This morning I was working on a client’s content schedule and I found it more difficult than normal. I found myself in a rut and unable to come up with a long list of ideas like normal and this led me back to basics on how to generate content ideas. I’ve been so used to thinking of new content ideas for such a range of clients that I’d forgotten what to do when you can’t think of any fresh ideas.
Thinking of fresh content for your blog can be difficult at the best of times but especially when you’ve got a million and one other things to do. But, we all know that content is king, so what are the best ways to make sure you never leave yourself in a content rut and how can you generate good, engaging content ideas for your blog?
- Create a content schedule
This is quite literally the best bit of advice I can give you. So much for saving the best until last hey? But seriously, it is a life-saving and crucial thing for any content marketer to do. Why? Well, if you don’t have a schedule, every week (or day, or month, or how ever often you want to update your content) you need to come up with a fresh idea. This is time consuming and unrealistic. Often, when generating ideas, you will think of multiple at once. By writing these down and creating a schedule you are alleviating a lot of pressure of yourself to be creative all the time. This is particularly important for busy people and I promise you it will help.
- Treat your schedule as a guideline
I know I just told you how important a schedule is, but, don’t treat it like the law. Sometimes, new ideas will come to you and be much more exciting or relevant than what you had planned to write that day and that’s OK. The schedule is there to help you on days when you feel less creative. Plus, if something huge happens in your industry you might want to comment on it and you shouldn’t let your schedule stop you. This brings me to our next point…
- Keep up to date with your industry
Great content doesn’t have to be ever-green and blogs should try and be completely up to date with what’s going on. A few months ago, Lush announced that they were leaving social media, and we were one of the first marketing blogs to comment on this (thanks to my unhealthy morning Twitter scroll!) and we ranked pretty highly in search results for it. This was a great win for our blog and our SEO and was only possible because we ignored our schedule for the day and commented on something relevant and new! There are various ways you can keep up to date with what’s going on in your industry (and not by having an unhealthy Twitter habit). Make sure you follow relevant hashtags on LinkedIn and follow big names in the industry on social media too. Plus, sign up to alerts and other relevant subscriptions to make sure you’re the first to hear about things.
- Look at your competitors
Ah yes, competitor research, that old trick. It is important though and is a great way of initiating ideas. For our blog, we often look at other digital marketing blogs (our favourites include Hubspot and Moz) to help us generate ideas. By reading around the topic that you are going to write about it can initiate a whole load of ideas for your own blog. Our best advice here would be to write down some broad topics and go from there when you’re brainstorming. Can you guess what our next point is?
- Have a brainstorming session (not alone!)
You might be solely in charge of your company’s blog but this doesn’t mean other people can’t contribute to generating content ideas. Either ask a few people individually for some ideas and have a little discussion or formally organise a brainstorming session (depending on availability etc.). Getting ideas from other people can not only help you think of a broader range of topics but can also push you to be more creative. Bouncing ideas off one another can be one of the most beneficial things you can do. Also, it gives other people a voice on the blog even if you’re the one writing it.
- Think about updating your old posts
If you’re writing a blog to improve your SEO you need to be updating your old posts s well as creating new. But regardless of SEO, looking at your previous content can definitely help you to come up for new ideas. What formats have you used before? Which posts have been most successful? And which have been less successful? Try thinking about your blog as a whole and not as your posts individually and this can help you to see where you might be missing some important content and where your strengths and weaknesses are.
- Think about your consumers
Our last bit of advice is arguably the most important, you need to think about what your consumers want in order to have a successful blog and this can help to you to think of new ideas too. Obviously, this should already be at the front of your mind but when you’re in a bit of a rut, reminding yourself of your target audience and their needs and desires can be very helpful and important.