If you’ve ever asked yourself how the heck you’re supposed to find content marketing ideas and hot topics that are on-trend and relevant to your business, this post is for you.
Using nothing but free tools, we’re going to show you how you can find ideas, produce relevant content for your audience, and attract engagement. Buckle up boys and girls because we’re about to blow your mind with some easy content marketing hacks.
What’s Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a fascinating subject but a lot of people find it more intimidating than they should. It’s okay if you’re one of them, you won’t be by the end of this post.
Everybody, no matter what type of business you’re running, has to participate in content marketing. What is content marketing? According to CMI:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Instead of just throwing your products and services in people’s faces all the time (which is a real turn-off), content marketing shows that you really care about your prospects and customers. You’re going the extra mile and providing useful information to people because you want to help them solve a problem.
The hard part is finding out what information your prospects and customers are looking for.
Or is it?
5 Free Tools for Finding Hot Topics to Produce Content About
Because we’re cool people, we’re going to give you a sneak peek into how we hunt down on-trend content ideas for Z Coast using nothing but freebies.
We’re going to use the actual topic of content marketing because, ya know, we do that here: Proof. But these tools and tactics are for everybody, no matter what kind of business you’re running.
Quora defines itself as, “A place to share knowledge and better understand the world.” It totally lives up to that definition. If we’re ever at a loss for topic ideas, one of the first places we go troll is Quora.
You can use Quora just like a search engine by taking advantage of the search bar. So, as an example, we logged into Quora and searched “content marketing” to see what we could find.
With Quora, you have the option to just search for the term or search by topic, we like searching by topic.
Anyway, we searched the topic “content marketing” and it took us to a feed where we have the choice to view by:
— Topic FAQ
— Most Viewed Writers
They’re all cool to search through but we’re partial to browsing through Most Viewed Writers So that’s what we did.
Why the preference? We like the top ten list this view returns. We tend to gravitate towards the middle of the list but you should always pick whatever piques your interest the most.
When you pick a writer and click through on an article you think looks interesting we recommend that you also look at the number of follows and number of answers in the article.
Follows tend to vary wildly but the more answers an article on Quora has, the better indicator it is that it’s a hot topic at the moment (just check the date to make sure).
However, the most important thing is the number of views and upvotes an article has. You don’t have to look for anything outrageous but you’re in good shape if anything’s got over 300 views and/or 50 upvotes.
So, continuing on with our example we’ll say you found an article on the topic of content marketing about startup content marketing that had 511 views and 64 upvotes. Next stop…
Otherwise known as the front page of the internet. When we got to Reddit, we searched “startup content marketing” and Reddit gave us some subreddit ideas but what we’re looking for is actual topics.
Remember, we’re looking for recency and engagement so we found a post about investing in content marketing that was published about 7 months ago that has 269 points. Good number.
Of course, you should always read the post. But once you’ve got an idea about the context of the topic what you really want to look at are the comments and replies at the bottom of the page.
That’s where the good stuff is and where you’re going to find some more ideas.
Pay attention to the types of questions people are asking about your topic and look for ones you know you and your business can address. That’s what we did.
Follow the breadcrumbs!
Quora led us to the idea of startup content marketing which is one on-trend content marketing idea we could use by itself. But then we searched that term in Reddit and it led us to a post about investing in content marketing, another topic we could pursue.
The questions and answers section of that article is full of discussion about content management systems and which ones are right for different business sizes.
Boom! It only took a couple of minutes and now we have 3 new ideas for Z Coast blog posts and other types of content we could produce all about content marketing.
But we’re not done yet!
We also like to use YouTube when we’re looking for content marketing ideas. And you guessed it, we went to YouTube and searched startup content marketing there too.
Note: YouTube makes it super easy to find recent content. Just use the little Filters tab at the top and filter by whatever timeframe you want for your search.
After searching startup content marketing we filtered by “This Month” and found a nice little video from Miles Beckler: DIY Sales Funnel Part 2 – Start Content Marketing & Learn How To Customize Your Theme On WordPress.
It was published 1 week ago, has 1,152 views at the time of writing this post, 50 likes, and 53 comments. Not bad.
The video is definitely worth a watch but after watching we headed to the comments section ‘cause we’re on a mission here. In the comments, we found more questions and comments about:
— Content management systems (especially WordPress)
— Hiding sidebars with CSS and other tricks
— Image uploading issues in WordPress
— SEO tactics
Great stuff! Now we have a whole Google doc full of hot content marketing ideas (literally) based on the types of questions people are asking all over the web.
AnswerThePublic.com is the bomb for three reasons:
1) The old guy on the homepage who doesn’t give a crap that you’re there.
2) It’s visual keyword research.
3) You can search specifically by country. You’ve got to try it.
We’re in Atlanta, GA so we searched in the US setting. ‘Murica.
Since using the Answer The Public, we’ve found that broad terms work best when you’re looking for ideas so instead of searching startup content marketing here like we did on Reddit and YouTube, we just searched content marketing.
By doing so, Answer The Public presented us with an infographic of 85 popular questions around the topic of content marketing such as:
— What are content marketing methods?
— Companies who use content marketing?
— When to use content marketing?
— How does content marketing make money?
Now the really cool the thing about Answer The Public is that you can click on any of the questions it gave you and it will literally search in Google for you. Then, you can see who ranks and for what in relation to the question you searched.
Pretty dope, right?
You didn’t think we’d get through this post without mentioning Google, did you? Of course not. From Answer The Public we clicked on the question, “How does content marketing make money?” When we got to Google we checked out some of the top posts but the real reason we’re here is to look at searches related to how does content marketing make money at the bottom of the search page. We found eight. All of which we’ll save in our Google doc of literal on-trend content marketing ideas.
You Can Be A Content Marketer Too
All 5 places we visited looking for topic ideas can be used for anything. You can take the same methods we use and apply them to your restaurant, your art studio, or your pet grooming business. We just used the actual topic of content marketing here because we literally specialize in content marketing at Z Coast Media.
Over the course of a few minutes, we showed you how we generate ideas to blog about, write emails about, and do other cool content marketing things with. We started with nothing and ended up with 10+ new ideas that’ll keep us busy for weeks. We know you can do the same!
Questions about content marketing? See an idea we disclosed in this post you’d like us to write about? We’re not mindreaders! Share ‘em in the comments.