Alright, y’all. We’ve covered a lot of important content planning and writing topics on our blog lately. We’ve talked about:
- How far ahead you should plan your content
- Tips for overcoming writer’s block when it comes to content brainstorming
- How to put together an interesting mix of content for your editorial calendar
- Steps you should take before hitting “publish” on your content
But what about that process between content brainstorming and filling out your editorial calendar? Let’s say you’ve come up with a pretty decent list of content ideas and you’re itching to start working on some of them. How do you know which content ideas are “good enough” to actually flesh out and post?
Use these three questions to vet and solidify your content ideas before you commit to creating them:
1. Is this something my audience actually wants?
This is a great place to start once you’ve brainstormed a bunch of ideas for your content. Look at each idea and ask yourself, “Does my audience actually want to read about/watch a video on/listen to a podcast about this topic? Do they actually care?”
If you don’t ask yourself this question before writing your next blog or email newsletter or social media post, there’s a higher chance your content will fall flat. It may be good content to you, but it’s content that no one asked for.
Sounds brutal, but we’re all about keeping things honest here. Remember that you are way less interesting than you think, and people are far more interested in themselves than you. It’s nothing personal! It’s just how we are. Keep this little tidbit in the back of your mind when choosing content ideas, and it’ll help you weed out less relevant topics for your audience.
To make sure you’re offering content that’s in demand, look to your audience! Figure out which existing pieces of content are your most popular or engaging and why. Poll your audience directly and ask them what they want. Do some keyword research to see what people are searching for.
2. Has this topic been done before?
On the internet, sometimes it can feel like nothing is original anymore. Something is original for a few seconds until it gets copied, or until some anonymous user points out that no, this has definitely been done before and why didn’t you do your research, you suck.
We’re here to remind you that it’s okay. You don’t have to think of completely original and unique content ideas. For one thing, that sounds super stressful. And for another, we’re betting that’s damn near impossible. What you should do, however, is focus on making your take on a piece of content as original as it can be.
Putting your own original spin on a topic might look like:
- Choosing a format that hasn’t been used as much; e.g., a podcast instead of a blog post
- Sharing your unique opinion
- Using new data or other sources of information
- Commenting on what others have already published on the topic
Take our post about fantastic company brand voice. Google “company brand voice examples” and you’ll get lots of listicles and blogs about the usual suspects who are killin’ the brand voice game: Starbucks, Nike, Old Spice, Apple, etc.
We could have gone a similar route, but to put our own unique spin on it, we picked brands flying under the radar that we personally love. We included details on how we discovered these brands, how we interact with them, and examples of why their brand voice is so damn great.
Is the topic new? No. Is our presentation fresh and unique to Uncanny Content? Yes. Are we cooler than those other sites? We’ll let you decide.
3. Why do I want to create this content?
Finally, ask yourself why you want to create this content. You might’ve decided that yes, this topic is something your audience has been clamoring for, but does it make sense for your brand and business? Is it something you want to talk about?
Your content idea should fulfill some kind of goal. Maybe you want to connect with your audience by giving them behind-the-scenes peeks of your biz. Or maybe you want to boost engagement on social media by asking a thought-provoking question. Or, maybe you want to get your traffic numbers up by sharing trending, topical content.
The goal for your content doesn’t always have to be business-minded, either. For example, anti-racism is important to us at Uncanny Content. That’s why we’ve shared very specific anti-racism messages on our Instagram and in this recent blog.
Do these pieces of content help us find more clients or get more conversions? Maybe. It might cost us clients, too, and that’s cool with us. But that’s not the point. We created that content to speak about racism, first and foremost. The fact that they also explain some of our brand values and help potential clients understand more about our team are just extra perks.
Start fleshing out approved ideas
Congrats! You’ve just finished vetting one of your content ideas. If it passed the test, add it to your Content Planning Spreadsheet so you can begin fleshing it out. The more approved ideas you add, the more your editorial calendar will start to take shape.
If it didn’t pass the test? No biggie. If it’s an idea you weren’t thrilled with in the first place, feel free to ditch it. If you still have your heart set on the idea, see if there’s a different angle you can take on the topic that will fulfill your audience’s needs, or a fresh way you can present the content.
If you still don’t know how to make the idea work, leave it in your notebook or Google doc and come back to it in the future. Who knows? It may become more relevant to your audience later. You may even get a burst of inspiration and figure out how to turn the idea into a valuable piece of content for your audience in the future.