Content has always been king, but more recently content marketing has started to get more of the attention it deserves in organizations with budget allocated to creating content. In recent years, we have also witnessed many new software platforms entering the market to help companies create content.
As many of you would attest, it’s always easy to go out and spend money on creating content or any marketing campaigns for that matter. Alternatively, in my experience almost all companies have access to lot of content in-house, but for some reason they are either not surfacing them or not using their resources efficiently to create new content that can help them with their content marketing efforts.
Content creation is a huge undertaking. For now we’ll focus on 10 strategies to create great content in your company.
1. Keyword Volume
This is a classic way of creating content where you can use your favorite keyword tool and type in the keyword that you want to target. In our example, we will use Google’s free keyword tool and use “Google Panda” as our sample keyword:
Most content creators are tempted to go with the first keyword since that has the most query volume. This may not be a recommended strategy as competition will be tough on this keyword and it may take time for your site to rank well. Instead, select keywords that have low traffic volume and are more long-tail like in this example we see “What is Google Panda” and “Google Panda Updates” as two good keyword choices.
The other mistake when going with keyword based content creation route is letting the default Google match type option ON. Instead, unselect “Broad” match type and select “Exact” match type. The reason being broad keywords can help if you are launching PPC campaigns but for SEO you want the exact keywords that are queried to be targeted. Here is what it looks like:
2. Search As You Type Tools
This can be quick hit way to conduct keyword research on the fly.
Google Autocomplete can be a gold mine for looking up keywords – and when combined with detailed keyword research, it can really help shore up your content creation process.
Soovle is another engine that can be really helpful for doing keyword research on the fly. Simply type in the keyword and it will show suggested keywords from across many engines. This can be really helpful as your starting step in creating keyword based content from scratch. This is what Soovle looks like:
3. Social Media Listening Platforms
Mining social media conversations can be a great source to find new ideas for creating content. Each day you will find users conversing on Twitter, sharing links on Facebook, complaining on blogs and forums, and so on. These conversations can be a perfect starting point for creating your content. After all, this is what people are talking about so you can be sure they’ll be querying it on search engines too.
If you don’t have access to social media monitoring platforms then Socialmention.com can be a great place to get started. Simply enter any keyword and it will show you the conversations across the web, along with sentiment analysis, and related keywords. Here is how it looks like when we did our sample “Google Panda” search:
4. Internal Site Search & Web Analytics
Mining your web analytics referral keyword report to see what keywords people are using to visit your site, and then what keywords visitors are using once on your site (through your site search) can be a gold mine. These keywords would end up as the most targeted keywords and can help a great deal in improving your site bounce rates as well.
Mining your internal site search keyword reports can also help close content gaps on your site. Bringing visitors into your site through SEO and then those visitors not finding what they are looking for can be a huge loss for any business. Look at internal site search keyword reports and create content to convert those site visitors. Every SEO should have access to these reports at least weekly.
5. LiveBlogging at Events
Live blogging at an event can be great way to generate new content. SES conferences are a great place for this and we regularly see live bloggers from companies including TopRank Marketing, aimClear, Bruce Clay and many others across the country. Find out where relevant live events are for your industry and start live blogging at some sessions but at least few for you to get started.
6. Expert Interviews
Every industry has its own thought leaders and experts. Interviewing those experts can be another great way to generate content. There are many ways to do this, for example more companies are using Google+ Hangouts and Skype to conduct expert interviews. I’ve conducted expert interviews at conferences, such as this one with Lee Odden on Content Marketing at SES San Francisco. What we do is conduct video interviews but also produce text transcripts as a way to provide users with options, which results in more content.
On Twitter, there are so many conversations happening daily in any industry. Focus on your industry and create content out of those tweets on the fly. For example, recently a big brand was called out for buying links in this post by Josh Davis which then had a follow-up by Danny Sullivan. In between, quite a few tweets were exchanged by Matt Cutts and others. Pulling these recent tweets and creating your own analysis on this topic could be a great way to generate content.
I have also seen content being created and then using tweets to further back your content or assertion on a given topic. You can find documentation on Twitter Developer site on how to embed a tweet on your site.
8. Customer Testimonials
Testimonials, if done creatively, can be used to generate good content on your site. Testimonials can be used, for example, to support a specific topic like showing exemplary customer service your company provides.
In many organizations, customers write glowing testimonials for companies but they hardly get published, except in internal newsletters. Find a way to publish these testimonials on your site or on your blog.
A few years back Discover Financial Services found a creative way to publish their card member stories testimonials on a blog and was named Cashback Connection which is a collection of cardmember testimonials. So instead of letting your customer stories be stored in some email folder, why not go ahead and publish them!
9. Customer Questions
Your customers have questions. There are many ways to convert customer questions into meaningful content for your site. You can take customer questions and make it into a video series or create a question and answers site like Yahoo Answers.
This content can be of high value and can also aid in new product development or enhancing your products. All in all customer questions can be highly targeted content and can be a great source of SEO referral traffic.
10. Industry Trends
No matter what industry you’re in, chances are there must be some hot new topics and new trends. Looking for new trends in your industry and creating content on them can be a great way to capitalize on existing search demand.
Going with this approach fulfills an existing demand based on industry hot trends. The content you create based on these trends can be temporal in nature, but again can be a good source of traffic if created at the right time. Some of the most popular places to look at current trends are: Google Trends, technorati, Twitter trends, and icerocket.
Creating content can be resource intensive but more than that it also involves lot of creative thinking to come up with new content day in and day out. The above ideas are just a small sampling of how to come up with great content. Have any other ideas worked well for you? Please leave a comment below.