As several content strategy experts pointed out, consistency is a key component of a good strategy. But in order to be consistent, you have to constantly generate ideas to produce content. This is one of the biggest issues that business owners face: “how do I generate content ideas?”.
Here are 8 quick and simple ways to generate ideas for content:
Not sure what to write about? Why not just ask your readers what they would be interested in reading about directly.
That way everybody wins. You get to create content that is in demand, and your readers get to consume content they are thirsty for.
Here are a few options:
- Use social media sites to start the conversation. Twitter and Facebook are the usual go-to networks, but LinkedIn is highly underrated.
- Solicit questions from your email list. Shoot out an email asking your list what they want you to write about.
- Solicit questions directly on your blog. Write up a post, or create a poll, asking your visitors what they want to gain from their visits. This way, you are not limited to just people opted in to your list. This also has the added benefit of being a piece of content all on its own.
- Ask someone outside your industry. Remember that you, as an expert in your industry, will be face with the curse of knowledge. You know what you are talking about, and it’s easy to forget that not everyone else does. Ask people outside your industry what they would want to learn. It’s as easy as asking a few of your friends.
Don’t ignore the content you already have. Just because you covered a topic already, doesn’t mean you can’t do it again in a different way or in different media.
For example, if you have text, you can alter it to fit a PowerPoint presentation, webinar, audio or video.
Different people like to consume information differently. This not only gives you the opportunity to please a wider audience, but also gives you the opportunity to make your content available on other platforms
You can have the text post on your company blog, and make the same information available in presentation format on a site like SlideShare (or video format on YouTube). This gives you the added bonus of wider exposure.
This, of course, can be done in reverse as well. If you have content on other channels, you can repurpose it for your own company site.
3. Expand on ideas
Here is another good use of your existing content. Normally, you will make several points within a piece of content that you can expand on.
For example, I can expand the previous section into posts about how to repurpose content into different media formats. Go through your existing content and pick out ideas that you can explain in more detail.
4. Scan for Ideas
Go to your local bookstore, library or newsstand and scan the headlines. Pick out the headlines that grab your attention. Maybe even read an article or two.
What made the headlines and the article so interesting? Can you write something similar but in relation to your topic? I’m sure you can :).
5. Check Related Keywords
There are countless keyword tools out there. Some are free, some are paid.
Create a list of keywords specific to your industry (or pick out keywords from the content you already created). Now you can use these keyword tools to generate a whole new list of keywords to write about.
The great thing about these tools is that the use search engines (read: Google) to generate ideas that people are already searching for.
Here is a short list of tools:
- Google Keyword Tool
- Market Samurai (disclaimer: I use this tool, and am also an affiliate)
- Wordtracker Keyword Questions
Do some research, there are many other tools out there as well.
6. Recent Events
Relating recent events in the news to your topic is a good idea for several reasons.
- The events are fresh in everyone’s mind so they can relate to them
- If you get in early on the discussion you can gain more traffic from people search for news on the event
An example of this is a recent post I wrote about marketing lessons from the Occupy Wall Street protests.
7. Create a Persona
Think of your business as a person.
Now create a persona for that individual. What do they look like? What kind of personality do they have? How do they talk?
Is your business blog fun, professional, sarcastic?
If it was a person what would it say?
…now say it.
8. “Steal” Ideas
Take a look at what industry leaders and competitors are doing. Check out their blogs. Sign up for their newsletters.
Analyze what they are talking about and how they are covering the topics.
This is a great way to stay in line with the competition or even get ahead. See what’s working, and what isn’t working. You can cover similar topics from a different angle or in a different way.
This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: never plagiarize!
One More Thing…
I would really appreciate it if you use your online influence by sharing this post on Twitter, Facebook or both :).
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8 Quick and Easy Ways to Generate Content Ideas by Eugene Farber