No matter how interesting the topic, every content creator starts running out of content ideas at some point.
Whether your role is content strategist or writer, no doubt you know the feeling well: You believe you’ve already covered all the topics you can think of or you’re going in circles covering old ground.
However, unless you’re in a very narrow niche, it’s unlikely you’ve covered every possible content idea.
These eight brainstorming ideas can help you to come up with a year’s worth of content ideas in a single day.
Knowing exactly what content you’ll be creating for the next 365 days helps you to plan more efficiently and ensures you never waste time trying to think up what to write about next.
- Brainstorming your content ideas in advance is more productive and efficient than thinking up one idea at a time.
- There are plenty of free resources out there to help you come up with new content ideas when your well of inspiration is running dry.
- Putting a new twist on your existing content can help you to squeeze more content out of ideas you already have.
1. Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research is a well-known technique for SEO but it can also be invaluable for coming up with content ideas to fill your calendar with.
There are dozens of keyword research tools you can try out. For the purposes of brainstorming, you don’t necessarily need expensive enterprise-level tools. Free tools are usually more than sufficient to come up with plenty of new ideas.
Most keyword tools work in the same way: You enter a “seed” keyword or topic and the tool will then search databases of actual search terms, as well as other databases from social media, e-commerce sites, and other sources to find similar and related terms.
For example, if your seed keyword is “conferencing software,” the tool might come back with ideas like:
- Conferencing software reviews
- Conferencing software security
- Free video conferencing software
- Video conferencing without internet
and so on…
Some tools will also let you enter a URL and scan the content to come up with related keyword ideas.
Some free and paid tools to try out:
- Semrush – this is the tool we use
- Ahrefs – similar to Semrush
- Moz – rounds out the top three
- Keywordtool.io – simple interface
- QuestionDB – uses questions as the name implies
- Keyword Sheeter uses Google autofill
- Answer the Public also uses Google autofill and “People Also Ask”
- Keyworddit pulls data from reddit
- Bulk Keyword Generator good for local SEO
- Soovle pulls from Google, Youtube and Amazon
- SECockpit provides lots of depth
- Keyword Snatcher provides up to 2,000 keyword suggestions
2. Use Google
Google has its own keyword research tool (intended for those using Google Ads), but there are also a number of other ways you can use Google to generate content ideas.
As you start typing in the Google search box, it will automatically suggest ideas based on previous searches. This is one of my favorite growth hacks for new content ideas. It can be a great way to come up with some new ideas from a seed keyword.
Related questions and searches
Another good place to look for content ideas is on the search results page. If you scroll down a little, you’ll see a section titled “People also ask”. This section lists questions related to your keyword.
If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you’ll also see “Searches related to”, which also might give lots of new content ideas related to your topic.
You can click on any of these links to generate a new search results page with even more related ideas. Simply from clicking through from one keyword search to another, you could generate dozens of new content ideas.
Google Trends is a tool that can help you to identify trending topics or spot seasonal trends.
It can also be an effective way to put an interesting spin on your more usual topics by weaving in some topical themes.
For example, this chart shows how Digital marketing trends have been growing relative to the more popular search terms for advertising. As marketers and business owners have seen digital marketing become more effective at reaching new customers, the search trends reflect this.
3. Ask Your Audience
How can you make sure you’re writing about topics that your audience will be interested in reading? Ask them!
Sending out an audience survey or running a quick poll on social media can help you to figure out the problems that your audience needs solving.
They might even come up with some ideas that you hadn’t considered yet. Start answering those questions and you can become a thought leader for your audience. That’s what content marketing is all about!
4. Competitor Research
Of course, it’s important to be original when it comes to content marketing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take inspiration from those around you.
When you need to come up with some new content ideas, it’s always a good idea to do some competitive research. Browse through a few competitor blogs and see what they’re writing about.
While of course, you shouldn’t copy article ideas directly, you might get an idea for a whole new article from something mentioned on a competitor blog. Don’t forget to check the comments section for more ideas.
5. Scour Social Media
Social media is not the business growth machine most people think they are. But social networks can be a goldmine of inspiration when you’re stuck for content ideas.
Make sure to follow those who are actively posting news and opinions in your industry, and keep an eye on any discussions or trends that would make good content topics.
Sometimes searching for topics on a different platform can help you to come up with new ideas. For example, looking through videos on YouTube can easily inspire you to generate dozens of blog topic ideas.
BuzzSumo is an effective tool for finding the most popular content shared on social media. With BuzzSumo you can browse trends and topics based on keyword and get content ideas listed by sub-topic.
You can also find top-performing content from across the web, based on keywords.
6. Mix up Your Content Formats
Sometimes going back through the content you’ve already produced can give you some new ideas for material that will help you to reach a new audience by creating content in new content formats.
For example, you might want to re-purpose a blog post into a video or take ideas from an ebook you wrote a year ago and turn them into a series of blog posts.
Sometimes you can simply take an idea from a blog post and twist it into a slightly different format or idea to come up with a whole new article. For example, if you’d already written an article on “How to Get the Most out of Your Trip to San Francisco”, you could put a new spin on this idea by re-writing it as “10 Tourist Traps to Avoid in San Francisco”.
7. Utilize Interviews and Case Studies
Sometimes a new point of view can inject new life into stale topics. If you feel like you’ve exhausted your own ideas, why not seek inspiration from others?
Interviews provide an endless stream of potential content ideas. You can interview people in your company, influential individuals in your industry, or anyone with an interesting story you can link into the theme of your content.
You can also do a round-up post, in which you ask just one or two specific questions to a number of individuals in your industry. These types of posts are not only interesting to read, but they also attract lots of links and shares as the people included usually want to share their contribution with their own audience.
Case studies are another content idea that tends to be very popular with readers as they can glean valuable insight from real-world situations.
8. Use Writing Prompts
Writing prompts can be a fantastic way to get you out of a case of writer’s block. What’s more, they work for all kinds of content, not just blog posts.
Many writing prompts require you to harness your storytelling skills, which often makes for a more engaging piece of writing, particularly if you’re using your own opinions and experiences.
Salesforce has some great examples for business blogs, including “What is your most inspiring customer success story?” and “Reflect on the biggest problem or struggle your business has faced.” Here’s their top 10:
For a more personal outlook, this list of content ideas by Marie Forleo includes prompts such as “What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received about your career or business?” and “What do you wish you knew 10 years ago that you know now?”
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