9 Reliable Tips to Help You Get Better at Content Ideation

September 7, 2020

The modern age has moved our lives online.

From the sale of homes to having food delivered to your doorstep, there is no denying, we rely on the internet now more than ever.

And as our lives increasingly move online, businesses are scrambling to build their presence through online content. Content is the driving force of the social web.

People spend half of their online time consuming content. They spend an additional 30% of their time on networking sites, often sharing content. This includes sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Increasingly, purchases are made online. 57% of buyers go through the purchasing process before talking to a marketer.

Anyone using the internet will receive ads, spams and pop-up messages as they browse.

But the public has become wiser. They know what they are looking for and will not fall for tricks like irrelevant links.

As a content strategist, you have got to be creative!

Remember, it is your task to get more visitors to your company’s site. How do you keep those views coming in?

On top of that, you’ve got to beat your competitors too.

They know the drill. They too are experts, aggressively looking to win in this game.

Here are a few reliable tips to help you improve your content ideation, keeping you relevant.

1. Communicate With Your Audience

Your audience will always have questions for you. Use their queries to create ideas that can later be transformed into content.

There are various ways you can communicate with your audience:

  • Podcasts
  • Newsletters
  • Social media
  • FAQ’s
  • Surveys
  • Blog posts
  • AMIs (Ask Me Anything)

Once explored, these techniques will help you build a reservoir of ideas that will help you with content ideation.

2. Brainstorm With Your Team

If you are feeling stuck, it is time you got your team together for a proper brainstorming session.

It is one of the most effective ways to keep ideas flowing. What’s more:

  • You create more ideas.
  • It inspires your team.
  • The generation of ideas is quicker.
  • It improves team collaborations.
  • It gets the team thinking.

Here’s a video on how to improve your brainstorming.

Tips on a Successful Brainstorm

For a successful brainstorm, bring together a team from different divisions. These could be clients, marketers, customer service or even an online marketing team.

Having the whole team together helps inject new perspectives.

Important Takeaways:

  • Give the team some background information before, so they come prepared.
  • Make brainstorm sessions regular.
  • Do not be critical of any ideas at this point.

3. Make Use of Free Tools

You are not alone!

Marketers have been struggling with content ideation for a long time. As a result, pioneers in the field went ahead and developed tools that have eased the burden.

Keyword tools help in generating content ideas for you. Sample these options and find one that suits your team and your needs:

  • KWFinder
  • Keywordtool.io
  • Portent’s Content Idea Generator
  • HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator

4. Keep up With Industry Trends

Do you know your industry leaders? How about the latest trends in the market?

Check out other blogs, listen to podcasts by some of the best players in the market. Follow them on social media and learn what they are doing that you may be missing.

Research some of the questions arising in the market and share new techniques when you find them. Sharing new discoveries over social media will increase your likelihood of interacting with other professionals in your industry, growing your network.

Answer the public through forums like Quora or Instagram Live. Discover what your audience wants answers to and create content directly for them.

5. Mark Your Calendar for Interesting Events

Special days are a great way to generate content ideas. Do not let them pass you by.

Mark your calendar for holidays. They do have to relate to your company. But use them to start a conversation that will help you engage with your audiences. Your audience will likely celebrate something during the year.

Christmas or Independence Day might not have much to do with your company, however, it is a shared experience that you have with your audience. Use it to your advantage.

For example, a holiday such as Labor day can help you start a conversation on work safety and mental health.

6. Note Down Unique Ideas

There is no telling when you will run out of ideas. Even the most experienced writers block sometimes.

What do you do when that happens? Don’t panic. Here’s how to prepare for that phase.

Record your ideas when you are in a moment of inspiration. You can also create a social media swipe file.

What about that reddit thread that distracted you? How about those tweets that grabbed your attention?

There is so much you can do with social media resources. Save useful files, posts, tweets or videos in a folder. Go through them for inspiration when your mind is empty.

Your next big idea may just come from there.

7. Share Your Company’s History

There is nothing as refreshing as a history shared from a place of reflection.

People may recognize your brand. But, they may have no idea about the people behind it or the process that it takes you to deliver that final product.

How about sharing bits and pieces of your journey?

This will not only arouse your audience interest. It will also build trust and include your audience in your journey.

For example, Who is the founder of the organization? How did the product arise? Where did you start?

Sharing these stories helps people appreciate the efforts of the team behind its success.

As a content marketer, you will have compelling stories to share. Look deeper within the organization. What stories can you share that will make useful content?

8. Take a Look at Your Competitor’s Content

You are not an island. 

There are other companies like you striving to take a lead in the market.

Constantly keep an eye on what they are doing. If you like the kind of content they are producing, think of ways to make it sound better and more relatable.

Be sure to note what they are missing and when you build content, fill in these gaps. Learn from them and build on your own strengths and experiences.

9. Write a Rebuttal

Waves of information hit us from all directions as we constantly browse the internet.

While there is so much that we agree with, there is also so much information we question.

How about writing a rebuttal to information that relates to your industry that you do not agree with?

Note the issues in question and clarify or share your opinion in a rebuttal article.

This will be engaging in a creative way and will be better received than an angry comment.

Be ready to address:

  • Missing facts
  • Misconceptions
  • Your solution

Are You Ready To Improve Your Content Ideation?

Sujan Patel notes, the content ideation process is important and should not be rushed.

Bad ideas= Bad results.

People want to find content that is useful in solving their problems. They want authentic ideas that add value.

To be honest, you rarely get those light bulb moments when it comes to content generation. Being a content strategist is hard work, and you’ve got to keep at it!

The above tips will help you get you started on better content ideation.

CopySmiths

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of CopySmiths and Small Revolution. In my 20 years of experience, I have helped online businesses create high-performing content specifically on an eCommerce store's blog. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.