In addition to mastering some content marketing best practices, you can keep the process flowing more smoothly if you make sure you always have a bank of solid content ideas to draw from. That way, when you sit down to write, you aren’t wasting time trying to think up something to write about. You can just get down to the business of writing.
When you’re laying out your initial content marketing strategy, it can be difficult to come up with a wealth of content ideas to help you attract traffic to your website and grow your business. But the challenge doesn’t end there.
In fact, it may actually be worse when you’ve been producing content pieces for the same brand for a long time and you feel like you’ve exhausted all possible angles. I’ve been there.
My goal, with this (mammoth) post or its free PDF version, is to give you (and me!) a single place to go the next time you’re stuck trying to think of something to write about. It’s chock full of tips, tricks and tools to help you break out of your slump and develop hundreds of new topic ideas.
Brainstorm a List of “Seed” Content Ideas
1Break down your business by business unit and product or service
The very first thing you should do when you’re mapping out your content strategy is to identify your major content categories by business objective. For example, if you are a health and fitness company that sells health supplements, fitness product and meal plans, brainstorm as many content ideas as you can for each area.
2Focus on the problems you solve and objectives you meet
Instead of only focusing on your products or services, look at things from your customer’s perspective. Think of blog ideas around the problems they face or the business goals they are trying to meet. Staying with our example of a health and fitness company, seed topic ideas may include weight loss, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, how to get a bikini body, etc.
3Highlight your differentiators
Spend some time analyzing your strengths relative to your competitors and produce content around those areas.
That doesn’t mean you have to write about your specific product or service. Instead, you can focus on the benefits that only your product delivers and why they’re so important.
For example, if you produce payroll software with many unique efficiency features, you could write blog posts about the time pressures of the payroll department, or what they could do if they had more time on their hands, and then link to a page that details how the software can help them save time.
Expand Your Content Ideas to Related Topics
Once you’ve come up with a list of seed topics, don’t stop there. Using each of your seed topics, use the following techniques to expand, expand, expand and come up with more blog post ideas!
4Use Google’s AutoSuggest
Search for your main term, for example, “fitness plans”. As you do, Google automatically supplies suggestions for what you might be searching for. Note the suggestions, which are often chock full of content ideas.
5Use Google’s “Searches related to” feature
Search for your main term on Google and then scroll down to the bottom of search results to see related search terms that people Google.
6Use the Google Ads Keyword Planner
Conduct some keyword research. If you have a Google Ads account, you can use the Google Ads Keyword Planner to propose related keyword ideas, as well as to supply metrics for each keyword, including the average number of monthly searches for each term.
This approach can help you generate content ideas that reflect the interest of your ideal customer and generate organic traffic at the same time. Find out how to conduct keyword research like a pro, by aligning your keyword research to the buyer journey.
8Try Wikipedia. Yes, Wikipedia.
Search up your topic in Wikipedia. I know this sounds like a weird one, but you’d be surprised. Check out the links in the content box, and throughout the page. You’ll probably discover content ideas you hadn’t considered.
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Download our free cheat sheet and discover 57 proven ways to generate countless new content ideas by expanding your list of topics using recommended tools and techniques.
Get Your Team Involved
9Answer frequently asked customer questions
Speak to your sales and marketing team to find out which questions are frequently asked by prospects before they buy. Also, speak to your Customer Service or Customer Success team to find out what questions customers often ask as they are being onboarded. Can you create quality content to answer those questions?
10Address common sales objections
Ask your sales team to tell you what objections they commonly face from prospects and how they respond to them. Produce content to address the objections.
For example, if you find that customers often hesitate to buy your product because of its premium pricing, you might consider producing an ROI calculator to demonstrate that their investment will be worthwhile.
11List content ideas related to your most popular features
Find out which features your customers most enjoy, and which are most correlated with repeat sales. Create product content around those features or top-of-sales-funnel content around the benefits they deliver.
12Generate content ideas around your “hidden gem” features
Does your product or service have functionality that is often missed but that is loved by anyone who uses it? Consider producing a tutorial or onboarding sequence to show customers how best to use it.
13 Tell the stories of your happiest customers
Ask your sales and customer service team members to flag any particularly delighted customers. Consider creating powerful and engaging marketing case studies that highlight the impact your product or service has had on their lives.
14 Repurpose onboarding documents
Do you have discovery questionnaires that you use to quickly onboard new clients? Those can easily be turned into lead magnets to help you grow your email list. For example, I repurposed the discovery questionnaire I use with my web development clients into this free fillable website workbook.
15 Repurpose support documents
Are there hints and tips documents that you send customers to help them make the most of your product or service? Do you have canned email responses to common questions? See if any of those could be turned into useful blog content.
16Survey your visitors and customers
Consider surveying your customers to ask them directly what their biggest pain points are and what they’d like to know more about. You’d be surprised how many brilliant content ideas can come from asking the question directly.
Unearth Popular Questions Around Your Topic
You can come up with compelling content ideas when you understand what questions people frequently have around your topic. Here are three tools you can use to identify those questions.
17Find questions on Quora
Quora is a very popular website where people can ask and answer questions on a given topic. Try searching for your seed topic and look for questions you can create content to answer. Once you do, you can come back and answer the question, adding a link to your post for reference.
18 Use Google’s “People also ask” feature
Search for your seed topic on Google and then scroll down the result page to see where Google shows you questions that people ask on your topic.
19Use Answer the Public
Based on Google’s Auto Suggest, Answer the Public is an incredibly powerful tool that you can use to expand your keyword list. In addition to showing you related questions, it expands your topic to include a ton of related themes and content ideas. Check out this amazing resource. It has to be seen to be believed.
Get Inspiration From Your Current Content
20Analyze traffic to your current content
If you already have a blog, you can learn a lot from analyzing your own website analytics by page and landing page. Study the posts that are exhibiting positive metrics such as:
- High traffic (including page views, visits, visitors, new visitors)
- Low bounce rate
- High conversion rate
- High time on page or site
- Low exit rate
Figure out what you can learn from these stats and how you can produce more content in that vein. Consider creating your own actionable content marketing dashboard to help spot content opportunities for you.
21Update your older posts
Do you have any posts that drove huge traffic in their heyday but that are now hopelessly out of date because of new advances or technological changes? Consider refreshing those content pieces with updated information. Google loves fresh content and you just may enjoy a boost in your search engine result rankings.
22Expand on parts of past posts
If you’ve written a list post that has been particularly successful, consider creating content that delves into greater detail on specific items from your list. For example, one of my 20 tips in my post on how to boost referral traffic recommended reaching out to influencers. More recently, I expanded on that one item with an in-depth roadmap on how to scale influencer out reach using Twitter.
23Summarize other posts
Another way your current content can inspire new ideas is by creating summary posts.
For example, after writing a ton of individual posts on how to:
- how to boost referral traffic
- SEO content
- turn visitors into subscribers
- use analytics to increase traffic & sales
- optimize your landing pages
I created a comprehensive summary post and free download on how to tune up your digital growth machine based on these and other topics.