The 5 best ways to come up with content ideas for your small business

While working with small businesses and startups I hear Where can I get content ideas? What kinds of content should I be producing? A lot.

When it comes to generating content ideas for your business it’s easy to get stuck. The number one piece of advice I have to get un-stuck is to know everything there is to know about your customers.

Every time you produce something ask yourself if it’s truly something that’s of interest to your customers and your target audience.

I’ve gathered the 5 most efficient tactics you can use to get great content ideas flowing for your business.

       1.Keyword research

Let’s say your business offers small business accounting software and you want to start writing on your newly launched blog, but you have no idea where to start.

Besides being the backbone of your online marketing initiatives, keyword research yields high results when it comes to uncovering new content ideas for your small business.

You could use keywordtool.io or any other keyword research tool and start with a keyword that best describes your product or service, e.g. small business accounting.

By going through the list of other keyword suggestions the tool provides, you will start seeing keywords like the following: small business accounting tips, small business accounting 101, small business accounting best practices, small business accounting tips and tricks, small business accounting resources, small business accounting rules, and small business accounting basics.

These keywords represent actual searches that people are performing on Google and other search engines, that show they’re interested in finding out more about those topics.

This is a great opportunity for you to make a list of all these long-tail and specific keywords and transform them into actual articles on your blog.

By doing this you:

  • Create content based on what people are actually searching for and are interested in in your industry
  • Increase your chances of ranking with that content when someone is searching for those keywords next time

Bonus tips:

  • Depending on where your prospective customers are spending most of their time, Keywordtool.io provides you with a list of keywords based on specific channels (Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, App Store, Instagram) so that you know what searches people are performing on each channel. The searches may vary depending on the channel they’re using to find information, as each channel has a particular use.
  • Keywordtool.io also gives you a list of questions based on your search. This is very useful as you can create content based on those questions that people are asking in your industry, as it’s clearly information they want to find out more about. This way you can position yourself as the go-to source for that type of information.

     2. Competitors’ websites

Another great way to uncover content ideas is by performing a quick audit of your competitors’ content.

Do they have a blog? Are they posting content on a regular basis? If not, this is one more way you can differentiate yourself from them in the eyes of your prospective customers. If they are creating content, here’s how to quickly scan their content and make a list of content ideas for your blog.

  1. Create a Google Doc and start filling it in with the following information regarding your competitors’ content: Competitor Name, Content Title, Content Type (video, article, podcast, eBook, infographic, etc.), Date Published, URL, Strong Points, Engagement (number of comments, likes, shares).
  2. Try analyzing 2-6 months of data.
  3. Go through your Google Doc and make notes of possible themes that you can take on, too. Are there any topics you haven’t thought about before? Are there new angles they’re covering in their content? Do they provide a particular type of content that is scarce in your industry?

Bonus tips:

  • Pay attention to the content pieces that received the most engagement (likes, comments, shares)
  • Analyze their content’s strong points – do you have the resources to create even better pieces?

     3. Google search results

Another way to find content ideas for your small business is to analyze Google’s search results based on relevant keywords related to your product or service.

You already have a list of keywords from when you did the keyword research. Make a list with your top 5-10 keywords of interest for your business and perform searches on Google using those keywords.

Let’s get back to our example above about “small business accounting.”

When you search on Google with the keyword “small business accounting”, several results come up on the first page, which are interesting in terms of content:

  • Shopify’s blog post “Basics of Small Business Accounting: 10 Steps to Get Your Company on Track”
  • Small Business Accounting and Taxes: A Crash Course by www.accounting-degree.org
  • The Best Small Business Accounting Software of 2018 by Hubspot, etc.

Go through the search results on the first and second pages of Google and highlight any topic ideas, or content pieces that come up, that are relevant, to include them in your content strategy, also.

Bonus tip:

  • Go through each content piece and highlight the areas that you find most interesting along with their strong points—just as you did with your competitors’ content—and think about how you can improve on that content.

     4. Customer / target audience questions

What are the questions that keep popping up from your customers or your target audience?

If you already have a customer base, what kind of questions do your customers keep asking each time they get in contact with you or your support and sales teams?

When you participate in industry events, what questions do people in your industry keep asking over and over again?

When you go through relevant groups and communities in your industry, what are the most asked questions by people interested in your type of product or service? These can be Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, the comments section on YouTube videos, forums, etc.

If you have already published content in one form or another, what kinds of questions are people asking in the comment section on your blog, YouTube channel, etc.?

What questions are people asking about your industry on Quora?

Make a list of all those questions and decide which ones you will transform into pieces of content for your blog, YouTube channel, etc.

      5. Customer / target audience problems

Another great way of coming up with content ideas is by analyzing your customers’ or target audience’s most common problems related to your product or service.

This way you will develop content that is based on their utmost challenges and concerns and you will position yourself as the thought leader and the go-to-source for the solutions they need to solve their problems.

Check out this blog post where I show you the exact process to follow to uncover their problems and challenges – it will help immensely.

Here’s also a list of questions that will get you unstuck whenever you feel uninspired:

  1. What piece of content would make your competition jealous?
  2. What is your ideal customer most afraid of?
  3. How can you get your ideal customer out of the overwhelming challenge zone?
  4. What could help your ideal customer right this moment?
  5. What are some useful resources that would inspire your target audience?

Finally, before spending time creating content for your audience, answer these two questions that will help you decide on the right content type to produce.

  1. How does your target audience consume content in your industry? Do they read written content instead of listening to podcasts or watching videos? You should produce content in the form they’re used to consuming, and in the way that makes sense in your industry.
  2. What do you feel most comfortable with producing? Don’t forget to take into consideration your strengths. Maybe you’re very good at writing blog posts, but you don’t feel comfortable being in front of the camera.

Combining what your audience wants with what you’re talented at will be very advantageous to your business, as you’ll enjoy producing content that your audience loves!

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