One topic is more than enough Let’s say you want to write on email marketing. For example, each of the following formats could generate a different approach to a piece about email marketing: Reviews of awesome books Products and apps Roundup posts (influencers, links, posts, books, documentaries, ted talks, events) Influencer interviews How-to guides Straight opinion pieces Check out a few easy angles I’ve thrown together by combining the above formats with the subject matter. 2. Review your top-performing content Already putting out a lot of great content? You can use those questions to inspire your own content ideas. Once you find a relevant subreddit to your industry, you can sort the topics. Don’t forget to repurpose your content There’s no rule that says you have to publish an article on your blog every day. Zero in on those to inspire your own new content ideas. Buzzsumo lets you find the most shared content around the web from multiple angles, including: By domain By keyword By author Not only can you source new topics based on their popularity (number of social shares), but you can also use this tool to validate any content ideas you’ve come up with. HubSpot published a similar post covering marketing lessons learned from cupcakes. When people ask me questions, I write posts about them.
As frequently as I write, I’m still impressed with people who can continually dish out awesome content, never running out of blog ideas.
I still have the occasional day where I draw a blank with topic generation and angles.
Coming up with awesome content ideas on the regular is a big challenge that bloggers and inbound marketers face all the time. You just need a little playbook to fall back on when that blank white page and flashing cursor are screaming in your face.
It’s not always easy to meet the demands of a regular editorial calendar, especially when you’re blogging on a daily basis. If you stress about it, you’ll only distract yourself from content generation.
You can always use old content to fill in the gaps between new content. But we all know that fresh content drives traffic and conversions more effectively.
So, what do you do?
When you’re worried that the inspiration is drying up, and you’re running out of unique and compelling content ideas, you need to know where to turn for inspiration.
You don’t need a ton of ideas
When it’s time to churn ideas for your blog, you probably stress about trying to create this long seed list of topics in one big brainstorm session.
You can do that, but it’s not always necessary.
Stop wasting time creating 100+ ideas in one sitting. After all, you only need one great idea to make a good article.
If you go by the ol’ 80/20 rule, where only 20% of your content ideas are great, you still only need a handful of ideas.
Because that handful of ideas can be transformed into so many more with a simple formula.
One topic is more than enough
Let’s say you want to write on email marketing. There’s a ton of content out there already on that subject.
Don’t let that scare you away from writing about it!
The marketers who do that are trying to live by the concept that 1 idea = 1 topic. That’s just not true.
This is the formula you should be using: 1 idea = topic x angle.
With the above formula, you can put together dozens of content approaches that hit on the big key indicators of a great topic and will fill your editorial calendar.
Change up your format
When you’re thinking about your angle, also consider the format of your blog post. This can help you find new slants for a topic.
Not every post needs to be an instructional article. For example, each of the following formats could generate a different approach to a piece about email marketing:
- Reviews of awesome books
- Products and apps
- Roundup posts (influencers, links, posts, books, documentaries, ted talks, events)
- Influencer interviews
- How-to guides
- Straight opinion pieces
Check out a few easy angles I’ve thrown together by combining the above formats with the subject matter.
- 5 Studies That Prove Email Marketing Boosts Customer Lifetime Value
- My Review of the “Master Email Marketing in 7 Days” Book
- The Top 4 Email Marketing Platforms for Indie Authors
- 13 List-Building Tips from Industry Experts
- Discover How <Influencer Name> Grew His Subscriber Base by 10k in 10 Days
- How to Create a Killer Email Opt-In That Converts
But the hard part for a lot of marketers and business owners is coming up with those initial ideas.
Here are some of the best ways to develop content gold when you’re feeling creatively tapped.
1. Survey your followers
Your followers know what they like, and they know before anyone else what’s on their minds. Pick their brains for ideas.
This can be done in a number of ways depending mainly on the channels you use to engage your audience.
Use Email – Send a targeted blast out to your subscribers and ask them to respond directly with their favorite topics.
Use Social – Post to your various social accounts. Ask followers to respond with the topics they prefer, and find out how they like to digest that content. Try using a hashtag for setting up a social chat to make it easy to track responses.
On Facebook, boosting your posts can ramp up the number of responses you receive, as well.
Post to groups & forums – Starting a topic in a relevant group is a great way to boost group engagement and be active while trying to build your network. Ask group members for their input on the topics they’re hungry for within your industry.
2. Review your top-performing content
Already putting out a lot of great content? If so, you’ve got an easy source for content ideas.
Just check your analytics.
(Neil’s analytics screenshot)
Google Analytics is a powerful platform for tracking the performance of your content, but it can also give you powerful insight from the behavior of your visitors.
First, use the menu in Google Analytics to navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. This displays the most popular pages on your site within the date range you specify.
(Neil’s analytics screenshot – all pages data per above line)
You can narrow the focus by adding a filter to the content, like the director for your blog, or a specific category. This eliminates irrelevant site content like landing pages.
If you have a site search box, you can also run a report in your Google Analytics to track the words your visitors use to find specific content or topics on your site.
(Neil’s analytics screenshot – site search report)
Every search term is an opportunity to dig deep into a topic.
3. Jump to Q&A sites like Quora
Quora can provide an endless supply of content ideas, depending on your industry. With some 190 million monthly users, you can bet there are a ton of topics and questions being discussed on the regular.
You can use those questions to inspire your own content ideas.
Questions on Quora are lumped together by topic, so perform some simple searches using topic-related keywords.
Then just look at the most popular questions.
Use the stats coupled with each question to see which ones are the most popular.
Don’t neglect other questions, though. There still might be some gold in a question with just a few answers. One of the answers may have been so thorough that no one else responded.
4. Dig through Reddit for top content ideas
Reddit is another great site that’s like a monster mashup of forums and Q&A content. Reddit is broken down into little communities called subreddits (micro-forums that are topic-specific.)