Have you ever struggled with generating ideas for content? I know I have – heck, that’s how this article was born. It was a way for me to snap myself out of self-pity. I said, hey I got a problem, why don’t I solve it and share the solutions.
Well, I’m happy to say that I have solved it, and will share how you can too in this article. Enjoy!
1. Look at what people are searching for
One of the best ways to come up with content ideas is to find out what people want. One way to do this is to look at what people are searching for in the search engine.
There are many tools that you can use such as Google Keyword Planner and Keywordtool.io. We use Long-tail pro since it gives ideas and the competition score for these ideas. That way, we can go after keyword phrases that are less crowded which will provide us with a higher chance of ranking quickly.
But it’s safe to say that Google Keyword Planner will do just fine when it comes to generating content ideas.
The benefit of coming up with ideas through this method is that you can be 100% confident that you’re writing about something important. People are typing in these questions which means that they are looking for solutions. Will your blog be the one that gives them the answers?
2. Ask your followers
If you already have a following, you can use this method. Just ask your followers through one of the following methods:
- Ask how you can help them in an email and tell them to respond. You can set it up beforehand, so this is all automated via an autoresponder tool such as AWeber.
- Use something like SurveyMonkey to survey your readers.
- Ask people to leave a comment on your posts or videos.
In some cases, people will automatically start asking questions or requesting content from you. So make it habit to save those comments and emails so you can go back to them when you run out of ideas.
3. Think about problems
So as I said in the introduction, this was how this article was born. I was thinking about this problem of not being able to come up with content ideas. I slowly realized that the content idea was right in front of me. Now I just needed to think about the solution.
Think about problems that you are having right now. By writing about it, you’re winning on two fronts. First, you’re solving your own problem as you’re writing. Secondly, you’re creating valuable content. Because let’s face it; you’re not alone with that particular challenge.
Now, I also recommend that you start thinking about problems that you might have had a couple of months or even years ago. The solutions might be obvious to you now, but that does mean that they are obvious to your readers.
4. Find the missing treasure
This method can also be called the Amazon technique. We use it regularly in our publishing business. Here’s how you do it to generate content ideas:
Search for popular books in your niche on the Kindle section or book section on Amazon.com. After that, it’s time to check the reviews for those books.
Now, I don’t recommend that you look at the 1-star reviews or 5-star reviews. They are too extreme, and they might be biased. Instead, look for the sharp critic. They are usually the one’s that are giving 3-star reviews.
A lot of these 3-star reviews will tell you what the book is missing. Often, you can find a pattern of what’s missing from several books. That means that people are looking for this particular solution, but they can’t find it. In other words, high demand and low supply. what a treasure, isn’t it?
Be the one that solves the problem for them! Now, be aware; sometimes, there are good reasons why the authors leave this information out. For example, the information might be very techy, controversial or even in some cases trademarked.
But unless it’s trademarked, it will most likely be worth it for you to spend that extra time and effort to create that content! As I said, we use it regularly, and it has given us great returns!
5. Look where you’re standing now
Think about a thirsty man walking in the desert. He walks by cactus after cactus. He feels as if he should give up and die. What he doesn’t realize, though, is the fact that he has water all around him. All he has to do is to cut open a cactus which contains water inside it.
Whenever you feel like the man walking in the desert searching for water – look around you. Perhaps you can find content ideas in something that you’re doing right now.
It might be a book that you’re reading, a news story that captured your attention, a podcast episode your listening to, etc.
Gary Vaynerchuck says that you can make money from passion. What he means by this statement is that there are people interested in the same topic as you. You’re not alone with your passion for a particular subject.
So whatever you’re studying, reading and listening to – become aware of the small questions within that topic. Perhaps you can put your own spin on this particular subject. Write your own thoughts and share your perspective.
One example of how we do this on our blog is the book reviews and summaries.
6. Get inspiration from trending topics
Sometimes, all you have to do is to ride along with the wave. In other words, follow the trend and follow the money.
There are many methods to finding trending topics. You can use Google Trends, go to Reddit.com or look at your Twitter sidebar.
Jumping on a new trend can be very beneficial in terms of getting traffic to your blog. People love to share trending articles with their followers since it’s relevant information.
7. Combine posts into a guide
I think about a book as a compilation of blog posts. So each chapter is one blog post. The only difference between a blog and a book is that a book has organized content that is following a logical order.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, I’m sure that you have more than enough content to create a guide. Just sit down and figure out what content to include.
So for example, if you write about SEO, you could combine posts like:
- What is search engine optimization
- How to find keywords
- 9 ways to use interlinking
- The right way to get backlinks
- and so on.
After that, come up with a name for you guide. For example, “the ultimate guide to SEO.”
Now, there are two ways to create this guide. As you might be aware, you should never post the exact same stuff twice. That can damage your search engine rankings as it can be seen as spamming. So the first way is to rewrite these blog posts to create your guide.
The second way is to compile the links to the posts in a sequential way. So your guide will be similar to a table of contents in a book. Your readers will feel as if they receive extra value since it’s all laid out for them in an organized way.
8. Create a brand-new version of old posts
I’ve seen bloggers, as well as video creators, use this method to great success. Here’s what you want to do;
Look at your analytics. Find your most popular posts and see if you can create a new version of that article.
For example, you might have written a popular post about your evening routine one year ago. Let’s say your evening routine has changed a little bit since last year. Well, why not come out with a brand-new post that says; My NEW Evening Routine.
You can also use this new year to your advantage. So for example, if you write about SEO, you could write an updated post called “SEO in 2017.” This way of going about creating content ideas will be especially useful if you’re in an industry where there’s a lot of change.
9. Be passionately curious
I believe that if you’re passionate about something, you’ll research that topic in your free time. Now, you probably won’t label it as research since you’re just doing something that you enjoy.
So when you’re reading this article, you’re doing research. Even if you’re not blogging about content ideas, your mind will still pick up useful concepts. Perhaps you’ll remember the story about the man in the desert and use it to explain another topic.
Therefore, I encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing now. Keep reading, and let that curiosity of yours stay alive. That strong desire to learn will be of immense value to you as a content creator.
It’s important to note that you do not necessarily only have to consume information within your niche. I believe that true creativity is about mixing ideas from more than one topic.
As a content creator, you don’t aim to be 100% original all the time. No, you set out to build on something that is proven to work and then add 10-20% of your own to make it even better.
It would be stupid for an architect to try to rebuild a house without using the principles of construction that our ancestors came up with trough trial and error. But it would not be stupid for the architect to be original in his plan and design.
So even if the house is standing on the old principles, it’s still unique because of its new design. I think that’s the way to go about creating content.
Feel free to drop a comment below and let us know how you come up with new ideas for creating content. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you for reading.