Working in the content marketing business, or content creation in general, means you constantly need to be coming up with fresh ideas, week in, week out. A lot of my clients rely on me to come up with fresh topics, and after a certain point in time, you just run out.
What then? How do you get your creativity juices flowing again?
This is a problem many writers face, it is actually more common than you think. The solution, however, is very simple, but it requires a few things. The first thing you should do when faced with a problem or a dilemma (regardless of what it’s about), is to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.
Why are you writing content in the first place? Probably, to promote your client, their brand and business. OK, that’s a good start. The second step is to understand how content marketing works. At its core is problem-solving. Here’s how it works:
- Your client’s audience has a certain problem
- You know how to solve that problem and you will present that solution in a content format
- Your client’s audience will search for the solution to their problem on the internet
- They will find your client’s site, have their issue solved, which will make them come back for more, and even transform them into buyers / clients.
Look for problems
So, in order to always keep coming up with fresh ideas, what you need to do is understand your client’s business, its target audience, and the problems they are facing. The next question is – how do you do that? There are a couple of methods which I am about to list below. Keep in mind that they are not ordered in any particular fashion, and that you should probably use all of them, preferably at the same time.
Ask your client. What is the business about? What problems is your client’s product solving? How is it doing that? What makes it stand out from its competition? Who is the product, or service, for? After that, discuss with your clients what potential problems their clients might be having. That is a decent start.
The next thing is to ask analytics platforms. If your clients have a blog, they probably have some platform which tracks visits, clicks, referrals and so on. Such a platform can tell you which keywords and links people used to find the site. Scour through that information, and you just might be surprised. If there are certain keywords visitors are using, it might give you a hint on a few topics or problems they are looking to solve.
There is also this nifty Google tool called Keyword Planner. There, you can enter a few basic keywords, such as ‘freelance writer’, and Google will list all other relevant keywords people have been searching for, including the frequency of the search. It is also a great tool to see what problems people in your target audience are trying to solve.
Finally, you can also use Google’s search box. Check out the image below:
Just by typing a few basic keywords, Google can tell you right away, what people are searching for. This is another great way to look for ideas.
Ask Twitter. Seriously, if you’re not using Twitter by now, you should definitely sign up. People engage in different discussions through hashtags (you’ll recognize them by the # symbol). So, if you’re looking for opinions on freelance writers, you can enter the hashtag #freelancewriters in Twitter, and see what you come up with. Sometimes, great new ideas can be found here.
Register to forums. At one point in time, everyone thought blogs were dead – but they turned up to be more alive than ever. A similar thing is with forums. They’re alive and kicking, teeming with priceless information. Sign up to various forums which tackle the same issues you’re tackling. See what people are talking about, which problems they’re having and how they’re solving them. Not only will you find fresh content ideas there, you can also find great expert sources and commentaries. It will make your content that much more valuable and authoritative.
PRO TIP: Avoid content ideas generators
There are a few tools out there that try to create ideas for you. They work by letting you enter a few keywords, around which it then forms a draft title. These are almost by default vague, and will usually contribute close to nothing to solving your target audience’s problems. Be smart, come up with your own ideas and stay away from someone else, robots especially, doing the work for you.