Today for the first time in a long time I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about. And then I thought…that’s it, I’m going to write about that exact problem. That infuriating, fear inducing moment of nothing. When the ideas stop and your heart starts beating like crazy. When you have a few ideas, but nothing strong enough to stir any emotion or action within your reader (yes, useless ideas).
It got me thinking…what are the ways I seek inspiration for my blog posts? How can I help other content marketers who are in that dreaded same predicament? Below are just a few of the methods I use to concoct new ideas that resonate with readers.
Feel free to steal a few ideas for your own brainstorming sessions…
Read an Industry Defining Book
Read an industry defining book to help you think in a different way and discover new and unique research for your niche topic. Think about it – everyone else in your industry is probably reading the same content, watching the same webinars and playing with the same old recycled seen-before ideas.
You’re different. And that’s because you’re seeking out new angles and and fully fleshed out research and case studies. Your readers will appreciate the extra effort you’ve gone to and you’ll notice a richness and depth to your content that you’ve never seen before.
Industry Defining Book We’re Reading Now:
At the moment we’re reading Getting Gosebumps by Bryan Adam and Dave Hazelhurst – an inbound marketing book about how digital marketers can connect emotionally with their target audience to help them achieve their business objectives. We’d definitely recommend it.
Another Idea – Use Book Titles for Inspiration:
Take the name of a well known book and play on the words for your next blog post. For example in the past I’ve tried titles like ‘How to Win Fans & Influence People Through Selfless Social Media’ and ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Digital Marketers’ which have performed quite well in terms of shares and blog traffic.
Use BuzzSumo for Inspiration
Find the Most Popular Content Types:
Buzzsumo is the content marketer’s ultimate best friend. There a quite a few ways you can use this to come up with content topics. Let’s explore them…
Trending Now - Click on the ‘Trending Now’ section to discover the most popular blog posts for a variety of topics, including entertainment, tech, business, health, politics and more.
Most Shared - Similar to the ‘Trending Now’ section, you can also use the ‘Most Shared’ section to identify the most popular posts written about a particular topic in terms of shares. Simply enter your keyword into the box provided and click ‘Search!’
Content Analysis - Click on the ‘Content Analysis’ section and enter your domain name for an in-depth (and visual) overview of how your content has performed to date. It contains invaluable information about what has worked for your brand. This includes what length of blog post works best, which topic type brings in the most shares (e.g. how-to article or list) and the most popular topic types that resonate with your audience. Perfect for concocting ideas based on data-led insights.
Talk to Your Sales Team (Yes, Really)
Your sales team are the ones who speak directly to your customers. It’s their jobs to understand your customers’ challenges and needs. So set some time aside to interview your team and ask them some well-thought out questions that can help you get to know your target audience better and inspire some new ideas. This will help create content that warms up prospects and keeps them entertained and smiling.
Ask Your Sales Team These Questions to Gain New Insights & Ideas:
- What are the challenges our customers face?
- What problems do our customers want solved?
- What is the information our customers look for (not just the information about our products but also what industry advice do they seek)?
- Do you send content to prospects to help warm them up and add value? How do you select relevant pieces?
- Do you ever receive positive feedback?
- What kind of topics do prospects respond best to?
Need More Questions?
Read this blog post ‘7 Questions Marketers Should Be Asking Their Sales Reps’ to help you figure out more strategic questions to ask your sales team to help you craft customer-pleasing content.
Use Google Analytics to Understand User Behaviour
A measurement tool like Google Analytics will give you a great insight into your users’ online behaviour and reading habits. You just need to know what you’re looking for to help you come up with new insightful and data-led ideas.
To Find Your Blog’s Most Popular Blog Posts Find the All Pages Path:
Behaviour >> Site Content >> All Pages
Filter to Display Your Blog Traffic Only:
Type in the Word Blog in the Box Provided and Click Search
Insights You’re Looking for to Inform Your Ideas:
Can you identify a pattern for your most popular post types? For example, is there a specific topic that performs particularly well? Or are there headline types that generate more traffic? For example, headlines with numbers in them or those including well-known influencer names may prove particularly popular for you. Find out and start thinking of ideas your customers will love.
Read Industry Reports & Identify Industry Challenges
One of my favourite ways for coming up with relevant content ideas is to keep an eye on industry reports that highlight specific problems – you know the one’s that come up again and again, year after year, and yet, no one can seem to solve them. Set about trying to tackle these industry problems through your content – even is this means interviewing an expert in your field.
It’s a good bet that people in your industry will be searching for solutions to these problems. This means not only will they be actively searching for content solutions on Google, your post will most will also pique their interest on social media networks, compelling them to read, click and share.
Attend an Industry Event
Another great way to come up with creative content ideas is to identify and attend quality industry events. Speakers often share their own experience so you can identify first hand what has worked and what hasn’t. Events allow you to pick up some new ideas for posts, along with tips, tricks, studies, stats and tools you can include within your blog posts.
Keep a notebook at the next event you attend and jot down any quotes and tips you pick up along the way. Stick them in a spreadsheet when you come home and jot down any immediate ideas that come to mind. You can also write a blog post about the event itself if it will prove useful for your audience.