Struggling to Create Content? 10+ Free Tools to Generate Content Ideas
June 01, 2022
SINGAPORE – According to Hootsuite, the ideal frequency of posting content for your brand in order to make a difference in your search engine optimisation (SEO) ranges between three and four times a week, and on social media, a minimum of one post a day. This means that your content calendar can get pretty hefty and generating over 30 content ideas per month can get taxing and repetitive. Eventually, the well of ideas runs dry.
So how do you generate content ideas in a painless way? How do you know if the content you’re planning is still relevant down the road? Will these bring the results you want? And is this the content that your audience really wants?
Filling Up The Content Calendar
First, before you fill that content calendar, you have to remember that not all content needs to translate into sales, but all content needs to have an objective. Beyond sales, you can create content that raises awareness, fosters a sense of community, or even helps with post-sales engagement. This widens the number of topics you can cover on your blog and social media, and it makes your brand look more well-rounded and trustworthy, not just after profits.
Second, you need to make sure that your content bears the personality you want your brand to be identified with. While funny and irreverent posts often go viral, if you’re trying to establish credibility and expertise, you may need to stay away from memes that can alienate the identity you’re trying to institute. You can have fun with your content, but you always have to keep in mind that it embodies how you want to be perceived by your market. Viral posts can backfire, and rebuilding your reputation is an uphill climb.
Third, good content stems from listening — knowing the latest in your industry and understanding how your customers relate to your product provides you with insight for content that hits the mark. The ability to listen to the discussions around your brand means that you can contribute insightful content which drives engagement, establishes brand loyalty, and most importantly, generates sales.
Finding great content ideas that stick the landing can be hit-or-miss, but if you start with ideas based on data, you have a better chance of creating content that practically sells itself. Dig into these unorthodox content idea generators and some free tools to inspire your next great piece of content:
Harness The Power Of Keywords
In the early days of the internet, keywords were used by search engines to categorise content and rank them according to popularity and relevance. But many gamed this system and stuffed their content with irrelevant keywords in the hopes of getting a leg up in page rankings. As algorithms become smarter, keyword stuffing is not only discouraged but also penalised, and website rankings now rely on page quality and authoritative content.
Instead of looking at keywords as a way to climb the page rankings, use them to appeal to the authoritativeness of your website. Look into your Google Analytics and mine data from your Search Analytics to find keywords that lead your customers to your site.
The most popular searches will undoubtedly lead people to your page, but you can also make use of seemingly unrelated keywords that drive traffic and generate ideas on how to fill that gap in relation to your current content. By doing so, you’ll gain insight on the user experience of your website and learn how to make improvements to your content strategy.
Keywords can also help you find out what’s trending so you can create content that is timely and relevant. KeywordTool.io gathers keywords relevant to your industry so you can see what people are searching for.
Bonus Paid Option: Keyword Hero
The limitation of checking your keywords on Google’s free Search Analytics Console is that you can’t see what keywords are driving traffic if you did not already provide them. Keyword Hero uncovers these and more. You can get it free for 2,000 sessions, but if you need more, the Big Hero plan starts at US$9 a month (around S$12 a month).
Participate in Discussion Groups
Community discussions are one of the best ways to find authentic, actionable ideas because you already know that people are interested in them, and brandtalk can ease more seamlessly into your content. Joining communities like Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and Reddit discussion threads not only connects you to people with similar interests, it also exposes you to a minefield of ideas based on what people talk about. You can even ride the zeitgeist and consistently release content that takes advantage of these active threads and discussions.
Quora is also a good option, especially when you can directly answer customer questions with your product recommendations. It gives you an idea of what part of your customer journey needs content support, and even allows you to get your thoughts in order before a full-on blog entry, or even a video tutorial.
Of course, trawling forums for content can be time-consuming so if you want to collate active discussions at a glance, there’s FAQ Fox.
FAQ Fox is a free keyword tool that allows you to scrape multiple forums for what questions are frequently asked about your industry so you can create content that fills that gap. It’s usually utilised for preliminary market research, but it is very rich in material you can use to fill out your content calendar.
