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Do you ever feel like you’re on the edge of breaking through with your content marketing?
That you know how to create amazing content for your blog and promote it, but the traffic just isn’t quite there.
In my experience, the problem typically doesn’t lie in your writing skills or knowledge. Instead, it’s in the ideas that you choose to write about.
The best post in the world won’t get any attention if it’s on a topic that your audience doesn’t care about.
Look at what Neil Patel, Brian Dean, and other successful content marketers publish. The content itself is very good, but nothing you couldn’t create in most cases.
The difference lies in their ability to generate loads of content ideas that their readers love.
Start your creative process with awesome ideas from Reddit. Then, turn those ideas into real, high-performing blog posts with these free resources:
Chances are that you’ve come up with some great ideas in the past.
But there’s one problem that most of us run into …
It’s hard to come up with great ideas on a regular basis.
The solution to this problem is to find ways to come up with more great ideas on a regular basis; that much is obvious.
There are different methods to do that, and I’d like to show you the best one I know of in this post.
I’m going to show you exactly how to generate as many blog topic ideas as you need, that your audience will love.
Contrary to popular belief, most great ideas don’t come about from just thinking hard.
Instead, they come from observing and interacting with the people you actually write for (or want to write for).
I’ll mention it time and time again: your audience is the key to great content ideas.
Broadly speaking, we can classify great content into 2 categories.
You wouldn’t be reading this post if you didn’t have some trouble coming up with great content ideas.
The more trouble someone has with this problem, the more motivated they’re going to be to read this post.
That goes for anything. If a piece of content can solve a problem that you know you’re struggling with, you’re going to give a chance.
It’s a small, but important distinction.
If you’re really ingrained into an audience, you’ll be able see some solutions for their problems that they can’t see themselves.
This is where real innovation takes place.
For example, when travel took too long, people wanted faster horses. Henry Ford came up with the car, which was a way better solution no one had thought of before.
Ideas that fall into this category are typically innovative. They bring some new value to your audience, which is great.
The downside, however, is that these ideas are much harder to come by (and to execute).
Additionally, it’s harder to promote them at first because audiences look for obvious solutions (type #1). They aren’t as motivated (possibly scared) to give something that seems different a try.
It’s not a secret place by any stretch—it’s Reddit.
Reddit is a solution for many content marketing problems that marketers don’t even consider (yes, that would by category #2 from above).
It can be a scary site if you’ve never used it. But once you dig in and learn how it can be useful for content marketing, it will blow your mind.
Reddit is the 26th top site in the world as of this moment—it’s huge.
It consists of niche-specific communities for about every topic imaginable. Just pure, focused data from actual audiences. It should be a marketer’s dream.
The catch? It takes hard work.
Be honest with me. How often have you just plugged in a keyword into Google’s Keyword Planner to get content ideas?
It’s quick. It’s easy.
Almost every marketer has done it at some point.
But you get the exact same ideas that everyone else gets.
It’s a lazy solution, and you get the results that you’d expect.
Instead, you can invest some time and effort into researching Reddit to get unique ideas.
There are 3 ways that you can approach content idea generation on Reddit. I’ll walk you through them all.
I’m going to assume that you understand what a subreddit is, and how to find a relevant subreddit to your niche.
If not, this video will get you up to speed:
This is a simple approach, but it takes a lot of manual work.
You don’t need to do any sorting. Just go to your subreddit and start looking at thread titles for questions (because questions indicate problems)..
For example, here’s what r/Entrepreneur looks like as I write this:
Right away, you can see 4 questions:
Now we can generate content ideas based on these questions:
If those posts were well written and posted in that same subreddit, they’d get hundreds of views.
Skip any problem if you can’t come up with a “solution” to create. However, remember that solving the toughest problems usually bring the greatest rewards.
At this point, just add every question you see to a list (simple text file, spreadsheet, etc.).
Additionally, look in the comments of each thread for followup questions.
The top level comments will usually be answers to the original question. But the ones that reply to those comments are often questions.
For example, from the above thread about passive income:
There’s 4 more questions right there:
When you reach the bottom of the subreddit page, go to the next one…then the next one…and so on until you have a list of hundreds of questions.
This might take an hour or two, but batching it all upfront will be most efficient.
Next, come up with different solutions (topic ideas) for each problem. If you can come up with a few different angles, that’s great.
If you feel that some solutions are too basic or not worth creating content about, just skip them. After all, you should have hundreds more.
This is an approach that works well if you’re also trying to drive search traffic.
