Coming up with creative content ideas on a regular basis is not an easy task and, yet – it’s essential for Google rankings and traffic growth.
A live, i.e. frequently update website, steady or rising traffic, longer session durations and higher click-through rates are some of the ways Google decides that your website is a great resource for your audience. As such, it gets a boost on search engine page results (SERPs).
This is why content matters, be it external such as social media content, or on-site such as blogs. It has the power to attract your audience to your site and keep it there.
However, churning out new content ideas for a prolonged period of time takes its toll, and then your business is faced with either a total lack of new content or, worse – sub-par articles.
Luckily, there are quick and effective solutions to this problem.
Keep reading to learn about the most effective methods and tools to help you generate content ideas for all elements and channels in your content strategy, from podcasts and videos to blogs, infographics and social media posts.
Use Content Sourcing Tools And Platforms
Small businesses with blog posts get 126% more lead growth than those without.
Thanks to the abundance of valuable information and an entire universe worth of content online, you don’t have to feel obliged to reinvent the wheel when creating your own content.
There are amazing websites that can source and generate content strategies, topic titles, body text and everything else – if you know where to look.
All you need to make sure is that you do a good enough research and apply the skyscraper method when creating your own article – because you do want to outdo your competitors, right?
The list below consists of some of the most provenly successful and abundant content idea generators.
1. Find The Most Shared Content Using BuzzSumo
A great resource for generating content strategies that lets users find the most shared content by keywords.
Simply type in the particular terms that you have a broad idea about and BuzzSumo will present you with the most trending and popular topics that are generating clicks and shares. Possibly the best thing about this research tool is that it can break down its findings according to social networks.
That way you can precisely identify which type of content is doing best and going viral on each social network: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on.
2. Look For Hot Topics On Reddit
A content creators’ goldmine, Reddit is one of the busiest online communities with virtually any topic covered in depth. There are discussions aplenty that can be browsed simply by typing in your keyword in the search field – and then, watch as content ideas unfold.
Loads of topics (subreddits, as they’re called here) and threads will get listed once you do that, but pay special attention to so-called hot topic pages for sourcing fresh insights. These are almost always THE topics that are piquing everyone’s interest at the moment and that would be compelling to cover for your readers – as long as you find one that’s relevant for you.
A good approach to narrow your search down is to add a query of “how-to” or “why” to it, so that you pinpoint the topics where your target audience seeks to solve issues. Strive to create quality content out of that.
3. See What People Want To Know On Quora
Quora is a fantastic source for finding hot topics for one reason: it’s a platform for people asking questions. Any questions!
As people from all walks of life ask questions aimed at solving their problems, content creators and content marketers can take insight found there for creating well-researched, full-fledged articles and blog posts.
Aside from looking for direct questions through keywords, you can look for compelling content strategies to cover on your site, video channel or podcast by sifting through Related Topics and Spaces sections.
4. Create The Perfect Title With Portent
Portent is a content idea generator and topics resource tool that works differently from the previous two in that it lets you enter a topic that you may be prepared to write for – but lack the punchy and effective title for.
That’s where this tool kicks in – it will put together a blog article title for you (thus refining your idea and giving it its final form) and you can use it over and over for the same topic until you are satisfied with the result.
Generate New Content Ideas With SEO Tools
A well-researched, unique content idea and blog post can increase your traffic 3.5 times!
Search Engine Optimization tools can be put to use other than looking for keywords and stats that would optimize content for Google. All it takes is a little bit of thinking outside the box.
They are actually a portal into trendy topics and content that is creating buzz. They will provide you with real-time analytics and stats into how well and popular a certain long-tail keyword or even a question is.
Equipped with that knowledge, you are provided with insight into what bandwagon to jump on and make most of the fact that it’s a hot topic in online community.
1. Find Keyword Ideas With Ahrefs
Every SEO content creator’s essential tool of trade, Ahrefs is a treasure trove of keyword, phrases, search suggestion and questions generated by users online, as they look for them in search engines.
Each keyword is measured with a use volume and keyword difficulty (signifying how competitive it is) and other valuable data such as Clicks and CTRs.
You can look under All Keyword Ideas for more related (LSI) key phrases or check out what questions and queries are people asking that contain your selected keyword/topic. It is quite clear why this represents a potentially bountiful resource of great content strategies.
