How To Come Up With Unique & Fresh Content Ideas (Regularly)
If you’ve ever wondered…
- “How do I come up with great blog ideas on a consistent basis?”
- “Where do my competitors come up with ideas for great blog posts?”
- “What are the best sources for inspiration when it comes to finding blog post ideas?”
…then I’ve got something you’re going to love.
It’s a list of proven ways to find inspiration for your next great piece of content. Over the last few years, I’ve written hundreds of blog posts that have been featured on various sites and viewed millions of times. I’m often asked how I constantly come up with new ideas for the different blog posts and where I find my inspiration.
In this article, I’m going to share with you five tactics that I rely on every single week as I brainstorm ideas for my own blog or the content I’m often developing for clients.
Bookmark these resources and use them next time you’re feeling stuck.
Let’s get to it…
Leverage Industry-Specific Forums
One of the biggest benefits that the internet has brought marketers is the ability to understand our audience better than ever before. The internet gives us a platform to discover the perspectives, opinions and triggers that resonate with our audience without actually talking to them.
Today, you can find online communities where hundreds or thousands of people talk about topics they’re passionate about. It could be a forum dedicated to Pokemon. It could be a forum dedicated to writing. It could be a forum dedicated to Guitars.
The web is filled with these different communities, and within these communities are discussions that you can use as inspiration for blog and marketing content. One of the biggest mistakes that content marketers make is assuming they know what their audience wants rather than spending the time to truly understand.
One site I rely on frequently for finding passion-based communities is Reddit. It’s one of the oldest forum sites on the web, and still one of the most active, boasting millions of visitors every single day. You can spend time browsing through conversations and the sort by the top content in a Subreddit to uncover great content ideas that you know your target audience is going to enjoy.
Let’s say I’m interested in launching a new blog all about Philosophy. I could go to the /r/philosophy subreddit and see what the top content was over the past week:
From here, I can quickly see that there was a lively discussion about The Philosophy of Bob Ross & The Joy of Painting. Using a site like BuzzSumo, you can type in a keyword from the topic and see if it’s something that could potentially stir up some shares:
In this case, I quickly see that a topic on Bob Ross could resonate with a large audience and might be worth pursuing. At this stage, I just need to find the right headline and story angle to craft something that my audience would enjoy. Using a tried and tested headline formula, something like: What Bob Ross & The Joy of Painting Can Teach Us About Stoicism could work well.
Hop In The Shower Or Meditate
Sounds hippie-ish, doesn’t it?
Hear me out for a second.
As Leo Widrich explained on the Buffer blog a few years back, when we shower, a lot of dopamine is released from our brains. In addition, showering forces us to think of something other than work while offering a relaxed state of mind. The combination of a dopamine high, relaxed state and distracted mind is what makes a shower the perfect place for finding great ideas.
Taking the time to meditate or take a relaxing shower can ease your sense of writer’s anxiety. As content creators, it’s easy to be thinking all the time about your next great piece of content or how to further distribute your latest piece. Over time, this constant effort to create something new can cause mental fatigue and push you to a point where you’re simply unable to gather new thoughts.
The peace that you can achieve when showering or meditating can offer a bit of clarity. You can use this time be alone with your thoughts and be better equipped to tackle your next creative endeavour.
Here are a few addition benefits that meditation can offer:
Use Quora For Headline Inspiration
One of my favorite question-and-answer sites, Quora, is a brilliant resource for finding inspiration for your next piece of content. It’s a site where people ask questions above a specific topic and receive answers from the community. Quora is filled with a diverse range of topics. From Startups and Inspiration to Productivity and Politics—there are experts from around the world answering and asking questions on the subjects your audiences might be interested in.
When you’re looking for content inspiration, I recommend using Quora’s search bar to type in the topic you’re looking to write about. Let’s say you want to write about stock markets. Type it into Quora…
…and use the results as inspiration for your next post.
For example, the question: “What are the best tools for learning finance and stock markets?” is a great starting point for a new blog post titled: “10 Of The Best Tools For Learning Finance & Stock Markets.”
Try a few new keywords, rinse and repeat.
Use Crate For Content Inspiration
It wouldn’t be an understatement if I said that in the last six months, the majority of my ideas came from Crate. I know the same is true for many other Crate users because I’m the co-founder of this tool and I get to see all the user feedback.
Crate is built for content curation, but it’s also being used for inspiration. At its core, Crate is a content recommendation tool that makes content suggestions based on keywords, domains and Twitter handles that you upload to the site. Crate then uses these pieces of information to find the best content containing those keywords, shared by those Twitter handles, or published on those sites.
To find inspiration, you start by building a Crate:
As mentioned, you’re going to want to add relevant keywords, domains and Twitter handles to your Crate to get great results. I like to create Crates that are specifically about the topics I’m going to write about.
This is a Crate about marketing:
Using this information, Crate goes out to the web and finds articles that match the criteria I’ve uploaded. Within minutes (sometimes seconds) I have a stream of content filled with interesting, compelling and unique articles:
I use this stream to find insights about the type of content that people want in this industry. In the example above, I see that one of the most popular blog posts is titled: “The Best Way To Present Marketing Results To Your CEO.”
From there, I could start remixing the headline until I land on an original idea that would likely resonate with my audience. For example, I could write: “Six Tips For Presenting Complex Analytics To Your CEO” or “How To Communicate The ROI of Social Media To Your CEO.”
Visit Viral Sites For Content Inspiration
Whether you love BuzzFeed or hate BuzzFeed, you have to respect their ability to create content that gets shared. It’s hard to go a single week without seeing something online that was developed by the folks at BuzzFeed.
Sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy offer daily articles, videos and quizzes that can be used by marketers as inspiration for your next great piece. For example, here’s a batch of content that was trending on BuzzFeed at the time I wrote this blog post:
Let’s say I’m running a blog all about writing. From this list, I could find inspiration and come up with the following ideas for potential topics on my blog:
- 21 Tips For Writing a Bit Better In 2017
- 33 Writer Jokes That Are Just Very, Very Funny
- Which Writer Are You More Like? Shakespeare or Marlowe?
- Can You Spot The Child Prodigy Before They Became A Famous Author?
It’s all about the remix!
You take inspiration from these articles that have absolutely nothing to do with your industry and remix them to fit your story. In doing so, you’re able to come up with fresh content that will consistently leave your audience waiting for more.
So there you have it:
Five great ways to come up with new content ideas on the regular.
Of course, there are tons of other ways to find inspiration for content ideas—everyone has their book of tricks for brainstorming. I’d love to hear some of the ways you come up with ideas. Please leave a comment below!