• Learn SEO

Your Personal Guide On Generating SEO Content Without Stumbles

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 7 min read
Your Personal Guide On Generating SEO Content Without Stumbles

Intro

I write SEO content every day. Guest blogging and ghostwriting are time-consuming, not to speak of data research, writing for social media, finding keywords, proofreading and editing, brainstorming ideas, and working on my writing skills to avoid embarrassment when it comes to outreaching big dogs like Entrepreneur or Inc.

Fortunately (or not?), I am not alone here. SEO specialists and content creators are multitasking, and lack of time is one of their top challenges to overcome. And taking the fact that many SEOs are involved in the process of content creation, their need for better time management is apparent.

Creating SEO content is hard work. Coming up with ideas for stunning content is even harder:

  • What content types to create for better rankings?
  • What topics will readers love and want to share?
  • Where to get content ideas?

These are among the questions SEOs and content marketers try to answer daily. They have to find different tactics to avoid stumbles in generating content and become more productive, optimizing their work to achieve results. But there’s a problem: The more often we brainstorm ideas and participate in content generation, the more often we experience blocks and stumbles leading to procrastination or content quality sacrifice.

This article is aimed to become your personal guide on generating SEO content without stumbles. It will reveal the secrets of finding great ideas for your content, and it will teach you how to plan content creation and how to write or repurpose it for engaging a broader audience.

So here it goes, step by step.

1. Analyze Your Goals

You won't be able to create and distribute valuable and relevant content if you don't know the objectives and goals of your business:

  • Why do you need this content?
  • What audience do you want to attract?
  • What do you want to achieve with your content?

In case it's still Greek to you, SEO and content marketing are not about content. It’s about what you want to achieve with your content, so determining your business objectives and analyzing your marketing goals is a must.

First of all, define your target audience and create a buyer (marketing) persona, _aka a _representation of your ideal customer.

One of the best descriptions of a marketing persona comes from Ardath Albee:

Quote from Ardath Albee

Experts recommend creating three to five personas representing your audience. You might want to know the following information about your targets:

You might want to know the following information about your targets (Source: HubSpot)

Once determined, your audience becomes your best source for content ideas. To make it easier for you to analyze business goals, also create a content SWOT analysis. It helps to understand the main challenges and opportunities of your marketing strategy and, therefore, come up with a content plan that will impact its success.

With so many templates available online for creating SWOT, it won't be a problem to choose one. Thus, you can try this:

SWOT (Source: Creately)

Or this one:

SWOT (Source: HubSpot)

Once you determine your target audience, strategic goals, and objectives, the next step is to build a plan that defines how you will use content to achieve them.

2. Create a Plan

As a marketer, you take responsibility for a content strategy; so, it would be a good practice to plan it out. It helps to get a clear picture of your corporate objectives, rethink your approach to content creation, and build alignment between all members of your team.

The best way to do this is by using an editorial calendar. It might be challenging to fill them up for upcoming months or even a year, as it's not a simple spreadsheet to track publications but a document to manage the entire lifecycle of your content marketing campaign.

Kevan Lee shared daring tips on setting up your editorial calendar, as well as free templates to use for it. In fact, there are many editorial calendar templates, and you are free to choose the most appropriate for you or create your own in agreement with your objectives and marketing goals.

Curata published the ultimate list of templates available on the market, including those free to download. Like this one:

Blog topics template

Speaking about Curata, they also invented the content pyramid principle that helps to divide your content into levels and structure it according to your marketing objectives. Try it for planning your content and saving time on its generating and promotion.

A content pyramid has three levels:

  1. Core content, aka the heart of your strategy: it's your original material, well-researched and in-depth explored, that becomes a source for other assets of your content pyramid.
  2. Derivative content, aiming at supporting and promoting your core content. It can be infographics, guest posts, long reads, slides, etc.
  3. Micro-content, a la your social media posts and curated content to build awareness. It's the foundation of your content pyramid.

Content Marketing Pyramid (Source: Curata)

Another way to create your content plan is by using a content matrix. It helps to avoid stumbles and quickly generate content ideas, arranging them evenly along your editorial calendar.

How does it work?

Say your niche is furniture. Someone will call it boring, but you can generate tons of great content ideas by using a matrix's three measurements: generalization, specification, and similarity.

That's what your matrix might look like:

using a matrix's three measurements: generalization, specification, and similarity (Source: Provided by Addys Mayers from the CopyCrafter blog)

The crucial moment to understand about content matrix is balance. Keep it by watching your audience's interest in the topic: going too far from the core (furniture, as suggested in the example), your brand risks losing communication with the target audience, while constantly emphasizing the core might result in your brand's domination and, therefore, annoy readers.