2. Find More Keyword Phrases And Questions With SEMRush
Similar to Ahrefs, SEMrush is a fantastic tool to make organic keyword research with. Through its functions and features that let the user visualize topics and key phrases, content ideation on SEMRush can be arranged according to keyword difficulty, traffic, SERPs and semantic relations.
3. Get Inspired By Your Competition Using LSI Graph
A particularly potent tool, LSI Graph Keywords will list the articles and resources that are doing particularly well on the internet for the given subject – in real-time!
Simply enter your keyword – that can be the gist of your topic you’re willing to write about – to generate LSI keywords (this stands for Latent Semantic Indexing – meaning, these are the keywords related to the topic you’re researching).
On the right-hand side of the results page, you will notice the Top Performing Content segment – as the name suggests is a pretty self-explanatory manner, these are the articles on a subject of your keyword that are getting most traffic, shares and leads.
Center your content idea around these and try to make your finished article (or video or podcast) even better through skyscraping.
Turn To Google For More Keyword And Content-Type Ideas
It may seem like a no-brainer when mentioned, but it’s strange how easy it is to overlook Google as a fount of wildly useful and lucrative content strategies.
As the world’s largest search engine evolves, so do its finer points and accompanying segments. According to SEO Tribunal, 15% of all searches at any given moment have never been searched before on Google. That means there is a vast quantity of newly searched terms for which there may not be enough (good) content out there.
A chance for you to step in – don’t you think?
1. Google Search Will Give You Keyword Ideas, And Tell You What Ranks Well For Them
Enter the root of your keyword in Google’s search bar and watch it generate several variations and topic ideas.
More importantly, you can use Google search to identify the types of pages and content that perform the best for your keyword ideas. Perform a Google search using your keyword idea and visit the top-performing pages.
- Are they blog posts?
- eCommerce pages?
- Is Google showing video results?
If you are quite set on your keyword idea, let the top-performing content inspire your content type as it is proven to rank well.
Pro tip: Use a blank space before your keyword to find out what specific questions people are asking about the chosen keyword that is your potential blog post topic.
2. Google News Will Show You The Hottest Topics For Free
No matter if your article ideas are for a long-term, in-depth post that aims to be an “evergreen” or a short-term news piece, checking out the News tab of a google search results page is advised.
Here you will find the most recent, the most trending blog post idea resources that can be reused and repurposed for your own industry, niche and website. To find the most up-to-date blog post ideas, filter your search by time and look for the most recent ones, or by relevance to find the ones making the biggest splash. You can also filter these by news and blog posts.
3. Google Trends And Think With Google Will Too
Google Trends’ clear-cut invitation to “explore what the world is searching” couldn’t be more succinct and to the point. Type in your potential content idea term or a keyword and check out valuable graphs and charts of how the interest for the subject oscillates over time, what regions are most interested in your topic (so you can target it more effectively) and what are its related queries that can be used as a blog idea title. Oh, and what’s recently trending, of course!
In Google’s words, this lets you “explore how Google’s data can be used to tell stories”. Exactly what we all occasionally need, right?
Think With Google doesn’t lag behind in usefulness. With “insights you want for the data you need”, this content marketers’ extension gives insights into case studies of successful content creators, trends in content research, advertising channels and tools…but most importantly, it’s a treasury of the most cutting-edge, current hot topics.
4. “People Also Ask” Will Help You Structure Your Content
An integral part of Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is the People Also Ask section than is usually located just below the first few search results.
Not only does this segment present some of the most frequently asked questions on a given topic, but the answers (found under each answer, when the accordion-style drop-down opens) also point to some of the best-performing articles and blog posts on the said subject.
After that, you know the drill: take a few of these resources, repurpose them and enhance them by making them better, bigger and multimedia-rich.
5. Broaden Your Focus With Related Searches
Steer your keen content-searching gaze to the bottom of every Google search results page and you will find Searches related to… segment. Very useful and recommended by numerous voices of content and SEO authority such as Brian Dean and Neil Patel.
These present a valuable source of specific phrases people are searching for that can even be made into blog post titles.
Source Content Through Social Media
This is the age of social media. On WordPress alone – one of the world’s largest content platforms – 70 million blog posts are published every month, while social media are the most common content marketing tactics, as 83% (according to BrandWatch).
With that amazing amount of content data shared on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, there’s bound to be something inversely to be done that benefits the content ideation, right?
1. Explore Trends And Opinions On Facebook
Because, as we all know, Facebook is (still) where it’s at, finding loads of potential topics on Facebook is easy.
