You wouldn’t start a business today without an online presence. You’re unlikely to be successful without a vibrant, mobile-responsive website that launches quickly and navigates smoothly. One more thing business websites need? Creative content ideas.
In the past, retailers might have relied on product manufacturers for site content. It seemed like a smart use of supply chain partnerships. Now we know duplicate content can negatively impact the customers’ ability to find your business.
Why Duplicate Content Is a Problem
If large blocks of the same text content appear at more than one unique website address (URL), search engines have a difficult time determining which version is relevant to the customer’s search.
Moz, the SEO guru site, explains duplicate content leaves search engines unsure which URL to index and “dilutes the visibility of each of the duplicates.” The search engine doesn’t know how to determine metrics such as trust, authority, link equity, etc., which factor into ranking in the customer’s query results. A lower ranking can seriously reduce the amount of traffic to your business website.
Since bringing visitors to your business site is essential to online success, you can’t risk duplicate content. Your small business website needs to gather quality, unique content. This article offers creative ways to come up with your website content ideas.
6 Great Strategies for Cool Content Ideas
“Content is king” is by now a tired phrase among business marketers. Nevertheless, the CMO Network’s Steve Olenski wrote in Forbes, “like it or not, content will always be king.” That’s because it can promote thought leadership, empower employees, reduce calls to contact centers, increase social selling, tell the brand story, and so much more.
The good news is that content creation ideas are everywhere. Cool content ideas can come from:
- Turning to your own experts
- Inviting guest posts and articles
- Keeping an eye on trending topics
- Reviewing Google search suggestions
- Mining testimonials and reviews
- Surveying online forums and groups
#1 Turn To Your Own Experts
Odds are you have some smart, interesting, creative people working for you right now. They have ideas! And your audience wants to know what they know. A top approach to web content generation is turning to internal experts for thought leadership. Ask your people to brainstorm:
- What questions are customers regularly asking?
- What don’t customers know to ask?
- What does our audience care about?
- What makes us different from the competition?
- What positive experiences have our customers had that we can share?
- What negative experiences can we help other people avoid?
If your experts don’t want to write the content, or they’re too busy, set up a short interview to transcribe a conversation as a Q&A. Or email a few questions to several of your experts in one area and compile their quotes into a roundup.
You can’t expect your leadership to jump at the chance to write 750 words every week. But you’ll have better luck if you can tap into their particular passions and expertise. HubSpot recommends setting up a “process for knowledge extraction” and storing that material in a content bank that can be used for future writing. That way, your marketing people can integrate the material in varied ways. Or you can outsource the writing to a content professional.
Look everywhere for expert ideas. Does one of your store clerks love putting together outfits for your displays? Maybe he will want to blog about the choices he made and why that outfit works. He could build on that one mannequin’s “look,” considering what he’d do to dress the outfit up or down for different occasions.
Along with offering expert advice, your internal team could provide product tutorials. These tutorials are a good way to highlight your product and increase sales. Plus, your people already know what they’re talking about, so this is website content you can craft efficiently.
#2 Invite Guest Posts and Articles
Asking for a little help from your friends is another way to replace duplicate content with fresh material. Find people who are creating interesting, educational, or otherwise fun content about your industry. Invite them to contribute something to your site. This is an opportunity for your business partners to extend their reach and grow their audience. Plus, your business will get content that it doesn’t need to develop from scratch.
Connect with influencers in your niche and get active in your industry community to form guest post partnerships. If your guest posters are active on social media, your site can get more promotion when they share the article’s link with their audience. They’ll benefit from being able to link back to their own sites, getting contributor credit, and being able to grow their following too.
Creative guest content can help your brand reputation and online authority. As Search Engine Journal puts it, the power of guest blogging is that “you get the chance to prove your credibility as an information source. It will make your target audience realize that you’re someone who’s recognized by trustworthy brands.” This value pays off for both the post’s creator and its publisher.
#3 Keep an Eye on Trending Topics
Sure, retailers know how to anticipate a product trend—but trending content ideas? That’s another story entirely. Yet there are tools to help you on this front too.
You might visit Buzzsumo to view social media performance for your content ideas. For instance, a shoe brand might search “celebrity sneakers” to see what existing web content has seen top Facebook engagement or other social channel shares. You can also type in a domain address to see the performance of competitors’ content pages.
Quora is another good place to identify what people are talking about right now. The popular question-and-answer site helps you see what questions people are asking related to your business. If many people are engaged in the online discussion of “what makes a good mattress,” that could be a content idea for a sleepwear, bedding, or mattress retailer.
#4 Review Google Search Suggestions
Have you noticed when you start typing into the Google search bar, it suggests how to complete your query? That auto-complete function can help you determine what people are looking for online. Another great place to look for ideas is in the related searches section at the bottom of your results page. Often there’s another section to consider too: “People also ask.”
Let’s take the example of an orthodontist looking for free content ideas. She knows that everyone asks “how to pick an orthodontist.” So, she starts by typing that into the Google search. The first page of results for this query suggests several related content angles. Clearly, Google also sees users ask about when to go, what are the costs, what questions they should ask, the differences between a dentist and orthodontist, and whether you can go straight to an orthodontist.
That’s five spin-off ideas for content from just one Google search! Plus, you know that users want to know the answers to those questions.
#5 Read Testimonials and Reviews
Human purchasing behaviors are heavily influenced by what other people say or do. It’s called social proof. Of course, trusted family and friends hold the greatest sway. Yet the opinions of strangers can be persuasive too.
According to Nielsen research, “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”
Don’t overlook the treasure trove of content possibilities you can find in testimonials and reviews. You might collect the insights of people who have existing relationships with your business to develop content such as:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Product or service pages
- Social media posts
- Downloadable marketing materials
Even negative reviews can be a source of content ideas. If a custom t-shirt designer has users consistently complaining about shrinkage, it might mean they could offer content about proper t-shirt washing or the best way to size a t-shirt.
Not sure how to gather testimonials in the first place? Try the tips in this Content Marketing Institute article.
#6 Survey Online Forums and Groups
Every business wants to know what its audience is thinking. As mentioned, you can determine what your potential buyers are asking on Quora or Google. Another approach is searching online forums devoted to your product niche. A comic book shop owner might subscribe to fan forums to see what buyers are talking about and identify trending topics.
Blogging juggernaut Neil Patel recommends searching:
- Social media groups (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Industry association online comment areas
- Competitor FAQ sections
- Trade publication article comment threads
Once you start looking for online content ideas, you’ll be surprised by how many different, creative approaches you can find. Do away with duplicate content and boost your search engine rankings using these website content idea suggestions.