Using Twitter to find great content ideas
The demise of Google Instant this week has struck a blow to those of us who are constantly on the lookout for new content ideas.
When it comes to boosting your organic search, on-site conversion and overall user experience, you need an appropriate content strategy. Blogging can be a great way to add a dynamic element to your site, but you'll always be in need of material for new posts.
Google Instant was great for this because you could get the latest comments, updates and shared links on your chosen topic, which could help spawn a new idea, pick up a lead or add some bells and whistles to an existing article.
Google Instant's hiatus has come about because Google's deal with Twitter that allowed the search engine to index tweets straight from source has come to an end. With that in mind it seems like a good time to look at how you might use Twitter itself to generate some ideas for your next post.
This is the obvious one so we'll start here. Twitter provides a list of hashtags and keywords that are generating the greatest level of interest in your particular location. This list alone can provide a great opportunity to hop on to a popular story as it develops. If something relevant becomes a trending topic, writing about it is likely to be worthwhile from an SEO and user perspecitive.
Even if a topic isn't among the 10 most popular in your area, there could still be plenty of people tweeting about it and it may even have been given its own hashtag. If there's a big event in your niche that you can't get to, find out if it has a hashtag and search on it. You'll get a live stream of updates as tweeters add more content related to your event, which you can use to produce some original copy for your readers.
Twitter has spent some time improving the functionality on search.twitter, as it bids to woo users away from unofficial Twitter apps and back to the mother ship. As a result, you can now drill down and find, for example, tweeters asking questions relevant to your area of expertise. Some of these questions might generate ideas for new posts. You can even tweet the link at whoever asked the question once your blog post is written.
If you blog about a particular topic on a regular basis you'll soon get to know who the influential, credible tweeters are. Rather than a hashtag or a keyword search, you might want to go straight to these people's feeds and see if they've tweeted anything worth quoting. Over time you can follow potential commentators and create a dedicated Twitter list for your best sources.
For more ideas on using Twitter to develop content, check out Twitter for Newsrooms. This is Twitter's helping hand for journalists and bloggers to find sources, verify information and publicise their articles.