With the first approach, you may or may not have a good keyword to target in your content, but here you will for sure.
There are 3 main steps to do this.
Start by heading back to your relevant subreddit(s).
While you can leave the threads in the default order, I recommend sorting by “top”, and then “of all time”:
Now, go through each thread and write down phrases that could be good keywords to target. This includes both the title and comments in each thread.
Don’t worry if the keyword might not be great, we’ll filter out the bad ones later.
Here’s an example of the current top post on r/Entrepreneur of all time:
There 3 obvious long tail phrases in the opening post that might be worth targeting:
Don’t expect to find hundreds per thread, but you can usually find 5-10 (sometimes some duplicates).
From one of the comments, I quickly found another one that appears promising:
Again, you want to build up a massive pile of these keywords in a text list or spreadsheet before moving on. If you need a target number, look to get at least 200 or so to start.
A lot of those keywords that we just found will have very little, or no actual search volume.
Now that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t target them. You could still rank for similar variations that do in fact have some search volume. However, we want to be sure so that you don’t waste your time.
This step involves running those keywords through a keyword tool.
You can use any tool you’d like. For the examples below, I’ve used Term Explorer.
You can do 1 of 2 things:
The second option ensures you’ll find any close variants that have actual search volumes.
I ran those 4 quick keywords that I found, and it turns out that only one of those has any exact search volume in the U.S.:
You’ll find that happens a lot, which is why I recommend starting with a big list.
However, most keyword tools will also produce close variants that do actually have search volumes.
For example, Term Explorer also found:
Keep in mind the relatively recent Google Keyword Planner update that doesn’t give exact volumes (i.e. 100-1000). It looks like Term Explorer is just taking an average value.
These aren’t amazing keywords, but they’re not bad.
If you have a large starting of keywords, you will find at least a few excellent keywords to target directly.
Keep in mind that all this is different than just plugging in a few broad niche keywords into a keyword tool. You won’t stumble upon most of these keywords using that lazy method.
This lets you avoid a lot of the competition who all go after the same, easy-to-find keywords.
Eventually you’ve found keywords mentioned on Reddit and search engines. These keywords allow you to naturally get traffic through multiple channels.
Keywords are even easier to turn into content ideas that having to think of a solution to a problem.
From above, you might think of:
For the most part, keywords lend themselves to straightforward titles.
As a developer, I had a huge problem with this approach.
I liked the results, but it took several hours (not exaggerating) per month to just research the keywords. So eventually, I built an automated solution that you can also use if you’d like.
The tool scrapes threads and comments in a subreddit, pulls out keywords, and checks search volume.
All you need to do is find your subreddit, and then plug it into Keyworddit:
I ran it with the default settings, except setting “relevance” to “high”. It produced a list of 155 keywords scraped from the subreddit that actually have search volume.
Out of these, there are still some junk keywords. But, there are also several that I wouldn’t have found before.
Then, just create content ideas like we did above.
I’d encourage you to plug in the best of these keywords into another keyword tool to get even more ideas.
For the sake of completeness, I’m including this approach.
This will be brief, however, because it’s nothing new. Essentially, it’s the Skyscraper Technique approach.
The basic idea is to:
It definitely works. If an audience liked the original content, of course they will like a much improved version.
To do this, again sort your subreddit by “top”. You can choose between “All time” and “Past year” depending on how fast your niche changes over time.
You won’t be able to improve every thread. Sometimes you don’t have the knowledge or experience to do so.
From above, I’ve identified 2 opportunities for improvement.
Original: 37 Tactics I used to grow my company to $50k/month in sales without spending a penny on marketing.
Improvement: 85 Tactics you can use to grow your business’ sales without spending a penny on marketing (with proof they work!).
Original: How startups such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Groupon and others acquired their first users.
Improvement: I studied how Dropbox, Airbnb, and 50 Other Top Startups Got Their First Users: Here Is How They Did It.
You have some flexibility in how you improve upon it:
As long as you’ve maintained the core idea, it’s going to do well. Whenever I’ve done this, it’s always surpassed the score of the original thread.
Reddit isn’t the only place to get content ideas, but it’s a great one to have in your repertoire.
There’s a never-ending supply of content ideas for almost every niche.
I encourage you to use all 3 approaches so that you can have a huge number of blog topic ideas to work with.
One last thing to keep in mind is that not all ideas you get from these approaches will be great. It’s up to you to have high standards of what you actually move forward with and produce.
February 1, 2017
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