As discussed in my article on the three stage content marketing lifecycle, your company’s content strategy is always presenting new opportunities for high quality content. Unfortunately, most content creators fail to capitalize because they do not have S.M.A.R.T. ways for recognizing these opportunities. This ends up leading to either blasé content or ideas that are inconsistent with your brand. Yuck! In this post, I will define the S.M.A.R.T. way and discuss how you find hundreds of high ROI ideas in just minutes.

What is the S.M.A.R.T. way?

Simply put, S.M.A.R.T. stands for the following:

  • Survey Your Customers
  • Manage Your Feed
  • Analytics, Baby!
  • Research your keywords for Ideas
  • Track all of your ideas with Google Sheets

Survey Your Customers

This is the good old fashioned way of asking your customers what they want to read. It’s easy, but effective. That’s because the content you create should not be about you, but, rather, all about your customers.

  • What do they want to know more about?
  • What problems are they facing?
  • How can your products help them out?

By asking your customer these questions in person or through a survey, you will get great ideas first hand from the people that matter most.

To do this, track who is engaging with your content in email, social, or through your website, etc. The next time you interact with these readers, ask them what they have enjoyed most about the blog and what they want to know more about. If you want to collect a larger litmus test, consider using a tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey.

Manage Your Feed

There are dozens of RSS reader apps; I prefer Feedly. These feeds are powerful because they allow you to access daily content from websites and news sources. These are great if you want to consolidate all your news sources into one automated place in lieu of slogging through Linkedin or Facebook. These feeds are even better if you want to streamline your competitive analysis.

By incorporating both your business competition and SEO competition (those competing with you for target keywords), you can funnel all competitor content into one place. This can allow you to manage your feed in a more efficient manner, so it’s easier to source new ideas and outdo your competition.

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Analytics, Baby!

A central part of the three stage content marketing lifecycle is analysis. This is the stage where you determine what works vs. what does not work. The problem I’ve noticed with many business leaders is that they are content with the initial success an article receives. After the initial spike, all subsequent success is often overlooked.

Content Strategy Balanced

As a content creator, take into consideration your Google Analytics and social media metrics. What posts and keywords are consistently performing well? Using this analytics-based decision making can lead to content ideas that you may not initially have considered.

Research your keywords for Ideas

Keyword research is the process of finding keywords that will help your web page rank higher. This tactic can be helpful for developing ideas because it gives the content creator insight into how searchers and potential readers are looking for content. Keyword research can also help you find niche topics that are related to your content.

With tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and Google’s auto-populate search feature, content writers can discover similar keywords and search volume for the ideas in which they are most interested.

Googe's Search Autopopulate

Track all of your ideas with Google Sheets

It has been said that many great authors and musicians keep a pen and paper next to their bed, because they get some of their best ideas while they are dreaming. The key takeaway here is that you will never know when a great idea or a great content idea will arrive. As a recommendation for life, always have a way for documenting these moments of brilliance before they vaporize.

For tracking content, I prefer to use Google Sheets, because it is free and has all the functionality of Excel. Additionally, since it is web-based, you can access it from your computer or cell phone (with the Google Sheets mobile app). As such, keeping a spreadsheet with the content’s title, category, and description will go a long way for building a repository of ideas.

Have any questions on how to apply the S.M.A.R.T. way to find content ideas? Let’s Connect.