Content ideas don’t always, if ever, fall from the sky. Everyone has a creative block at some point and need to find ways to develop new material. You could wait for your internal light bulb to turn on or have a “Eureka!” moment while out to coffee with a friend, but you can’t predict when that next moment will come.
Sometimes to discover new content ideas you have to go looking for inspiration. To aid with this search, here are 7 creative ways to hunt for new content:
One of the best ways to come up with new content ideas is to search through forums that are related to your industry. It’s also a lot easier than you think. Search “[your industry] forum” on Google and you’ll find multiple links to forums that contain hundreds of pages of topics and conversations. Anyone of them can provide you with a new idea.
Industry-specific forums in particular are a treasure trove of potentially fresh content. For example, if you specialize in industrial design, a simple Google search will bring you to Autodesk. As of this post, Autodesk has had almost 11k posts in the last 30 days about topics ranging from CAD (computer-aided design) to licensing. It also boasts an extensive blog index ripe with ideas and inspiration.
The more specific you are about your niche, the more directly you’ll be able to speak to your audience, the better your results will be.
Social Media Platforms
Like with forums, social media platforms are great places to mine for ideas. Conduct a search based on industry or genre and learn what people are talking about. Instagram and Pinterest can provide you with visual stimulation, while Facebook groups can give you the latest updates in your industry.
Twitter hashtags can present you with countless sources of relevant information. Not only do they reveal what’s trending, but hashtags like #MSWL (manuscript wish list) provide you with insight into your target audience’s wants and needs.
Customer Comments and Reviews
Customer comments and reviews offer you direct insight into the minds of your potential buyers, even down to the copy you should be using. Analyze what customers have said about your brand and the brands of those in your industry. Using their own words, what are the things that they like, dislike, and want to see in the future?
If you’re not satisfied or want to gather more information, survey them for further ideas. Not only is this a great way to prospect for new material, but it helps when constructing customer-centric content.
Customers will comment on your products, your competitor’s products, and on almost anything else with ‘comments’ section. If you ever doubt this, spend some time on Amazon where products like Swiffer garner 1,775 customer reviews!
Get out of the house and socialize with other people in your niche. Building connections and forming bonds with like-minded people can help you in many ways—including coming up with new content ideas.
Talking casually with someone over a cocktail or a cup of coffee can lead to finding new ideas for content. Making friends in your industry gives you access to people who are familiar with your industry’s challenges yet can still offer an outsider’s perspective on your brand. Someone you meet at your next happy hour event could provide you with several great ideas or has been looking for new material themselves. Discussing what you’re working on could also inspire someone to play devil’s advocate and make you think about your product or service in a different way.
Sift through Facebook, local weeklies, or services like Meetup to find when and where local mixers are held in your area or nearby city. Chances are, there are more of them happening than you think.
Do the Exact Opposite
Try interacting with someone who isn’t or has little or no interest in your industry at all. If talking to someone like-minded doesn’t help, a differing perspective can make you see your industry in a whole new light. They can also provide content ideas that you never would have thought of otherwise.
When doing this, weigh everything they say with your target market in mind. This person doesn’t usually think in terms of your industry and probably isn’t part of the exact demographic you’re prospecting. Blindly following their ideas could lead to creating content that doesn’t fit your buyer personas. If you can’t determine whether it does or not, you may be too close to the idea itself and should ask someone in your team for a second opinion.
Interact with Your Marketing or Sales Team
For new inspiration, sometimes you have to look no further than to the person at the desk next to yours. Start a brainstorming session with one of your co-workers. Not only are they in your industry, but they also know what content is relevant to your target niche.
Your sales team can also help out a great deal. Salespeople are in constant contact with customers and, because they use your content, they can provide you with ideas for new content. Salespeople have to be intimate with a customer’s purchasing motivations as they have to walk them through the end of the funnel. While marketers are great like-minded resources, salespeople have the ability to give you that extra bit of information that can reignite your mental engine.
Your marketing and sales teams also know what content you have done before. Thus, they could provide you with:
- Content ideas that are tailor-made for you
- Old ideas that can be recycled and recreated in a new and exciting way
- Ideas that they have but can’t or aren’t working on
- Resource pools that you haven’t explored before
Explore Related Searches
Sometimes the best way to find inspiration for new content ideas is to let your mind—and your mouse—wander. The bottom of search result pages points you to other popular keywords that people are searching for:
For every search you conduct, you are presented with several topics where content is wanted by people who are looking up what you’re also searching for. The more you explore, the more opportunities you have to find new content ideas that are relevant to your niche.
Use longtail keywords for more accurate related searches. As with any other form of surfing the web, the more specific you are, the better your response will be.
There are many ways to deal with creative block and develop new content ideas; these are just seven of literally hundreds of ways to find inspiration. Mix and match some of these ideas or step out of your comfort zone and try something new entirely. Be proactive by unearthing new ideas yourself. It’s much more efficient than sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike.