Content marketing has to be one of the toughest gigs out there for a business owner. Sure, you can do it all yourself and it’s free (although it will cost you time) – but sooner or later the well of ideas is going to run dry, leaving you stuck with a need to write something and no idea what to write.
Trust me, I’m a writer, and I know that awful feeling all too well! Generating story ideas month after month isn’t easy, even in niches that are full to bursting with great stories and ideas. Content marketing is a hungry beach, and constantly feeding it is exhausting for writing professionals, never mind business owners juggling the thousand other things clamoring for their attention.
Luckily, there are a few strategies that you can use to stop yourself from falling into this trap. For example, you can check out what your target audience is saying online by monitoring sites such as Quora.
However, even these strategies can eventually lead to a dead end, so you’re going to need more than one tried and trusted strategy to ensure that you never run out of ideas for your content again.
In this post, I’ll be sharing with you some of the strategies and processes I use to ensure that my content well of ideas is constantly running.
Look at Popular Posts in Your Industry
This one is something you should be doing anyway, as you need to stay on top of the latest developments in your industry. Rather than just keep up with the news, though, also check to see which posts are getting the most traction.
This could sound like a lot of work, but luckily there are tools out there to help you, such as Buzzsumo, which lets you quickly find a list of the most popular (and shared!) articles online for a specific keyword.
This doesn’t just save you a lot of time and clicking around – it also gives you a top-level overview of what people are really interested in, and which topics you should be focusing on moving forward.
It’s a great way to get ideas, and you can easily create a new post that joins the discussion and even improves on it. Google loves long, thoughtful posts so you might want to create the ultimate post on your subject, for example.
If there’s one thing that really works, it’s turning good content into absolutely mindblowing content.
Rewrite Killer Titles to Fit Your Needs
This tip is more or less about not reinventing the wheel. Headlines are an art unto themselves, and some of the most powerful headlines that you see were created after a lot of deliberation and discussion.
Big companies – especially those in the media – don’t just use headlines to introduce a story. They also use them to grab attention and suck people in. Some will even A/B test headlines to see which is most effective. One of the masters of this genre is BuzzFeed. You might not like their clickbait headlines and content, but there is absolutely no denying that they are hyper-effective.
You likely don’t have the time to do that – and that’s fine. But what you can do, especially if your headlines always feel a little bit on the lame side, is to borrow those killer headlines and tweak them ever so slightly to fit your niche.
This doesn’t just work for giving you killer headlines. It’s also a great way to brainstorm new article ideas, as when you’re tweaking headlines you may find a little spark of inspiration comes to you. If it does, write that down! You may not have time to write a full piece on your idea now, but never throw away your content ideas!
Just don’t copy the headline. That’s not right! Change it up and give it your own twist!
Don’t Rip Off Popular Content – Get Inspired, Instead!
As I was writing this, I realized that some people may take this as a carte blanche to take someone else’s content and simply reuse it with a word changed here and there.
No! Don’t do that!
It’s not going to do you any favors: people looking for that information may already have read the original piece – leaving you in the doggy doo-doo – or you may be hit with Google’s penalties for duplicate content.
According to recent research, almost a third of the internet is already clogged up with duplicate content. The last thing you want to do is contribute to this. What this piece is really about is showing you a way to get great topic ideas and then use awesome headlines to lure your audience into your cave of delights.
It’s also worth noting that this is typically research you should be doing before writing any content as well: there’s no point writing content that your audience isn’t interested in, and then making it worse with a headline that turns people off.
Finally… Get Out There and Write, Champ – You’ve Got This!
Often, writing is just a case of inspiration. There’s a reason that all literary greats have a muse: they’re human, too. When your creative wick is all but burned out and you’ve got the pressures of a deadline on you, inspiration is quite literally a gift from heaven.
When it’s not coming to you, sometimes you have to go out and find it. So, get out there and look! The more time you spend thinking about and researching your niche and the most popular topics, the more inspiration you will find.