How to Come Up With Content Ideas That Actually Perform Well

How to Come Up With Content Ideas That Actually Perform Well

It’s easy to sit at your computer and churn out a blog post. If you’re a decent writer, you can handle that.

But too many content marketers come up with ideas that initially seem great, but don’t perform well once they’re out in the world. These content assets don’t get that many views, aren’t shared on social media, and don’t appear in search results. If a piece of content doesn’t perform well, it means you’ve put time and effort into something that isn’t helping your brand.

I’ve published content that hasn’t performed– we all have. That’s part of being a content marketer. However, through trial and error, I’ve been able to figure out how to come up with content ideas that actually perform well.

In this post, I’m going to share my secrets so that you can come up with well-performing content ideas too.

Tip #1: Don’t Save Promotion for Last

You can only promote content marketing material when you’re done with it, so many of us save promotion for last. When the piece is finished, we develop a social sharing strategy, add some SEO tags, and hope for the best.

But when you’re coming up with your next greatest content idea, bake promotion into the process.

For example, when writing to managers and leaders on the When I Work blog, we knew that information about great apps would really resonate, as we know our audience is always looking for the best new tools. So we created 18 Apps Every Smart Boss Knows About, which included 18 SaaS companies that small business owners can use to optimize or improve their business.

But we baked promotion into the process from the beginning– We compiled email addresses for representatives at each company, and when we hit publish, we contacted them to let them know they were included. Promotion was always part of the plan.

Most companies shared it, so we were able to penetrate other communities online. It also helped that the post was very visual. We put a little extra effort into the presentation to make it a really great user experience for our readers. Since going live in July of 2014, it’s brought in 70K+ pageviews to our blog.

Tip #2: Know Your Target Audience

It’s well and good to create an asset that goes viral, but if it doesn’t resonate with your audience and lead to conversions, is it really performing well?

At When I Work, we know our audience inside out. When we come up with content ideas, we try to address our audience’s pain points and give them the resources they need to be successful.

One post that performed particularly well was The 12-Step Process For Improving Your People Management Skills. This post did well because it aligns very closely with our customer base and target audience. Our customers and users can relate and benefit from the content in this post because many of them are managers of people.

Tip #3: Make it Better Than Anything Else Out There

One of the surefire ways to come up with content ideas is to look at what’s already out there. I noticed that many publications were writing about millennials in the workplace, and I knew this was an issue that concerned our audience.

So I thought about how we could get a unique angle, and decided that our best shot was to create something that was better than anything else out there. Why create a 1,500 word blog post when we could create an epic guide?

That’s how the Epic Guide To Managing Millennials In The Workplace was born. The keyword research was strong, the topic was timely, it aligned with our target audience, and we wound up with a 4,500+ word guide that covered every aspect of managing millennials.

The piece went through several rounds of edits and a ton of research. Our efforts paid off–it brought in 10K+ pageviews to our blog in the first 15 days.

Tip #4: Do Your Keyword Research

Most content that performs well has something in common– it wasn’t created out of nowhere. Significant keyword research went into exploring the topics before anyone began typing anything up. Before the content was born, someone was making sure it was a good idea.

Learning how to do keyword research well can be a bit challenging, but once you’ve mastered the art, you’ll be able to easily apply what you know when you’re coming up with new ideas for content.

My post, The 12-Step Process For Improving Your People Management Skills, owes its success to keyword planning. The particular keyword phrase we were targeting for this post gets 12K+ average monthly searches on Google.  Because of this volume, and because we were writing to meet this keyword, the post brought in over 10K pageviews to our blog in the first 45 days.

Everything I know on this subject can be gound in Backlinko’s Keyword Research: The Definitive Guide, as well as CoSchedule’s Guide to SEO Driven Content Marketing. Both of these resources can help you understand how to conduct keyword research that leads to content marketing success. When conducting keyword research, I primarily use the Google Keyword Planner tool.

Tip #5: Honor the Good Idea

If you come up with a good idea, you have to honor it. That means you need to do your best to give that idea a chance to succeed. Don’t write a 400 word blog post, click publish, and call it a day. Good ideas deserve attention and careful thought.

You need to figure out which keywords will get your content in front of the right audience, and you need to bake in a promotion strategy as you’re coming up with the idea, not after the fact.

You’re a bastion of creativity, and you can absolutely come up with ideas that resonate with your audience. Be sure to survey your audience, talk to your customers, and figure out what pain points are most pressing. What is your audience Googling during their work day, and how can you create content that’ll genuinely help?

Still have questions? Ask me below, I’ll do my best to help!

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