Content ideation is one of the first dominos in a long line of content marketing to-dos. To get you started in the right direction, a content ideation tool can ensure you’re never at a loss for words.
Your ideas set the rest of your content strategy into motion. Of course, this also means that until you come up with an idea, the rest of your content marketing remains at a standstill. For many content marketers, ideas come easily at first. But when you think you’ve said all there is to say, it gets harder to come up with fresh ideas.
That’s why you should stock your content marketing toolkit with some easy content inspiration. Here are 11 of the best tools marketers use for content creation.
Linkfluence is a consumer insights platform that offers 360-degree views of your target audience. Using a one-two punch of AI and market research, marketers can tap into a live feed of social data to learn more about their customers. See what others are talking about and how they’re talking about those topics. See what’s trending and who is driving the conversation. Plus, do all of the above in real time instead of waiting for months to generate reports (that are likely outdated as soon as they hit your hands).
In terms of content ideation, real-time social insights can help you get inside the minds of your audience. You can give your own take on popular topics they’re talking about and have a better chance of connecting authentically.
This is also a great way to “test” ideas before you invest time and money in creating content around them. See what content is already performing well and what your audience is responding to. From there, you can steer your content marketing in the right direction.
Linkfluence’s parent company Meltwater offers a wealth of opportunities for content creation. Meltwater’s media monitoring and social media intelligence platform uses AI to tap into more online conversations than any other tool. Learn about your audience via social listening technology to see what your audience is engaging with and talking about. Then, use those insights to create content that resonates.
Meltwater also gauges social engagement to help you see what type of content connects with your target customers. See what your competitors are publishing and the results they’re achieving. Plus, with media monitoring tools, you can see how often your brand is mentioned on social media and other outlets and gauge the true reach of your content.
Also from the same platform, you can schedule the content you create and measure its performance. Centralize your content marketing efforts so you can track its journey and keep your team on the same page.
3. Answer the Public
For content marketing on a budget, Answer the Public is a search listening tool that offers free insights to guide your content ideation. In its free version, the tool tells you what questions people are asking about a specific topic. It turns its insights into a stunning visual based on how people are asking certain questions.
For example, if you want to create content around the topic of “artisanal sodas,” then you can type your keyword into Answer the Public and a receive a visual like this:
Questions are grouped according to a “modifier” word that helps to give context to how people are asking the questions. For example, does a user want to know how artisanal sodas are made? Do they want to know where they can buy them?
Each of these questions could become a piece of content. Or, one idea might become multiple pieces of content. It’s enough to get inspired and take the next step.
Content ideation doesn’t always mean coming up with your own content. The end goal of content marketing is to provide your audience with value while supporting your brand and its goals. In some cases, curated content can do the trick.
Meltwater’s Scoop.it tool simplifies the process of content curation. It finds high-quality content around the topics you specify, then makes it easy for you to share it with your audience. Build brand authority fast by sharing content your audience cares about. Plus, sharing other people’s content can be a great way to strengthen your industry and influencer connections.
You can take it a step further by using curated content to inspire your original content. Discover content that might not otherwise land on your radar. Create content with your own thoughts on the same subject to give your audience the experience you want them to have.
Another free content ideation tool, Quora is a popular online forum that’s driven by engaged users. The forum covers questions ranging across a myriad of topics, from celebrities to marketing to IT to food and more. Anyone can use Quora to see what questions other people are asking about various topics.
Use the search bar to find questions on general topics. Or, choose a category to find a relevant space where users are posting questions and answers. Users can upvote popular questions (a good sign that a topic is something people are talking about). You can also see others’ answers to questions and how many people have responded or are following the conversation.
And, if you’re a business or brand, you can even join in on the conversations. Answer other people’s questions with your expert insights and links to content you’ve created to address their questions.
Basic keyword research can be telling about what people are searching for online. A simple tool like Keyword.io allows you to plug in a seed keyword and generate tons of related keywords in seconds.
