Coming up with great content ideas can sometimes feel like a secret scientific formula. A truly good idea is hard to formulate, while mediocre or just plain bad ideas are a dime a dozen.
There are many ways, however, to conjure inspiration and sift the good from the bad.
If you’re struggling to find new, fresh content or blog ideas, you’re about to learn some solid ways to spark inspiration and generate them, even when your mind is in a blank slate.
How to discover fresh blog content ideas: 5 tried-and-true methods
The secret to getting new ideas is to do a little work. Take an active approach to coming up with topics, instead of just expecting them to appear in your brain.
1. Gather and keep track of customer questions and feedback
A great source for generating content ideas is your customer base, as well as your prospective customers. After all, your content is for them! Find out what they want to see, hear, or read, and give it to them for great results.
How do you find out this information? Do a little digging. Pay attention to the questions that pop up again and again in blog comments, on social media, on your phone line, and through email. Make note of the most popular ones and address them with blog posts. Use your blog to answer your customers’ questions.
2. Check question-and-answer sites and listen to the chatter
In addition to customer questions, comments, and feedback, cast your net a bit wider with some online research.
How? See what people are saying in general about your subject or topic and check question-and-answer sites. Search for your subject on Quora or Reddit and browse through the discussions to see what people are talking about, or want to know.
Even better: If you find a Quora or Reddit (or other social site) thread that has no definitive answer provided, you can write about it, answering the question with your expert knowledge, and providing a link to a blog post on your site for more information.
3. See what your competition is doing
Inspiration can easily come from your competition if they’re doing a good job with their content. See what’s working for them, including what kind of content they’re sharing. Then, figure out how you can translate that to make it work for your brand.
Moz recommends not attempting to one-up your competition’s efforts, though. You shouldn’t try to do the same thing but better – that’s not original. Inspiration is one thing, but mimicry or copying is another.
For instance, perhaps the competitor’s blog is winning notice because it’s written in a distinctive voice with personality. Look at your own blog posts in comparison: Is the tone bland or boring in contrast? Is your subject matter dull?
If it is, you can try to improve your content writing and infuse it with your personality, whether that means cracking jokes or being blunt and impactful with your points. Don’t copy the other guy’s tone if that’s not your style. Find your own voice and use it.
4. Check Google search box suggestions and related searches
Google is a perfect place to gather inspiration, and it won’t cost you anything but a couple minutes. In fact, it’s as easy as opening up the search engine and using the search box.
When you finish typing a phrase in that search box (but before you hit “enter”), you’ll see a list of related phrases pop up underneath. For example, type in “camping tips” and other topics will show up below, like “camping tips and tricks,” “camping tips and hacks,” and “camping tips for rain.”
You can use all these as blog ideas. Similarly, when you type in your search, you can hit “enter” and scroll down to the bottom of the page. There you’ll find a section called “Searches related to [keyword]” and it will lead you to more great blog ideas.
For instance, when you search for the keyword “camping tips,” you can scroll to the bottom and find the related searches: “tent camping hacks,” “camping tips for beginners,” “how to make tent camping comfortable,” and “camping ideas for families.” This is a cache of ideas for you to snatch up quickly and easily, so take advantage.Google is a perfect place to gather #content inspiration, and it won’t cost you anything but a couple minutes. In fact, it’s as easy as opening the search engine and using the search box. #contentmarketing #SEOClick To Tweet
5. Use proven tools for keyword/topic discovery and content ideas
If you’re still stuck and can’t come up with any new ideas, luckily, you can use any of these keyword research tools to find blog post topics AND opportunities to create blog posts that rank.
A tool like BuzzSumo can be an idea-generating machine if you know how to use it (hint: it’s simple). Although it’s a paid service, you don’t have to get a paid account to see some data.
Here’s how: Go to BuzzSumo.com and enter your subject in the main search box. This free tool will show you the most shared content for that topic/keyword. You can even filter the results to see the most popular content published within the last 24 hours, the past week, the past month, and more.
These results give you lots of useful information. Here’s just a sampling of what you can glean:
- See which sub-topics have been popular in the last month based on the blog headlines
- Follow the link for the top result and check out what related topics they’re posting about
- See who’s linking to the popular content for your topic and see what they’re writing about
- See where these posts are getting shared the most (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
That’s a lot of information that will help you generate ideas of your own. Take advantage and see where it gets you.
Blog content ideas don’t just appear from thin air
Sometimes, good ideas aren’t just sitting in your mind, ripe and ready for plucking like apples on a tree.
Instead, you have to work to nurture and grow good ideas. All the research outlined above are great steps in that direction. Start digging, start gathering, and soon you’ll come up with a list of fresh ideas or starting points for your own content.
Need more help with content ideas? Contact Thrive!