With the significance of content generation more prevalent than ever, letting your blog or social media accounts stagnate can spell certain doom. Still, if you’ve mined through all of your available ideas, you may wonder, how do you generate new content? With busy lives and busier jobs, sitting down and brainstorming can be tough.
These 23 tactics and web resources are great ways to get started. Some of these are free, which is always beneficial, while others require a small investment to guide you on the way to better content that will appeal to customers and get people talking about your business.
This step is so obvious that many may miss it, which is why it’s worth mentioning. It’s easy to dedicate the majority of your day or week to writing and editing content that you’ll publish soon. However, if you don’t generate new ideas in the process, your content will eventually dry up. Whether it’s weekly or more often than that, make it a point to sit and jot down ideas.
With more than 500 million users that log in and tweet their thoughts daily, Twitter is a veritable goldmine for content generation. You just have to know how to curate the vast amount of content to find what applies to you most. In “The Experts’ Guide to Keyword Research for Social Media,” Larry Kim explains how to do just that. By searching the trending hashtags on Twitter on the site itself or using Hashtags.org to browse hashtags, you can connect these popular topics to your business. And be sure to check out Kim’s new project Mobile Monkey.
If you have a rather comprehensive library of blog posts or other content, start here for your source of inspiration, Rocket Post recommends. You just may find that something that you’ve written about in the past helps spark an idea for future content. Keep an open mind when looking through these articles and posts.
From the same piece as above: While browsing your old posts, Rocket Post also suggests that you keep note of the most common trends that your most popular blog entries have over time. Make sure that you check these posts for length. Maybe your mid-sized articles performed very well but your longer ones did not. This gives you a good starting point for new content.
Some companies, as part of the marketing and promotional process, seek out reporters and public relations professionals to push their content. Building a relationship with these crucial gatekeepers isn’t difficult when using newsworthy resources like Help a Reporter or HARO, where you can browse reporters online. OpenView Venture Partners’ Gail Axelrod spoke to CIO of the importance of resources like this. “Staying up to date with HARO can help you generate a steady drumbeat of mentions,” she said.
LinkedIn is for more than just creating a live, virtual resume. You can join up to 50 groups and read through these to borrow ideas for your own content creation. Mark Sherbin of Content Marketing Institute breaks it down easily: “Start by making a spreadsheet of all your content creation team members and the groups that are most relevant to your content marketing strategy.” With each team member able to access up to 50 groups, you have many actionable topics to go through.
You’ve already learned that your past content can very much benefit your future bottom line. “Use the subject matter from something you have already created — like a blog post — and create a video, an infographic or an eBook,” Yvonne Lyons writes for Right Source Marketing. When digging through old blog posts, look at the timeliness of these. For example, if you wrote about social media trends two years ago, has anything changed in that time that might be worth mentioning? By updating an old blog post, you come up with an interesting idea for content and attract new eyes to your old post.
If you and your team can’t come up with new content ideas, let another writer do it. Lori Mattern of BMighty2 suggests that allowing a guest writer to appear on your website is a great way to generate different content than what you’ve produced in the past. This writer’s experiences and perspectives are fresh. Guest posts are also a fantastic way to generate buzz about your company, and the writer may very well ask you to create a blog post for them down the line.
Online classes, workshops and seminars abound, and Javier Kordi of Social Source Commons recommends you try one. You don’t have to take time off work or physically go somewhere to learn some new ideas from the experts for creating content that you may not have thought of otherwise. You can even pick up some writing tips for streamlined, stronger posts that should attract more attention.
Use other companies as a measuring stick for what to do and, perhaps more importantly, what not to do when writing content. Scott Mackin wrote a good piece about doing just this on Kompyte, which may be where you start your strategy. Using Kompyte, Google Alerts and other similar resources allows you to study the success of competitor’s posts, including which ones did the best and how many readers they brought in. Look at those successful topics from another angle and you could have your next blog post.
The points that Jasmine Henry makes in her piece for Inbound Marketing Agents may apply to hiring a content creator, but they still work if you want to schedule an interview with an expert in the field for your next blog post. Interviews are totally unique content that will attract attention to your business and your subject. Check the interviewee’s expertise, get their social media profiles to share at the end of the interview and ask questions relevant to your business.
Any good blog post will attract a wealth of comments. Aaron Agius, writing for Jeff Bullas’ blog, suggests that you take the time to read and digest what your customers and clients write to you. If a lot of questions crop up, perhaps you can write a Q&A, FAQ or other informative blog post that curious customers will definitely click on.
Walls of text may have been the norm for a long time, but it’s easier than ever to add media to your posts. Consider infographics or videos to break up longer articles, or you can center your post around this media. Adrienne Erin of Site Pro News also recommends that you include customer testimonials, especially when writing about a new product or service.
Heavily preferred among content creators for good reason, BuzzSumo’s blog is full of tips for writing posts and other content. As a resource itself, BuzzSumo harnesses the power of alerts in multiple areas. Set these up for certain keywords, specific authors and competitors that generate links for their sites. If you need this information urgently, BuzzSumo will send you alerts in real time. There is a fee for using some services though.
Much like searching Twitter hashtags, you can log onto HootSuite, search for relevant keywords or topics, and create a feed. Whenever someone tweets about your keyword or topic, you’ll see all mentions pulled together in one place for further dissection.
As Ryan Law of Kapost notes, Google Scholar is quite beneficial: “Citing academic work […] works wonders for developing authority, making it easier for readers to buy into your suggestions.” Be sure to arrange results by date. If you want to check if someone has covered your great idea or browse article titles for a spark of inspiration, start here.
Ubersuggest lets you search a general keyword to get more specific suggestions. You can use these to dig into fresh niches that you haven’t yet tapped into with your writing.
“Ubersuggest provides search from various sources such as different verticals,” writes Vikalp Bharti at Digital Vidya. “These are web, images, news, shopping, video and recipes. So, for a keyword like ‘laptop bags,‘ if we choose shopping as the source, the number of suggestions would be different.”
Portent is a helpful fall-back when you get stuck on headline writing. Just type in your keyword, and the tool will automatically generate a title for you based around that subject. Don’t rely on a robot to write your headlines for you, of course, but you can refresh until you find a headline suggestion that sparks some inspiration.
Social Crawlytics lets you track down the most popular posts from your competition. You can see which articles have the most attention from customers and even use it in conjunction with Kompyte or BuzzSumo. Social Crawlytics has a free plan and a paid one.
FAQ Fox works similarly to Quora — it offers a few common categories for you to start your search if you’re already feeling stuck, but you can take it further than that. Besides letting you enter your own keywords if you don’t see them in the list of categories, you can include links with your keyword search. FAQ Fox will comb through specific sites to see whether they’re talking about a topic you want to cover.
Storify lets you scour social media for newsworthy stories. These digestible news bytes can become the backbone for your own content.
WikiMindMap turns Wikipedia into a mind map of keywords. When you look for a topic, it generates a mind map with branches that relate to your keyword. Follow those branches to explore topics you would not have thought of as related to your own.
While all of Content Forest’s services aren’t offered for free, its ContentIdeator title tool is. After searching for topics, this will produce a handful of potential titles for blog posts. It’s like Portent, but you get more than one headline at a time. Content Forest also offers dozens (or more) pages of results depending on how content-rich the keyword is.
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