Seven Ways to Get Back in the Content Groove
There’s no doubt about it: creating content is a tough job. And I’m sure anyone who’s ever written for a blog can attest to the fact that sometimes you just can’t come up with anything new to share. There’s an old saying that nothing is more intimidating than a blank page, and I think there’s some truth to that. Everyone loses their content groove from time to time; it’s just the nature of the game. With a little bit of strategic thinking, though, you can easily get the creativity flowing again.
When content ideas are tough to come by, try using these tactics to find inspiration:
- Talk to Your Sales Team – Talking to your sales team is a surefire way to get ideas for content that will answer some of the most common questions coming from your company’s existing and potential clients. Compiling a list of these common questions can provide great fodder for simple “how-to” or list posts, which, generally speaking, are relatively easy to create but offer big dividends in traffic and longevity. If you want to create content that’s useful to your audience, you pretty much can’t go wrong here.
- Read Some Blogs – Blogs are one of the best places to find newsworthy content about topics related to your industry. When you’re in a rut and can’t come up with ideas for new content, take a look at your favorite blogs and see if there’s anything interesting going on. If you find something that’s sparking a lot of chatter online, read up on the subject and figure out how you can provide something new to the conversation or share a unique point of view.
- Sign Up for Quora – Quora is a website that lets users post questions about almost any topic under the sun. It’s a great way to do some intelligence gathering about common questions related to your industry. To access Quora, you’ll need to sign up for a free account and select a few subject area preferences, which allow the site can tailor the questions it displays to your interests. When you sign into your account, you can search for questions and answers on any topic. It might take some digging, but if you can find a relevant question that hasn’t been answered, you can use it as the basis for your next blog post or article. Start searching for unanswered questions by looking under the Open Questions tab.
- Look at Site Search Data in Google Analytics – If your website has a search feature on it and you have access to Google Analytics, you can find some of the most useful content ideas out there by looking at your Site Search reports, found in the Behavior section. The Search Terms report is especially handy because it can give you insight into what information visitors are looking for on your site and the terms they’re using to look for it. Crafting and promoting content that provides this missing information is a foolproof strategy. Setting up and configuring the Site Search reports might take a little bit of technical assistance from your web development team, but Google’s basic instructions can be found here.
- Sign Up for Google Alerts – Using Google Alerts is an easy way to have pertinent industry information delivered to right your inbox. Signing up for alerts is easy. Simply enter the term you’d like to receive alerts about, set your preferences, and click the Create Alert button. You will, of course, have to sign in with a Google account first. When you activate an alert, Google will send you a collection of relevant and newsworthy articles on the selected subject according to your chosen frequency. I have mine set up to arrive daily, and they hit my inbox at 10am like clockwork. This is an effective way of getting the latest industry news (and some content inspiration) without spending hours poring over countless blog posts.
- Check Your Social Media Accounts – Another easy way to come up with ideas for new content is to check your social media analytics and see which types of content get the highest engagement and reach. If a “how-to” post or a list post performed the best, consider revisiting that format again.
- Ask Your Audience – When all else fails, ask your audience. Tap the source directly and find out exactly what they want to hear from you. To do this, you can use a survey, an informal poll, or even just post a question on Facebook or Twitter and check out the comments. If you go the poll/survey route, consider embedding it on your website (many survey providers, like SurveyMonkey, have embed features). Asking your audience is a surefire way to not only find killer content ideas but also to boost your website traffic and social engagement.
These tips are definitely useful when you need help finding something to write about, but they can even come in handy when you’ve got a long list of blog topics that are ready to go. Before you start writing, take a look at your analytics or talk to your sales team and see if you can find an angle that will make a stronger connection with your audience—chances are good that you’ll get better traffic and engagement than you would have otherwise.
Have you ever run out of content ideas? If so, where did you turn to find inspiration? Share your tips in the comments!