If you work in content marketing, your typical day probably consists of a good amount of content creation — that is, writing blog posts, then working on copy for eBooks or your company's social media pages. Perhaps you also have a hand in writing the next client case study or upcoming email newsletter.
Because content marketing involves so much writing, it's quite common to experience writer's block. Writer's block happens to us all and while it can be frustrating when ideas aren't flowing freely, that's what we're here to help with!
Read on for ways to unlock inspiration and come up with new and creative content ideas.
Table of Contents
What is Content Creation?
Content creation is a multi-step process that involves coming up with new topics to write about, deciding what form these new topics will take (blog article, landing page, video), writing, editing, optimizing for SEO if necessary, and publishing.
Creating content should always serve your broader content marketing strategy.
While content creation can be time consuming, the benefits for brands and marketers makes it all worth it:
- Content marketing generates about 3 times as many leads versus traditional marketing
- 82% of marketers who create blog posts see positive ROI from their inbound marketing
From providing value to our audience to ensuring that the content we create contributes to revenue, content creation really is vital to the overall growth of your business. But what does creating content actually entail? How can you come up with topic ideas that are relevant to your niche and will have your audience interacting with your content?
5 Ways to Find Content Ideas
Blog content ideas can come from just about anywhere — your content marketing team, your online audience, your customers, new data-driven insights, and social media are some great places to start. However, as all smart marketers know, your content needs to have a goal.
Does it aim to educate your audience? Is it for entertainment purposes? Or perhaps the goal is to encourage a specific action such as registering for a webinar or downloading a white paper.
Whatever the goal may be, having a solid understanding of what you want a particular piece of content to achieve will help frame your search for inspiration.
Here are 5 places to get started on your search:
1. Social media
If you're stuck on content creation ideas for your next blog post, why not look to the people who are currently consuming your content — your followers on social media.
This can be a great way to see what your audience is talking about and who they interact with on social media. From taking a look at their recent posts on Instagram to scrolling through their Twitter timeline, your social media audience is an untapped source of inspiration for blog ideas.
Social media platforms have also made it a lot easier for you to connect with your audience so that you can get a better sense of what it is that they actually want to see from you in terms of content. Use interactive features, like quizzes and question stickers on your Instagram Stories, or polls on your LinkedIn and Twitter. Asking your followers what topics they would like to see you cover is a great way to use your social media audience as a source of inspiration for content ideas.
Tip: Take a look at The Most Innovative Social Media Content Ideas
2. Comments from blogs and social media posts
Take a look at some of the comments you have on your blog posts or social media posts. While regularly monitoring the comments section of your social media accounts is something you should already be doing as part of community management, looking at them through the lens of a content writer can spark new ideas.
Look back at previous posts where you included a call-to-action, and see how your audience responded. Perhaps other people have left questions in your comments to ask more about the piece they just read; use these questions as blog post topics to cover.
Tip: Take a look at our social media comments guide
3. Competitor blog posts and websites
If you're struggling to come up with new content ideas for your blog, see what kinds of posts your competitors have written recently written. You can create a list of topics to write about by just looking at a few competitor websites. Of course, this doesn't mean that you should copy your competitor's entire blog post; rather, use the blog topics to give you ideas on what you could potentially write about in your own blog post. It will be even more impactful if you can put your own spin on it.
The advantage you have with this method is that you gain a better understanding of how your competitors are approaching industry topics, and you can use your brand's specific brand voice to distinguish between your blog post and your competitors. Looking at competitor blog posts can also help you see any gaps within your content that would be useful to fill out.
Something else that you could do while looking through your competitor's blog posts and website is to see what other types of content pieces are available. Is there an FAQ post or section? A link to interactive content like an eBook? A comments section for their blog posts? These can all give you more ideas of topics to cover on your blog.
