the dialogue wherever it takes you – which might be to a whole other, yet relevant query/thread/YouTube video.
Regardless of the platform in question, the part where you dig in is all about gaining a better understanding of the challenges people are facing pertaining to your topic.
Take note of the biggest challenges as well as the nuanced ones (the more detailed and specific info you have, the better), try to see which solutions have failed and why, and jot down your commentaries on anything you find particularly interesting/useful so you can include that in your posts.
With these observations and information, you’ll be able to create more thorough and truly useful content.
That’s the underlying principle. Now let’s have a closer look at each individual platform.
Reddit is a goldmine for topic research, but if you’re not familiar with it already, be prepared – it’s going to take some time. You’re going to be looking for subreddits – topic-specific forums – that are relevant to the topic you’ve chosen. It will take a couple of searches (we said there’s going to be a lot of digging!) so in the end, you will have a couple of subreddits to sift through.
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to Reddit: being self-promotional is not looked upon kindly. There’s particular disdain for marketing on Reddit. Participate on the platform to learn something new, do your research, and make sure to stick to the community’s rules of etiquette.
Quora is a place where people specifically go to ask questions so it’s a really obvious and valuable source. The great thing about Quora, which puts it ahead of both Reddit and YouTube, is that you can use it not only to find what people are struggling with, but also to build your authority and actually promote your content directly.
A good example of this is answering a query and finishing your answer with “I cover this topic in more detail on my blog” – and then you’re free to leave a link directly to your content. The whole point is to truly be helpful, sincere, and provide value to the readers, so the link to your blog is not blatant self-promotion.
And if you don’t have a blog post which covers the given topic in more detail – bam, there’s your content idea. Once you’ve published the post, get back to the query on Quora that inspired it.
Utilizing Quora in this manner comes with multiple benefits:
- Finding content ideas
- Driving traffic to your site
- Building your reputation and establishing yourself as a trusted expert
- Getting valuable feedback on your comments and blog posts
All in all, Quora provides the means to participate in a community network, which is extremely important for small business owners in the digital era. By using it to advance your content strategy, you’ll also be using it to learn something new, share experiences, and connect with other small business owners or industry peers.
This platform is a great place for finding content ideas even if you’re not making video content. If you are planning to make video content, however, feel free to apply all these tactics we’ve talked about in your YouTube marketing strategy.
The ultimate perk of YouTube is that it’s actually a search engine – which means that when you search for a topic, you won’t only be getting the results to your query, but relevant search suggestions as well.
Just like Google, YouTube is going to basically tell you what people are searching for based on what you are typing. That’s a bucket of ideas right there, and a meaningful tool for creating content with semantic SEO in mind. Make sure to keep an eye out for the keyword phrases YouTube is suggesting and use them as building blocks for your posts.
With all this being said, there’s one last bit of advice:
Before you head off to other platforms to look for ideas, make sure you’re paying enough attention to what’s going on “at home” – your own blog.
Never ignore the comments on your blogs and don’t hesitate to actually ask your readers questions in the comments section. Encourage dialogue and facilitate it, and you’ll end up with all kinds of valuable insights that can contribute to your content creation.
Most importantly, be sincere. Ultimately, fuelling your content strategy through various platforms comes down to three things: participating in a community, striving to be genuinely helpful, and digging deep to uncover the needs of your audience.