Ask any content material marketer what their greatest dread is, and they’ ll possibly say something stupid and apparent like heights or spiders or even clowns (or some kind of unholy, nightmarish spider-clown slowly descending the Burj Khalifa).
What we should panic of is running out of things to write about.
Jokes aside, coming up with ideas for brand spanking new content topics can be an absolute bastard . Many articles marketers rightfully dread the content ideation process, especially those of us who create for well-established blogs with regular publication schedules in competitive verticals. Running out of ideas is Not A choice, so what do we do?
In this post, I’ m likely to show you.
We’ lmost all be examining five ways to discover things to write about, whether you’ lso are writing for any major B2B blog or your individual Medium page . We’ lmost all look at the pros and cons of each approach which includes common pitfalls to avoid, before scuba diving into some general tips to help a person develop new content ideas rapidly and (relatively) painlessly.
1 . Find Things to Write About Making use of Competitive Intelligence Tools
Since we’ re always suggesting to rely on hard data instead of assumptions, we’ re going to take a look at coming up with content ideas using competitive intelligence equipment first.
Competitive cleverness tools can be invaluable during the articles iteration process because they can help all of us quantify why some content suggestions are better than others – particularly, which topics are being shared plus discussed most.
We don’ t want to get bogged lower in a platform-specific tutorial, but for the particular sake of example, we’ lso are going to use BuzzSumo, but I’ ll keep the concepts as platform-agnostic as I can.
Initial, we need to specify what keyword or even vertical we’ re interested in. All of us do this by entering our issue into the relevant field. In this case, I’ m going to take a look at content about… content. (How meta. )
As you can see, the results over show us a range of useful details, but we’ re most thinking about the number of interpersonal shares . Why? Because the a lot more shares an article has, the more self-confident we can be that another write-up on the same topic will also be shared broadly.
Social shares really are a pretty reliable indication that the post in question is pushing the right control keys. It’ s important to note that interpersonal shares don’ t necessarily mean the content will be positive, or even well-written; just about all we need to know is that many visitors, regardless of the article’ s angle or even perspective, felt compelled to share this with their networks.
A write-up being shared widely across interpersonal platforms can be an indication of a number of different things:
- It’ s a breaking news story that will got the scoop first and it is being shared/cited widely
- The article is particularly useful, insightful, or even actionable
- The article writer has an unique perspective or regarding the topic
- The views in the article defy conventional knowledge about the topic
- It’ s an article so bad or even an opinion so controversial that people are usually sharing it out of anger or even incredulity
Except for the last one, any of the preceding factors are worthy of emulating in our personal content.
Which is just one news outlet. Picture via Reuters .
Certainly, news content is uniquely fresh new and “ new” precisely since it focuses on emerging or developing occasions, but this doesn’ t assist you to if your publication doesn’ t post news content. As a rule, we should often be striving to produce actionable, insightful content , therefore the second point is kind of the no-brainer. It also goes without saying we shouldn’ t be endeavoring to publish content that people only discuss because they can’ t believe exactly how bad it is, so what does that will leave us with? Publishing content with special insights into a topic, and that provides an unusual, fresh perspective on a well-worn subject.
We’ ve discussed the cost of contrarian content just before, but it’ s worth repeating that adopting an alternate viewpoint is definitely an excellent way to distinguish your content in the rest of the crowd. It’ s furthermore an easy way to come up with new content tips; simply find the prevailing points associated with view about a current topic inside your industry, then come up with an position that takes the opposite stance in order to everyone else.
Remember – it’ s insufficient to know your topic inside plus out, or be able to write well. You need to be able to identify broader trends and believe creatively about how to provide value for your audience by exploring alternate perspectives.
A Note About Responses
Some content analytics platforms allow you to filter results in line with the number of comments an article has. A write-up with dozens of comments could claim that the article inspired vigorous debate, however it could also mean that the site that released the article just has a terrible junk e-mail filter.
Image via Pew Research Middle
An additional potential pitfall of relying on the amount of comments an article has as an indicator of its potential worth as an articles idea is that while many content analytics platforms do a fine job associated with correctly tallying the number of comments a write-up has, this tends to be more difficult in order to calculate accurately. There are dozens of opinion systems in use across many of the most well-known sites on the web, from Disqus plus Kinja to Postmatic and Jetpack, and not every analytics platform may accurately capture true comment information from every commenting systems.
Basically, try to think of opinion volume as an interesting secondary metric to consider rather than a reliable indication of the article’ s potential as a supply for a new post.
2 . Find Things to Write About Making use of Keyword Research Tools
While we’ re on the subject of tools, our next suggestion focuses on using keyword research tools as a way to develop new content tips.
Regardless of which key phrase tool you choose to use, what we’ re looking for are relevant key phrases that we may not have thought of or else. This can be especially helpful if, such as us here at WordStream, you function to a frequent publication schedule for any popular, established blog.
There are dozens of free keyword equipment out there, but we like to believe ours is pretty good, so I’ ll be using WordStream’ s Free Keyword Device to illustrate this method.
