Coming up with content ideas is a critical part of keeping most websites humming along. Audiences want to engage with new information, and that makes content generation ideas worth their weight in gold. It can be difficult, however, to continue pushing out fresh concepts for articles. The process can be hacked, though. Here are 10 ways you can find content ideas without a major investment of effort.
1. Follow Your Audience
Every single day there are conversations happening on the internet, and your audience can tell you a lot about how to come up with article ideas. Searching through the comments section will yield a number of blog content ideas, and you should also be checking your social media feeds to see where discussions are heading. Even if you’re not actively engaged in a conversation, you can quickly go through individual followers’ Twitter accounts to see what the current scuttlebutt is.
You can also expand upon this by using analytics tools. Social monitoring tools like BuzzSumo, Hootsuite and Tweetdeck can help you get a sense of what people are talking about. You can then build upon these ideas with your own original take.
2. Always Bookmark Ideas
As you read content on the internet, it’s good to keep a file of articles that you’ve bookmarked. Some of the best website content ideas are grounded in specific structures. You might be reading an item on a medical journal’s website, but the structure they use is novel enough to give some life to the way you write on your fashion blog.
You can find content ideas everywhere, and just keeping a set of bookmarks of good articles may offer some inspiration when you’re at a loss.
3. Follow Your Industry
Developments within an industry can provide a lot of the best website content ideas. SEO bloggers have for years had to keep with developments in their industry because of the sudden shifts under their feet that occur every time Google makes a new announcement or updates its algorithm. They often visit the big sites in the SEO business, such as Search Engine Land to find content ideas.
4. Convert Text into Graphics
Humans are visually driven creatures, and one of the simplest approaches to how to generate content ideas is to convert existing content into more content. A quality infographic can quickly be built from almost any type of listicle. If you’ve written articles that have large amounts of data, it can sometimes be beneficial to readers to break the data down into charts.
An added benefit of using infographics to turn out content ideas is that they can be used to build up your social media marketing efforts. For example, you can produce a visual for your blog and then share it to your Twitter feed.
5. Go on Reddit
Subscribing to subreddits in your industry is a superb way to find content ideas. Redditors are voracious consumers and producers of content, and they tend to follow a culture that doesn’t particularly condemn reuse. Tweaking an existing concept is one of the simplest content generation ideas. In fact, subreddits such as Data is Beautiful are largely driven by converting existing information into more aesthetically pleasing presentations.
The way Redditors convert concepts will also help you get a handle on how to generate content ideas. On any given day you’ll see different riffs on the same notions across multiple subreddits. From political discussions to graphic design tips, the site is simply littered with opportunities to pump out fresh content ideas.
6. Evergreen Content Ideas
In almost every sector, there is a set of ideas that never truly go out of style. Fashion bloggers know that every quarter is going to come with a discussion of the upcoming season’s new trends. In many instances, you can simply update the “2017 Spring Fashion Trends” article to what’s new for 2018. A remodeling company that has a blog attached to its site has a ready supply of annual web content ideas waiting to be written based on the new design trends for the year.
To get the most out of your evergreen web content ideas, you should also think about ways to extend existing concepts. In the example about spring fashions, you could also create a second article about transitioning from winter to spring. Instead of having four built-in articles for each year, you’ll have 8 blog content ideas that’ll be evergreen and easy to write.
7. Enter the Next Lane
When thinking about how to come up with article ideas, don’t be afraid to dip into an industry that’s adjacent to yours. Adobe provides a great practical example of this approach by diving into Pantone’s fashion trend reports for each season. It’s easy to see how a web design firm might take the same concept and tilt it toward a blog article aimed at coders who lack an art background.
Never assume that a narrowly prescribed idea has to stay in its lane. After reading an article about consumer analytics in retail, you might be inspired to discuss how big data is influencing your industry. Be open to incorporating ideas outside your niche into a discussion.
8. Revisit Old Content
One of the best sources of concepts for articles is your existing base of articles. By taking a look through the logs for your website, you can figure out what have been the most interesting items for your readers to check out. It’s a good idea to look at the big scale, such as the top blog posts for the current year or over the life of your website.
You’ll be surprised how much traction can be gained by revisiting these ideas. Most industries move pretty fast, so doing a newly updated version of an article that was a smash hit five years ago might help your audience get some perspective on how much things have changed. Picture, for example, how the discussion of smartphone capabilities has changed in the last decade. That can be a fun chance to compare and contrast. You also can link to the old article, helping to squeeze a little more traffic out of audience interest in the topic.
Newsjacking is an approach that centers on tweaking newsworthy and timely content ideas to a brand’s specific message. Every week the world is filled with sporting events, awards shows and other big moments. Memes are born and die within smaller cycles, but they offer a great chance for writers to catch a little lighting and bottle it. Newsjacking is an especially popular choice for social media producers, but don’t be afraid to use it for blog articles, too.
10. Customer Support Tickets
Some of the best web content ideas lurk below the surface of a business. Conducting a quick audit of support tickets may give you a sense of what’s bothering your audience. These can get highly detailed, offer a chance for more informative posts. As an added bonus, the production of this type of content contributes to a firm’s knowledge base, potentially reducing costs for a win-win.