Ideas for a story can come most anywhere!

Brands these days need to become content powerhouses to survive in a world where everyone is a publisher. As a marketer, you’re likely writing blog posts, webinars, press releases, and hundreds of social media messages per week: At what point does your brain become depleted of new content ideas?

You may say: “I have nothing more to say.” Wrong. You have far more to communicate than you realize. Sometimes it’s just a matter of tapping into the right tools to find content for your brand. From newsjacking to brand monitoring, here are five ways to never have writer’s block again and generate relevant and catchy story ideas for your brand:

1. Newsjacking:

Newsjacking is the act of redirecting the momentum from breaking news into your company’s favor by injecting a fresh perspective in real time. Popularized by David Meerman Scott’s book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage, newsjacking leverages the opportunity to ride the “popularity wave” of breaking news to benefit your business. You can research trending stories through the following ways:

  • Twitter’s trending hashtags
  • Trendsmap, which shows hashtags trending by geographic area
  • RSS feed with major news outlets and industry publications
  • IceRocket, which shows popular trends in social media

Once you have selected a specific trending topic to “newsjack”, then create a natural tie-in to your business through a blog post, supported by social media.

2. Competitive Analysis:

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Who says you can’t look at your competitor’s website, join their email list, monitor their media coverage, review blog posts, and crash their webinars? Don’t cross the lines of copyright or intellectual property infringement, but use competitors as a case study to learn from.

Dive into:

  • What type of emotional pulls are they using?
  • Are they using more evergreen or more trending content? Which is more successful?
  • What persuasive things do they say, and how do they say them? Does it seem to be working?
  • How do they persuade the reader?
  • How often do they announce company news?
  • How can you adapt what their doing right to what you’re doing as a content brand?

Then, create copy that mimics the best of the best of all of these areas.

3. Brand Monitoring Tools:

Brand monitoring is not only used for gauging the public sentiment of your company: it can also be used for generating story ideas. Utilize tools like Meltwater Buzz or Meltwater News to not only gain new insights about your company, industry or competition, but also to tap into more than 300 million social media conversations with its social media monitoring module. Are there common conversation themes? Are there grievances from your customers that could be answered? Track social conversation volume and sentiment, and utilize content that speaks to common themes to influence your audience. These insights can lead to interesting ideas for stories.

4. Ask Your Audience:

Let the audience be in the drivers seat: Ask your social fans what type of content they’d like hearing about. Crowdsource to find trends, then create that content accordingly. If you want a more quantitative option, create an online survey to collect ideas directly from your readers. By turning the table to your target audience and creating relevant content, you can resonate better with your customers. Sometimes, Tweeting or creating a Facebook update that with an open-ended comment like, “What kind of problems are you having with <niche>?” can provide incredible insight and ideas for your next blog post, campaign, or press release.

5. Ask the Media:

If you’re a PR pro whose goal is to generate media coverage for your business, utilize tools like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to monitor common themes you see reporters are in need of. Write down common topics and create media material that supports those areas. This inbound form of marketing can get your business ahead of the curve — so you are an inbound source rather than an outbound.

About the Author:

Allie Gray Freeland is the PR director at iAcquire a digital marketing agency based in New York City and Phoenix. For more information on the agency, visit the iAcquire company page.