How to Generate Content Ideas

How can you come up with enough content ideas to keep your website fresh and visitors coming back? Finding topics to write about is easier than you think. Here are 13 tips that can help you generate new content ideas for your website on an ongoing basis.

What does content have to do with website success? Regardless of how big you get, you never have enough Internet traffic. More visitors to your website lead to more profit and the more profit, the better, right?

Good content and content marketing is a great way to attract website traffic.

Content marketing means creating and promoting information such as articles, videos, podcasts, and images, to draw people to your site where you will hopefully monetize them.

Because the strategy has become well-known, you can find many content marketing tips to help you publicize your content.  But you can’t promote content until you produce it. And that’s the rub. How can you come up with good ideas for adding more content or improving the content on your website? Here are 13 suggestions to consider:

13 ways to generate better content ideas

1. Use Search Engines to Find Content Ideas

When your customers want to find something, they go to the search engines and type in queries.

The results that show up for queries about your type of product or service can give you a good idea of what pages the search engines think are important, and therefore, what kind of pages are getting traffic for the terms you searched for. Those listings can give you ideas for content you should produce, too.

The search engines have algorithms that learn the terms that people often search for, and when someone is starting to type a query, both Google and Bing often show a drop down with query  predicitions (ie, what they think you want to type in based on what other people have queried.) If you search for things you sell, those predictions are useful clues for what to write about on your website.

If your search is conducted on Google, you’ are also likely to see a ”People Also Ask” box in the search results. This box lists popular questions that are related to your search term. Knowing what people are asking is yet another way to determine what kind of content you should have on your website.

2. Get Content Ideas from Social Media

If you want to create content that will attract website visitors, you need to know what kind of content interest them. You can find out by going to social media sites and searching for the kind of products and services your sell. See what people are talking about. While you’re there, check out what your competitors are promoting, too.  

3. Use Answer The Public to suggest blog and article ideas

Answerthepublic.com taps into search data to uncover questions for which people are searching for answers. Type in a topic you focus on, and the site will quickly produce a graphic showing those questions in a graphic.

 Each question could be the subject of a new blog post, or one of the questions you answer in an article. If you don’t like trying to read the data from the circular graphic, you can click the data button to see the information in in a table. 

Or, you can export the data from your search to a CVS file. 

4. Don’t do it alone

One of the biggest content marketing mistakes is trying to come up with ideas on your own. Unless you’re one of the very few people that can create the most viral of ideas by yourself, you’re going to need help. Everybody has different experiences and those experiences will allow them to think of things you couldn’t. Grab a pizza, a whole lot of paper and technology, and start brainstorming as a team. If you help one blog owner, he or she will help you.

5. Buzzsumo, baby!

Buzzsumo watches social media platforms and will alert you when something is about to go viral. If you have it alert you after a modest amount of likes and shares, you will know when something goes viral before the rest of the Internet does.

If you know what’s trending, you can produce content to go with it. Don’t copy anybody’s work. Come up with a new angle to present a topic people are already reading. Go to buzzsumo.com to get started. The platform offers a free plan.

6. Speaking of Buzz

Buzzfeed—the site that people love to hate. Think what you want but Buzzfeed has its fingers on the pulse of digital content trends. In fact, the company plays a large part in creating the trends. Check out its recent articles and see which ones people really liked. Create content around those subjects.

7. Video!

You may not fancy yourself a videographer but the data doesn’t lie. People want video. Text and images still work but not much beats a video. Want proof? Check out your content consumption habits. Check out your kids’ too. Likely, you stop and watch those videos that Facebook throws in your newsfeed. Sometimes a video where you talk about your blog post is enough to catch readers’ eyes. Don’t rely on your Facebook newsfeed for video ideas, though. To find out what kinds of videos are getting attention in your niche, search for important keywords on YouTube. See what videos are featured and consider creating similar content of your own. 

RELATED: How to Grab Your Audience’s Attention with Video

8. Write down your life

If you’re a personal finance writer, keep a list of issues you tackle in your personal life and write about them. Did you have to deal with your neighborhood HOA over an issue? That’s an article. Also ask friends, family, and professional acquaintances about things they’ve experienced and use those as ideas. It’s so easy to forget the most obvious of sources of inspiration, isn’t it?

RELATED: Writing Tips: How to Write Blog and Web Content

9. Let your readers help

If you have a blog with a reasonable amount of traffic or an e-mail list, ask them what they would like to see. Make your readers partners in your content versus seeing them only as customers.

10. What’s Trending?

All of the major social media sites have a list of what’s trending right now. Some things will come and go rapidly but others are big enough to have staying power. Think of ways to jump on trends even if it’s a fun way to insert your business into an area it wouldn’t normally belong. Animal Plant created the Puppy Bowl to bring in animal lovers on the day of the Super Bowl.

11. Interview Somebody

Find an expert and interview them on a topic relevant to your readers. Even better, ask your readers to submit questions for the interview.

12. Guest Posts

Guest posts work well when the guest is an authority in his or her field. Don’t take offers from people who want to pay you or clearly aren’t looking to add value to your readers. When they have the right attitude—and the credentials to back it up, guest posting saves you time while putting something new in front of your readers.

RELATED: How to Do Business Blogging the Right Way

13. Curate!

Go to YouTube, find a great video, write an amazing headline (or two or three), include some backstory to make an article out of it, and post it on your site. That’s how sites like Buzzfeed and ViralNova got their start. When you don’t have a giant writing staff, let other people create the content. As long as you’re embedding the video from the original source and writing your own original text, you aren’t violating any laws.

Of course, always be careful with content curation. Stick with embeddable content that you know is suitable for sharing.

Bottom Line

You’re not alone. Unless you have a team of creatives sitting around generating content each day, the struggle for high-quality engaging content is a reality for most blog owners. Always try something new. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t continually fall back on the same ideas. You can fail multiple times but one piece of content that gets giant traffic is enough to make up for all of the duds.

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