The Best Tools for Content Creation and Ideation

by | Feb 20, 2017 | Content Production

We all love a good tool here at Search Factory | iProspect. Who doesn’t, right? And when that tool can be used to create content, well, you better believe it makes our content team a little hot under the collar.

If you like content as much as we do, you’re in luck, because today we’re sharing our favourite tools of the trade, so you can do our job for us create something your audience will enjoy – and find valuable!

Tools for content ideas:

Buzzsumo

Screenshot from Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a handy way to search by topic or domain, so you can check an idea to see who’s done it before and how it performed by measurement of social engagement and backlinks. This then lets you assess whether your concept is:

  • A good idea
  • Something you can do better than everyone else
  • Something that has potential for link-building if you distribute the content effectively.

Google Analytics

Screenshot from Google Analytics

Google Analytics is great for assessing your own content and gaining insights into what people are reading when they hit your blog or website in general. Not only can this guide your future content ideas (keep producing similar pieces for that audience, change your topics to target a different audience, etc.), but it can also give you some instant wins when it comes to refreshing older articles that still get eyes on them.

Answer the Public

Screenshot from Answer the Public

 

OK, this one is fun and helpful. Answer the Public is a free tool that generates commonly asked questions on a topic of your choice. Narrow it down by region to account for different vernaculars, and Bob’s your uncle. Use a question as a standalone title if it’s fairly complex or highly relevant to your market, or answer a whole heap of common questions in one ‘ultimate guide’ style article.

Forums

Screenshot from Whirlpool

If you want to know what your consumers want to know, head directly to the source. Product forums are an easy way to see what users commonly ask, so you can take those questions and answer them thoroughly on your site. While the forum users might be going there to get an answer unclouded by sales pitches and brand bias, not everyone will head straight to these consumer hubs, instead choosing to search their question first. And if your brand is visible addressing their concerns and offering solutions, you have your foot in the door from the word go.

Keyword Planner

Screenshot from Keyword Planner

You sell Europe tours? Use keyword planning tools to see what else people search for. It might be time to create a page or post about different types of Europe tour packages you have on offer.

Competitors/niche publishers

Screenshot from Competitor Website

If you have a competitor you know has a particularly successful content strategy, or operate in a space that has niche publications (like Forbes, for example), suss them out. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) plagiarise their content to take advantage of the research they are doing behind the scenes. Whether you use their titles as inspo for your brand, or step back and look at the people they would be targeting and build some profiles for your own strategy, saving yourself a bit of effort is always a win.

Ye olde Google Search

Screenshot from Google Search

What articles have already been created for your target market? Run some searches on their interests and your product or service, and get an idea of what’s actually ranking for those queries, then use those results to guide your own topics and ideas. We also love the “People also ask” section, which gives you some related questions you can pursue further.

Tools for content creation:

Microsoft Office

Screenshot from Microsoft Office

Don’t underestimate the Microsoft Office software. They’ve been around forever for a reason – they’re pretty easy to use and are generally pretty functional. Doing a piece of research-intensive data journalism? You can use Excel to do up graphs to illustrate your findings. Need to knock up a Venn diagram or some slides for a shared presentation? PowerPoint is the obvious way to go, and it has improved dramatically in function and aesthetic over the years.

Shutterstock

Screenshot from Shutterstock

You’re not still writing blog posts and uploading them without images, right? Right?? Stock image libraries like Shutterstock are good for high-quality images, and by getting them from a legit site, you’re not stealing other people’s hard work. Wins all round, there.

Canva/Pixlr

Screenshot of Canva

Not a designer by trade? Don’t worry, we aren’t either (that’s why we love our in-house designer, Will. Hi Will!)

When Will’s busy, which is always, and we need a little something-something to make our client or internal work extra-special, it’s nice to have an easy-to-use tool available. Canva is awesome for things like flyers, graphics and social posts.

If you’re looking to edit existing visual assets, Pixlr is a free online tool that more closely resembles Photoshop. Super handy!

Qzzr

Screenshot from Qzzr

We all love a good quiz. How else would you know with 100% accuracy what your relationship status is based on your favourite Harry Potter character? Quizzes have a pretty solid rep for good engagement, and a tool like Qzzr is quite intuitive, so it’s easy to build and publish your quiz.

So that’s it, those are our favourite tools for content production. Go forth and create, friends. The world of content awaits you.

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