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5 Questions to Ask When Analyzing Your Content Marketing Ideas

5 Questions to Ask When Analyzing Your Content Marketing Ideas Image for 5 Questions to Ask When Analyzing Your Content Marketing Ideas

Content ideation can be tough.

You often feel like you’re going round in circles trying to come up with that next big idea.

One of the most difficult things to overcome during the ideation process, however, is being over critical too early on.

Don’t put limits on your final creative output by dismissing an idea before you’ve developed it as far as it can go.

Work in whichever way delivers the best ideas for you as an individual or as a team and ensure you’re armed with at least half a dozen, ideally 10 or so, near-finished ideas before trying to refine that into one great concept for your next content campaign.

With that in mind, however, how should you go about whittling down ideas?

What’s the process to throw out the poorer ideas, keep the best, and ensure that there’s at least a strong chance of seeing success from the campaign?

Here are five questions to ask yourself when analyzing your content marketing ideas.

By asking these about each potential content concept, you’ll quickly see which ideas stand out from the others and which stand to perform better in terms of earning links and coverage.

1. What Is The Hook? Why Will Anyone Care?

Perhaps the first thing to ask about any potential piece of content is why will anyone care about what it is you’re creating?

What’s the hook? Why are you creating this piece now and not six months ago? Or in six months time?

While you can gain traction with certain evergreen topics, you stand a far greater chance of earning top-tier coverage and links if you’re able to provide a reason as to why a given publication should cover your content now.

If you’re unable to answer this yourself, how can you expect a journalist or blogger to be able to spot the hook?

This is typically one thing which you’ll be pushing out in your outreach emails so it’s better to establish early on whether you actually have a reason for pushing out the content.

How Can You Find A Suitable Hook?

Struggling to find a hook?

Next time, consider working this element into the early phase of ideation.

Try starting your ideation process with scanning the web for hooks and develop ideas from where.

What could you do around a particular event of interest to the media?

Great examples include:

  • Movie releases
  • Celebrity announcements
  • Sporting events
  • Holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.)
  • Days of the year
  • A local story
  • Hot topics (e.g., Bitcoin)

If you can’t find a hook, is the concept really as strong as you think it is?

There’s tough competition for editorial coverage of features so maybe it’s time go back to the drawing board.

2. Can You Explain the Story in a Few Sentences?

If you can’t explain the story or stories which can be pulled from your idea in a few sentences; there’s a good chance that it’s either too complex or one doesn’t actually exist.

Don’t forget that, especially when it comes to top-tier newspapers and publications, journalists cover stories, not content.

This means that you need to know the story for any idea; given that it’ll be this which you’re pushing in your outreach emails.

The story is typically what a reader can expect to take away from reading an article which covers your piece of content. It’s what journalists will base their decision on, as to whether to respond to your pitch.

To run the story test on any given idea: it’s simply a case of spending a few moments seeing whether you can explain this to others. Those team members in your office who aren’t actively involved in ideation are the best people to try this out on.

Can you tell them, in less than 15 seconds, what they’ll take away from the finished content?

The Stories of 4 Popular Content Campaigns

A few sample stories from popular content campaigns from the past few years include:

Director’s Cut – GoCompare

Which movie has seen the most on-screen deaths of all time?


You vs The Kardashians – Missy Empire

How long would it take The Kardashians to earn your annual salary?


The Best Commuter Hotspots – Totally Money

Which is the best location outside of London for commuting to the capital?


Photos Of Instagram – Cewe Photoworld

How far would all of the photos uploaded to Instagram in a year reach if you printed them?


Take the time to get the story accurate but it’s a great test when trying to refine ideas to double check that there actually is one and that it sits well alongside the hook.

Test the story out on a few others; outline the concept to them and note their reaction.

Do they seem interested? Do they want to know more?

3. Is It Unique? Does It Add Anything New To A Topic?

Some of the more established SEO professionals will tell you that you should validate your content ideas by looking at whether journalists and bloggers have previously covered the topic – and, if so, whether the content earned any links.

While, in theory, this is correct, the principle has become somewhat twisted over time.

Certain approaches to earning links through content suggest that you can simply take a piece of content that has performed well, make it better (supposedly enhance the design or make it longer?!), and reach out to those who linked to the original piece and ask them to change the link to your, superior, piece.

If only!

Have you ever tried this with a publication that isn’t a blog? You’re wasting your time.