First, we need to select a nice, broad initial keyword to begin our search, which is sometimes known as a seed keyword. For this illustration, I went with the keyword “ cryptocurrency” with no industry vertical specific and results limited to the United States:
This search produced some interesting results. Here are some from the more interesting keyword suggestions for the initial seed query “ cryptocurrency” and their accompanying monthly research volumes on Google:
- Litecoin vs bitcoin – twelve, 100
- Cryptocurrency marketplace capitalization – 8, 100
- Best cryptocurrency to invest in – 5, 400
- Can be bitcoin farming profitable – five, 400
- List of cryptocurrencies by market cap – one, 900
- How to make the cryptocurrency – 1, 900
- Cryptocurrency mining explained – 720
- Best electronic currency exchanges – 390
- Digital currency vs cryptocurrency – 40
- Listing of cryptocurrencies by value – twenty
Although the typical monthly search volume for some of such keywords is vanishingly small : just 20 searches per month for that keyword “list of cryptocurrencies simply by value” for example – we’re mainly looking for content ideas. Many of these key phrases would be perfect for introductory guides, in-depth explainers, or even shorter listicles, and may easily be used as seed key phrases themselves for further keyword research.
3. Find Things to Come up with in the News
Even though most news these days is as poisonous as a neglected Superfund site, this news can be an excellent source of content concepts.
Hey there, it’ s not ALL bad news!
Recently, we’ ve been producing a lot more news-based content material. This wasn’ t necessarily simply by design, but rather necessity; recent notices like Google’ s recently revealed ad blocker for Chrome plus the start of AMP Stories are simply too important to overlook, plus we’ d be doing the readers a disservice by not talking about them. That said, we’ re don’ t tend to prioritize news tales as a rule – our readers don’ t necessarily look to us regarding breaking stories – but simply by publishing more news content, we’ ve been able to provide more of the type of in-depth analysis that our readers do anticipate from us.
Nevertheless , you didn’ t come right here to listen to me recommend newsjacking, so, just how else can you use the news as a wellspring of content ideas? By wondering questions nobody else is requesting.
In 2014, all of us published your blog post on net neutrality (RIP). I pitched Elisa this post because at the time, nobody appeared to be asking how the repeal of internet neutrality regulations would affect small enterprises and digital marketers. Since the article was originally published, we’ ve updated it several times to reveal the ongoing dismantling of the web as we know it, which has resulted in a stable stream of traffic to this along with other posts.
We took an identical approach to this awesome article about some of the most innovative chatbots on the web. Obviously this isn’ t a timely or news-based post, but it does include details and links to content which were originally news articles. We after that used this to provide further evaluation about what developments in conversational realtors will mean for digital marketers.
Still not satisfied? Let’ s i9000 look at another example of this process through start to finish.
Beneath is a screenshot of headlines in the Content Marketing section of my Feedly homepage:
From this article you can see, the top three stories in my give food to are from well-known sources – the Content Marketing Institute, Copyblogger, plus Blog Tyrant.
Today let’ s say I’ mirielle actively looking for a blog post to write, which is the news content I’ ve got to work with. Off the top associated with my head, here’ s what involves my mind for potential weblog topic ideas:
- Do clickbait headlines like the a single in that CMI post even function anymore? Are major publishers such as CMI as fatigued by intensive editorial calendars as smaller web publishers?
- I have no idea what to anticipate from that Copyblogger story, neither what it’ s even regarding. Maybe a post about how summaries associated with stories can make your audience really feel? Or a guide on how to nail an index of your article? Or a post discovering the risks of badly-written summaries?
- All three of the best stories’ descriptions have been truncated simply by Feedly. What about a post in the current recommended specifications of meta descriptions? Or a list of reasons why meta descriptions aren’ t as essential as they used to be?
The ideas above might not be that will great, and they’ re definitely not really ready to be pitched to an publisher, but that checklist literally took less than five minutes to construct and it gives me a good starting point to work with. If I were fighting to come up with an idea for my following post, the rough ideas over could all work as launch factors for brainstorming a viable idea that could be developed into a more complete outline or even pitch.
Remember – we’ re not looking to just newsjack our way to more visitors (but hey, if you manage, good luck to you), we’ re looking for opportunities to provide a lot more depth and context to growing stories and advancements in our industry.
When you start reading the news with articles in mind, you’ ll be astonished by the ideas that will come to you.
4. Find Things to Come up with Using Blog Topic Generators
Before you close this tabs out of disgust that I’ meters about to seriously recommend blog subject generators as valid content ideation tools, hear me out.
The thing about blog subject generators is that they aren’ t intended to be perfect – they’ re just supposed to get the rusty gears inside your noggin turning, like a can associated with WD-40. Think of blog topic generator like creating prompts in an innovative writing class. Some prompts super fine, and others are so bad they’ lso are practically crimes against literature.
The same goes for blog subject generators.
Let’ ersus take a look at what using a blog subject generator looks like. Below is a screenshot of HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator , among the better topic generators out there. With this example, I entered three conditions into the generator: Writing, Advertising, plus Marketing:
After clicking on “ Give Me Blog Ideas! ” we’ re presented with the following outcomes:
At first glance, these types of results are surprisingly good. To be honest, I believe I could make any of these example article ideas work as real blog posts, yet let’ s say we want to make use of these ideas as the basis for a few ideas of our own.