What makes Keyword.io unique compared to other keyword tools is that you can narrow your search to specific sites and search engines. For example, if you’re an Amazon retailer, you can tailor your keyword results to Amazon. The same goes for YouTube, Bing, Google, Yandex, Fiverr, and a number of other sites.
Ubersuggest is widely known as a keyword research tool. That can be enough to help you come up with content ideas. But Ubersuggest also offers a dedicated content idea tool. Just enter a keyword and Ubersuggest populates a list of content ideas around that keyword.
Here’s an example using the general topic “hiking trails”:
Ubersuggest’s content list in this example spans a range of more specific topics on hiking trails:
- Dangerous hiking trails
- Best walking/hiking trails in New Jersey
- Hiking trails in National Parks
- Longest hiking trail in the world
- Hiking trails in Ellenburg, WA
Not only do you get a list of potential content ideas, but also how those topics have already fared online. See the number of estimated visits to those links, the number of backlinks they’ve earned, and how popular they’ve been on social media.
8. Google Alerts
If you want to see what other people are writing about on a particular subject, set up a free Google Alert. Google Alerts is a keyword-based tool that searches for mentions of a keyword you specify. Each day (or whatever frequency you choose), you’ll get a report of all the content that’s been published using that keyword in a headline.
Think of it as a daily digest on a topic you care about. You’ll see how other writers and publishers are talking about a certain keyword. For example, one news outlet might run a story that you disagree with. You can use that opportunity to create a rebuttal or offer a different side of the same story.
Google Alerts can also help you keep tabs on your online reputation. It’s no replacement for a complete reputation management platform or a content marketing platform, but it can offer basic, bite-sized data to take you to the next step.
9. Google Trends
Another free Google tool, Google Trends makes it easy to discover trending topics in your niche without crowding your inbox. Tapping into one of the largest search databases in existence, you can uncover what people are searching for and the intent behind those searches.
What’s more, Google Trends takes your content ideation a step further by measuring the timeliness of a topic. Is it evergreen? Is it newsworthy? Are people just starting to warm up to this idea? Is it a seasonal hot button?
Learning about trends over time can help you plan your content calendar. Create content and be ready to publish when people are most likely to care about what you’re saying!
If you’ve ever come up with a genius content idea only to forget about it before you can get it on paper, you’ll appreciate Evernote.
Evernote helps you organize your content ideas (and the ideas from your team) so big ideas don’t fall through tiny cracks. Centralize all your brainstorming sessions, assign tasks, and flesh out ideas all from the same place.
One of Evernote’s best features is its ability to “snip” items from the internet and save them for later. Create an entire content catalog from Evernote that’s always brimming with new ideas. It’s a great way to save your ideas for later when you have time to talk with the team.
11. Pinterest Search
Sometimes, the best content ideation tools aren’t “tools” at all. Take Pinterest, for example. It’s purpose-built for inspiration and can help you think in new directions with a simple search.
It’s an impactful way to see what other people are creating content about. For example, if you type “side hustles” into the Pinterest search bar, here’s what you’ll see:
Each of these results has something to do with side hustles. But they each take a unique angle on a much broader topic. For example, one talks about side hustles you can do late at night. Another is more geared to money-making hobbies. One talks about data entry, while another is more focused on monthly income.
With Pinterest, you can see how many reactions a piece of content has earned. Read user comments and see how many followers the poster has. It’s not exactly a data-driven way to test your topic, but it can give you a great place to start.
Empower Your Content Ideation with Linkfluence
Great content ideas can happen on their own, but content ideation tools make the process faster and easier. Using a content ideation tool means you don’t have to wait for lightning to strike. Let your tools do the heavy lifting so your marketing can keep moving forward.
At Linkfluence, we’re empowering content marketers to develop impactful ideas that people care about via consumer insights. Want to learn the secret of finding endless creative ideas for your content marketing? Download our eBook: Brand Superpowers - Limitless Creativity.