8 Hacks for Generating New Content Ideas (Plus 5 Steps to Make Sure They’re Good)

Almost all creators reach a point when they start to burn out and struggle with creativity. No matter how interesting your topic or industry is, the well of content ideas will run dry sooner or later, especially if you are solely relying on your own brain.

But the content beast is always hungry. And your content has to satisfy constantly evolving customer needs. That’s a tall order, considering that 64% of consumers think companies aren’t responding to their changing needs fast enough.

Luckily, there’s a whole world of inspiration and ideation tools out there. And many of them will even help you determine if your ideas are good (or not). Let’s dive deeper and discover how to keep your content flowing and ensure you’re producing good content ideas.

8 Hacks for Consistently Generating Fresh Content Ideas

If you’re starting to run low on content ideas or repeatedly rehashing the same topics, try out these idea generation hacks to get your gears turning, and give your content a new lease of life.

1. Host Brainstorming Sessions

Instead of relying on only one or two people for content ideas, open up the ideation process to your whole team. It doesn’t just have to be the writers and content marketers, either.

Host regular team brainstorming sessions. The content ideas that come from people who aren’t a direct part of production or marketing may surprise you. Just make sure to use a solid content operations platform to save and organize ideas as you collaborate.

2. Browse Forums and Social Media for Ideas

No matter your industry, there’s a good chance that some forum or group is serving your audience. That forum will be full of people asking questions they want answers to.

Often, people turn to forums because they haven’t been able to find the answers they need through online research. This means they’re just crying out for you to create the content for them!

Go where your customers and audience are, and search for the native terms and phrases that relate to your products and services. Note the sorts of questions people are asking and problems that you can solve, and generate content ideas that speak to their pain points and put them on your content calendar.

3. Check Out What Others Are Writing About

No, this doesn’t mean blindly following your competitors. Still, you can get good content ideas that might spark a fresh take on topics people are writing about in your industry.

Buzzsumo is a great tool for this. Beyond giving you a never-ending supply of article ideas, it also shows which subjects are trending with your audience.

Also, consider subscribing to other blogs in your industry. You’ll keep up with what others are writing about and take note of ideas you can use in your own content.

4. Jump on Trends

Keeping on top of trends, news, and buzz in your industry is important for any content creator. One of the best ways of creating original content ideas is by writing about a news story or trend that nobody else has picked up on yet.

Google News is a good source for this. You can trigger automatic email alerts for certain keywords and use news aggregators specifically for your industry.

Another (often underutilized) tool from Google is Google Trends. This tool provides a wealth of data on not only which topics are trending but also when they are likely to get the most clicks.

Don’t forget other sources of news when engaging in content planning. Pay attention to email newsletters, YouTube, and other social media networks for content ideas.

5. Get Offline

The internet is just one source of inspiration, but it might be a crutch that’s holding you back. If your ideas are growing stale, shut down your computer and look for content ideas in the physical world.

Your local library or bookstore has hundreds of books relating to your niche or industry. Magazines can be another great source of inspiration.

Bonus hack: If you don’t have time to get out, you can browse books on Google Books and Amazon. Use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to see the chapters of the book. You can also get digital magazine subscriptions.

6. Check Your Blog or YouTube Video Comments

Don’t overlook your own blog and video content as a source of inspiration for content ideas. Often, someone will find your original content by searching, but it’s not quite what they’re looking for. They might leave a comment asking you questions or to expand further.

You could (and should) reply to the comment directly. Then, use that comment as a base for a new post or video that goes into more detail.

7. Interview Your Team

Chances are you have people working for your business with fascinating stories and insights your audience would love to read. Consider fitting an employee interview into your regular content schedule. This could be on a monthly basis or more often.

Now, you have great fodder when you’re running low on content ideas. You also let your audience get to know the people behind the brand. This helps with brand trust and authenticity while providing compelling storytelling that gets conversions.

8. Listen to Podcasts

There are thousands of podcasts out there for even the most obscure industries. You can even get ideas from podcasts that don’t relate directly to your niche.

Of course, podcasts do require a time commitment. However, this can be a good activity to take up on your commute to work or while you’re at the gym. If you really don’t have time to listen regularly, many podcasts publish transcripts to read. Or, use transcription software at a pinch.

The 3 Characteristics of a Good Topic

Not every idea your team comes up with is worth pursuing. Some ideas might have promise but need to marinate a bit to provide more flavor. Others are sure to bomb with your target audience, no matter how genius they seem.

Even the most inspired and effective brainstorming sessions will result in both snoozers and winners. Understand what makes for good content ideas before you can evaluate your team’s ideas.

1. It Focuses on People

Good topics are people-focused, not brand-centric. They cater to your audience’s pain, desires, needs, and interests rather than your bottom line.