As we did with the news write-up examples, below is a list of articles ideas I came up with in just a couple of minutes based on the ideas provided by HubSpot’ s i9000 Blog Topic Generator. Again, these types of ideas aren’ t going to split the internet with their boldness of eyesight, but they’ re definitely adequate to bring to your next editorial conference:
- The Intellectual Benefits of Teaching Children Cursive: A quick Company-style article exploring the developing benefits of teaching children cursive handwriting skills, explaining the physiological plus cognitive processes that happen whenever kids learn to write in cursive
- 5 Reasons Why the very best Blog Post You’ ve Ever Composed Still Sucks: A how-to post examining what separates merely good content material from really excellent content, featuring useful tips on how to be even more discerning regarding gauging the quality of your writing
- 7 Ways to Make Yourself Skillfully Indispensable: An in-depth, listicle-style article featuring seven actionable ways to get yourself indispensable to your manager, including studying resources where readers can go to obtain these skills and third-party information about professional skills currently much sought after
- Why Everything You Learn about Headlines Is Wrong: A article offering counterpoints to many of the set up best practices about writing headlines, which includes examples of various types of headlines i. electronic. news headlines, ad headlines, squeeze page headlines etc .
- 3 or more Quick Hacks to Make Your Content A lot more Shareable: Short-form blog post featuring 3 highly actionable steps content entrepreneurs can take to make their content more pleasing from a social shares perspective, which includes examples
Like i said, none of the ideas above are usually particularly earth-shattering in their originality, however the list above only took me a few minutes or so to put together. With more time, or even more specific initial criteria, we could effortlessly come up with better ideas, or more tips, or even use the rough notes over as the basis for further research and development.
5. Find Things to Compose About… In Your Old Content
Our final tip for locating new things to write about is to appear back through your old content.
Reviewing older content could be a lot of fun (or an exercise within cringe-inducing hilarity) and it’ s i9000 a great way to see your progress as an author over time – but that’ s i9000 not all. Going back through older content material is also an excellent way to come up with new things to create about.
For example , I did so a quick search for some older blogs I’ d written with a look at to coming up with some new articles ideas. Here are the first handful of content that caught my eye:
Unlike our net neutrality example from earlier, none of these types of posts are candidates for up-dates – there are no timely or even news-based elements to them. However , that will doesn’ t mean we can’ t wring even more ideas away from them.
Let’ s i9000 take the first example, a post about shopping cart abandonment that we released in March of 2016. Prior to I even sat down to re-read that post, a thought sprang into my head. We’ re continually hearing about how mobile traffic will be exceeding desktop traffic across numerous ecommerce platforms, and that offline transformation tracking technology is advancing quickly to meet the expectations of today’ s advertisers.
What exactly are the biggest potential obstacles in order to ecommerce conversions that are exclusive to mobile traffic ?
Already, this concept feels like it has legs. Let’ t break it down:
- The topic expands and creates upon the foundation established in the authentic post
- The entire position of the post – major obstacles to mobile ecommerce conversions – is based on broader trends in e-commerce
- The post includes a speculative, forward-thinking element that allows for that inclusion of timelier elements like new data and opinion/analysis associated with emerging technological developments
- Both ecommerce and mobile development are well-established topics that speak out loud strongly with our core audience
See how easy this really is? I haven’ t even place pen to proverbial paper however, and already I’ ve obtained a solid idea that aligns with our content and business objectives – not bad regarding idly looking through older content.
We’ re not really done yet, though. Here’ h some more rough ideas I created based on the other posts in my preliminary list of older content:
- Does Offline Conversion Monitoring Go Too Far?: A post discovering emerging technologies in offline transformation tracking that asks whether these types of tracking techniques violate the personal privacy of end users
- What to anticipate From a Job Interview for a Remote Show: An instructional post with real-life tips and tricks for what to expect from a job interview for a 100% virtual/remote job, filled with advice on answering tough and unforeseen questions
- The State associated with Native 2018: An in-depth, long-form blog post that examines the current panorama of native advertising and advertorial content, featuring new examples, record data, and third-party reports/studies
Again, these suggestions are hardly amazing, but they’ re a start – and had to do almost nothing to come up with them conserve look through some older posts. In addition, these are just rough content suggestions based on my own articles ; if I went through some of the older posts written by other authors, I’ d have even more concepts. (Plus it’ s always wonderful to see two- or three-year-old articles holding up today. )
Seek and Ye Shall Discover
Coming up with new concepts for things to write about can be difficult; smash-your-head-into-your-desk-repeatedly-until-gradually-losing-consciousness hard. It gets also harder when you write for an especially demanding client or an established weblog in a highly competitive industry. Nevertheless , as we’ ve seen all through this post, it’ s definitely feasible to come up with new content ideas, even when you’ re staring down the fierce deadline or feel totally bereft of ideas.
What other tips would you share regarding content producers suffering from writers’ prevent?
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