Nearly every writer/blogger/content marketer has faced it at one time or another: the dread of coming up with the next topic idea. It can be a daunting task, especially when you are determined to come up with something even better or more successful than before. Many marketers and writers agree: the hardest part of writing can sometimes be simply knowing what to write about.
There are many strategies to consider for getting the creative juices flowing. Properly gearing up your content ideation phase can make all the difference in how your campaign plays out.
Here are some ideas to get the gears in motion and help your next post be compelling and successful.
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Content ideation methods to speed up the process
Brainstorming is a curious practice that often requires you to change up your normal thinking patterns in order to discover that hidden great idea. Looking at things from a different perspective can help you come up with fresh ideas you may have never even thought of before.
When it comes to generating a content strategy or discovering your next blog post topic, start with the end of your post rather than the start. Focus on the solution, then come up with the problems that could be solved by it. This backward thinking style is great for encouraging a more creative thought process that could help you come up with the next interesting subject matter to write about.
Or, try reverse thinking. Start by taking your general question, like “How do I come up with a creative post for my blog?” Then, turn it around like this: “How do I make super boring posts for my blog?” Take that reversed challenge and solve it.
Essentially, this process weeds out the less interesting ideas and gets you to think outside-the-box for innovative topics or strong points in your next post.
Hyper-Specialize Your Posts
Don’t be afraid to get super specific with your content topics. One way to truly differentiate your content from the rest is by focusing on narrow niche writing that is highly specialized in a certain subject.
Many successful online businesses have found that adding a highly focused blog to their e-commerce website is a powerful tool in improving the sales funnel. By providing insight or information on the products that customers are looking for, or explaining how their service can solve a particular problem, these businesses are able to draw in more customers through online searches while showcasing expertise in the field.
If you’re an online retailer, an e-commerce platform like Shopify will let you start publishing content directly on your blog, categorize posts, increase engagement with comments and UGC, and associate content with your products in the shop.
By doing this consistently, companies are showcasing their devotion to the business for new and existing customers. In addition to publishing posts on the website, making use of all online outlets, such as newsletters and social media accounts, is essential for reaching a widespread audience.
With consistent blogging, you win across the digital sphere. Your brand gets more exposure, more links from relevant sites, and consequently higher visibility in the search engine results.
As you are an expert in your field, you can virtually write about anything and everything that pertains to that topic. Keep in mind, if your blog is focused on more broad subjects, it can actually hurt your SEO rankings, especially if it is missing important keywords. By narrowing your range of topics in your keyword research, you will find countless ways to break down a subject into hyper-focused subjects that are more relevant to your readers.
Try Group Ideation
Two heads are better than one, and even more can lead to spectacular creative ideation. Groups are able to build off of each other’s ideas to find solutions and topics that you might have never come up with on your own.
Getting multiple team members to collaborate and brainstorm new ideas is not always an easy task. People can easily get distracted or possibly feel intimidated in a group setting and become more reserved. In order to combat these types of obstacles, try incorporating some group activities into the mix to ease the tension. Trying out some role-playing games can make the process seem more fun and less like, well, work.
If you can’t get all of your team members in the same room because of different schedules or remote working situations, using a group collaboration software can be instrumental in keeping everyone on the same page. I prefer a SaaS tool like Workzone that helps team members work on and share the same files, track tasks and milestones, and assign roles, all in one place.
Working together in marketing campaign-fashion can help your remote team members come together for some great ideation sessions wherever and whenever.
Turn to Technology for Inspiration
One of the most important aspects of content marketing is generating subject matter that interests and connects with your audience. The average reader only spends about 37 seconds reading a post, unless it really grabs their attention. By curating content that aligns with your audience’s interest, you fulfill their need by providing the information they are looking for.
Getting a view into the mind of your audience is actually a lot easier than many writers realize. Nowadays, people freely share their thoughts on places like social media, website forums, and discussion boards. Take a look at popular sites like Quora and Reddit to see what topics in your field are trending. Pay attention to the types of questions users ask; this can be a great starting point for insightful content.
If you need to go a little deeper into some topics, or need help with finding popular keywords for traffic boosters, there are plenty of helpful ideation tools and programs to make use of. These websites are designed to nip writer’s block in the bud by generating ideas and topics for you.
Scoop.it is a great automation tool that lets you collect ideas and content from other sources into one place. Like Pinterest for content marketing, you follow boards and users to see what kinds of content they are discussing across the web.
Since it has such a wide compilation of content, you can search virtually any keyword you want and find it through Scoop.it.
Don’t let the intimidation of coming up with the next greatest topic idea weigh you down. Try a new approach by changing your perspective, or collaborate with some other creative minds to get a new idea. Break down your niche topic into hyper-specialized subjects for endless ideas. Or, give your readers what they want by listening to them and answering their most pressing questions. Inspiration can come from many sources; sometimes you just need a little help getting there.
Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of The 20 Media, a content marketing agency specializing in content & data-driven SEO and Preceptist, a SaaS Growth Marketing Agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at 80th Annual Conference of Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting & Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee and other major events. As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory and Inc42 to name a few.