Great content ideas transformed into articles, podcasts or videos may prove to be an incredible source of revenue for a website or a business. I am not referring to revenue in the traditional way, though if you promote an eCommerce shop you might get there as well. I am talking about everything that is to gain from a marketer’s point of view: awareness, influence, branding, promotion etc.
Content adds value to your message by dressing it up into a piece that has some kind of meaning for the audience.
It may be an informative blog post, an audio or a video episode, a slideshow, social media post or even a random comment or a visual representation.
Writer’s block? Fight it!
One of the many issues you might be having, when you invest in content marketing a lot of your time, is the writer’s block.
It means that you might get to a point – and this will happen recurrently – when you’ll have nothing to write about. Or, you might get that impression. You can call it inspiration. And yeah, this is a concept that causes a lot of troubles when it misses from your repository.
Can you fight it?
Well yes, you can. And, it is more about knowing what you actually want to achieve than finding that golden idea that will get you straight to the top. You need to take your time to know the audience you are addressing to and of course, find out what they want to read, listen or view. You can ask questions, join their social media groups and so on.
Besides that, there’s always a good option to start looking for new ideas in advance, before getting to the point when you don’t know what to write about, anymore.
To this end, I came up with a list of suggestions and ideas that will definitely help you fight the block and get back into the game. Let’s get to work.
First and foremost, you need to consider creating some evergreen materials. What does evergreen mean into this specific context?
Well, it means the same thing like in any other context. You need pieces of content that will be as valuable ten years from now as they are today.
Let me give you an example:
A tutorial on how to change the update settings in Windows XP would have been quite valuable ten years ago. As time passes and other versions of the operating system were released, such information became obsolete. Thus, the article on your website would be obsolete as well.
In order to understand the difference, I will explain what evergreen content means. Unlike the above example, an article which is and will always be valuable to the audience is an article that debates a theme that is also perennial.
For instance, an article that teaches the audience how to grow lilies. Or, a series of articles that teach the audience how to properly use the English grammar. I guess you have already got the point.
Let’s see some ideas and of course, some real-life examples.
1. Write a series of top lists
You may be already accustomed to this type of content. In fact, we can find it almost everywhere.
Can you imagine why?
The answer is quite easy to grasp: They are effective. They are attractive and entertaining at the same time. They offer some sort of an encyclopedic collection of data and information that is easy to read, understand and remember. Thus, they satisfy the need to know and the curiosity of the audience.
There are generalist websites that post only top lists. At the same time, there are blogs and websites that focus on a single topic and offer such content for marketing purposes. If you need an example, take a look at CN Traveller.
This is a blog focused on travel that offers advice and tips to people who want to visit different places for tourist or business reasons.
2. Share a list of benefits
There are a lot of people who are constantly searching for information on the Internet. All kinds of information. Therefore, it’s a great choice to deliver them such information and help them find what they have searched for in the first place.
Regardless of your industry, I am sure that there are a lot of things you can write about when it comes to underlining a list of benefits.
To this end, if you need article ideas, here’s an example from Health Line:
Most of their articles are based on the concept of combining valuable information with lists of benefits for the reader. It’s a no-fail scenario that will definitely be well received by the audience regardless of the industry you are working for.
3. Share a list of things to avoid regarding a topic
Similar to the list of benefits and the top list, you can compile lists of things your audience can avoid. Any article writing topics would be a good choice as long as they are related to your industry or the main topic of the website.
The topic is simple, and so is the whole idea of the article. However, this type of information presents itself with high value to the rider, especially to those who are seeking to be informed on your chosen topic. It is virtually a form of “tips and tricks” article.
4. Share a do’s and don’ts list
Other similar blog topic ideas are the list that gives advice in the form of what to do and what to do not on a specific idea. There are a lot of blog posts like that and you will find at least one whatever you are searching for.
What is important is to choose your topic wisely and come up with original and informative stuff.
The article shares some interesting pieces of advice on Social Media. It is a great choice for a company that is active in Social Media Marketing.
B. Content ideas for websites and blogs
Evergreen content may be your first and most important choice for the long term. However, you can gain a lot by publishing other types of articles as well. Why?
There are a lot of types of information that are not perennial but still, they are regarded as highly valuable for those who are seeking them.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
1. Up-to-date tutorials and “how-tos”
Technology is constantly changing, whether we are talking about hardware or software. And, it is changing in the form of evolution, a process that may lead to your articles and blog posts becoming obsolete. However, you should consider the wide audience of today as well and help them in any way you can.
Tutorials and “how-tos” represent a great way to do so.
Are you a marketer? Write blog posts that teach the audience how to engage in such activities and make your posts up-to-date. The industry is constantly changing based on technological development but this should not be an impediment.
The article virtually teaches us the basics of Instagram marketing, with all its perks, with everything we should be doing and how to do it. However, this is not a perennial type of content. Social media channels are constantly changing, they are constantly updated and sometimes, they get to be abandoned by users. At the same time, the piece of content is highly valuable for those who seek that information and therefore, a great choice for content marketing nevertheless.
2. Be a storyteller
Good story ideas are not easy to find. Yet, it will be easier if you teach yourself about storytelling and how to compose a message this way.
This is a message however, that would be more effective if transmitted visually or, if your text is paired with a lot of visuals.
Imagine yourself as a student who stands in front of your “present “you. Considering everything you know now and everything you did not know back in the day, what would be the professional related questions you would have asked yourself?
Like your younger self from the above example, people are constantly searching the Internet for new information regarding all subjects that are of interest to them.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to come up with some article writing topics that are based on a question. And, you should aim at writing them as direct answers to that question.
Answering questions is a great decision for two reasons:
First, you will provide the audience with a valuable piece of content based on an actual dilemma.
Secondly, it may get you a lot of organic traffic from search engines since they put a great value in this type of content.
Here’s an example:
The example shows a simple question. The lesson to be learned here is that the best answer is what Google will show first on what we call now “position zero”. It’s obvious that this is the best position an SEO specialist can expect from a piece of content.
Find people who are relevant in your industry and contact them. Ask them to talk to you and give an interview. People are different and they have different opinions. Thus, they may provide you with original pieces of content that will attract readers and allow you to always come up with something new with minimal effort.
5. Repurpose content
Browse your content and identify articles and blog posts that are no longer relevant. Times are changing, technology evolves, trends evolve as well. As of consequence, some of your old articles may lose their appeal to the audience or even their relevance.
Find them, adapt them to the present days and repost them after updating. There’s no point in leaving them as they are.
6. Get guest bloggers
Another great idea to get past the writer’s block and have your blog populated with interesting and valuable content, is to open it for guest blogging. Some of the major blogs already do it. There’s no reason to not try it yourself.
Come up with a set of rules, create a registration/submit page for your guests who want to come up with article suggestions and start spreading word about your decision. Guest bloggers will always come with fresh, new ideas and they will be able to even reanimate a dead blog should you let them.
Also, guest bloggers will promote their articles on their social media channels and blogs as well. This means that you will get access to a larger audience out of which a significant part may become yours. All you need is good content and a retention strategy.
C. Content ideas for social media
I know, you are searching for blog content ideas, since the main website is your premier source of content marketing. However, social media is a proven way of conducting marketing and therefore, you should consider using it alongside your main page.
Here, you can do more than write and post and I will also give a few tips that will help you get around easier.
1. Join and create online groups
Facebook is the best place for groups and you can use them to your advantage. They function as a traditional forum and there are usually focused on a specific niche. Find your niche and start communicating with your peers which can also become your audience.
Tip: Look for groups that don’t allow article sharing or allow it in a limited manner. You don’t want to join a spammy group and neither to spam an audience. You need to form connections. I am talking about true connections with real people with whom you can share some of your expertise, help them and grow your influence.
Tip2: Start your own group. Share news of your company, offer expertise and answer people’s questions. In this case, the content is mostly based on discussions and less on marketing materials.
2. Study the people that you want to follow you
In order to find content ideas, you can invest time in research as well. What can you do?
Get on social media. Find out on which channel your audience is and sign up. Create an account or a page. Follow and friend as many peers as possible and begin studying their audience which can virtually become yours, as well. See what they like, what they share, what types of content they are posting and commenting on. All these are topics you can cover on your blog or your social media pages.
You can gain a lot of influence and exposure if you organize contests on social media and offer substantial prizes. However, you can achieve similar results, although in a longer time span, by giving your readers something of value in return for their attention.
