Content Ideation for Your Digital Publication
Written by Matt Berringer
July 19, 2022
Finding and choosing new content topics can help you reach different readers, engage with existing ones and set your publication apart from others in your field. Below are three content ideation techniques to help you generate relevant, interesting ideas.
1. Listening to Your Audience
Consider what you already know about your existing readership — why did they start following or subscribing to your content? What pain points or special interests does your publication meet for them that others don’t? What needs could you strive to meet moving forward?
These content ideation tools can help you gather more information from your audience to generate more targeted ideas:
- Collect feedback: Connecting with your audience can be as simple as simply asking what content they want to see. Consider holding focus groups or sending feedback surveys to existing readers for their input and ideas. You should also be engaged with your audience on their social media platforms — pay special attention to what kinds of comments they leave and what tags your publication receives.
- Track the reader journey: Map the typical reader’s journey to identify where they come from and which content pieces perform better overall. Identify what those pieces have in common, such as similar topics, formats, keywords, platforms or writers.
- Use keyword research: Track which words and phrases readers search for and implement those into your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. You can also dive deeper into high-ranking keywords to figure out what types of content they’re searching for, like specific interests or questions you could cover.
- Involve the whole team: Include as many team members as possible by collecting internal feedback from customer-facing staff. What pain points or suggestions have they heard customers repeat? What perspective can each department or individual offer?
2. Focusing Deeply on Industry Trends
Even publications covering broad topics can benefit from diving deeper into industry trends to find new discussion ideas. Knowing what’s going on in your industry and releasing timely, relevant content establishes your publication as a leader. Take opportunities to tell stories first or find unique connections and angles before other publications have the chance — just be sure to have a reliable framework or story template on hand for quick coverage.
You can learn about industry happenings by following thought leaders and key players on social media or by subscribing to their blog feeds. Consider what they’re saying, how they’re saying it and how seemingly disconnected topics could fit into your content ideation plan.
Examine keyword trends in your industry to find patterns, then compare other digital content you and others have created. There are often gaps between what readers are searching online and what publications are releasing — there’s your sweet spot.
3. Competitor Research
Your competitors and their audience should play a significant role in your content planning. While there might be some overlap, your publication has two types of competitors to contend with — direct competing publications and any website currently outranking you in search engines.
Follow these tips:
- Perform an SEO analysis: Use tools and SEO websites to analyze your competitors’ strategies and rankings, including what keywords they use, where they’re currently ranking and what type of content is performing best on various platforms.
- Listen to their audience: Your competitors’ audience consists of your current readers or readers you should be trying to attract to your publication, so understanding their behavior is crucial for topic ideation.
What types of articles and media are they sharing from other publications? Are they leaning more toward interactive and shareable visual media, or are they diving deep into long-form coverage?
- Analyze content: Monitor and analyze your competitors’ content to determine what topics they cover, what angle they use to approach trending ideas, how often they share content and what formats they showcase content across each platform. What topics and media types are they lacking? What do they excel in, and how can you adopt a similar — yet distinct — approach with your publication?
Download a Guide to Learn More About Digital Content Creation
At Nxtbook Media, we’ve been helping digital publications like yours create and leverage top-performing content with our industry experience and feature-packed digital platforms. We can help you create, change or analyze your content ideation process. Browse our industry articles or download a guide today for more tips!