How to Create a Steady Flow of Content Ideas

You know you need to create content. You know you’re smart. You know you’re a subject matter expert. So, why is coming up with a topic so hard? And on top of that, a topic you may find exceptionally cool and interesting (because you’re a nerd) oftentimes means nothing to your target audience—or Google.

Here are a few ideas to open the floodgates:

  1. Ask your customers. It doesn’t have to be anything formal like a Client Survey; just next time you’re talking to a few clients, ask them what they’re curious to learn.
  2. Check out your competitors. Perhaps they have no idea what they’re doing and have little authority (you can actually check quickly and easily with tools such as SEMRush), but it’s a place to start. And, of course, if they put out a paper on a topic, you can write a better one.
  3. Use a tool like BuzzSumo. Not only can you enter in competitor sites to see what’s resonating most with people, you can also enter in topics. BuzzSumo will then generate a list of the most engaging articles on that topic.
    1. For example, I typed in “earned media,” and now know that Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty made $72M in earned media value in its first month. I thought I saw a lot on Fenty on Twitter! Perhaps I craft a deeper dive into this feat for my readers.
    2. BuzzSumo also showed me that tons of people are engaging with an article on Earned Media boosting SEO. So maybe I should write an entire post about that.
    3. One last BuzzSumo example: there’s an article drumming up a ton of engagements on why owned media trumps earned media. I disagree. This is a great opportunity to write an article on why I disagree—and pitch it to that same journalist as an opposing view.
  4. Tap into Google’s many free tools. Duh. Whether you create some queries in Google Trends for overarching industry themes by geography, search through Keyword Planner for related terms, or simply type in your Google Search Bar to see the questions people are asking, you’ll come away with some great ideas.
  5. Take a look at what’s trending on your favorite social networks and/or just the articles your industry influencers are posting. Then craft extensions of those articles or alternate points of view.

There are plenty of other ideas out there, but hopefully these provide you with a solid start. Now, when you put content out there, you’ll know it’s optimized for what people want, and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.

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