It can be an almighty challenge coming up with new social media ideas week after week. It can feel like we’ve posted about everything under the sun. Some of us might retreat under the bedcovers to hide from our very severe case of writer’s block! But there are plenty of ways we can get new content ideas by looking at our own analytics for inspiration.
There are loads of sources of analytics you can dive into: your social media, your website or newsletter analytics. Use them all to find out what people have been engaging with most to get ideas for new content.
In this blog, I run through the options for how to peel away the layers of your analytics and harvest the deliciousness within to find prompts for new content ideas for your blogs or social media content.
What are people engaging with?
One of the great ways to come up with new content is to find what people have engaged with on your social media channels and come up with a new spin on those topics.
To do this, head to your social media analytics, such as your Facebook analytics, and export your data by the post information. I am a huge fan of exporting this into Excel, so I can sort large quantities of data and find trends over time. Use the ‘sort’ tool in Excel to organise your content by the highest engagement (i.e. likes, comments, shares).
You can also do this by pulling your top website traffic from your Google Analytics. Experiment with pulling different timeframes, for example, this month, last month, this year, last year, this quarter, and last quarter. They might tell different stories and reveal some content that has a short burst of popularity, compared to content that is a ‘quiet achiever’ – not breaking any records on any one month, but consistently driving in traffic over the year.
Then, once you have ranked your data, pull out the key concepts which you think captured people – was it the topic? Was it the theme? Was it the angle?
Once you’ve got the key topic people are engaged with, try adding a new spin to it. Some ideas are:
- a new perspective (insider’s guide to, when you first start to do x, the top 5 apps for..)
- a new media type (an infographic, a gallery, a quiz..?)
- a deep dive (focus on just on one aspect of that topic),
- a lookalike (what is something similar you could write about?)
What are they looking for?
Another way to find out what people are interested in is by seeing what people are looking for on your site. If you’ve got data from your internal site search available, see what people have been searching for. What have they seen searching for this week? What about this year?
Take advantage of knowing what your audience is searching for because that is a strong indicator of what they are interested in.
You can also see what search terms people use when they find your site from Google Search – this might give you a good indicator of what things people associate with your website (so more content inspired by those ideas can’t hurt!).
If people are searching for topics that you don’t have information on – it might be time to write that content!
What are they spending the most time reading?
We often think of measuring the success of a blog based on how many people visit a page – but that’s just telling us how many people got there – not if they enjoyed it. It’s telling you more about your social media copy or your headline which drives people to click through, more than on the article is quality.
The way to see if someone enjoyed your article is to use your Time On Page as a reference. If people are spending 3 – 5 minutes on a blog post, it’s likely that they are engaged in the content and you’re speaking to the right audience.
Exporting your Google Analytics or website data and seeing which content people spend the most time on can be a great indication of what people like to want to know more about, so it’s a great prompt for more content ideas on that topic.
What are the seasonal trends?
Year-on-year or month-on-month comparisons can be a great way to track trends, especially if you’ve got a lot of evergreen content.
Some industries have seasonal trends – literally summer and winter trends – while others might be impacted by things like End Of Financial Year, as a spur for things like getting projects started, people looking for new jobs or setting a new goal.
If you know that this time last year, people were really interested in a specific article – they might be interested in a fresh take, or an updated version, of that same post again this year.
See if there are annual trends in your blog traffic by seeing what people looked at each month over the last few years.
Where in the world are they?
We can find there can be a big difference in the way people engage with your content based on where they are located.
You might find that if you filter your Google Analytics to just audit the traffic for Australian data only, your most popular posts vary a lot compared to your global audience.
Being mindful of who your ideal target audience is – and if it’s local or global – might mean that looking at data through different location trends tells you different stories.
While some blog posts might get a lot of traffic globally, but your target audience is local, it’s better to work off the data for your true target audience.
And, have a look at the data around where your audience lives to see if there is any regional-inspired content you can take advantage of – in some cases, it might be about tweaking your content based on the weather, or there could be things like state-based conferences which are relevant to discuss.
Which pieces of content convert?
Not all traffic is equal. Looking just at traffic to your webpages can be useful, but sometimes it’s more important to consider how people are travelling around your website. Using Google Analytics, you can track which pages lead people to the sale. For example, you can see which blog post people were more likely to visit before heading to the ‘contact’ page.
Assessing which posts are more likely to hit specific goals is another way you can rank your content. From there, consider what might be driving people to click through to that goal page, and create more content in that vein.
(And, it can be worth reflecting on whether that content simply had higher calls-to-action within the page!).
And now … let’s mash ’em
If you’ve been pulling out your top content from across these sources, you will now have a really interesting mix of content that people have been engaging with.
But what happens when you mash them up? Grab your headline for your top post on LinkedIn and combine it with the topic of your highest searched post on the site. Do these combinations give you ideas for new content?
It might result in new ideas like…
- An infographic on … advice for your first day of work
- The ultimate apps needed … to get the best coffee in town
- We ask five experts … how to organise your taxes
Get playful and silly – because the best new ideas come from there!
When looking for new content ideas, look at the audience who is already engaging with you. They are the ones who are telling you what they like and what they are interested in. Coming up with new angles off these successful pieces of content is a solid plan of attack for coming up with new content ideas.
Have a look through your social media, website and/or newsletter data around these questions:
- What are people engaging with? (Consider engagement and/or traffic)
- What are they looking for? (Site search and Google Search)
- What are they spending the most time reading?
- What are the seasonal trends?
- Where in the world are they?
- Which pieces of content convert?
And, if you’re looking for a hand with your blogging or content marketing – feel free to get in touch. I’d love to help!
Originally written in 2016, updated in 2022.
Want to work with Rachel?Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.
She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.
She is based in Sydney, Australia.
Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.