How to generate fresh content ideas through keyword research

Making your content relevant to your audience’s ever-changing needs is a necessity in the digital space. This is because the web is fickle, and people are constantly looking for the latest and greatest thing. Your content needs to reflect that, and if it doesn’t, then you’re unlikely to see the search engine rankings you’re looking for. If you’ve recently found yourself running low on fresh content ideas, then it’s time to change up your tactics and try a new way to generate topics.

That method is keyword research.

In digital marketing, keyword research already plays a critical role in your ability to rank well for specific topics. It’s what drives a large part of SEO, and it can mean the difference between even the most minute rank changes on search engines. To that end, why wouldn’t you take full advantage of the work you’re already doing?

SEO best practices already call for businesses to post content that includes good keywords in their content titles. You can also use those same keyword lists to come up with new topics to address. Here’s a breakdown of the necessary steps.

Step 1: Identify Content Themes

Before you begin the content creation process, you need to identify the themes you’d like your content to explore. This is true regardless of whether you’re making content for your own website or for the website of a higher education client.

Themes can include anything from faculty personas and the career outcomes of certain educational programs to current news and events. If you ever get stuck, the Content Explorer feature in Ahrefs can also provide help toward drafting up content ideas.

Step 2: Find Keywords

Once you’ve identified a handful of topic themes you’d like to explore with your content, your next step is to find the corresponding keywords. This can be done using the Keyword Research tool in Ahrefs, or if you currently use a different keyword research tool, you can use that as well.

Not all of the keywords you find will be gold. In fact, many will be unusable within content titles. This is why the next step is so important.

Step 3: Create a Keyword List

Your goal when completing this step should be to choose keywords that are high volume but low difficulty. Variations on those keywords can also go a long way toward helping you craft a list of keywords to target with your content.

Create an Excel or Google Spreadsheet to help you organize your list, and include helpful columns for metrics such as keyword difficulty and search volume. This will be useful later when you want to  filter and narrow down your top 2-3 keywords. 

Step 4: Craft Your Content Titles

The final step in the process is to comb through your list and use those keywords to the titles of your upcoming content. This will help ensure that the pieces you post are more relatable, exciting, and engaging for your target audience.

The Steps in Practice

If you’ve tried the steps above for your own space and are still having trouble, don’t worry. Here are two examples to demonstrate how coming up with content topics from a keyword list looks in practice.


For our HEMJ blog, we focus on a wide variety of topics related to marketing and digital marketing. As a result, we wanted to do a piece centered on digital marketing predictions or upcoming trends in digital marketing. That topic functions as our content theme.

After doing keyword research and coming up with a list of words related to that them, we were able to determine which ones had good search volume and an attainable keyword difficulty. One example was “future of digital marketing”, which had a search volume of 200 and a keyword difficulty of 18.

Next came the final step in coming up with and implementing our creative content idea. We crafted a title based on that keyword and added our engaging content elements – Future of Digital Marketing: 8 Experts Share Their Predictions

We then fleshed out the piece by including expert commentary on digital marketing trends. This commentary functions as the creative element to the piece.

It’s now been a year since this post was created, and it’s still ranking number one for the following keywords:

  • Future of digital marketing
  • The future of digital marketing
  • Digital marketing future

Academic Example

As we mentioned earlier, this process can also be used for your clients, not just your own website. To demonstrate that, let’s look at how it worked for one of our academic partner’s.

For the first step, we came up with topic ideas relevant to the program. One of these involved the unique career paths available to graduates of the engineering program.

From there, our keyword research showed there was decent search volume surrounding “theme park engineering” and a ranking difficulty of 1. This led us to craft an infographic titled Amusement Park and Roller Coaster Engineering. This piece is both useful and creative. It addresses a pain point readers may have questions about – career paths available to graduates with a MEM – and presents the information in a unique way.

This was essentially the jackpot.

So much so that the piece now ranks number one for the following keywords:

  • Theme park engineering
  • Amusement park engineers
  • Theme park engineering degree

It is always important to get creative. Regardless of what content theme you choose, though, make sure you focus on uniqueness, relevance, and value. If you do that, you can’t go wrong. 

About the Author
Maria Akhter joined the Circa team this year as our content strategist. She’s passionate about creating link building opportunities for our clients through creative content creation and strategic SEO research. Maria graduated from the University of California, Davis in Economics and Comparative Literature, and when she’s not in the office, you can find her hiking around San Diego or with her nose in a book. 

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