Mo Shehu, PhD
how to generate content ideas

15 Ways To Generate Content Ideas

If you’re struggling to create content for your online channels, you’re not alone. 

We’ve all experienced the writer’s block that prevents you from generating any good ideas for your blog, podcast, streaming channel, or social media accounts. This happens to even the best content marketers and creators out there, so take heart and check out some solutions below to generate content for your audience.

Your existing blog

Believe it or not, your existing blog is one of the richest sources of new content ideas that you can augment your existing posts with. Content begets more content, and a simple read-through of your old content can turn up new things to write about.

For instance, say you’ve written a blog post on “How To Manage Your Business Accounts.” Reading through the blog post might give you ideas for posts on which accounting tools to use, when to file for tax, how to train your interns on recordkeeping, how to structure your transactions, and more. 

With each post you write, you generate more opportunities for content. What’s more, you can explore your comment section to see what your readers or viewers want you to expand upon.

Amazon

Part of Amazon’s appeal is its ability to show you what people don’t like about a product. This applies to everything from video game consoles to books about your topic – which is where you’ll be mining for gold.

To leverage this feature, head over to Amazon and search for books in your niche. Comb through the 4-star and 2-star reviews to uncover what questions readers are asking and what content they felt was missing from each book, and use that to generate content ideas.

Polls and opinion surveys

Ask and ye shall receive. Your audience knows what type of content they love best, so ask them for their opinion and bake their answers into your content strategy. 

Do they love your infographics? Are they partial to your periodic reports? Do they fancy your videos? Do they look forward to your Twitter threads? Note down their preferences and double down in that direction.

Problem surveys

An effective way to unearth relevant content ideas is to ask your audience what problems they struggle with and answer them through content. What’s the one problem that keeps them up at night? What outcome are they hoping to get from solving that problem? Use those insights to craft compelling content that ties back to your product.

Your competitors

Your competitors are one of the best indicators of what’s working out there – and what you can address, too. Use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to scan your competitors’ websites and see what content has worked well for them in the past. 

Browse their social media accounts to get free content ideas – and note what questions or comments their customers are leaving under their posts. Once you’ve generated a few ideas, find your own unique angle and get to creating.

Social media

The conversation happens on social media – which makes these platforms hotbeds of content ideas you can explore. From viral tweets and TikTok posts to Facebook posts and LinkedIn conversations, searching for topics on social media is guaranteed to unearth lots of stuff to talk about on your own social accounts or blog.

Your internal guides

Do you have a set of best practices you follow for various processes in your business or organization? Turn that into content. If following your own advice has worked for you consistently, chances are high that someone else out there could benefit from them.

Mine your internal guides, process handbooks, and manuals to generate content your audience will love.

Quora

Where questions are asked, so answers shall be found. Quora’s Q&A site is the perfect source for specific questions that your ideal customer personas are asking regularly.

To find and leverage this trove of information, go to Quora and search for your target persona (e.g. “content marketer” or “accountant”), and scroll through the results to see what questions they’re asking.

Reddit

Subreddits are highly targeted topical communities with plenty of content ideas for the discerning digital marketer or social media pro. As with Quora, you can view the types of content that perform well and craft content around those topics.

How to do that: Go to Reddit and find relevant subreddits for your niche. Filter for the posts that got the most upvotes on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. This gives you an idea of what topics or questions your audience is interested in.

YouTube

Which are the best-performing videos on your topic on YouTube? The answer could inspire your next blog post. Go to YouTube, search for a relevant keyword for your niche, and look for the most-viewed videos – especially ones with a busy comment section. For example, search for “small business owners” and look for the best-viewed videos to get content ideas on what that audience is most interested in.

Your sales process

Each business transaction is not only an opportunity to exchange value (by trading a product or service for cash) but also to learn what your customers know… and don’t know. 

Say you sell cars. During the sales process, you might discover that while your customer knows the difference between CVT and automatic transmission, they might not know much about fuel economy, maintenance schedules, or tire repair. You can plug these knowledge gaps through content to drive increased awareness and help your customers make better decisions.

Your email list

If you’ve diligently collected customer email addresses over the years, now is the time to mine that list for content ideas. Simply shoot them all a note asking for what type of content they’d like to see more of (or what problems they’re facing) and turn their answers into content ideas that resonate.

Live events and webinars

Are there conferences, workshops, seminars, or webinars on your topic happening soon? Register to attend and learn more about what customers and fellow practitioners are dealing with in their day-to-day roles. 

Analyze questions, note down comments, see what topics are getting a lot of airtime, and participate in Q&A sessions to unearth future topic ideas.

Influencers

Influencers tend to have a pulse on what’s hot, and browsing their feeds can give you clues into the type of content you should be focusing on as part of your content strategy. Note down all their posts with high engagement and consider how you could expand on those topics.

If these influencers curate audio and video spaces for their audiences to interact in (such as Clubhouse Rooms and Twitter Spaces), join these conversations and listen/watch intently to glean new content ideas.

MarketMuse

This one is for the technical content marketers among you. If you have a MarketMuse account, the tool’s ‘Research’ module is one of the best sources of unexplored content ideas in your niche. 

Simply plug in your desired keyword(s) and let it generate a heatmap of content topics for you to filter through. You can view all the untapped questions and topics in that niche with low competition and generate useful content from that.

Go forth and create 

If you’ve been paying close attention, you’ll quickly pick up that the best way to generate content ideas is to simply observe and listen to your customers and peers. Content ideas are all around you, and taking the time to glean them from ongoing conversations will yield huge results for your content marketing efforts.

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