Do you know what the biggest challenge content writers face is? It’s not money or time. It’s coming up with new and fresh ideas. Fortunately, you don’t have to quit blogging just because you’ve hit a temporary block (that’s right, it is temporary). There are lots of ways to feed your brain and come up with fresh and engaging content ideas for your blog.
I often found myself in this boat. After nice periods of time, when content ideas just poured out of my mind like crazy, I would find myself completely devoid of anything new to write about. This is was an issue for my blog here, but an even bigger one when it came to my clients. They expected (and rightfully so) that I constantly deliver fresh content to them.
But I don’t have that problem anymore. Do you want to know how I solved it and how you too can come up with new content ideas? I got you covered.
Don’t Stop Writing, Reading or Thinking
The trick to making your brain come up with something interesting to write about is to have it always engaged. Don’t allow it to go into “sleep mode”. Instead, have it working “full-time” by committing to a regular posting schedule. Of course, you still have to eat, sleep and all that, but by making sure you write at least 500 words each day, you won’t allow your brain to let go and become lazy.
Imagine your brain is a car and you want it to go full-speed. Even the fastest car can’t go from 0 to 100km/h right away. The same goes for your brain. But, if it’s already in motion and engaged, it will be much easier to come up with new content ideas.
But just like a car, your brain also needs fuel. So don’t forget to read articles and books in your niche, as well as those that are not. The more your brain gets, the more fresh content ideas it will be able to come up with.
Look Around You for New Ideas for Your Content
You can find content ideas for your posts all around you. For instance, a great place to go online for fresh ideas is Buzzsumo It’s a great tool for researching content ideas and I just love using it. All you have to do is enter a topic or domain and it will provide a list of articles from the Internet and how much each article was shared on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+.
You can further filter your Buzzsumo search by several categories such as date 24 hours, past week, past month, past 6 months or past year) and content type (article, infographic, guest posts, giveaways, interviews or videos). You can also search articles in some other language, other than English (i.e French or Spanish), filter articles by country or domain).
It gets even better. Buzzsumo doesn’t only show you the number of shares, but also who shared it. That’s also important as it tells you if the article and it’s topic are interesting to influencers or not.
Another way to find content ideas online is to use hashtags. This is where a tool like Keyhole can really help. It’s very simple to use. All you have to do is enter something to track, click search and Keyhole will show you the total number of posts that include this hasthag, the number of users that used it, how many impressions did the hashtag have and its reach.
It’ a really great way to find out more about your audience and what makes them click.
Sites like Quora and Reddit are also a treasure trove for new content ideas. Quora, for instance is where many go to find answers for just about anything you can think of. All you have to do is monitor the topics that relate to your niche or industry and Quora users will themselves “tell you” what to write about next. The same goes for Reddit. You can find a subreddit for everything, so make sure to create an account there and take part in the conversation.
Look Inwards and You’ll Find New Content Ideas
When I say, “look inwards” I mean look in your or the client’s blog. Are there any posts you can expand on? The trick I often use (don’t tell anyone) is to first write something a bit more general. Then, using the subheadings I put there, I expand on this topic further.
For example, let’s say you decide to write about search engine optimization. Your first post can be about explaining what it is in general. But let’s say then that you include a subheading about different SEO “hat techniques”. That’s already three new posts on white, gray and black hat SEO. Then, you can go even further by comparing each of them with the other two, that’s three more posts. And so on and on.
Another place to go for new ideas for your articles is actually below your posts. In the comments section. What are your readers saying about the topic? Do they have any questions or opinions on it? It doesn’t even have to be your own blog. If your blog is still new and not many people come to comment, you can take a peek at some more established blogs in your niche. Many of them will have hundreds of comments and you might find a gold nugget among those.
Answer What No One Else has Answered Before You
Your readers are always hungry for answers. If there is a question no one in your industry is willing to answer and you know the audience would like that answer very much, then you be the one to give them that answer.
Here’s an example. Back in 2008, when the recession hit everyone hard, one pool company called River Pools found itself in the same problem as everyone else in its industry did. However, where its competitors still clinged to the same old process of “quote pitching”, Marcus Sheridan and his company did the unthinkable and actually answered the questions that bothered the clients the most.
How much does all of this actually cost?
Marcus actually wrote an in-depth article, breaking down the “secret” formula for pricing swimming pool installations. That article went viral before you knew it. Why? Because people were already looking for that answer and Marcus was the first to give them those answers.
Today, Marcus Sheridan is often called to speak about social media marketing and he even provides social media coaching. But back then, he was a simple owner of a swimming pool building company who was willing to answer a tough question.
Look to the Future
What do you think will happen in your niche in the next year? What about the next five, 10 or 20 years? Start predicting the future for your readers. Sure, maybe not all of your predictions will turn out to be correct, but if your predictions are bold, your readers will pay attention.
Of course, you have to be careful here. You must be able to back your claims with something. Look toward statistics and industry trends before you make a prediction. If you just come up with crazy predictions that have no way of actually coming true, you’ll soon lose credibility and your audience might see you as a crackpot.
Look, what would you think of me if I said that by 2020, 80 percent of US workforce will work in freelance? Probably that I don’t know what I’m talking about. But if I lower that number to 50%, that’s a whole different and more likely scenario. And I would even have some statistics to back this with.
Yes, that’s right. Ask. It’s that simple, really.
Ask your readers what bothers them and what they need help with. A lot of organizations are doing this and you should too.
For example, content creation service Scoop.it has its own Slack channel where their customer service comes to post questions it heard from customers and prospects.
Here is how Guillaume Decugis, CEO and co-founder of Scoop.it explains the way this helps marketing come up with new content ideas:
Content marketing is about answering questions your potential and existing customers have. So we do regular sessions with our sales team to constantly research new questions or iterate existing answers we’ve published to their previous questions. We even have a Slack channel where our sales and customer success team post new questions they’ve heard prospects or customers ask.
I know what you’re thinking right now. You don’t have a customer service, marketing or sales team. But your client does. So ask him what his customers are talking about and what their concerns are. Then write about it and try to provide a solution.
Finally, you should also ask your readers what their favorite posts on your blog are. This is how you learn what they respond to best. So you can give them more of it.
How do you find new and original content ideas? Tell me in the comments below and if you liked this post, feel free to share it with others.