Content marketing is the hot thing these days, with freelance writers and bloggers breaking into the scene every chance they get. It’s exciting. It’s challenging. It’s competitive. It’s rewarding.
Rewarding it may be, however, we cannot deny the challenges that face content marketers – a major one is having a constant stream of ideas. Without ideas, you cannot create content. Without content, you don’t have anything to work with.
Thing is, ideas are not always easy to come by – much less unique ideas.As French author André Gide said:
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said.”
That doesn’t bode well for content marketers, does it? Then again, just because an idea has been talked about doesn’t mean you can’t use it and let your creative juices run loose, creating something new.
And, if your problem is running out of ideas to write about, there are ways around that – and that’s what we’ve got for you in this post.
How to Generate Winning Content Marketing Ideas
1. Have A Running List of Ideas
Remember the stereotype of a journalist with a pencil tucked behind his ear and a notepad always in hand?
Embrace that concept.
You may not be the pen and paper type, but always have something handy to jot ideas down on as they come. (Confession: I have a pen and notebook beside me in bed.)
Since we work online, it’s convenient to use software that makes it easier for you to have an organized list of ideas. You may work on your laptop most of the time, but it’s your phone or tablet that’s always with you.
It makes sense to have tools that can be used across the board, yes? Personally, I use Evernote and good old Google Drive.
Related: 16 Content Marketing Tools You Can Use To Build Up Your Blog
It doesn’t matter what your preferred software is, though. What matters more is that you have a depository of ideas which:
- allows access on multiple devices;
- is capable of organizing data – adding tags and labels, for example;
- and has a search functionality – very handy when you’ve got tons of ideas and links stored.
2. Identify Influencers And Line Them Up For Interviews
I honestly often get tired using the word “influencer” but there are not a lot of words that capture its essence to supplant it. (Sorry, mini-rant over.)
Anyhow, all bloggers and content marketer want to get the attention of influencers – even one would do the trick! A single tweet or blog from them, and you can strike gold.
What could be better than that?
Well, snagging one for an interview for starters.
Yes, I don’t deny this can be a long, long shot, especially for beginning bloggers. However, if you work hard at making genuine connections, you’ll be creating opportunities which can lead to direct interaction with the bigshots.
Here’s the more encouraging part. Influencers don’t have to be limited to big names like John Gruber or Brian Clark. Look at your niche closely, and you’ll find more people who know what they’re talking about, have a huge following, and have built a name for themselves. They may not make the national news, but they still have clout and they’re easier to reach.
How do you find them? Check out tools like followerwonk, Buzzsumo, and Keyhole.
3. Find “Mentors” And Learn From Them
“Mentors” being leading bloggers in your niche. Now, you probably won’t be able to get them to chat with you (though that would be awesome), but that doesn’t mean they can’t show you the way. Simply follow their blog and observe very closely.
Pay particular attention to the following:
- Topics they write about a lot
- Popular posts – either look at the section for these posts, or if that doesn’t exist, look at the number of social shares and comments
- Comments – questions and other input from readers can give you plenty to think and write about
- Sites they link out to – you’ll find more ideas and resources
As you do this, don’t forget the previous point: your running list of topics. Keep adding topics that you want to use or may want to use in the future. Just keep adding – you can do the weeding out later.
4. Make Your Existing Content Better
So you’ve got a nice amount of published content. You get a steady stream of (high) traffic from, say, 10 articles month by month. But what about the other articles that are just as great but aren’t bringing in as much traffic as you wish? Or, articles that are already popular but can use another push?
One word: update.
It’s no secret that Google loves fresh content. That’s why it’s important to keep updating your blog. But Google also places high importance on older pages that are regularly updated. The latter may even outrank the former.
Need content marketing ideas? Don’t look far – check your old content and update.
Let’s say you have an old post about 10 WordPress themes that are perfect for photography blogs. Why not add 10 more this month? Then add another 10 next month? See what that does to your post.
5. Go Straight To Your Readers
Sometimes, there’s no better way than to ask flat out. Just like you can find ideas in the comments section of other blogs, you can do so on your own. Ask your readers what they want to read about, what questions they need answering, and what problems they need solving.
You can do this in a post, via social media, or through your newsletter. You can even create a special survey and send it as an email blast.
Pro tip: Use Qzzr or Typeform to create visually attractive quizzes or polls.
6. Always Be In The Loop
How’s this for a no-brainer?
I find that one of the best things about writing content is that you get to read a lot. You read the latest news about your industry, trends, guides, and all sorts of things. Not only do you get pleasure from reading, but you also get tons of content marketing ideas. Tell me if that isn’t a win-win situation.
Now, if you don’t like reading and learning, you might want to start developing these habits. Or maybe reconsider what field you want to work in.
7. Explore – Don’t Let Your Niche Limit You
Here’s a cliché for you:
think outside the box.
Ugh. If I had a dollar for every time….
Seriously, though, don’t get all caught up in your niche. Sure, having a specialization and focusing on it is a great thing. It makes you excellent at what you’re doing. You command higher pay.
But have you ever thought about the fact that there’s a big world out there that can give you ideas which you can apply to your own niche?
Explore. Discover websites and blogs of companies from different industries. They may be doing other things that would never have occurred to you otherwise.
Say you’re working on an e-Commerce platform that sells rugs and you come across a spa’s website. Maybe you can come up with content that merges the two concepts. Wouldn’t that broaden your content marketing prospects?
Ideas can be found anywhere. All you have to do is look, file, organize, and execute.
Have you utilized any of the above tips to generate content marketing ideas? Do you have additional tips of your own? We’d love to hear about them.
Thank you very much for reading our guide on how to generate winning content marketing ideas. We trust you now have a sizeable list of notes and ideas you can work with.
If you have any questions, be sure to leave them down in the comment section below and we’ll gladly answer any questions you may have.