Join groups and like pages that are close to your niche, industry or general interest of what you’d like to write about. Take heed of the discussions that happen there, pay attention to people’s questions and problems that can be solved for YOUR audience with YOUR content.
A very useful tool to go about this in-depth is Pages to Watch, found under your personal Facebook page’s Insights tab. This compares the performance of your page to those that are similar to you in category and topic. This lets you see the top posts by any of the said pages.
2. Let YouTube Guide Your Content Ideas
Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (no need to even guess which one is the largest)?
As such, its content ideation potentials are limitless. A good place to look first is the Popular on YouTube segment that you can use to your advantage by looking for trendy topics, but also something that is of relevance to you and your industry.
YouTube has some of the most well-used comments spaces on the internet. Their algorithms help sift through them and enhance the visibility of those that are most useful. Quite frequently you will notice a valuable insight or a blog post idea in several first comments on a video – so never neglect the vox populi!
3. Explore New Topics With Podcasts
32% of the US population listens to podcasts at least once a month. Because they have credibility and have gained the affection and trust of users, podcasts can be used to instigate great article ideas.
iTunes podcasts will let you browse through some podcasts that are most popular in your niche and industry. This points you directly to what topics and subjects your target audience wants to hear (or read) more about. Getting an interview with a famous podcaster or begin guest on one of the podcasts can provide more value to your content and business, as well.
Let Your Audience Inspire Your Content
Another content strategy sourcing method that is too easily overlooked is the reason why you’re writing content in the first place: your target audience.
Their insight, comments, suggestions and discussion should not be taken lightly, just as another metric that Google will rank you by. It’s much more than that, in fact.
Their presence presents a perfect chance to ask THEM, directly, what they’d like to see more of.
1. Engage With Your Readers
Partake in your audience discussions (on your site’s comments sections, on your Facebook page’s posts comments, YouTube etc.) and use their insight to create a blog post based around their questions, every now and then.
You can also use polls, surveys and other means of interaction to get to the bottom of their opinion, wishes and desires.
Backlinko’s Brian Dean uses this technique of directly addressing his audience and asking them what they want to learn about next. There usually is a common thread, a subject matter that is of greater interest to a large group of people. Your audience answers should point to that.
2. Be Introspective
Have you ever heard of “pain points”? They are outlining the gist of all the issues and problems your business may have faced or is facing still. While working on the solution, it is a good article idea to write a blog post about this.
Writing down an article on struggles you are facing may be of great help to countless others who are in the same hot water as you. Plus, it’s a good topic to expand on: you can reminisce why you started your business, what has changed since, how are you looking to extend business and so on.
So it’s really creating new content for your site, solving your problems AND helping others. A triple win!
3. Reuse Existing Content
As content comes in numerous forms, all of it can be reshaped into something else. E-mail campaigns can be turned into articles or even marketing videos, the most engaging articles can be made into eBooks or presentations and so on.
The options for shapeshifting of content are limitless, and there are usually two ways to go about this:
- Repurpose existing articles for guest bloggers:
- Republish old content in a new format:
Analyze your content with tools like Google Analytics and determine how your audience interacts with your site and what they like about it – especially which content pages are performing particularly well. That way you will know which of your content to repurpose.
4. Research Your Competition
A staple of any industry, knowing what it is that your competitors are doing is instrumental in your adequate replying to their success – by making even bigger success.
There are a few key aspects of your competitors’ work in terms of content creation that you need to be wary of:
- Which of the topics they’re covering are trending
This can be tested with the aforementioned Google Trends ‘ just put a few keywords they are using in their articles and see what’s hot right now.
- Which of their keywords are driving the most traffic
Something that can be put to a test with another tool we have suggested previously – Ahrefs. Another useful tool in that regard is Similar Web.
- How they use social media (whom they follow and what they share)
BuzzSumo is a great resource to learn what is trending on social media, but there are multiple other tools (such as Share Metric) that will provide you with exact insight into who your competitors are following and who are they writing content for.
- What type of content are they writing
Go Offline For More Content Ideas
Compelling content and article blog ideas are not only found online – the offline realm is packed with inspo potential, too.
1. Unravel The Myths In Your Industry
Every niche and every industry knows some myths and misconceptions, fallacies that won’t go away and malign prejudice that
Think of the biggest misinterpretations and misunderstandings that follow your niche and bust those myths! Write a well-researched article on the truth behind these and provide value to your readers by offering them a glimpse of truth.
