Content ideas are everywhere, but coming up with a great content idea that is unlike anything your audience has seen or heard is tricky.
As most content creators only want to publish the very best content, the thought of generating a new idea that tops your last piece is overwhelming.
If you’re staring at a blank page and don’t know what to create, this post will help you generate a stellar content idea that can top your last piece of content.
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1. Identify Customer Pain Points
The best content idea isn’t necessarily the most creative idea – it’s the one that solves a burning pain point your audience feels.
To learn about your customers’ pain points, you can send a survey and ask them to list their three biggest challenges.
For example, just set up an autoresponder email like this one after someone joins your email list:
Thanks for joining! We’re thrilled to have you in the community.
I also have one question for you: What are the three biggest challenges you currently face as a (job title)?“
You can then keep a file of all of their responses and use that to brainstorm content ideas.
You can also just ask your audience on social media what kind of content they want from you next. Here’s a great example of this:
It opened up a great discussion with her target audience and helped her source excellent social media content ideas.
In addition to directly asking your audience for new content ideas, you can also read and participate in their conversations on social media.
To do this, you can use a social media listening tool and track keywords relevant to your business.
For example, if you have a product in the hiring space, you can track specific keywords and hashtags related to HR and hiring. Some social media listening tools that make this easy include Awario, Brandwatch, Brand24, and Keyhole.
Here’s an example of how Keyhole tracks the term “nikeair:”
You can also just search for those keywords on social media platforms, though many social media platforms, like LinkedIn and Twitter (X), have subpar search results.
Another option is to join industry forums and social media or Slack groups.
These groups are the best places to source blog and social media post ideas as people tend to discuss their problems more in groups than on their personal social media profiles.
For example, this SEO slack group is a great place to see what people are struggling with and the type of content they want:
2. Iterate On Your Top Performing Content
If you notice that a specific content topic consistently generates high engagement, don’t try to reinvent the wheel – just double down on what’s already working and create more content on that topic.
For example, if you have a marketing brand and notice that most of your top performing content covers topics around conversion rate optimization, create more content around the topic of conversion rate optimization.
To identify the content that has driven the most traffic to your website, you can use a tool like Ahrefs and click on the “Top Pages” report under the Organic Search tab.
However, it’s important to realize that the blog posts that generate the most traffic aren’t always the most relevant to your audience. Ideally, you want to double down on creating content that attracts your potential customers.
So you can also look at which blog posts were most effective at moving your audience through the marketing funnel (e.g., they signed up for your email list, joined a webinar, scheduled a demo, downloaded a tutorial, etc.). You should already be tracking this data in a platform like Google Analytics.
Another method is to look at your social media posts that have generated the highest engagement.
This is helpful because you can see who is commenting on your posts and gauge the general sentiment of the audience. Each platform has its own analytics dashboard, so use it to see which posts generate a lot of engagement from your ideal audience.
Once you know what kind of content topics you should double down on, you can use a keyword research tool to identify more keywords relevant to that keyword.
Or, you can use Google’s autocomplete form to find other relevant keywords, which may be even more helpful:
While keyword research may not be an innovative method to find unique content ideas, remember that great content ideas don’t necessarily need to cover new topics. Most of the best content pieces are just unique perspectives on common pain points.
For example, you could take a common keyword and then interview several experts to get their perspectives and case studies on that particular topic.
3. Look At Your Competitors’ Top Performing Content
Tracking your competitors’ top performing content will help you better understand the type of content your target audience enjoys.
While you don’t want to copy their content, you can put your own spin on the same idea.
To track your competitors’ top performing content, you can look at their top pages in Ahrefs.
However, because traffic doesn’t always correlate with conversions and you don’t really know who the piece of content is attracting, a better method is to look at the paid keywords they’re bidding on.
Tracking your competitors’ paid keywords is useful because they probably won’t bid on keywords that don’t turn into leads and sales.
For example, here are some of the keywords that Sitecore is running ads for:
If Sitecore is your competitor, it might be worth creating content around keywords like “writing content for a website” and “content marketing strategies.”
Another strategy is to simply scroll through your competitors’ social media content and look at which social media posts generated the most engagement. You can also read through the comments to double check that it’s generating engagement from the right audience.
For example, this post by ClickUp is a reshare of a testimonial/product review of the 3.0 version of the platform from an influencer:
It generated 30 plus comments and you can also read through the comments and see that they’re from ClickUp’s ideal target audience:
If ClickUp is your competitor, you might want to try asking your beta users to create their own tutorial videos of how they’re using your platform. Then, reshare the influencers’ videos on social media.
So in addition to stealing your competitors’ content strategies, you can also steal content format ideas. For example, are they using live video, memes, or GIFs in their social media strategy?
You can also look at different channels for inspiration. For example, if you have a YouTube channel, look at the top performing content on your competitors’ Instagram reels to use as inspiration.
4. Track Trending Industry News And Topics
Tracking industry news and topics is essential if you’re creating any social media or email content as many people use these channels to stay up-to-date with the latest news.
There are a few easy ways to find current trending topics.
First, you can use a tool like Google Trends to find current trending topics across the globe. This is great for newsjacking, though you probably won’t find trends relevant to your niche industry:
A method to find more specific trending topics is to sign up for email newsletters within your niche. This can help you source not only current trending topics, but also generate ideas for new content formats.
For example, the Leveling Up newsletter is a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing news:
BuzzSumo is another great tool for finding trending topics. You can track specific categories, and it will show you the trending content in that category, or you can track specific keywords.
Unfortunately, writing blog posts about current trending topics might not be the best approach if your goal is to create evergreen content that ranks in search engines.
However, you can still write blog posts for rising trends with longer-term growth potential.
One of the easiest ways to find long-term growth trends is to use a trend discovery tool like Exploding Topics.