Reading Tips: How To Perform A Competitor Analysis (Free Template), Competitor Benchmarking: What It Is and Why It Is Important, What Is Competitive Intelligence?, The Ultimate Guide to Competitor Monitoring
4. Search engine suggestions
A strategy that you should be implementing, not only for gathering blog post ideas but for your overall content marketing strategy is using search engines.
Maybe you have a general topic that you want to cover in a blog post (like "lead generation", for example). Type your topic into the search bar and see what suggested topics come up — voila! You've just been given a whole list of blog post ideas to write about.
A bonus with this method of looking for blog post ideas is that you can also look at the bottom of the search engine page to get a list of search suggestions related to topic you typed in the search bar. The added benefit here is that these related search suggestions are SEO-friendly and will be highly relevant to the original topic you had in mind.
Reading Tip: How to Write SEO Optimized Content, Your PR SEO Super Powers, How to get your E-commerce strategy to convert with SEO, SEO Mistakes That Kill Content Marketing
5. YouTube videos
As the second largest search engine on the internet, you are bound to find inspiration for your next blog post by watching YouTube videos. Just like a search engine, all you need to do is type in your topic in the search bar and a suggested list of topics will appear, providing you with some relevant blog content ideas that you can incorporate into your YouTube marketing strategy.
You'll also notice that once you start watching a few YouTube videos, there are other suggested videos on the sidebar that you can consider, especially if you are looking for ideas that are specific to your own niche. Don't forget to also check the comments of the YouTube videos you come across for more inspiration on content ideas for your next blog, quiz or infographic.
Creating Interactive Content
Without knowing it, it's very likely that you have either engaged in or created interactive content. Like the polls and stickers on Instagram Stories or the online quizzes you might have done on websites. In essence, interactive content is when a user engages with a piece of content to inform an action, such as revealing the answer to a quiz question, expand a "more information" box, or jump to a specific content section.
Check out our PR in the Age of Influence guide for a great example of interactive content!
Creating interactive content is a great strategy for boosting engagement with your target audience online, while also simultaneously creating a fun experience where your audience feels more involved with your brand's personality. According to Demand Gen Report, 93% of marketers agreed that interactive content is effective in educating consumers, compared to just 70% for static content, while 77% of respondents from a study conducted by Content Marketing Institute agree that "interactive content can have reusable value, resulting in repeat visitors and multiple exposure."
So if you haven't thought about using interactive content not only to engage your audience but as an idea for content, now is a good time to start.
Reading Tips: The Best Interactive Posts For Social Media, Interactive Content & Social Media: A Match Made in Heaven, Interactive Content for Every Stage of the Sales Cycle
Ideas for Interactive Content
Struggling to come up with interactive content ideas? Here's some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing!
Creating infographics is a great way to show complex data in a visually appealing and more understandable way for your target audience. Not only are infographics easier to consume but they make data look more appealing. If you aren't familiar with creating interactive infographics, check out our blog post on creating infographics for non-designers.
Quizzes are all about asking a user some questions and then providing results to the user based on how that user answered those questions. This is marketing gold because getting personal with your audience is how you keep them engaged and coming back for more with your brand. If you want to learn how you can start creating quizzes, watch this YouTube video.
eBooks are another great way to help establish your brand as a thought leader within a particular industry topic or niche. However, it can be easy to simply create eBooks that are dry and dreadful to consume. To curb this problem, it helps to incorporate interactive content within your eBooks. Think about turning your eBooks into an online flip-through book instead of a downloaded PDF or add an assessment that a reader can complete according to the topic.
Now that you have a little more guidance on how to get some ideas for your next blog post or quiz, it's time to start creating. Remember that content creation is a process and it really is okay when you come across writer's block every once in a while. Bookmark this blog post whenever you need to spark ideas and get your creative juices flowing once more.
Make sure that you have a strategy in place for distributing the content you've created, and then measure the performance of your content by using the right monitoring tools. If you'd like to explore how Meltwater can help you do this, complete the form below to get started.