No One Wants to Cover Old News

No one wants to cover something which has been done before; it’s old news.

Similarly, journalists at top-tier publications simply don’t have the time to go back into articles from a year ago and update a link. That’s not really their job.

Do they care where a link points to 12 months down the line? Probably not. The link will have made sense at the time and that’s likely their only concern.

On the other hand, you absolutely should use content which has previously performed well as a way to validate your own ideas.

That doesn’t mean copy a concept like for like; rather gauge the potential for an idea through something similar.

Always ask yourself whether your content is unique and whether it adds anything new to a topic which has previously been covered. If it does, you’re probably onto a winner.

If not, don’t despair (yet)! You simply need to work out a way to add value to the topic rather than simply doing something that someone else has done before.

A few great ways to add value or something new to a previously covered topic includes:

  • Updating outdated information with current data.
  • Challenge the topic with fresh research.
  • Interpreting data in a new way to produce a fresh story.
  • Allow readers to compare themselves to a dataset.

Spend time on this stage. If you’re not adding anything new, why would a journalist cover your story?

Focus on adding value to publications. Push out new ideas whenever possible.

However, if you feel the need to cover something that has been done to death, at least make sure you can shine a different light onto the topic and stand out from the crowd.

4. Can a Journalist or Blogger Do It Themselves?

This is perhaps the biggie, while a simple question to answer.

If a journalist or blogger could create the same, or similar, content to which you’re pitching themselves, in a similar timeframe to what it’d take to cover your piece, they probably will do. Without crediting you as the source.

If you’re trying to earn coverage and links using listicles, you probably won’t see much success.

Similarly, opinion pieces or simple how-tos are also fairly ineffective.


Because a publisher can create such content themselves. It doesn’t take too long for someone fairly knowledgeable on a topic to research a listicle or write their thoughts on something.

If your goal is to earn coverage through anything other than sponsored content or guest blog posts, you need to take the time to pitch something that cannot be done internally by a newspaper or magazine in a reasonable timeframe.

Ask yourself what makes it difficult for them to do this? Why would it be easier and quicker for them to simply base their story on your content?

Content Formats Publishers Struggle to Produce Internally

Common formats or types of content which typically work well due to the fact that they’re difficult or time-consuming to replicate include:

  • Interactive tools
  • Survey results
  • Infographics
  • Analyzed open source data

There are plenty more content types, but it’s all about asking yourself how easy it is for someone else to do exactly what you plan to do when developing a content asset.

5. Is It Linkable?

While this isn’t necessarily the be all, end all of campaign success, if you’re creating content solely as a way to earn links to support an SEO campaign, there’s a good chance you’re not really going to be too keen on seeing a slew of unlinked brand mentions within articles covering the story.

Journalists and bloggers are becoming increasingly wary of linking out to content due to fears of Google penalties. They often don’t link out unless they really need to. Some will still do so happily, others won’t.

You need links to rank, that’s a fact.

And top-tier links can do wonders for your search positions.

Does your story still make sense if the publisher fails to link to you?

If it does, you’re probably going to see at least a percentage of any top-tier publishers who cover the content mention the brand but not link.

On the other hand, if their story makes no sense without the link, you’re almost guaranteed to get it.

What Content Formats Almost Guarantee a Link?

The types of content which are typically linkable, almost always requiring the link for the story to make sense, include:

  • Interactive tools
  • Datasets (either your own data or those of others who you’ve re-interpreted in a new way)

Always ask yourself why a journalist would want to link. While many will do so as a “thank you” for providing the story, it isn’t a given – and they certainly aren’t expected to as default.

Concentrate on creating content which needs the link and you’ll start to see a much lower level of unlinked brand mentions driven from your campaigns.


Assessing your own content ideas is one of the hardest things you can do.

However, by running each one through just five fairly simple questions, you can get at least an indication as to the strength of a concept and whether it’s worth pushing to the next level to develop into a finished piece.

More Content Marketing Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, December 2017

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/content-marketing-ideas-questions/229587/ Want to know which of your content ideas will earn the most links, engagement, and coverage? Ask these five questions. James Brockbank

Your Money: Ways to ease social media’s strain on your wallet – Reuters Money — Business – Daily Markhor

Your Money: Ways to ease social media's strain on your wallet – Reuters Money — Business – Daily Markhor Image for Your Money: Ways to ease social media's strain on your wallet - Reuters Money — Business - Daily Markhor

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jessica Jones, 26, jokes that when she wants to spend more money, she goes on Instagram.

