4 Alternative Sources for Content Inspiration

Content inspiration lightbulb
03 Jan 2017
Paul Smail

As marketers, we’re always looking for new sources of content inspiration that the audience will relate to and be interested in.  Brands often struggle with the concept of breaking away from standard, safe & time tried topics.  However, there are plenty of alternative resource that can spark inspiration and help you fuel and enhance your content and keyword targeting.  Below we look at 5 of these alternative resources:

Quora

If you don’t know Quora, it’s a Q&A platform that has a huge user base.  It gets upwards of 7m organic visitors a month and ranks for almost 6m keywords*.  The topics covered are extremely broad and there is almost certainly likely to be something for your niche area.

To utilise the power of Quora for content topics that you could cover in your won content you can use a little trick in a tool such as SEMRush to revel the questions that people are asking.  Once you know this it can fuel your content calendar.

To do this enter the www.quora.com domain in SEMRush and view the full ‘Top Organic Keywords’ report:

SEMRush Top Organic Keywords screenshot

Source: SEMRush

Once you see the full report it’s as simple as choosing a key area that your brand covers and putting that keyword in the ‘filter by keyword’ box.  Once the results are filtered you can get a realm idea for what questions are being asked by looking at the URL column.

Say for example you are a retailer and as a seasonal search terms you are interested in winter jackets, Quora has a wide range of questions around winter jackets:

Winter Jackets Quora Keywords SEMRush screenshot

Source: SEMRush

  • What are the best winter jackets to keep warm?
  • Are North Face jackets worth the cost?
  • How to stop a down jacket from shedding feathers?
  • Why do jackets have fur round the hood?
  • Best warm winter down jackets for me

Whilst you might not want to specifically answer these questions within your own content its starts to spark some interesting ideas for content that you could create, and if you’re already an active member in the Quora community and your new content answers these queries then let people know about it.  But be careful Quora doesn’t like what may be conceived as spamming users with links!

*Source: SEMRush

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a great tool for getting an idea on what content has been popular with users by showing where the highest level of social engagement has been.

There are many different facets to the searches you can carry out on Buzzsumo, topic or domain searches are the easiest way to get started, but you can start to filter by specific locations, languages, content types etc.

Using this tool is as simple as entering a search query / topic and it will return the most popular related content.

From here you can review the top content to see what type of content is resonating most with the audience (infographics, videos, listicles etc.) you can also assess what topics or themes of content appear to be more popular.  From here you can start to integrate ideas into your own content planning, maybe you could look at a content curation piece covering some topics that are currently very popular, maybe it’s about repurposing a topic and repackaging it in a way that makes it even more accessible and relevant to your own audience.  Maybe you already have content that is similar to more popular pieces, and its more about leveraging a more enticing headline to catch user’s attention. There are many possibilities open to you as a marketer.

Buzzsumo screenshot of winter jackets content

Source: Buzzsumo

Keyword Shitter

What do we say about the Keyword Shitter tool?  Well its basic and it does exactly what it says on the tin!  You can basically stick in some source keywords including positive and negative filters and it will basically dump thousands of keywords out.  Those who are familiar with Ubersuggest will recognise that it goes through a similar process and outputs keywords based on alphabetic concatenations based on your source keywords.

Now this tool can run for a long time, it honestly just keeps on going!  So, you can leave it for a period to see how much it spits out or you can stop the job after say 5-10 mins and assess the few thousand keywords its already spat out!

Keyword shitter screenshot with vaping keywords

Source: Keyword Shitter

The trick with this tool is to take the output from the txt file and copy it into Excel and start filtering for question based keywords any other relevant areas that you know your client or brand are interested in:

  • What
  • Who
  • How
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • Does
  • Can

In the same way the Quora concept works, this allows you to start to see the types of questions you could answer in your content creation.  If we take ‘vaping’ as a key topic and apply various question filters we start to see some interesting areas that might be relevant for a client content planner:

  • How long does e-liquid last?
  • How safe is vaping vs smoking?
  • Vape tricks how to

Be warned this tool is indiscriminate so there will be results that you will definitely avoid:

  • Does vaping alcohol get you drunk
  • Is vaping weed unhealthy

Hubspot Blog Topic Generator

The Hubspot Blog Topic Generator is another easy to sue tool that can provide a source of inspiration for your content planning and creation.

You can add up to 3 nouns to allow the generation of relevant results in the tool.  Now this one is a little quirky, but now and then it will spit out something relevant that could be useful, but I wouldn’t rely on this as a sole source of inspiration.  It’s clearly used as a hook for lead generation for Hubspot, but don’t let that put you off using the free version.

Having entered:

  • Vaping
  • Smoking
  • E-liquid

It presents me with 5 potential topics:

Hubspot screenshot of potential content topics

Source: Hubspot

Would these all be relevant and useful for my client, probably not – Why we love smoking (and you should, too!) isn’t going to win us any new customers! But something around problems with vaping might work, so it’s worth the 2 minutes it takes to get the results!

Summary

Digital marketers are always tasked with supporting content creation to meet the everlasting paradigm that ‘Content is King’. However, it’s important to make sure it’s useful and relevant content.  Utilising tools can help ease this process and spark content inspiration for your own content calendars and the 4 tools above, whilst only scratching the surface, hopefully provide a little extra insight for your campaigns!

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