If you struggle with this, you’re not alone. Agencies can have it really tough here. They’ve got a number of clients who all need fresh content published across their channels on a regular basis. It’s no wonder they might right out of ideas eventually.
While the circumstances might be different, the challenge is still there for SMBs, too. However, staying on top of your digital marketing with fresh, relevant ideas that people care about is crucial if you want to connect with your audience and form genuine relationships.
We’re here to help.
Fortunately, you’re not on your own when it comes to thinking up new and creative things to talk about online. There are a bunch of tools that you can use to help you discover new topics to share and cover. Let’s jump right in with five of our favorites.
5 Tools to Use to Research Topics
BuzzSumo works by showing you what’s hot on social media. Let’s dive right in with an example so that you can see it in action. Maybe you’re a fitness brand, or you’re an agency that works with a fitness brand. You can go into BuzzSumo and search “CrossFit.” This is what it looks like to do a general search from the homepage.
Once we enter that, these are the current search results.
Let’s talk about this.
BuzzSumo splits up the findings by platform: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit. We can see that in this specific example, these articles that it pulled did really well on Facebook, got decent shares on Twitter, the third saw some action on Reddit, and things were pretty quiet, after that.
If you hover over the Facebook engagement, it will even show you much more specific details. Check it out.
Of course, you’d want to check the date and make sure the article is still relevant. You also want to check the source. That first one, for instance, is an article from The Onion.
What do you do with this information?
One idea is to share this content on your social media or create a blog about it. Or, as an alternative, you would simply use this for inspiration. Maybe you do a roundup of fitness-inspired weddings or the fittest couples.
What’s really cool is that you can use the platform breakdown to determine the best content for you. For instance, if you rely on Reddit for a lot of your traffic, sticking to something similar to that third link might be in your best interest, since it did really well on Reddit.
Ask yourself, “Which platform do we rely on most?” Then, use BuzzSumo to find content that did well on that platform. You might just strike gold.
BuzzSumo does so much more beyond this, too. Instead of searching a keyword, you could search a domain and see what pages from that domain have performed exceptionally well across social media. This is what happens when I search nike.com.
They have a number of additional tools, too. You can search for influencers, discover trending content, analyze website backlinks, and generate new topics by entering a keyword and letting BuzzSumo work its magic.
All of these can be used to fuel your digital marketing campaigns.
BuzzSumo offers limited monthly searches for free. You can unlock more by creating an account. After that, you can upgrade by paying. Use your searches wisely and you might very well be able to get away with a free plan for now – especially if you combine this with one or more of the other tools on this list.
Let’s keep going.
2. Answer the Public
Answer the Public helps you understand what people are searching for online. And if you know what they’re searching for, then you know what kind of content to serve up to them.
On the homepage, enter your search time. This time, let’s search “baking.”
Let’s go through some of the results that it delivers. First up, it shows you searches that people are conducting in the form of a question. In this case, it gave us 80 questions centered around baking.
Next, it gives us 56 prepositions. For example, “baking with oats” and “baking for toddlers.”
And it doesn’t end there — not nearly. Answer the Public also gives you comparisons (search terms using “like,” “and”, “or,” “vs,” and “versus”), an alphabetical list of searches, and related searches.
You have the option to download any of this data as a CSV file.
This is such a quick and easy way to generate not just topics, but relevant topics. Answer the Public is a great place to start if your creative wells are running dry. There are so many pertinent topics out there that we wouldn’t even think to seek out. This tool can help us discover and research topics.
Once you start finding new topics, you can begin to more specifically narrow down ideas for things you can post on social media or blog about. You can even enter those ideas into BuzzSumo to see what’s already popular online.
3. Google Trends
This is one of our favorite ways to research topics! Google Trends is a goldmine of topics and ideas. Let’s go over a few ways this tool can help you.
For starters, let’s enter an example keyword: nutrition. If you scroll down on the search results page, this is what you see.
Here’s what’s really cool about this. Do you see those percentages next to each topic and how at the top of these charts, it’s set to Rising? “Rising” refers to “queries with the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period.” So, those percentages represent just how much more popular these topics recently became.
You can switch Rising to Top, which Google Trends explains as, “The most popular search queries. Scoring is on a relative scale where a value of 100 is the most commonly searched query, 50 is a query searched half as often as the most popular query, and so on.”
At the upper half of the page, the graph tells you how that topic has trended over time.
Note that you can enter additional terms and compare the trends to each other.
“Do people really care about this?” You’ve probably asked yourself this about a certain topic before. And Google Trends helps you to answer that question. Not only can you learn if people care about a topic today, but what that topic’s history is.
Furthermore, you can learn the exact language you should be using with your marketing — or at least the language you should make a point of using. For instance, if you need topic ideas related to baking, it behooves you to know that “nutrition” is a hot search, too.
Google Trends is especially handy if you’re trying to track down — surprise, surprise — trending or viral content. It’s also good to determine when such content is starting to die down. Then, you can determine if you maybe want to focus your attention elsewhere.
Ubersuggest (from Neil Patel) is an incredibly powerful, robust tool. It does so much that we can’t really get into all of the details in this blog. However, we still want to give you an idea of how it can help you research topics for your digital marketing content.
Let’s go on the homepage and search “investing.”
The results, as we indicated earlier, will give you a ton of information. But if you scroll down, you’ll see two things in particular that you might find especially helpful. The first is keyword ideas related to what you searched — an obvious source of topic ideas.
Along with the ideas, you get additional data like the monthly volume, CPC (cost per click), and SD (SEO difficulty).
And just below that, you’ll see — oh, look! — content ideas.
It’s similar to BuzzSumo, showing you information like how it performed on Facebook and Pinterest. Use these links and post them to your social media, or rely on them as inspiration to help you generate something new. The point is that this information gives you someplace to start so that you don’t have to start from scratch with nothing to work with.
We just want to reiterate this: We highly recommend that you spend time getting to know Ubersuggest. There’s a wealth of data and information here.
5. Google Search
We want to leave you with the simplest tool of all: Good old Google. Have you ever searched for something and noticed this dropdown?
These aren’t random, and they aren’t a coincidence. They’re related searches that people are conducting.
In other words, right within the search engine, Google will tell you related topics that people care about. No guessing involved.
We want to take it one step further, too. Let’s hit enter and get the results for the search term “AI.” Just a little ways down the page, this is what we see:
How cool is that? With minimal work involved on your end (and for free, we might add), Google will give you ideas for what your target audience cares about. No one knows better than the almighty search engine. It might be simple, but it’s one of the most guaranteed ways to research topics and keywords.
These tools are a smart place to start. And remember that to really leverage them to their full potential, you need to be tracking and monitoring your insights and analytics. You can’t really know if something is working unless you’re able to measure it. That’s where your analytics and brand data come in.
e-clincher makes this easy by pulling data to show how your content is performing across social media. Better understand what works, what doesn’t, and what your audience really wants to see. For instance, is your content driving clicks and conversions? Is it getting people to engage with you and leave comments? Is it helping you to drive actionable results, like growing your email subscriber list?
This is why insights matter, and e-clincher is here to make your job easier.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Try it out for yourself. Sign up for a free trial today and see why everyone is falling in love.
Which one of these tools will you use first to research topics? Leave a comment below and let us know.