Are you a blogger or content marketer and you’re stuck for new ideas? Do you find yourself asking “what should I write on next”? You are not alone. As content marketing grows more popular each year, it’s important to have fresh, engaging content on your website, not only for your viewers, but to keep ahead of your competitors.
Coming up with ideas when your site is new is easy enough, because you have so much to say. But after some time, you find yourself struggling to come up with that next topic.
Writer’s block! Now what do I do? Those brainstorming sessions can be exhausting. Let me show you how to find content ideas, for free. And if you’d like to see where I learned about content marketing, click here.
Find Ideas And Make Them Better
- One of the first things you should always have handy is a note pad or journal. Be it in physical form or on your phone. I use my phone because I always have it with me for when that new idea pops to mind.
You see, some of our ideas can come from our surroundings, whether we are on vacation, grocery shopping, watching TV, anything really. Well OK, not sleeping (unless you have very vivid dreams, haha).
Even a nature walk can be inspiring. Jot down anything that comes to mind. Even if it’s silly. You never know what you could do with it down the road.
- It’s very important you monitor your competitor’s websites to stay ahead in the game. If you know of a few, then you could bookmark them and visit frequently.
No two niches are exactly alike. Look at authoritative sites in your industry and take note of how they are using their content marketing. Are there ideas there that you can adapt to your own site
- Another great way of checking out posts from your competitors is to use RRS feeds. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary, a type of web feed which allows you to access updates to online content, in your specific niche, in an easy to read format.
Just sign up and decide what type of content you want to follow. Some will even send you emails for great time management. Here are a few that I use:
- Feedly – Once your account is set up, you can add the content you want to follow. (Hit the big green button on the lower left corner). Once ou’ve picked the topics and those you want to follow, hit “all” on the left-hand menu, and a list of articles comes up. (I ignore the annoying upgrade pop-up) You can either visit their site for updates, or wait for their emails.
- Medium – This one is my favorite. You can browse topics without joining, but if you do join, you can customize the type of topics you want to read. These are also sent to your email.
- Alltop – another great source of posts
- Flipboard – This site shows you recent articles from many mediums like magazines, websites, or people.
- Once you have read up on your competitors content, jot down the ideas you’d like to use for your new article. No one has rights to an idea, so you are not stealing. Unless you just copy and paste…don’t do that!
Now take the idea, and improve on it. Come at it from a different angle. Make it longer, shorter, or more in-depth. The important thing here, is to add value for your reader. What benefits can you provide that your competitor didn’t?
- Have you considered all the tools that Google provides?
- Google search bar – by simply typing in a keyword, the auto-suggest will come up with what’s been searched the most. Use the 5 why’s to come up with more ideas. For example, if your keyword is “fly-fishing” add “what” in front of it.
- Google trends is another way to see what’s being searched, and where. You might use this information to target a specific location depending on your niche. I won’t get into detail here. That’s a blog in itself.
- Google Alerts is similar to the RRS feeds above, only it’s Google, lol. You sign in, then type in as many content alerts as you want. They are emailed as well.
- Google blog is another way to find top trending stories, but to be honest, I don’t like this one as much. I know we’re talking about all things “Google”, but I prefer this blog search…. Blog Search Engine…. I find it much easier to get results I’m looking for.
- Google Analytics is something you probably already have, or should have anyway. These metrics allow you to better understand your customers. Their origin, the time they’re online, their favorite page, etc. This data might give you a new idea on how to attract more specific viewers
- Think With Google is a tool I don’t use, so I can’t comment on its usefulness. But give it a try! You might like it.
- Use social media. Most, if not all of your competitors will use Face Book, Google+, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram etc. Find them on each platform and follow them. That way you can see whenever they post something new, and what type of content they engage in.
It’s easy to type your keyword into each platform, and search for new material. You will attract a following as well. And when you do, you can create surveys, polls, or simply ask them questions like “what’s the best fly-fishing tackle?” This is a great way to create new topic ideas that your viewers want to read about.
- There are so many other platforms you could use for ideas, if you get creative. Think about YouTube, webinars, your local news, magazines, even Amazon’s top book list. You need to get an idea of what the popular topics are in your niche, then find a competitive keyword and start writing.
Content Should Be Answers, So Find The Questions
When you write content for your website, you want to make sure it adds value to your reader. In other words, when they type something in the search bar, it’s usually a question they need information about. So go out and find those unanswered questions!
This is where forums are very useful. You can even be niche specific by typing in fly-fishing + forum. This usually bring up many.
When you check out the forums, look at the comments people are leaving, and see if there’s something that doesn’t get answered. Depending on the niche, there might be those “hard” answers that no one wants to talk about. I found a great video on using the comments section for your next blog idea:
If you want general forums that aren’t niche specific, there are many. These are great to see what people are sharing about in your industry, and which topics are getting the most engagement. Here are I few I’ve used, though Quora is my favorite.
- Quora – This is a clean looking site that’s easy to use. Sign up for free and enter your interests. Other than that, just search your niche (in question form), and you’ll see many answers come up to browse through. You can also ask your own questions, or offer to answer another’s. What’s nice is that they will show you how many followers they have, etc. It’s a good way to see what and who is most popular.
- Reddit – I have used this forum, but I find it overwhelming. It offers great information, but it’s a busy site….
- Warrior Forum – Another forum with an abundance of information.
Handy Tools To Shake Out Ideas
There are an abundance of tools online that you can use for blog ideas. Some may seem silly, but you never know what kind of ideas you can get from them.
- Jaaxy, or any other keyword research tool. As you can see, I’m partial to Jaaxy, haha. But seriously, it’s an awesome tool that gives you many, many ideas.
- WebPageFX – this is a great tool. It will spit out both serious and hilarious ideas.
- Hubspot’s Blog Idea Generator – another great tool
- Portent’s Content Idea Generator – This is my favorite, but mostly because it makes me laugh!
These tools are great for ideas. But be careful to stay away from content writers. I would never recommend you “spin” an article for your site. This may have been popular 10 years ago when all Google wanted to see was quantity. But today’s Google is all about uniqueness and quality.
Depending on your niche, you may want to share stories of your beginnings and your successes. Though this may not be exactly what your website is about, it’s still about how it all started and how far you’ve come.
Many viewers are interested in the person behind the scenes. The one writing all the content.
Another nice addition to your site are guest interviews or guest blogs. As you start networking with like-minded people, you will invariably come to like and respect a few. Ask them for an interview, or to write an article related to your site.
Many will do this for free, especially if you add the link to their own site.
So What Do You Think?
Have I given you plenty of ways to find content ideas? You have probably heard of other ways, but for the sake of time and boredom…haha…. I left you with the things I use. I hope they help you.
And if you’re just starting out and would like a wonderful platform to learn all about content marketing, please click on the button below.
Do you have a favorite way to come up with ideas? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
And if you know anyone who could benefit from this post, please share