20 Fail-Proof Ways to Come Up With New Content Ideas

by Jason Cosper
20 Fail-Proof Ways to Come Up With New Content Ideas thumbnail

Running out of ideas might be one of the worst situations when you depend on content to drive your business. You probably never imagined this would happen when first starting your online business. However, realizing you have nothing to say when facing a blank blog post is frustrating and panic-inducing.

But don’t worry. You have plenty to say!

Everyone gets hit with a case of “blogger’s block” once in a while. Fortunately, there are lots of tried and true methods for getting back in sync with your editorial calendar.

In this post, we’ll talk a little about why having fresh content matters. Then, we’ll share 20 fail-proof ways to come up with new content ideas. Let’s get started!

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Why Creating New Content Matters

Content creation is a key aspect of inbound marketing, but it’s also how your audience gets to know you. Your next potential customer will only know you as an online persona. As such, you’ll want to take advantage of every opportunity you have to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. Providing new, insightful content to your audience is an efficient way to do this.

Additionally, companies that post more content get more traffic. Publishing 16 or more blog posts a month can help you pull in nearly four times the traffic of your less prolific competition.

Of course, content creation isn’t just about what’s on your website.

You’ll also want to have steady social media content to help promote posts, articles, and videos. Social media is also an effective way to let your current followers know you have something new to share and bring fresh eyes to your content.

Finally, keep in mind the trust factor when it comes to digital consumerism. Without the benefit of a physical storefront, if you’ve stopped producing content, it can be hard to tell if you’re still around. An e-commerce website with a blog and social media that hasn’t been updated in six months is unlikely to inspire confidence in potential customers.

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20 Fail-Proof Ways to Come Up With New Content Ideas

Now we’ve covered why developing new content is so important, let’s get to work with 20 fail-proof ways to create new content ideas. There are plenty to get through, so let’s begin!

1. Create Topics in Bunches

Coming up with a topic under pressure can be stressful, and the relief you feel when you come up with something might be enough to make you stop for the day. However, you may want to try extending that brainstorming session and coming up with a few ideas at once.

Batching similar tasks together is a tried and tested productivity technique. It can keep you focused and cut down on multitasking. What’s more, you can better develop themes in your content, which will likely come in handy to keep readers engaged.

So pour some coffee, set a timer, and away you go!

If you can, try to come up with enough topics to last a month or two. You can plug your new topics into your content calendar and make a plan for your next brainstorming session while you’re at it.

2. Scour Social Media

Social media could be a continuous source of topic ideas. Since Americans spend about two hours a day on social media, chances are your followers will be online discussing what they’re currently interested in. By doing a bit of virtual eavesdropping, you can kickstart your content idea generation.

To start, look at what’s trending among your current followers. Take note of questions they’re asking and topics they’re interested in — but don’t stop there. Instead, let yourself go down a rabbit hole. Who are the other people and brands that your fans follow, and what hashtags are they using? All of this information can be used as fodder for future content.

3. Review Your Blog Comments

Engaging with your readers in your comments section is an effective way of building a relationship with them. However, you can also read through comments to develop new ideas.

Your readers are likely from different parts of the world and have very different life experiences from you. So they may be leaving unique insights into and observations about your post’s subject matter. They may even be asking questions that you can answer in future blog posts.

Interacting regularly with your readers can make it more likely that they’ll leave thoughtful comments. After all, if you take the time to respond, it’s more rewarding for them to share their thoughts. You might also give them some encouragement with a strong Call To Action (CTA) at the end of your posts.

4. Conduct Interviews

Interviews with an expert in your niche are a versatile way to help develop content for your blog or social media channels. The material you get from a single interview can bolster your content calendar for a week or two.

First, the material lends itself to multitasking. Of course, you can publish the interview as a blog post. However, you might also shoot some video and share short clips of the highlights.

Also, as there’s likely some overlap in your audiences, you may gain new followers from your guest. You might try creating a few easily-shared social media graphics for your interviewee to post on their channels.

