Quality content resonates with people. It draws in readers, provides useful information, and keeps consumers coming back for more. But no matter how amazing the content, all content begins with an idea.
Coming up with ideas for content is not always easy. Sometimes an idea might come to you while you’re relaxing at the park, out for a walk, or speaking with a friend. Oftentimes, though, you get stuck. When this happens, how do you come up with new ideas?
Fortunately, you have plenty of options. In the digital world, there are plenty of tools that make it easier than ever to find or come up with new content ideas. Here are 14 of the most useful content ideation tools to help you with your next great idea.
1. Portent’s Content Idea Generator
If you’re in the early stages of generating ideas for content, Portent’s Content Idea Generator is a fun, helpful tool to get your brain in gear. Enter your subject matter and the generator will churn out potential headlines to jumpstart the creative process.
Portent also provides SEO tools, website analytics, and design and development services to help you write and publish your content.
2. FAQ Fox
Are you trying to build content around certain keywords? FAQ Fox is a free tool that scrapes the web for you to find questions that your target audience is asking.
After entering your target keyword, specify the list of websites that you want FAQ Fox to search—you can also select a category of websites, such as cooking, animals, tech, and insurance. The generator then pulls up a list of existing content that involves that keyword. You can click each headline and skim the content to help brainstorm ideas for your next piece.
AnswerThePublic helps you brainstorm the questions your target audience may be searching for. Like the previous tools, all you have to do to get started is type in your keyword. AnswerThePublic then generates a series of questions about that word and suggests some potential topics.
AnswerThePublic is interesting because it provides you with two options to view your search results:
- Visualization boards
- Lists of data
You can select the option that is most helpful for you to find the inspiration you need for your next big idea.
Keword.io is a free, basic search engine optimization (SEO) research tool that provides you with lists of relevant keyword or key phrase suggestions. Type in your seed keyword to generate the words and phrases people actually use in search engines to find products, services, and information in your industry or niche. As you scroll through the results, you can select and save the ones that jump out to you.
Keyword.io stands out because it provides the option for you to scrape specific platforms, such as Google, Bing, and YouTube. The website sifts through multiple sources, so you get to pick and choose the ones that best meet both your needs and your audience’s needs.
5. Google Search Console
Another way to come up with content ideas is to search your own website. One way to do that is with Google Search Console.
Google Search Console helps you monitor and maintain your website’s presence in search results. View clicks, click-through rates, and top queries to find pieces of content that aren’t performing as well as you might like. In this case, your content idea isn’t necessarily to create something brand new, but to address old content that needs to be fixed or replaced.
6. Google Trends
Another free tool from Google is Google Trends. This tool is useful for keyword research—that is, finding search terms that are trending in your industry and deciding on potential topics to create content around.
When you type in a keyword or search term, Google Trends displays information about interest broken down by regions, related topics, and related queries. Google Trends also tracks interest in your queried keyword over time to help you decide whether interest is growing, waning, or periodic.
7. Keyword Planner
One more Google tool to help with content marketing ideation is Google’s Keyword Planner.
Keyword Planner helps you accomplish two tasks:
- Research keywords that are relevant to your service, product, or industry. This tool is incredibly helpful when it comes to finding keywords based on phrases or a URL. Enter up to 10 phrases at a time to generate a list of keywords and learn about average monthly searches and competition.
- Track historical statistics and search volume to predict keyword trends, forecast click rates, and estimate future conversions. This tool is helpful for market campaign budgeting and content planning.
When using this tool, you may filter your results and download the ideas that catch your eye. Note that to access Keyword Planner, your business must use Google Ads and be in Expert Mode, not Smart Mode.
8. Google Search Results
You can often find inspiration by performing a web search yourself. If you’re trying to create content around certain keywords, search them up using your preferred search engine—most people use Google. The results provide you with top ranking pieces of content about those words and can inspire you with new ideas of your own.
Take some time to scan the top-ranking results. Note what types of sites they are, what types of content they feature, and what similarities they all share. Researching what’s currently performing well will help you better understand what your target market is looking for.
Quora is an online community of individuals that are dedicated to posting questions and providing answers. It’s a fantastic tool for content ideation.
To use Quora, you must create an account—it’s free, quick, and simple. You can then begin searching for specific topics and see the most popular questions about them. These questions will give you the inspiration you need to come up with your next content idea.
Like Quora, Reddit isn’t a traditional content marketing ideation tool. It’s a community of folks that discuss everything from science and politics to memes and video games. The site is rich with lively threads that contain ideas for pieces of content.
There are a few ways to use Reddit to generate new ideas.
- Browse specific subreddits related to your business’s niche to find frequently asked questions.
- Search for keywords on AskReddit, IAmA, or similar subreddits dedicated to addressing popular questions.
- Read through discussions about common or unaddressed issues in your particular industry that you can write about.
Twitter is a social networking site that is surprisingly helpful for businesses searching for their next great content idea.
Use the advanced search filter function to find relevant tweets and discover some topics to cover. With advanced search, you can look for exact phrases, all words, and specific hashtags. The results provide a sketch of what’s trending in your target audience.
Another way to use Twitter for content ideation is to ask the community. Create a Twitter account for your business, pose a question or create a poll, and encourage followers and others in the Twitterverse to share their thoughts and opinions. The information you glean will become a treasure trove for content ideas.
Ahrefs is a paid service that provides tools to help increase your search traffic, learn more about your competition, and monitor trends in your field. One of the site’s main goals is to help you rank better in search engines.
Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool is helpful when deliberating content ideas. The tool lets you:
- Research topics
- Discover low competition topics with high traffic
- Find link opportunities
- See domain ratings
- Gauge social shares, organic traffic statistics, and SEO metrics
- Track competitor performance
- Find guest blogging opportunities
Using this tool, you can study competitors and better pinpoint a content niche for yourself.
Like Ahrefs, BuzzSumo is a platform that uses data to help you find high performing content. This tool lets you
- Research web content
- Monitor keyword trends
- Discover influential content creators in your field
By tracking trends and discovering content creators in your industry, you will learn about what topics are popular with your target audience, what content gaps you may have in your own website, and what competitors have already covered.
Because BuzzSumo follows influencers on top of tracking keywords and topics, this tool not only helps with content market ideation, but also with connections and potential collaborations. Using this tool, you will find influencers that you might want to work with in the future.
14. Text Optimizer
The SEO tool Text Optimizer is known for analyzing a piece of content and pinpointing opportunities for better optimization—but it also offers a helpful feature for content ideation.
It feels like a combination of Answer the Public and Google Trends. Just type in a general topic, and Text Optimizer will show popular questions related to the topic. It also provides a rough estimate of how many sites currently address a given question.
From there, you can pick questions to use as new content ideas. It helps to see the number of people asking the question as well as sites publishing an answer to gauge a rough idea of search volume and keyword difficulty—perfect if you don't have access to another tool with this data.
All great content starts with an idea. While great ideas sometimes appear as if from nowhere, often times you need a little inspiration. Content ideation tools are useful resources that help you find the spark to get your creative juices flowing. With solid content ideas, you’ll be able to write compelling content that captures your readers’ attention, drives up website views, and builds your brand as a trustworthy authority in your industry.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Jessica Moore.