It happens to even the most prolific of writers: you run out of good ideas for content. It isn’t easy turning out consistent copy that’s original, especially if you feel you’ve already written every possible thing there is to know about your topic. You know it’s important to keep content fresh and shareworthy if you want to increase traffic, customer engagement, lead generation, and sales. The good news is that there are plenty of habits to develop and tools to use for discovering new topics.
Keeping It Fresh: Where to Find Original Ideas
Finding the right idea doesn’t have to be difficult. The trick is letting go of the mind-set that an idea isn’t truly original unless it comes off the top of your head. The struggle is real, but there are tricks to be learned that will help you capture and develop content ideas that connect and engage.
Jot it Down
Every good writer spends time jotting down good ideas, but jot down the “bad” ones, too. It may be a thought seems incomplete or not on topic, but a good thought can spring from one that’s less developed. Ideas grow and expand in unexpected ways, so write everything down, compose some posts and see if some fresh ideas appear.
Write and the Ideas Will Come
Yep, if you can’t come up with an idea, just start writing. More often than not, the topic will reveal itself as you do. The bad first draft is as true in content writing as it is for screen or novel writing. Overwrite, and then learn how to thin it down. Your best ideas will shine more clearly if you write knowing that a lot of the content may be destined for the recycling bin.
Know Your Audience
Even if you think you already know who you’re writing to, re-read buyer personas and company mission statements before putting words on the page. Keeping yourself familiarized with the audience will help you constantly find new content ideas that they want to read about. Consult social media accounts, track trending hashtags, attend events, read comments and questions, and ask about the challenges people are facing.
Start a Library
Whatever software you use, start to track new content ideas. Create a note and title it with the topic. List a few bullet points and then file it in a folder called “Content Ideas.” When you’re stuck, pull up your library and search for terms that match your task at hand.
See Things Differently
Just about any topic can be approached in multiple ways. Don’t worry that you’re repeating yourself. First, most of your audience doesn’t read every single thing you write. Even if people do read more than one post covering the same topic, keep in mind that different types of messages resonate with different people. Writing about the same things in multiple ways actually serves your audience! So, go ahead and freshen up an older piece of work.
Pick a Style
There are various interesting ways to provide value to your audience:
- How-to posts teach your readers how to get something done.
- List posts are perfect for busy people reading on mobile devices.
- Checklist posts let people measure their progress.
- Case study posts are ideal for engagement.
- Definition posts keep your readers updated on trends.
- Series posts keep them coming back for more.
Become a Journalist
Interviews are some of the most popular content you can write if you want to engage and entertain an audience. If you’re intimidated by the idea of conducting interviews, try to think of them as mini case studies with quotes! Ask industry experts for opinions on new products and services or talk to customers about how a product has had an impact on their life. People love hearing first-hand success stories.
Try a Topic Generator
When all else fails, jumpstart your thought process with a tool like HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. It’s easy to use and is designed to quickly generate a handful of ideas. Within seconds you have content titles at your fingertips that may spark your own fresh idea.
Good ideas are all around you. To paraphrase author Stephen King, it’s up to you recognize them when they show up. When you think every idea under the sun is stale, these tips will help you start creating ideas that resonate and get shared.