Lee Odden

5 Content Sourcing Ideas Through Word Visualization

content sourcing ideas

One of the most common problems marketers have with content is ideation. This is especially true with companies that have relied on just a few individuals for things like blogging and social promotions. Eventually, people will run out of their own ideas. It is inevitable and a certainty in most cases.

The solution for business content ideation is to be connected to the interests, goals and purchasing journey of the consumer. By knowing the customer lifecycle, content can be planned for each customer segment according the information needs of buyers as they discover, consume and act on content.

Besides that customer centric approach to content planning, there are a variety of opportunities to get ideas in order to be more creative or to surface concepts and stories that are unique. Here are 5 sources that can give marketers useful and practical ideas for serving their customer content marketing needs:

1. Visualize

wordle keyword visualization

Using a tool like Wordle, content marketers can tap into different data sources that reflect frequency of interest related to customer interest. Some of those data sources include:

  • SEMRush – Look at the organic keywords for your own site, competitors and industry leading publications. Export those phrases as a CSV file and import to Wordle for a visualization of organic search phrases most associated with those sites’ visibility on Google. 
  • Google Keyword Tool – Take a keyword research list and all the variations, permutations discovered and import to Wordle for a visualization. 
  • Majestic SEO Anchor Text – Run an inbound link report and filter by anchor text from the most authoritative links. Scrape that text into a text file and import into Wordle to visualize the most often used anchor text that’s boosting competitor search visibility. 
  • socialmention – Search for concepts or competitor names and download the social keywords displayed in the search results (as a CSV file). Import those words into Wordle for a visualization of the most popular phrases in a social context. 
  • Ubersuggest – Google auto suggest provides search phrases that are arguably most popular. This tool helps with such research for Google.com, Google News, Image and Video search. Import to Wordle for a visualization. 
  • Tweet-Cloud – Take any Twitter handle and run it through Tweet Cloud to automatically create a word cloud based on the past X number of tweets. It enables visualization of what you, your competitors or industry influentials are posting most often on Twitter. 

2. Your Website

Looking at internal data is not only convenient but can also be quite insightful.

  • Onsite search (logged queries) – If your site has an internal search engine, those queries should be logged. Review the search phrases visitors use most often on your site to inspire future content creation.
  • Form text area analysis – When users fill out content forms on your website, analyze the text area forms for word frequency to get an idea of topics that most often get mentioned when prospects make inquiries with your website. 
  • ? Queries in analytics – Even though not provided is dominating keyword referrers for many websites, there’s still some keyword insight to be gained, especially when it comes to queries that come in the form of a question. Filter referring organic keywords according to words like “how” or “what”. You can also just look for queries that have a “?” in them to reveal the kinds of things customers want answers for.

3. Frontline Staff

Gaining insights from team members directly connected to your buyers and customers can reveal priceless ideas for effective content marketing. Tapping into frontline employees is particularly useful. A few ideas on that:

  • Sales – What are the most common objections and counters that work?
  • Customer Service – Common product or service issues, product feature ideas and both complaints and kudos can provide really useful ideas. 
  • BCC – To make the process efficient for everyone, ask frontline staff to BCC FAQs to the content team as they answer them. 

4. Become a Publisher

Publications have been tackling the “topic ideation” problem for over 100 years. Tap into what successful publications in and out of your industry are doing to approach topics and content, then leverage those models for your own content marketing. Some publications to consider include:

  • Magazines: Recurring features, themes, short form, long form
  • Newspapers: Timely, objective, sensational
  • Television: Storytelling, recaps, previews

5. Map the Customer Journey

customer journey optimization

Understanding the customer journey from awareness to interest to consideration to purchase, marketers can analyze data to surface insights on social topics, search keywords and media types that can guide content planning.

There are many ways to come up with new ideas for more effective content marketing. Hopefully you’ve found these to be useful.

What are some of your best ideas to energize your content marketing?


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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Sarah Bauer says

    Great tips here! Connecting with frontline staff is so key for content ideation, particularly as it helps refine your current target customer profile through the records of specific customer queries, comments, and service situations. You can gain valuable insights about who your customers really are ( the language they use, their communication preferences, demographics), and build better content to suit their needs!

  2. Great info here. Keeping it fresh and current is always going to be a struggle for those who want to bring in original content. Just like those magazine publishers though you need to socialize to learn from others and open up to a larger framework. That’s the real killer IMO. When you have 2-3 staffies they just bounce ideas off each other. I’d rather have 1 staff member working on it and demand they leave the office and wander the streets 2 hours a day to find inspiration. The best inspiration comes from human interaction.

  3. Avatar Uniqinfotech says

    Blogging was my passion
    over the years of writing randomly and the sites like this have helped and
    inspired tremendously. You are the tower-house for beginners.

  4. Hi Lee,

    Nice tips and frankly, number 3 (frontline staff) is the least expected one!

    Thanks for sharing….

  5. Great links! I have always loved SocialMention.

  6. Like those bunch tips. visualization takes a big role for the content. For building traffic on sites, content should be SEO friendly, this is the involvement of easily appearance of websites in the world of searching with those simple keywords. In building a business on top the 3rd tips is much agreeable.