All the keyword research, SEO and social promotion in the world can’t make up for content that doesn’t resonate with your audience. But even the most seasoned marketers need some help now and then developing fresh content ideas. After all, it’s not just coming up with ideas... it’s coming up with good ideas.
Never fear! You don’t have to go it alone in your efforts. Read on for 9 different ways you can add new, relevant content ideas to your editorial calendar.
1. Consult Reddit.
According to Alexa, Reddit is the eighth most visited website in the world. In Dan Russell’s Reddit session at INBOUND 2017, members of our team learned the correct way to use Reddit, as well as important information about its user demographics. Most notably, the Reddit audience is made up of 67% men and 33% women, and 64% of users are between the ages of 19-29 years old. This advice certainly won't apply to every industry, but if your target audience aligns with Reddit readers, it can be used as a powerful idea sourcing tool and newsjacking aid. Using the search function, you can find the topics your prospects are most interested in. Russel noted that Reddit’s search bar is not ideal but you’ll have the most success searching by relevance and then by time (the priority is given to the newest content). Also take a look at what's been upvoted many times – those topics are potentially going to be winners.
2. Keep a swipe file.
If you’ve never heard of it, a swipe file is a file you keep with ideas, beautiful graphics, emails that had a catchy subject line, a trending industry topic—you get the idea—that catch your eye as something you’d like to revisit at some point. Keep adding to it and in no time you’ll have an ever growing collection of great content or ideas that you can use to inspire a new topic to write about.
3. Monitor online groups.
LinkedIn groups – and even Facebook Groups, depending on your industry – are great resources to find topics that people are talking about. Some groups have a lot of article sharing but many are more discussion based and could be great forums to determine what people want to learn more about.
4. Brainstorm with team members.
You’ll be amazed at the ideas that can be generated during a good old-fashioned brainstorming session. Don’t just invite those people you work with on a day-to-day basis; reach out to those that don’t normally have to come up with content topics for truly fresh gems. Use sticky notes, whiteboards or whatever else that can help you document your thoughts. Have participants jot down their own ideas and then come together to discuss as a group to spark even more suggestions. From this session, compile all your notes and look for common themes.
5. Research what your competitors are doing (and doing well).
There’s nothing wrong with checking out what’s working for your competitors – after all, you share the same audience. Look at what topics have people talking and interacting, and think about a different spin you can put on them. Buzzsumo is a great resource to see what’s performing well on their websites. Look at keywords being used, hashtags that are trending and content your competitors are sharing on social media. Where there is great conversation, there is a great topic to research!
6. Use online tools.
Speaking of online tools, an easy way to generate new, trending ideas for content is to use one (or more) of the many online tools available. In addition to BuzzSumo (as mentioned above), there's also HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator, UberSuggest (great for keyword research), and Google Trends to name just a few. Most are free, so experiment and try more than one.
7. Recap an event you attended.
Just back from a conference or tradeshow? See an interesting speaker present on something relevant to your industry? Capture all you learned and observed in a blog post. Use hashtags and posts on Twitter from the event to make it more robust. Cover any new product or service announcements made at the conference. And use powerful quotes from speakers (be sure to credit them) to capture the overall message of the event.
8. Ask questions on social media.
Sharing great industry-related content – as well as your own valuable content – is the best way to attract your target audience on social media. If you have a good following, why not pick their brains to see what topics or challenges they want to learn more about? It’s a great way to stay in front of them and an easy way to find topics that actually matter to your readers.
9. Repurpose what you already have.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you’re looking for a new topic. Use existing eBooks to create a blog post, infographic or video. Take multiple blog posts on a similar topic and package it up into an eBook, or an outline for a webinar. Look for trends and popular topics and refresh what already exists.
While coming up with new content topic ideas may seem daunting when you’ve written about what feels like every angle on every topic, tapping into other resources for ideas, and being creative, will solve your content challenges. Taking the time to create a good content calendar – even if it’s only for a few months at a time – will take the pressure off and free up your time to create your next masterpiece. Happy writing!