I’ve never been the most talented writer.
I’ve done some work to improve on my spelling and grammar, and I have a general idea of what I would like my voice to sound like, but I’m still a long way off from Stephen King.
Actually, I’m not even close.
But one thing that I do have going for me is that I can continuously generate fresh content ideas. I don’t get writer’s block because I can always come up with another concept for an article.
After a few years of blogging about the same topics, you will inevitably find yourself hitting a wall. It feels like you have already covered everything, so what are you supposed to write?
That’s my specialty.
I am never going to be the best writer on the internet, but clients that have been with me for multiple years recognize that my ability to continuously generate content ideas month after month could quite possibly be a superpower.
Except it’s not all that difficult.
You just have to have a system. Here is mine.
Follow the News
I don’t like watching the news, and I’m not about to start reading newspapers, but I do have a decent sense of what is happening in the world.
Major news stories are always a great place to start when you are looking for content ideas.
Topics like the real estate collapse in 2008 or President Trump in 2017 never fail to attract eyeballs. All you have to do is write about how those major news stories impact your business.
How do I keep current with those big stories without watching the news or reading the paper? If you are active on any social media platforms, the stories that you just can’t get away from are the ones you want to be covering.
Monitor Social Media
Speaking of social media, checking out the types of things that your friends and family are sharing is another great way to come up with content ideas.
The goal for any article you publish is for people who are interested to be sharing it on their social media, so it only makes sense to investigate the types of things that those people are already sharing.
The key here is that you have to be cautious not to confuse monitoring social media with wasting all of your time on social media.
Think of it like you are planning a bank heist. Get in and out quickly, make sure the getaway van is going to be there.
Plan for Holidays and Sporting Events
Holidays and major sporting events are like the free square on a bingo board here in the content marketing world. They’re on everyone’s calendar, so you can always plan for them.
On top of that, just about everyone that you are trying to reach can relate to them.
Have a real estate blog?
You almost have to write something about the perfect setup for a Super Bowl party in February. Then you have to come back with an article about outdoor spaces for Memorial Day.
Have a food blog?
You can take those same ideas and focus your articles on the food that you are going to have at each of them. For me, it will be smoked brisket nachos for the super bowl and BBQ ribs for Memorial Day.
Those are two fairly obvious ways to approach holidays and sporting events, but with a little bit of inspiration, you can make just about any topic fit.
Create Your Own Buzz
In addition to utilizing holidays and major sporting events for content ideas, you can also make up some of your own events to create buzz about yourself.
One of the best examples of this is a restaurant that posts a daily blog about everything that went into their special that day.
Other events that you could celebrate include your company’s birthday, any new hires, personal birthdays, or any special events you happen to make up during a brainstorming session.
Local Events Calendars
Another angle that always generates excellent content ideas is focusing on what is happening in your community. No matter how big or small your business might be, everyone likes to see companies that are active in their community.
Just about every local community website has a calendar of events, and it doesn’t take much effort at all to put together a quick post about how someone from your company is excited to attend an event that is scheduled to happen in their community.
Things like fairs and festivals are the low-hanging fruit here, but getting creative with something like “Look What Phil Found at the Local Farmers’ Market” can work for almost any type of business.
Read Something Every Single Day
Books can also be a great place to find inspiration.
I make a point to read a few pages by Steven Pressfield and Tim Ferriss every single day. And there is very rarely a day that I don’t come across a quote from one of those guys that I could riff on in a blog post if I needed something to publish.
You could also expand this idea to all kinds of books that represent your industry. In many cases, one quote from an industry expert is all you need to get the content creation juices flowing.
Start a Series
One of my favorite things to do with great books is to work through them chapter by chapter and write something about how each of those chapters impacts my approach to what I do.
This is a foolproof way to generate content because you always know exactly what you are going to be writing about next.
To show you just how versatile this approach can be, I once wrote a series pulling powerful quotes from each of the Market Wizards books for a stock market blog. Then I doubled back on this same idea a few years later and used the same books for a series of articles on treating Daily Fantasy Sports like stock trading.
Starting a series doesn’t necessarily have to involve books either. You could write a review of each episode of your favorite show, or start a series detailing blog posts or music that inspires you. Anything goes here.
Coming up with content ideas can be intimidating when you are staring at a blank screen. But if you put in some brainstorming time using these seven ideas as starting points, it will only be a matter of time before the ideas start flowing. And when that happens, the best ideas will become articles that practically write themselves.