Jones, an at-home care provider in California, often gets the urge to buy the same shoes or makeup she sees people wearing when she scrolls through Instagram’s stream of carefully curated images. Last week, she bought a pair of Dolls Kill high heels embroidered with pink roses after seeing them on the app.

Those Instagram-inspired purchases put Jones in good company. A recent study found that 57 percent of U.S. millennial shell out money they had not planned to spend because of what they see on social media.

“Social media can be very aspirational, because people often post things that are an idealized version of what they’re living,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet. “You might get good ideas for a vacation or an outfit or jewelry, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it might not fit into your budget.”

Nearly 90 percent of millennial (ages 20 to 36) surveyed by Alliance Life Insurance Company of North America said social media pushes people to compare their wealth and lifestyle to others’. Only 71 percent of Generation X (ages 37 to 51), and just 54 percent of baby boomers (52 to 70) feel the same way.

Enviable images of other peoples’ lives used to come mostly from glossy magazines and TV, but now we are constantly getting a peek via social media.

“It can be an overwhelming influence on how you see the world,” said Paul Kelash, vice president of consumer insights at Allianz Life. “If you pay too much attention, then you might start making decisions you otherwise wouldn’t in your spending.”


To avoid getting into financial trouble, be honest about what is most important to you.

“Ask: Do I really need that, or do I just want it?” Kelash said.

Once that line is clearly differentiated, keep track of your budget and set goals. For the short term, that could be a vacation. A medium-term goal might be a house, while a long-term goal for most of us is retirement, he added.

The temptation to spend is partly why Joanna Zheng, a 24-year-old equity analyst in New York, recently cut back on her social media use.

“Seeing a friend (on Facebook or Instagram) who is particularly well-dressed or has a cute purse makes me wonder how I can enhance my own wardrobe,” Zheng said.

When Zheng shops, however, she rarely regrets it and makes sure to compensate in other ways. Recently, Zheng bought a pair of merino wool Allbirds sneakers for around $100 that a friend recommended after later seeing several ads on Facebook. For the next few weeks, she avoided shopping areas to stem temptation.

Advertising companies understand how powerful social media ads can be. In 2017, Facebook alone brought in $39.9 billion of revenue from ads. Companies will pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to have their product mentioned in social media posts by an influencer with a large following.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, recently rolled out Instagram Shopping, which allows people to view product descriptions and pricing without ever leaving the app

Spending is also driven by posts from friends and family. In the Allianz Life survey, more than half of millennial report a “fear or missing out,” also known as FOMO. In fact, 61 percent said they feel inadequate about their own life and what they have because of social media.

To curb impulse purchases, decide ahead of time whether you are going online to shop or if you are just browsing, Palmer advises. Close out other shopping tabs to limit spending.

And rather than buying things immediately, Palmer suggests putting things in your basket to save and then revisit in a day or two. That makes it easier to take a step back and ask if the purchase fits your goals and budget.

An added bonus: Sometimes retailers will send a discount code to entice you to buy.

“It’s about separating that initial impulse to buy,” Palmer said.

Editing by Lauren Young and Leslie Adler

Source link

Your Money: Ways to ease social media's strain on your wallet – Reuters Money
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jessica Jones, 26, jokes that when she wants to spend more money, she goes on Instagram. Jones, an at-home care provider in California, often gets the urge to buy the same shoes hr

What Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Change Means for Influencer Marketing


Earlier this month, marketers were shocked to learn that Facebook would be making more major changes to its News Feed, effectively bringing brand and publisher organic reach to zero by prioritizing high engagement content from family, friends and groups.

In a formal statement posted on his own Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg said:

“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.”

“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. … Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.”

While the announcement seemed to be the final nail in the organic News Feed coffin, the death of organic reach on Facebook has been a long time coming. Back in April 2015, Facebook announced it was updating News Feeds to strike a better balance between friends, public figures, publishers, businesses and community organizations. Then in late June 2016, Facebook said it would be making further refinements to ensure users don’t miss updates from their friends and families.

Now, after an intense year of political and social upheaval — not to mention the emergence of the fake news engine and the Russian advertising scandal — it’s no surprise that Facebook is re-examining things yet again.

