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About 7 in 10 B2C marketers as well as B2B marketers are creating more content than they did a year earlier, according to an annual content marketing study by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. With so much competition, you absolutely must have an effective approach for keeping your content calendar overflowing with content ideas.

If you aren't taking advantage of today's content marketing technology and tools, you are probably working twice as hard as you need to and wasting your valuable time.

Here, I share four of my favorites tools: Google AdWords Keyword Planner, HubSpot Blog Topic Generator, BuzzSumo, and Moz.

1. Find timeless content ideas with Google AdWords Keyword Planner

If you've ever worked on a Google AdWords campaign, you know that this tool plays an indispensable role in helping find keywords for targeting your ads. What you may not know is that this ad planning tool can double as a tool for generating evergreen content ideas.

To access it, you'll need a Google AdWords account.

Log in, click on "Tools" from the drop-down menu, select "Keyword Planner" and then "Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category." In the first box provided, enter one or more keywords or phrases associated with your company's product or service.

For example, if your business is focused on clean technology, try "green technology" or "renewable energy." If you keep track of keywords for SEO purposes, this is the perfect place to use them. Once your keywords are in, click "Get Ideas."

What you'll get is a list of new keywords and phrases associated with the ones you supplied. Sift through that list to see whether you can use any of them to help construct your next content topic.

Not having any eureka moments based on those keywords? Click "Modify Search" and type in your website's homepage URL where it says "Your Landing Page." Click "Get Ideas" to see whether that does the trick. The nice thing about this approach is that you can even enter in a competitor's website for ideas.

2. Get simple but effective ideas with HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator

Using Topic Generator is incredibly easy. Submit 1-3 terms into the fields it provides, and sit back while it instantly spits out a week's worth of blog topic ideas.

For example, we used the term "cloud security." Take a look at what it produced:

Because it uses keywords, this tool pairs amazingly well with the Keyword Planner. So grab the keywords you used or found with Keyword Planner, and put them to work here!

The best part about this tool is that if you don't like the first five titles you are given, you can click the "Try Again" button; it will churn out five more. Keep going until you find a title that works for you.

3. Identify trending content ideas with BuzzSumo

Whereas the previous tools are great for identifying timeless content ideas, BuzzSumo is perfect for identifying currently trending ones.

Go to the BuzzSumo homepage, type in the same keywords that you used with Keyword Planner and Topic Generator, and click "Go."

What you'll get is a list of content from across the Web that references those keywords. The best part is that the list is sorted by number of social shares received from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. Find a topic you like, and craft your own spin on it.

Much as with Keyword Planner, you can also run the name of a competitor's website through BuzzSumo. Scope out your competitor's most popular content to see whether you can't think of a response piece to fire back with.

4. Improve your ideas with Moz Content

Moz Content will take you that extra mile when you're trying to find ideas that lead to shareable content.

Most marketing teams struggle on a quarterly basis to complete a content audit, but this tool does it within seconds. All you have to do is plugin your website's URL. That's it!

Moz Content then delivers your website's ranked content inventory according to reach, social shares, and links. Now you can really see which content you need to produce more of.

For example, if your e-books are doing well, then you should think about producing another one this month. But why stop there? Do a search of your competitors to find out what articles are rising for them.

If you are interested in a broader search when scouting for ideas, you can also use Moz's Content Search function, which allows you to explore popular online articles by conducting simple topic searches. All you have to do is search for your keyword or topic of interest; competitor articles that have garnered lots of attention will surface with their associated stats.

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With these tools, you and your team will have no problem keeping up with the demand for fresh content in your calendar each month.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Rebecca Haynes

Rebecca Haynes is a media and marketing specialist at PAN Communications.

Twitter: @RebeccaErin86

LinkedIn: Rebecca Haynes