We all know how important good, useful, relevant content is to a business’ digital marketing efforts, but consistently producing high quality content is a challenge for even the best writer or strategist. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself staring at a blank page, with a mind at least as blank.
Fortunately, there are some very quick and easy ways you can generate ideas for excellent content. Next time you find yourself stuck, try some of these suggestions:
1. Answering Questions
If you’re lucky, you’ll already have a pool of commonly asked questions your company receives about your product or service. Could you compile these into an FAQ post, or pick out one of them and expand on it in greater depth?
If you’ve already done this, and have run out of questions, it’s time to mine other people’s brains. Sites such as Quora can be a huge help here. If you browse through categories related to your product or service, you will find dozens of real people asking real questions, many of which you could use to create insightful and useful content for your customers.
2. Turn to Twitter
All social media channels can be useful for identifying content ideas, but if you’re in a hurry it’s hard to beat Twitter. There are a several ways to leverage Twitter for this.
a) Scan the trending topics. Is there something currently newsworthy which you can spin to apply to your own area of expertise? Can you link information of insight about your product or service to something which is currently a hot topic?
b) Use the powerful Twitter search feature to look for issues or questions related to your field. For instance, if you are in the hiking business, you could search for things like “do hikers” or “can hikers” or “how should hikers”. Think creatively with your search terms and you can unearth some real gems.
c) Search for a tweetchat related to your topic—these often involve a lot of questions and answers, and controversial opinion points which you could turn into your own content.
d) Play around with possible hashtags for your market and see what you can find.
3. Read Amazon Reviews
Amazon reviews are a fabulous source of content ideas. Simply search for popular books or products in your field, and trawl through some of the reviews. You will usually find people complaining about how that particular book or product didn’t meet their needs because of such and such a problem—this is market research handed to you on a plate, and will give you ideas for content based around solving those problems your audience care about most. You see how problem-solving for your customers is a recurring theme here? That’s because this is exactly the kind of content your customers want.
4. Ask Your Customers!
Don’t overlook this simple possibility. It might not help when you need to produce some good content quickly, but it never hurts to periodically ask your audience what they would like to see you provide for them. Social media channels are a great way to open up this kind of conversation. Some of the answers you get will be totally impractical, but there are sure to be some great ideas you hadn’t thought of before.
5. Make a List Post
List posts are always popular, because they’re both interesting and fun. Can you curate a piece of content which draws together the ten best books in your field, or the top 20 ways people are innovatively using your product? List posts take quite some time to produce if done well, but they typically perform well and thus are well worth the investment of your time.
Having a good editorial calendar will help to prevent sudden content blanks, but these easy techniques are sure to turn up some ideas when you’re strapped for time and need to create something genuinely useful, quickly.