But What Does It All Mean for Marketers?

Naturally, disappointed marketers all over the world are wondering how this change will truly impact their social marketing efforts. From our perspective, the change:

  • Ends the organic reach of the News Feed and increases the importance of adding pay-to-play to your marketing mix — something that will likely require a bigger budget.
  • Bolsters the importance of channel diversification.
  • Makes it more important than ever for you to zero in on who your audience is and what motivates them, so you can share content and create an environment that will pique interest and engagement.
  • Means Instagram will more than likely follow suit in the near future.

The Influencer Implication

Since Zuckerberg’s announcement, there’s been one implication in particular that’s captivated our attention. The way we see it, the value of influencer engagement on Facebook will increase even more.

Our CEO, Lee Odden, has long been an evangelist for working with influencers, believing that influencers can help brands bypass several obstacles. AdBlocking, for example, is in use on over 600 million devices, costing business over $22 billion in ad revenue, according to PageFair. Working with credible influencers who are trusted amongst an audience allows brands to bypass the adblocking obstacle and better connect with buyers.

Lee has also talked about other challenges such as distrust of brand advertising. In fact, 69% of consumers don’t trust ads, according to research by Ipsos Connect. And yet another obstacle is information overload. Americans are confronted with an average of 63GB of media on a daily basis (USC/ICTM).

All of these obstacles, according to Lee, are addressed by working with industry influencers. The virtual elimination of organic News Feed visibility for brands and publishers on Facebook is no different and marketers would be smart to think about how influencer engagement can keep organic Facebook visibility alive.

So, to sum it all up: Now that the organic News Feed is effectively dead, new life is being given to influencer marketing opportunities. Here are a few key considerations:

#1 – If you’re not in the influencer marketing game yet, you can no longer afford to wait.

Last year, we saw influencer marketing explode — becoming one of the most talked about topics among marketers and arguably our most-requested digital marketing services among both B2B and B2C clients. In addition, our own research shows that 57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next three years.

This quote from Lee sums it up well:

“For any kind of content a business creates and publishes to the world, there is an opportunity for collaboration with credible voices that have active networks interested in what those voices have to say. In many cases, [audiences are] far more interested [in an influencer’s insights] than in what the brand has to say.”

With Facebook reducing branded content and elevating content from individuals, there’s no better time to invest in influencers — which can have an impact across all social platforms.

With #Facebook reducing branded content and elevating content from individuals, there’s no better time to invest in influencers. #influencermarketing Click To Tweet

#2 – Influencers now hold more power than ever to more strategically align themselves with brands of their choice.

Influencer marketing was already poised to be big in 2018, but this change to Facebook’s platform will absolutely spur more brands and businesses to dip their toe into the water. As a result, influencers will see an uptick in requests, giving them more power to be very choosy about which brands they lend their time, insights and audience to.

Influencers have more power to be very choosy about the brand they lend their time, insights and audience to. #influencermarketing Click To Tweet

#3 – Influencer nurturing will be more important than ever.

As illustrated by the previous two points, the Facebook change will lead to an increased adoption of influencer marketing, giving influencers more options. So it’s no surprise that it’ll be time to double-down on your commitment to influencer nurturing.

Now, we’ve always said that when it comes to building relationships and rapport with influencers, it’s critical that you put the time and effort into nurturing — rather than simply reaching out when you have a need. There has to be shared value.

But I think most marketers would admit that they have significant room for improvement in this area — and there’s no time like the present to recommit yourself.

With #Facebook’s recent algorithm change, it’s time to double-down on your commitment to nurturing your influencers. #influencermarketing Click To Tweet

Capitalize on the Opportunity

Let’s face it. This “major change” to Facebook’s platform isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last. As a result, now is the time to fully capitalize on the opportunity by better working with industry influencers. Now is the time to refocus on connecting with your audience — and influencers can help you do just that by adding authenticity, credibility, unique insights and new eyeballs to your content.

What else is in store for influencer marketing in 2018? Check out these rising influencer marketing trends that you need to pay attention to.

What do you think about the latest Facebook News Feed algorithm change? Tell us in the comments section below.

http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/01/facebook-update-influencer-marketing/ What does Facebook’s latest algorithm change mean for brands, businesses and marketers? It means that influencer “stock prices” will soar, so now is the time to add it to your marketing mix. Caitlin Burgess
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