The reason why these articles can go down very well and be beneficial is that they can develop a sense of trust between you and your target audience.
2. Make A Predictive Article
Another way to analyze your industry is to make well-informed forecasts about its future.
What are the trends pointing to where it may head next? Are some current trends nearing their end? Back your predictions with perceptive and keen insight into the past and present of your niche and sprinkle it with credible stats – this makes the trust in your brand rise even further.
3. Show The ‘Behind The Scenes’
People are more interested in the workings of a particular industry than they seem to be. Everyone loves a good “how does it work” story, so if you provide your audience with a sneak peek behind the curtains of your work, they will be taken with the idea to discuss and share the unspoken part of your story.
4. Tell Your Personal Story
Similar to the one above, every now and then a post describing and explaining some personal business struggles and triumphs is a welcome addition to your blog’s pages.
Reflect on personal experiences, mistakes, doubts, realizations, successes and provide a deeply humane dimension to your business – that of trial by fire and coming out a winner (and, sometimes, a loser) from it all.
The Two Approaches To Content Sourcing
1. Think Laterally
Lateral thinking is a “fancier” name for “thinking outside the box”. In order to come up with valuable new content ideas, sometimes a fresh new angle of looking at the problem you’re facing is required.
There are countless ways to do that, but one of the all-time “classics” is to just revert it all to the basic keyword or term you had in mind and explore the so-called tangential relationships that your subject matter has.
In his eBook and presentation How To Produce Better Content Ideas, Mark Johnstone argues that “an idea is a novel combination of previously unconnected elements in a way that adds value”. He goes on to say that what every content researcher needs to know and make of as he or she contemplates the new content idea is:
- What elements are
- How to find these elements
- What do connections look like
- And how to make them
Take your time to watch this great TedTalk video of University of Bologna professor Giovanni Corazza speaking about the ways lateral thinking can be put to creative use.
2. Create Topics In Batches
More of a suggestion on a technique than anything else, writing content ideas topics in batches is frequently recommended by content pros in any given industry.
What they propose is the following:
Instead of thinking of a specific topic to write about, you should come up with a list of all the potential topics that are occupying your mind. Researching a month-worth of new article ideas for your blog should be the goal here (depending on how frequently you post on your website or blog).
Brief outlines of multiple ideas can even help one singular idea branch out into many directions that you wouldn’t have been aware of by taking a more studious approach of just sitting down and developing one blog post idea.
Once you have enough topic ideas, it will be easier to focus on one and begin expanding it.
Bonus Tip #1: Conduct Brainstorming Sessions
SEO and content authority Moz lists some of the vital ingredients of a productive brainstorming session that should precede content creation.
Here is what they think constitutes s successful content idea curation session:
- Break up bigger groups into smaller teams: a shared goal should be contemplated by two or three people at most
- Include people with no preconceived notion of what’s about to be discussed, or people from different teams, so that they offer a fresh angle
- Define few main parameters of your work that you can discuss and create a foundation of idea around
- “Yes, and” instead of “no, but”: recognize the good points of each idea and work on its potential to be incorporated.
- Focus on AIDA: ideas that arouse attention, interest, desire and action.
- Remember to write down and capture everything so that nuances and finer points of ideas discussed in early stages are not lost
Bonus Tip #2: How To Provide Value To Your Audience
Content creators should never lose out of sight that, whatever content strategies they may come up with, the utmost goal of every should be providing value to the reader.
In that regard, there are some guidelines that Moz lists that are crucial to keeping the workflow aimed at the right objectives.
- Stay organized and prioritize your content strategies, plan both writing and publishing your pieces
- Think of a format of your article: whether it’s a round-up article, a how-to guide, a checklist, tips and tricks, case study or in-depth research. The content of an article is important – but presenting it in a suitable format is just as vital.
- When you publish, you’re not done: create a plan of sharing it on social media and other spaces and platforms
- Let ideas flow freely, write them down and refine once you’re done. Leave them to sit overnight and come back to them with a fresh pair of eyes and a regenerated mind.
Once the pre-conditions have been met, it’s onto giving something of value to your audience so you earn their trust – in the following ways:
- Research your audience and create an archetype and a persona
- Make sure you understand your audience’s needs
- Make sure that you content has these values embedded in it:
- Relevancy and recency
- Create long-form, skyscraping content
- Target specific segment of your audience, not all of them
- Make it evergreen: relevant always, no matter how much time has passed
- Make it personal and customizable
- Outdo your direct competitors in both volume and research