Following the thread of what is commonly asked, you can also check what people are interested in in relation to your industry. Google Suggest, also known as Google Autocomplete, recommends common queries on the search bar, and it can give you an idea of how people usually ask questions related to your industry or brand. Google’s People Also Ask (PAA) also shows associated inquiries, but it does not always work on the Chrome browser. Instead, you can check associated queries on AlsoAsked.com, which gives you 10 free searches per month with their Beta Access plan.
By looking at related questions, you can gain insight into what content can be supplementary to your content pillars. These can round out your content calendar with supporting articles, infographics, and bite-sized trivia on your social media.
If you’re looking for something to start a blog entry on, you can check out Answer The Public. It creates a visual map out of PAA suggestions and groups them according to the questions so you can postulate what people are really asking about your chosen keyword. Note though that it can only give you a limited number of queries a day and a monthly subscription runs at US$99 a month (around S$135 a month).
Bonus Paid Option: Question Analyzer
Checking related queries associated with your keyword not only gives you the title of your next content, it also provides a look into what is important for your readers. If you can spare some budget for more accurate data, BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer provides a clearer and more accurate picture of queries, also at US$99 a month (around S$135 a month).
Other Ways To Generate Great Content Ideas
- Pinterest – With its mood-board generating capabilities, Pinterest is a great way to mine for graphics design inspiration and ideas. Aside from using Pinterest ideas as visual inspiration, it can also give you an idea how other brands utilise their graphics, whether they are part of your industry or not.
- YouTube Recommendations – YouTube’s algorithm may be a fickle thing, but you can rely on it to show you fresh ideas on your topic, and learn about currently trending video formats.
- Your competition – It’s not about copying what others are doing. Checking out the competition means you have a better idea of what gaps they are missing that you can take advantage of.
- Repurpose old content to a different platform – Recreate ideas for a fresh take on an evergreen topic by reviving them on a different platform. You may have had a well-shared infographic on your Facebook page, but refurbishing it as a video explainer on YouTube means you get the most out of already existing content.
Ideas can be anywhere, but tapping into inspiration for great content may not always be as easily achieved. If you feel like you’re running out of good ideas, consider widening your horizon. Books, TV, movies, songs, and even podcasts allow you to dive into other people’s creative work, and while it may not directly translate into an entry on your content calendar, it allows you to think outside your industry and gets the creative juices flowing.
Beef up your content calendar with cool content using these tools that help you with idea generation. Want a cheat sheet for this list? Just follow the TLDR below!
Where To Get Content Ideas? Here Are Free Tools To Help
Check Your Google Analytics For Keywords
Your Search Analytics shows you what keywords are bringing people to your site, and what content they are not finding there.
Create Content From Trending Keywords at KeywordTool.io
Ride the trends by creating content with popular keywords that fit your brand.
Find Out What Keywords You’re Not Seeing Through Keyword Hero*
Some keywords that you have not provided are bringing people to your site. Find them and create content to make your readers stay.
Get On Facebook and LinkedIn Groups and Reddit
Answer Questions And Pre-Test Your Content On Quora
Check out what users ask about your industry on Quora — not only will you know what kinds of topics deserve attention, you can also expand quick answers into a full-blown blog entry or infographic.
Find Out What People Are Asking For Through FAQ Fox
Too busy to look through different forums? Scrape all the questions through FAQ Fox’s keyword research tool.
Utilize Google Suggest and People Also Ask
Not sure how to angle your topic? Type your topic on the Google Search Bar and take a look at the suggested phrases from Google. Don’t forget to look at the People Also Ask feature as well for ideas relevant to the topic!
Expand The Topic through AlsoAsked.com
Broaden your search by delving into what people also look for in relation to your topic. For example, people looking for “cakes” are also likely to look for “chocolate”, so you can make content out of that too!
Find Your Next Blog Title On Answer The Public
This keyword visualisation tool shows you how your market searches for your topic, so you can create your blog according to their questions.
Streamline Questions On Question Analyzer*
Want to get more data from the keywords so you can create a more specific blog entry? Question Analyzer has more accurate data of what people look for and how they search for your topic.
Other Ways To Generate Great Content Ideas
Ideas are everywhere! Check out Pinterest, YouTube Recommendations, your competition, and even your old content! Broaden your horizons with other creative work that may or may not be connected to your industry in order to be inspired.
LINKS: Pinterest.com, Youtube.com, Your website
*involves paid subscriptions