“Content is King” might just be the most overused phrase in the industry. Much of the content you’ll read online isn’t king, in fact with so many businesses feeling the need to churn out content for content’s sake, a lot of it would be lucky to be servants or groundsmen, rather than king. To get to royalty status, content has to do more than just tick the Google box. It should be captivating, talk to the right audience, offer something original or of value, and achieve an objective, whether that be converting leads, creating awareness, or informing your audience.
That’s where research comes in. Content inspiration tools aren’t just for when you’re stuck for ideas or feeling lazy, they can be a way to find the gaps, discover what’s trending, or inform your plans with data. Here’s five of the best:
If the primary aim of your content is to help your SEO, then make sure it does that. Rather than simply think up an article topic and add it to your blog, use the data in GSC to help you uncover phrases you have the potential to rank for. Filtering queries by impressions, search positions and unbranded queries gives you a great starting point in terms of topic. You can write about these subjects offsite to gain links and coverage, within your own blog, or find the pages that are already starting to appear for these phrases, and think about what content you could add to these to strengthen them – work with what you’ve got!
Simply enter the topic you’re focusing on into the search bar and watch as a sphere of questions unfolds. Answer The Public collates search data from Google and Bing to provide you with all the questions people are asking about a particular subject. It’s great for sparking content ideas, as well as simply getting inside the mind of your audience and what they might need to know. It’s also free and takes 30 seconds to use!
Both are great for searching for content that’s already out there (and performing well) on any given subject, whether you’re looking to approach the authors of these articles for outreach, or for inspiration of topics to build on or avoid.
The evergreen score on Buzzsumo is also ideal if you’re planning ahead and want to filter out time-sensitive pieces.
Whether you’re looking to frame an article around new research, or simply use some authoritative stats to back up your argument, the Research and Statistics page on the Gov site is well worth checking periodically. If you’re working within a particular sector, familiarise yourself with industry trade bodies and research companies for frequent new data as well.
Probably a stretch of the word tools, but Google Alerts are just a great way to stay updated on industry news and content. We all know we should do it, but sometimes on busy days, proactively checking trade press and magazines gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. With Google Alerts it’s put directly in front of you each day so you simply cannot miss it.