Marketing content creators face constant pressure to generate new ideas day in and day out. Sometimes these creative juices flow freely and you can come up with fantastic new topics on the spot. Other days, content creation seems truly impossible.
A recent study from Marketing Insider Group reports that over one-third of marketers agreed that the content creation process was their greatest challenge. Thirty-four percent stated that finding new ideas for content was incredibly difficult.
But the fact of the matter is that you need to be at the top of your content creation game to keep your business growing. So, what do you do when you can’t seem to come up with anything new?
Here are some tips to find inspiration.
1. Expand on Topics from Other Pieces
Rather than trying to tackle a whole new subject or topic, see if there are any current content pieces you can elevate and elongate. This is a really helpful tip if you focus a lot on blog posts, white papers, or even eBooks.
Take a look at previously published posts either on your own site or on your competitors’ sites. Most articles have a main topic that is supported by subpoints, especially listicles. So, if a piece that compiled a lot of general information performs well, it may be a good idea to do a deeper dive.
Let’s use the AMA San Diego blog as an example. The article entitled “Content Strategy Tactics that will Give You a Leg Up on the Competition” lists out tons of marketing strategies. Each of those subpoints could be an article in and of themselves, such as:
- Setting Goals for Your Content Strategy
- Understanding Your Audience
- Implementing Growth-centered Tactics
You don’t always have to start from scratch with content creation. Try looking at some previous pieces and seeing if you can expand on a certain part.
2. Check Out the Latest Research
One of the most important aspects of content marketing is establishing trust with your audience. This can be incredibly challenging, especially when you are trying to nurture leads and push promotions. One way that many of us marketers build credibility is by including facts and statistics from trusted resources.
But you may not realize that these studies can be a great source of ideas for content creation.
Take a look at the most recent surveys, reports, and trend analysis publications related to your industry and see if any of the information surprises you.
- Have there been any sudden changes over the past years?
- What are the latest emerging trends?
- What are experts predicting for the upcoming year(s)?
There are tons of resources available online – many of which are free to access. Some of the sites that I find myself returning to for interesting facts are:
Take a peek at the latest publications and see what facts stick out to you. They could serve as an eye-catching headline!
3. Listen to Other People’s Opinions
Knowing your audience is key for good content creation of any kind – but there is more to it than just analyzing metrics and diving deep into data. While you may be able to describe your audience perfectly, it is really important to get to know your customers as much as possible. And the best way to get to know someone is simply by listening to what they have to say.
Social media is the perfect platform to see what other people have to say. Take a browse through Twitter and see what industry-related topics are trending. Online forums like Reddit and Quora are also fantastic resources.
Start by checking out pages or subjects that are connected to your industry, product, or audience. Notice what questions people are posting on these sites – this is clearly information they need but can’t find anywhere else.
4. Refresh and Revamp Your Old Work
One great website content creation secret is that you don’t always have to write brand new content. Instead, you can actually recycle your old work and make it better!
Although Google does not technically include the age of a content piece in its ranking factors, searchers tend to gravitate towards newer content. Seeing a result that was published within the past year will seem to be more relevant than a post from four years ago.
Additionally, there are some SEO benefits to updating older blog posts and web pages. Hubspot tried this on their own content and saw some pretty remarkable results. They identified some of their previous high performers that had slacked off in terms of traffic numbers. Their content creation team got to work by incorporating new keywords to optimize the posts.
After these old posts were rewritten, their views and lead generation rates nearly tripled!
There are tons of ways to reuse old content and make it new again. You can start by simply updating any links or resources with newer content, such as more recent statistics. Similar pieces can be compiled to create longer guides or whitepapers. Or you can take a new approach to an older piece by arguing the other side or inserting more modern examples.
5. Outdo Your Competition
Although you want to avoid copying others by all means necessary, you can use your competitors as a source of inspiration. You can even use content creation tools like Buzzsumo and Ahrefs to analyze the performance of their content pieces.
You can use these analysis tools to check out which pieces are performing well or poorly – and see how you can improve on them. Could you:
- Write it better?
- Use smarter keywords?
- Make it more niche for your audience?
- Try a different approach?
- Create a stronger argument?
6. Focus on Evergreen Content
There is a lot of pressure for marketers to constantly churn out content that is of the moment. However, some types of content simply perform better over time. This is what many marketers call “evergreen content.”
While trendy pieces are great for quick engagement, be sure that most of your content creation focuses on pieces that are relevant in the long run. Rather than trying to create tons of pieces to capture audiences while a topic is hot, turn your focus to content that will provide value for years to come. This includes creating long-form articles, how-to guides, and resources chock full of information.
We’ve all dealt with writer’s block at one time or another. It can be really hard to constantly come up with new, fresh ideas. Marketers seem to be under more pressure than ever to churn out new social media content, blog posts, ads, and email campaigns consistently.
Thankfully, there are tons of places that can serve as content creation inspiration – as long as you know where to look.
Where do you look when you’ve run out of content ideas?
Joanna Besley is a Content Marketing Writer for E2M Solutions Inc., whose primary writing focus is on marketing topics and SEO. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the San Diego area hikes, traveling outside of the country, and trying out new vegan restaurants.