Managing a travel blog and social media accounts with limited resources can often seem overwhelming. I’ve been doing it for over 8 years. Coming up with fresh ideas for interesting content is hard to do day after day, especially when you have limited time and other business matters on your mind. You can only post so many photos of beach chairs and sunsets.
Even the most talented content creators need help. In fact, the most successful content creators use real-time data to remove the guesswork figuring out which content will engage their followers.
The Internet is awash with data to help guide your content decisions, and there’s a variety of excellent tools for gathering data about the most successful travel content available. These tools enable you to find out what’s working and use that go generate your own ideas for successful content quickly so you can get on with your day.
Here are the 14 best free tools on the web for generating content ideas and pinpointing the content that will grab the attention of your followers.
Several of these content tools will be demonstrated in during my workshops at ATM 2015 - see the Seminar Programme.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator
What It Does: This is an easy and fun content generator. Just type in a topic and it will output a series of amusing potential titles for your content. It may not generate anything you can use, but it will definitely help you start looking at new spins and amusing presentations for your topic to get ideas flowing.
For the term Dubai travel, the Portent Content Idea Generator suggested 12 Ways Dubai Travel Can Find You the Love of Your Life and and Why Dubai Travel is Scarier than Tyra Banks? Who wouldn’t click on those titles?
Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator
What It Does: This topic generator is slightly more conservative than the Portent generator, but it’s no less useful.
For Dubai travel, this helpful fellow provided ideas such as How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Travel, 10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Dubai, and Why We Love Dubai (And You Should, Too!), all great starting points for content ideas.
What It Does: For finding content that’s trending right now, or that which has stayed popular over time, you really can’t beat BuzzSumo. With a powerful search engine and filters for time period, content type, language, and country, it’s the most useable tool for finding highly-shared content out there. If you want to use it in great depth, you’ll have to pay for a subscription.
On the day I wrote this post, the most popular topic about Dubai travel was the Dubai tram, which had several top articles including one that was shared more than 60,000 times on Facebook.
Open Site Explorer
What It Does: OSE is similar to BuzzSumo, but more geared toward blog content because rather than exploring social shares as the main gauge of popularity, it uses inbound links, which makes it an excellent tool for discovering content that will help you improve your website’s SEO, and who doesn’t want to do that?
A quick run of OSE showed me, for example, that the most linked-to content on the Living in Dubai blog were Life in Dubai, The Cost of Living in Dubai, and Moving to Dubai with Pets.
What It Does: Klout’s curation tool (free with a Klout account) is a very well designed app that finds content popular with your social followers on topics you’re known to be influential in, and delivers them everyday to your online dashboard. It’s a fast and easy way to find content your followers are likely to appreciate.
Klout tailor’s suggestions based specifically on your followers, so I can’t say what it will recommend for you, but on the day I wrote this 52% of my Twitter followers were interested in an article titled: 4 Aviation Trends We're Tracking at Skift This Week, so a share of the article would be likely to get good engagement.
What It Does: Google alerts enables you to have Google searches emailed to you at regular intervals so you can stay on top of the most recent stories and headlines for whatever topics you like without ever having to visit the search engine. This is a great tool for staying on top of current events and discovering content ideas right in your inbox, as well as keeping your ear to the ground about what people are saying about your company.
I like to include a few links to current travel giveaways in my newsletter to my readers, so I have a few Google alerts set up to let me know what’s going on. On the day I wrote this, I had alerts for giveaways for trips to Ireland, Colombia, Las Vegas, and Mexico to include in my newsletter, and I didn’t have to look any farther than my inbox.
What It Does: You can’t argue with the data that drives the most powerful search engine on the planet. This free tool will show you the seach volume of terms over time, compare them visually with others, and explore those that are rising the fastest.
Dubai travel is the most popular search term for travel in the region, but is most used within the UAE, whereas the term Emirates travel is not as popular, but draws searches from South Africa and Australia. So, if I were targeting those markets, I’d rather focus on this term.
Content Strategy Helper
What It Does: This tool blew me away the first time I saw it. It’s a brilliantly built Google Spreadsheet (you need a free Google account to use it) that enables you to input a search term and then automatically pulls in data on the most popular related content from a broad swathe of sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, YouTube, Google News, Yahoo Answers, and more, so you get an instant overview of nearly everything going on related to your topic across the web.
A quick look at Dubai travel on the helper showed me that Emirates is offering 2-for-1 fares to Dubai from certain cities and that a timelapse video of Dubai is popular on Reddit, both of which would have great appeal as social media shares.
What It Does: If one website were crowned the best at leveraging trends to create viral content, it would probably be Buzzfeed. The trending section won’t provide any specific insight, but will give you a quick overview of what’s popular on the site right now, and this week, to keep your finger on the pulse of the Internet.
On the day of writing quick browse showed me that Instagram released a new iPhone app for making collages (very useful) and that bizarre photos of Japanese culture are trending.
What It Does: This fantastic website tracks popular online content by social shares and enables you to filter by location, language, and topic to find out what’s important to your readers right now.
On the day I wrote this the largest travel story trending around the world (according to NewsWhip was the supertide that turned France's famed Mont Saint-Michel into an island, which was very popular on social media.
What It Does: Created specifically for people like you trying to find out what’s popular right now, Topsy enables you to search for popular links, tweets, photos, videos, and people related to different topics and in different languages.
A quick search of Topsy for Dubai travel turned up a tweet about a $631 USD round-trip airfare for New York to Dubai on Delta, a new YouTube video about what to do in Dubai, and a popular series of satirical Dubai travel posters that poke fun at the city’s expats.
What It Does: This website is not as easy to sift through as the the others listed above, but is good for browsing to get a visual idea of what’s popular globally in a few broad topics.
A quick travel search on WT brought up viral content about a rubiks cube being solved around the globe, a long distance bicycle traveler, and a popular time lapse video of Paris, all of which would be very shareable on social media. By browsing these tools, in a few minutes you can get an idea of what’s popular right now, what people are sharing on social media, and use that to plan out multiple posts for both social media and your blog so you can efficiently plan your content with confidence that it will be readable, shareable, and enjoyed by your followers.
Join Matt's seminar sessions on social media and blogging at ATM 2015.