Here’s an example from Oreo:
They did not come up with something vital. It’s not an idea that will change the world or an information that has the potential to become viral. No, it’s a simple recipe that includes their products as ingredients. It’s helpful; it’s valuable for their audience and therefore, a great content marketing idea. And, an average of 20k shares and likes per post, is a good achievement.
4. Engage with the audience. Comment on their posts, answer their questions
Social media is great for gaining influence and awareness growth on your brand or company. All you need to do is to populate it with straightforward types of content such as comments, answers, and tips.
With every new comment or advice you give, you will expose your brand or your company to an increasingly high audience. As I have already said, you will grow in influence and you will attract more followers which later can become customers and/or fans for your company.
5. Tell stories with your images or videos
As I have already said it in the previous chapter of this article, storytelling is a big deal in today’s WWW context. And, if it’s a great option for a blog article, it is quite obvious that it should have a similar impact or, even a greater impact on social media.
Unlike blog articles, social media posts are mostly based on visual representations. Therefore, your story will most likely be composed of images or a video.
A good example, in this case, comes from “Humans of New York”, a brand created by a storytelling photographer that developed into a movement that connects individual people from the city.
Their Facebook and Instagram pages are filled with examples of storytelling that can help you get the inspiration you need.
TIP: Are you active on Instagram or Snapchat? Do you shoot video and take pictures to share on these platforms? Repurpose some of your visuals and create stories on either one of them.
6. Use hashtags
Hashtags may be one of the best ways that can help you find content marketing ideas for your own blog or social media channels. They can help you reach out to a new audience as well, should you choose to promote your content under specific, popular hashtags.
However, when it comes to content ideas, use hashtags to find out what other people are writing about. Follow hashtags that are of interest to you are hashtags that are part of your industry. You can follow branded hashtags as well, should you find related brands. Under these hashtags, look for popular topics, questions, ideas, and buzzwords. They will most certainly help you find content ideas you can use yourself during your ongoing marketing campaigns.
You can work on your branding on social media even if you are advertising a third party piece of content. I am talking about content that is not to be featured on your Facebook page or other social media channels you may have.
You can write a guide or a book and offer it as a giveaway to your audience. It means, for free. And, people love free stuff, especially in case they can add value to their lives.
Here’s an example from author’s Neil Gaiman Facebook page:
And yes, individuals, such as designers, coders, authors, and other professional categories are also branding themselves nowadays. You don’t need to own or run a company in order to conduct marketing. You can benefit from such as strategy also as an individual.
D. Content ideas for other delivery channels
There are two major delivery channels for the content you write and design: your own websites or blogs and of course, social media. Apart from these options, however, there are a lot of other places you can find some inspiration and get new ideas to include in your content marketing strategy. Here are some of your best choices:
SlideShare presentation is different from any other content delivery channel and therefore, it tops the list of the third party solutions you can use for inspiration.
The platform allows people to upload and share slide presentations.
Search for your industry and pieces of content that are related to your industry and find some of the most popular topics within the slides of the found presentations.
They are usually pieces of condensed information out of which you can extract individual ideas and write your own pieces based on them.
2. Forums and other similar channels
There are a lot of discussion-based forums available nowadays, where people interested in a specific topic gather together and exchange information.
They can both help you find new ideas for content marketing and even engage in such a strategy as well.
They are both based on a “question-answer” system.
And, you can use them to collect information about popular topics and, at the same time, contribute to content by answering questions or commenting on other people’s answers. They come with a win-win situation that should not be ignored.
3. Related publications
Search for related blogs and websites. Study their content and take a look at their comments sections. You can get inspired by what they write about but you can get to the same conclusion after studying the comments posted by their audience. They are a highly valuable source of information regarding the trends, the questions people have and the buzzwords of the present.
4. Browse the YouTube database
Search for industry related videos and do the same as advised on the SlideShare paragraph. Watch the videos, extract pieces of useful information and start writing your own pieces.
Of course, it is advisable to check first the number of views and the comments section. They will help you curate the videos and avoid wasting time watching pieces that will be of no help.
Content marketing is effective if you find the inspiration to come up with something of value for the reader. At first, this task may be easy but after you cover a series of topics and themes, you might find yourself with the writer’s block.
This article provided you with a series of options to solve this block and find some content ideas to work with in the future whether you are writing green content or just content that follows a specific trend.
Are there any other sources of inspirations and ideas that can help a content marketer? If you know any such ideas, please feel free to contribute in the comments section available below.