When your content plan is ready, it's time to make every part engaging for the audience. To avoid stumbling here, you need sources for generating ideas.

3. Get Ideas

This one is the hardest.

It's the reason for your stumbles: to work efficiently, you need to come up with new SEO content ideas all the time. More than that, you should generate ideas for valuable, relevant, and engaging content.

It's not easy. It's mentally draining.

And it's frustrating!

You spend hours coming up with nothing but run-of-the-mill ideas, and it kills you. As the result, you struggle more with ideation than actual content creation.

To generate ideas without stumbling, try these sources.

"Steal" from competitors

How often does it happen:

Once you come up with a brilliant idea, it appears published by someone named Jeff Bullas or Jon Morrow. Fine, they are gurus, so you can handle it. But sometimes your competitors take your brilliant idea but fail to represent it the way it deserves. You know you can do it better! Here it stops being plagiarism; it becomes an improvement.

Here's how you can steal content from others:

  • Find potential-worthy content (Google search, BuzzSumo, Quora, and Backlink Checker can help you).
  • Improve it (make it longer, display it differently, or expound it).

Your task is to take good (or even great) content and make it better, citing all sources and not infringing any copyright.

Go offline

Newspapers and magazines you read can be great sources of ideas. USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Health, Eating Well, and similar publications — they all work for those who see. By studying their covers and pages, you can generate lots of ideas for topics, headlines, and even the structure and style of your content.

How?

Step 1: Check them for recent publications. Step 2: Study their covers for headlines. Step 3: Flip through pages for topics. Step 4: Turn them into topics to suit your audience.

Resources other than the Internet are a goldmine of ideas for your future SEO content: books you read, conferences you attend, or even your meetings with friends.

Ask your audience

Readers are your #1 source of content ideas. Who will know what they want from you, if they don't? So, don't hesitate to ask your target audience, as it is the most effective way to not only come up with ideas but to create better content as well.

How?

  • Talk to a friend who is in your target audience.
  • Go to a local meeting group of your audience.
  • Carefully examine comments on your published content to understand what else people would like to read from you.
  • Visit Q&A communities to determine what in your niche is interesting to people at the moment.
  • Listen to what others in your industry are talking about.

Free write

This one is my favorite! You won't believe but each free writing session gives me 2-3 content ideas.

Never heard of this technique? Let's ask Urban Dictionary then:

Free write

Olesia F. from WritingBreeze specifies it as “a practice of unceasing writing when you follow the impulses of your mind and allow your thoughts to appear on paper with no prescribed structure, outlines, or edits.”

In English, free writing is taking your laptop and writing several pages of text quickly, with time limits, and the way you think. You express subconscious ideas in this way, which might give you several topics for your content.

Free writing technique is popular among bloggers and writers. Initially described by Julia Cameron and Mark Levy, it's easy to practice with tools like 750 Words or Write or Die.

4. Write

With ideas in your pocket, you start the process of content creation. It might be stumbling, too. (Have you ever heard of writer's block?)

To avoid blocks, you might want to develop useful writing habits, such as:

  1. Reading (for inspiration, new knowledge, and wider vocabulary).
  2. Time management (for better productivity and work efficiency).
  3. Making notes (take a notebook and pen everywhere with you, even when going to bed).
  4. Drink coffee or tea (caffeine stimulates memory, and theanine enhances creativity and helps to stay focused).
  5. Write on mornings (the creativity center of our brain has its peak then).

To write without stumbles, you might want to create a vocabulary of power words to use in content. There are many, and top influencers like Jon Morrow or Henneke Duistermaat have already developed the ultimate lists of such words for marketers.

The 7 different types of power words

5. Repurpose

A good tactic of your marketing strategy might be the adaptation of your content for channels other than blogs. Repurpose your existing content to prolong its lifespan and grab a wider audience. It can become an infographic, video, audio, webinar, or SlideShare presentation.

Also, you can update old content from your archives. Do your website audit and check your analytics to see which posts still generate traffic and are loved by users, make sure they are still relevant, and republish them with updates to extend their lifespan and minimize the effects of stumbling upon content ideas.

Did you know that up to 76% of your monthly page views can come from your old posts? So, why not try after all?

Final Thought

Rephrasing Stephen King, the road to becoming a good SEO specialist and content marketer is paved with challenges. But the man who never made a mistake never made anything. So, whether writer's block or another stumble, you are armed with tactics and instruments to overcome all challenges on your way.

What are your personal tactics for generating SEO content without stumbles? What would you recommend to marketers struggling with the problem today? Contact us to share your insights with the audience!

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience . He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

Try Ranktracker for FREE