It only shows B2B and B2C trends that have steadily increased in Google Search volume for at least several months. So creating blog content around those trends can help you catch a new trend before it’s popular, yet still be assured that the content will likely be evergreen.
To create content around these topics, search for them on various trending social media platforms and ask the influencers discussing them most prominently to give you quotes on the trend.
5. Ask Industry Experts
Asking experts for their take on a specific topic is a great way to make your content unique and better than the content that currently exists online. You can also directly ask them for content ideas.
For example, you can reach out to them on social media or through email and ask them one of the following questions:
- What trend are you most excited about for 2024?
- What do you believe is currently the most underrated strategy in (your industry)?
You can use their responses to generate content ideas and even use the quote they give you in your content.
You can also tag these influencers when you publish the content to aid your content promotion efforts.
6. Update or Republish Old Content
Only a fraction of your audience will see your content the first time you publish it – especially if you primarily use social media marketing. So many of the best content creators repost or reuse their top performing content.
The best part is that the content is already proven to resonate with your audience, so it minimizes the risk of the content failing.
For example, content creator Brian Dean recently posted this on LinkedIn:
And I just recently saw that he published the same post again with a slightly different hook and updated intro:
Brian Dean is also excellent at repurposing content ideas across different social media channels. For example, he took the same idea (email marketing is great for growth) and also created a YouTube video about it:
He also repurposes his YouTube content into YouTube shorts so that each piece of content earns more reach.
In addition to reposting and repurposing social media content, it’s also important to update your blog content.
This is a top strategy we’re currently using at Copyblogger. The content marketing landscape is quickly evolving, and some of the strategies that used to work five years ago are no longer effective.
So we’re updating the content that previously performed the best and has begun to slowly deteriorate.
To find the best content to update, look in Google Search Console and see which posts have lost the most traffic over the past few months.
You can do this by going to the Search Results report and clicking on “New” for the search filter.
Then, you can compare traffic from the previous three months to the most recent three months.
Then, you can sort by pages and filter the results by those that have lost the most traffic:
Then, add those posts that have lost the most traffic to your content calendar.
When you update the posts, look in the current search results to see if you’re missing any topics the other blog posts cover. However, don’t just regurgitate the same advice as all of the other blog posts.
Think about not only additional information that would be helpful to the reader, but also what advice would be more effective and help them achieve better results than the advice that is currently in the search results.
7. Share What You’ve Learned
As ChatGPT makes it easy to quickly generate factual advice, people (and Google) want content that provides personal experience.
So keep a journal of what you learn. Perhaps set aside some time each Sunday to reflect on experiments you’ve run, important conversations you’ve had with team members or industry influencers, and anything else you’ve learned during the week.
Once you have an idea of a lesson you learned, put it into a storytelling framework and add a key takeaway at the end.
Here’s a great example of how Melissa Kwan did this in a LinkedIn post:
These stories are captivating to read and they also provide valuable insights to the reader.
However, it doesn’t have to be a failure story.
You can also write a case study or even a data study.
Here’s a great example of a case study piece of content that performed well:
If you don’t have any long-term case studies, you can also just share a small experiment or A/B test you recently ran.
The point is that people like real stories and lessons from others – not just hypothetical advice. Especially in the age of AI, these personal success stories are highly effective at generating engagement.
8. Share Stories From Others
Sharing your own stories is a great start, but one person can only have so many highly impactful experiences in a week.
Another option is to source stories from other people – ideally, those who don’t have time to share their own stories.
For example, Jon Davids built his LinkedIn account to nearly 60,000 followers by primarily sharing other founders’ stories on social media.
Here’s just one example of the types of posts that he frequently publishes:
In this case, you could even hire a researcher to find the content ideas for you and then put the story together yourself.
Or, you can look at other content channels for inspiration. For example, this story about the banana guy was originally told on a podcast. The LinkedIn poster then did a little additional research and published his own twist on the story on LinkedIn. As you can tell, it still performed incredibly well, generating over 100 comments and reposts.
You can also contact people directly to ask if they would consider sharing a story. For example, if your audience is B2B founders, you could reach out directly to a B2B founder and ask if they would consider letting you write a story on the most impactful thing they’ve learned during the year.
There’s also a source called Help A B2B Writer, which allows you to submit requests for quotes from experts.
9. Incorporate User Generated Content
One of the best ways to ensure you’re creating content that users love is to have the users create the content for you!
For example, this post is an excellent example of user generated content for Oura Ring:
The only drawback is that it can be tricky to get users to put in the effort to create content for you.
So one option is to run contests or a giveaway for the best content.
While giveaways are fairly common among B2C brands, you could still do one as a B2B brand.
For example, Trello ran a $5,000 giveaway contest for people to post where they work from while traveling the world.
User generated content can also come from your employees. For example, Trello could have also asked its employees to participate by sharing where they work from in Trello.
10. Create Less Content
This tip may seem counterintuitive, but more content volume is not always better.
If you don’t have anything insightful to share, don’t publish any content.
This is a tip from Alex Hormozi. He claims to scrap plenty of the content that they record if he doesn’t feel that it’s truly outstanding.
So spend more time on the ideation phase and don’t just publish content because you feel that you need to stay up to date with your content calendar.
It takes time to create a truly outstanding piece of content, and you may see much better results by spending more time on a single piece of content than simply creating more content.
Take The Next Steps To Generate Great Content Ideas Now
If you’re still having trouble thinking of great content ideas, consider joining a peer group like the Copyblogger Academy, where you can collaborate and brainstorm content ideas with other creators.
In addition, you’ll also have access to hours of content marketing courses, and you can ask me any of your content marketing questions directly.
Alternatively, if you’d rather outsource the entire content creation process, you can simply hire the Digital Commerce Partners to do your content marketing for you.