Staring at the blank screen again? This is one experience that every blogger will identify with! Writer’s block isn’t about being a novice or a pro blogger, it is about being able to come up with a great idea for a content piece.
Content is not called King for nothing. When pitted against paid search, content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent, according to Kapost and ELOQUA. Content marketing has both lower upfront costs and deeper long-term benefits.
I still remember when I initially started, I was extremely enthusiastic about writing my blog, but about what? Google Trends, movies, television shows, news, my own learnings and things I am passionate about – these have all features in my content ideas. However, that doesn’t always work, especially given how quickly the desires and preferences of the present day audiences change.
Over the years, I have taught myself some great ways to come up with content ideas. Here’s a look at some key learnings.
Perform Market Research
Much before you start writing, market research should be considered to come up with a truly great idea that can attract traffic, lead to conversions and get you the adulation of your readers.
It is through good market research that you will be able to identify the questions readers are asking nowadays, what their problem areas are and what competitors are doing to build relationships with their target audience. Research is also what will help you identify the keywords that your target readers are using.
Data like site visits, click-through rates, subscriber numbers on email newsletters, Facebook likes and the amount of comments you receive on a blog post will be of immense help when surveying your own readers to understand what content they are more interested in.
If done properly, market research can help you generate hundreds of blog ideas, so that you don’t have to repeat this research process for some time.
However, do not get tempted to copy or just paraphrase someone else’s content.
Steal from Competitors’ Most Shared Posts
Yes, I am asking you to steal ideas, but in a smart way. The key is to find already popular articles, by either browsing your competitor blogs or news aggregator sites like Reddit, Inbound.Org or Hacker News.
However, do not get tempted to copy or just paraphrase someone else’s content. If you do so, you might just end up annoying your reader, while making your blog vulnerable to lawsuits from the original content writer, or worse, being found to be plagiarizing by Google. Instead use competitor sites to get inspiration for content ideas.
To get a cheat sheet for stealing from your competition’s best ideas, read this blog post by Neil Patel.
Other Ways to Find Content Ideas
You can also use tools like BuzzSumo to find topics that are getting shared a lot.
Also consider the topics that Google is suggesting. When you type in a question word like “how to,” with a topic word like “create content,” Google will suggest a list of blog topics, which you can use for your next blog post.
Write Unique Content
The truth is that no matter how innovative or unique you think the topic you choose is, there is a huge possibility that someone has already written about it. So, once you have chosen the topic or the idea, there are a number of ways you can elaborate on the same general topics. Aim only at improving upon the original article’s work and not stealing it.
You can look at the original idea from a different angle, disagree with the original author, make the reader view the bigger picture, fill in points that the original writer might have missed, and if you are doing so, back up what you have to say with scientific research, evidence, facts and statistics.
This way you can add your own personal touch and unique perspective to the content without actually copying the original work. Since, you’ll be providing new insights, your reader will definitely find value addition in your article.
One last word of advice – before you write a single word, you should know your subject, the basic outline of what you want to talk about and your target audience. This will help you connect better with the reader and provide information or insights that they will benefit from.
Also read in this “How to start blogging” series: