When executed correctly, with engaging topics, content marketing works beautifully within the context of inbound marketing. It draws visitors to your site, encourages conversions, and ultimately grows your business.
But all of that can only be possible if the content you write actually resonates with your audience. In other words, you have to make sure that each piece of content you publish is both high in quality and relevant for potential customers of your business.
That goal may be relatively simple to accomplish for social media, where short snippets and visuals tend to capture your audience’s attention relatively quickly. But what about longer-form varieties, like blog posts, webinars, and e-books?
Especially if you’re looking to optimize your content marketing for conversions, these types of content need to be a crucial part of your strategy. To give them the highest possible chance of success, here are 6 strategies you can use to find engaging topics for your content marketing.
1) Listen to Your Audience
Once you master this strategy, it’s the easiest way to generate new content. If you want to maximize the relevance of your efforts, your best strategy is to simply listen to what your audience would love to write or hear about. There are a few ways you can accomplish this feat:
- Pay attention to blog and social media comments. The most vocal members of your target audience will give you their thoughts and opinions in the form of comments on both previous blog posts and social media updates. They may have follow-up questions, or simply offer a judgment on the content itself. You can then use that content for future posts, specifically mentioning your impetus for going this route in future posts.
- Talk to your sales staff. Even those who don’t share their opinion publicly are likely to do so during a sales call. Your sales staff should be aware of the comments they receive most often, which can help you address common concerns and questions in the form of a blog post or long-form content.
- Engage in social listening. We’ve written in the past about the importance of social listening, the technique of monitoring relevant conversations around your brand or industry that don’t necessarily show up in your social media mentions. Only 24% of brands engage in social listening, so this is your chance to find new and engaging topics that others haven’t necessarily written about yet.
2) Need Engaging Topics? Jack the News!
There is no better way to grab your audience’s attention than to write about a topic they’re already reading about to begin with. In every industry, a steady stream of news gets published every day that may or may not be relevant to your brand and expertise.
Instead of recycling the same news items everyone else is already writing about, find the pieces of news most relevant to you and put your own spin on it. Relate its impact back to your audience to see your relevance soar.
3) Focus on Your Core Competencies
Sometimes, the best content comes from turning inward. What is it you think you know most about? Think more specific than an entire industry, and try to get granular. For example, you’ll see this blog focusing not on marketing in general, but content and inbound marketing specifically.
If you think you’ve exhausted the possibilities of your own knowledge, turn to other members on your team. Do they have specific areas of expertise that they would just love to share? In addition to getting more content, finding someone who is passionate about a specific topic also makes it easier to come up with great content for that topic.
4) Build a Content Series
If you’re looking to really go all out, try finding engaging topics that are exhaustive enough to fill in more than one slot in your content calendar. For example, start a blog series to discuss various topics within a general theme. Moz’s Whiteboard Friday is a perfect example.
The same concept can easily be applied to any type of content. For example, a webinar series can build your thought leadership over time while maximizing your lead generation efforts. Once you know the general theme, it becomes easier to think of and build out its individual pieces of content.
5) Put a New Spin on an Old Topic
Think of this as a way of recycling an oldie but goodie. Find a piece of content that performed well for you (or a similar source) in the past, and put a new spin on it.
Don’t just write the same essence of it again; instead, use your space to provide an update on where things stand now, delve deeper into one of the points you made originally, and more.
6) Branch Out
Finally, don’t be afraid to branch out. Sometimes, your audience wants to read about more than just the industry in which you’re targeting them. Remember that they don’t come to you because they want to convert. They come because they want to consume content relevant to them.
That relevance may extend beyond your core competency. Find out about your audience’s interests, then write about them. If you can connect it back to your value proposition, great; but if you write the occasional post that doesn’t, it can actually enhance the perceived variety of your content marketing efforts.
Using these strategies, you can begin to build a content marketing framework that both draws in your audience and drives them toward conversion. But of course, finding the right topics to write about is only the first step to building a successful and sustainable content marketing strategy.
Surprise: you also have to make sure that the content itself is great, and that it fits into your overall inbound marketing strategy. If you’re worried about accomplishing that feat, contact us. We’d love to work with you to elevate your content marketing efforts by helping you create meaningful, high-value content that your audience will love to consume.