Where Not To Look For Content Ideas

After I shared a highly unpopular opinion about the fact that most of the money spent in retargeting is wasted, Reddit community wasn’t buying it. To keep an interesting conversation flowing, I would like to present my arguments against the holy grail of most marketers when it comes to content strategy.

The prevailing wisdom is that you have to start generating content ideas by looking at the popular keywords and trending phrases in Google search. The logic goes something like this: if you use popular keywords in your content, then your article will generate more traffic. But how targeted is this traffic? And how do you expect your content to outcompete what’s currently there?

If you are going to get your content ideas from the most trending keywords, you will incline to talk about topics that aren’t very relevant to your target audience. The keywords that are very popular also put you in competition with tons of companies that want to write about this topic as well. Are you sure that your content won’t become another piece of “me-too” content in a junk pile? And who said that receiving 1M page views will help your SaaS business? Unless you are in the business selling ads, vanity metrics won’t necessarily help you.

That isn’t to say that you can’t generate 1M of page views of more targeted traffic to your website with the right content. But it is more likely to happen if your content is truly interesting and provides enough value for people to share. On the other hand, having great content doesn’t mean people will find it, so content distribution is very important and often overlooked. But there is a difference in promoting and distributing articles that are great and looking for popular topics before coming out with ideas to write about.

Tip: searching the title of your article on Google before posting is a good idea. You do want to make sure you have a unique title.

Buzzwords can be great in generating clicks but you can’t predict how long the new term will be in trend. Let’s look at the evolution of marketing. Initially it was all about inbound marketing, then content marketing became a thing, now you have tons of demand generation positions unfilled due to the fact that everyone moved to growth hacking and account-based marketing. Every single new buzzword adds to the confusion. Sure, buzzwords can generate more clicks to your content but they won’t substitute for amazing content.

And I’m willing to argue that regardless of how we called marketing in the last 10+ years the basic principles and ideas of marketing have not changed in the last 20–30 years. We have social media now, we have many other channels we can use, we have more data — but marketing as essential discipline almost has not changed since Philip Kotler, Al Ries, David Ogilvy…

That’s why ever-green content, for the most part, does not lose its value over time. It provides genuine value and educates its readers.

Don’t try to copy what your competitors (or other companies) are doing. This isn’t worth your time. Unless you have a very sharp and opposite view on the topic and you want to make a public brawl to steer things up.

Recap:

  • Stop looking for search trends
  • Stop analyzing what new buzzword generates more traffic
  • Stop hunting for news topics
  • Stop looking at what your competitors write

At last, stop looking for content ideas on google or on news resources. You are not going to find your unique voice, you are not going to find your positioning, your story, your value messaging, or even unique industry data by looking there.

Where to look for content ideas? — talk to your customers, interview prospects and industry leaders, look at FAQ, ask your chief evangelist, interview your product leaders. Be true to your story, your message, and your positioning. Best content ideas are inside of your company or in heads of your target customers. Period.



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