Content ideas that speak to an audience segment at a particular stage of the buyer’s journey are more likely to compel engagement. They answer a question, solve a problem, or provide relevant information. They can even be for entertainment, as long as they connect with audience interests.

2. It Makes Sense for Your Brand

Let’s get real: You need to move your audience down the funnel and show your C-suite that content marketing really is a good investment.

While you might turn people away in droves if your content is all hard sales, you still want to highlight how your products or services meet consumer needs. Every idea should somehow tie into your offerings, even if you don’t explicitly link your products or services to the topic.

Your content ideas should also help you meet strategy or campaign goals and be suitable for one of your channels and formats. Keep those goals organized in a convenient content operations platform so you don’t miss that crucial element.

3. It Adheres to Google’s E-E-A-T Guidelines

Google is the head coach of the search engine champion team, and its content guidelines are the content world’s playbook. The company exists to provide internet users with the information they seek as quickly as possible.

The folks on the inside understand the search engine optimization game, quickly catching onto tactics designed to boost SEO rankings without providing anything of value to the consumer. Efforts to game the system frustrate search users, which isn’t good for Google.

Of course, we all grumble at the company’s ever-changing algorithms. However, the truth is that by paying attention to what Google is looking for, you’ll also understand how consumers use the search engine.

Part of the company’s helpful content update included new guidelines for gauging content quality.

In addition to focusing on your audience, your content ideas need to demonstrate E-E-A-T:

  • Experience: You have real-world, significant experience with the subject matter.
  • Expertise: You have an educational or training background that supports your knowledge on the subject.
  • Authoritative: You have the credentials to speak on the topic.
  • Trust: Your brand is trustworthy.

Pursue ideas that your audience would expect you to have insight into. Also, make sure you can provide factual, helpful information to support the topics you choose.

5 Steps To Figure Out if Your Content Ideas Are Any Good

Follow these five steps to find out whether your ideas are worthy of spending the effort to turn them into a publishable piece.

1. Review Your Content Strategy

Your content ideas should align with your content strategy and strategic business goals. This exercise should be as simple as bouncing each idea off your predetermined, documented list of subjects, topics, categories, themes, or pillars that make up your strategy.

(You’ve documented that list, right?)

DivvyHQ makes this especially easy. The platform provides native content strategy fields that allow users to populate their strategic metadata, including:

  • Content topics, categories, and keywords
  • Target audiences and markets
  • Buyer stages
  • Regions and geographic areas
  • Languages

You can quickly determine whether your content ideas fit within a defined strategy category.

Then, from a visibility standpoint, users have endless filtering capabilities, allowing them to query and search both upcoming content initiatives or their existing content archive.

Divvy’s calendar lets you set up content strategy filters, making it easy to evaluate new ideas based on strategy categories.

DivvyHQ example: Calendar Filters

2. Check Your Audience Segments

Broad topics have appeal when you use them sparingly. Most of your content ideas should focus on a specific audience segment at a particular buying stage. You won’t have to track down your audience segments if you use Divvy’s platform and include them in your calendar filters.

You should also filter your calendar to determine how many topics are already on deck for the segment and buyer’s stage in which your ideas fit. Similarly, you can use this option to decide if an idea is redundant.

3. Determine Topic Relevance

Determining relevance has two parts. First, you need to assess whether the content idea is relevant to your brand (and satisfies E-E-A-T guidelines). Second, you need to evaluate whether it will appeal to your audience.

The first step should be easy. The second may require research and diving into your buyer personas to compare the topic against audience pain points and interests.

4. Analyze Keyword Data

Dial in on what keywords are appropriate for each topic. If you can’t connect your content ideas with what your audience seeks when searching for information, you may want to trash or table the concept.

Once you’ve narrowed in on a few primary, related keywords, we’d advise using one of the tools below to get a feel for search volume and overall keyword popularity. Understanding how often users search for certain keywords or phrases will likely paint a very clear picture of how to prioritize (or deprioritize) any given idea.

Moz keyword explorer - review content ideas

Source: Moz Keyword Explorer

5. Examine Your Analytics

The last step is to do some data analysis of your existing published content that relates to your new content ideas. Evaluating past content performance for similar ideas can help you predict how well your new ideas might do.

Our analytics tools allow you to aggregate data from multiple sources, so this step doesn’t have to be painful.

We’ll Help You Simplify the Process of Generating and Evaluating Content Ideas

You now have a substantial list of new content ideas. Now it’s time to make sure you actually do something with these by scheduling them for production and publication. You also need a convenient space for inputting and storing ideas that might not make the cut this time around but could be worth pursuing later.

We can give you the tools to evaluate them quickly and then manage the content production process. Give DivvyHQ a try for a content calendar that integrates ideation into your existing workflow and gives full visibility of all your content marketing projects to your entire team.

Get in touch today to schedule a quick demo of how DivvyHQ streamlines bringing your content ideas to life.

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