Try reaching out to a personality in your industry to see if they’re open to being interviewed. You might want to try asking some of the people your audience follows on social media. If you’re concerned about coming up with questions, this could be a good time to poll your readers to see what they would ask.

5. Check Out Competitor Sites

Your competitors’ sites are a potential goldmine of content ideas. After all, they’re targeting the same population as you!

Of course, you can start with their blog to see if they’ve covered any topics you haven’t thought of. If you find ideas this way, try to outdo them by creating longer and better content (otherwise known as the Skyscraper Technique). However, take care not to plagiarize. There’s nothing wrong with using their content as inspiration, but be sure your words are your own.

Next, head for the comments sections. Just like your own audience, your competition’s readers are likely asking valuable questions and sharing thoughts that you can use as a jumping-off point.

While you’re on their site, you might also want to sign up for their newsletter. They may offer additional content to subscribers that you can’t access on the website.

6. Google Search Suggestions

Google may have some great ideas for your next topic. This tactic can be incredibly valuable, as you don’t need to provide much information. Also, the suggestions you get back will be relevant and mostly optimized as they’re based on actual searches.

Start by typing in a general idea or even just your niche. You’ll get a list of potential topics. You might want to log out of your Google account first or use a private browsing tab, so your past search history doesn’t influence the results.

Google suggestions based on a search for baking

Also, check out the People Also Ask and Searches Related To… sections. These are two more places to find topic and keyword inspiration.

Google searches related to baking

You may want to incorporate this strategy into your topic brainstorming sessions. If you come up with one good idea, Google might help by giving you five more.

7. Connect Your Brand to Current Events

Be on the lookout for any current events you may be able to relate to your brand. While your audience may not be especially interested in the event itself, a clever and relevant tie-in could take advantage of trending searches and hashtags.

This can be an excellent strategy for social media posts, as they’re shorter and more in-the-moment. Keep in mind, although this tactic can be a lot of fun, you’ll want to exercise some caution to avoid tying your brand to anything overly controversial.

You might also stick to your niche when discussing current events. You can spotlight any new developments on social media or dig into the latest happenings with a blog post.

8. Create Product Reviews

Even if you don’t sell a product, you can still review items your followers may find helpful. Product reviews are another versatile bit of content. You can quickly tweet out some praise, being sure to tag the relevant company when you do. Reviews also lend themselves well to video, as you can demonstrate the product and “humanize” your business.

Start by thinking of things you use every day and if they might be useful to your audience. For example, if you’re a food blogger, you might not believe a scented candle relates to your niche. However, if you swear by it to get rid of lingering food smells in your apartment, your readers will likely appreciate the recommendation.

Furthermore, you can ask your audience about the items they can’t live without. A monthly product review could quickly become one of your more popular features.

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9. Use a Topic Generator Platform

If you’re still stumped, you can get an assist from a topic generator platform. You might try HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator.

HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator

This free tool can provide you with up to a year’s worth of weekly blog post topics. All you have to do is type in up to five different nouns and click on the Give Me Blog Ideas button. It may not offer cast-iron and fully-formed ideas; however, it can be a great starting point for developing more relevant content.

10. Tell Personal Stories

It’s highly unlikely that you’re the only person creating content in your niche. Your audience follows you because they like you. Chances are, they’ll enjoy learning more about your successes and failures.

These stories may inspire your readers or make you more relatable to them. Best of all, since you’re pulling from your experience, there’s no research required.

How you share your story is as personal as the story itself. You may want to write a narrative or simply list lessons you’ve learned over the years. You could even let your audience ask you questions on a Twitter chat or YouTube live stream. This is also an excellent opportunity to tell your brand’s story.

11. Get Ideas From Industry Newsletters

No matter your niche, it’s a pretty safe bet that there are a few respected newsletters dedicated to it. These periodicals are likely full of up to the minute details about topics your readers will be interested in.

Try subscribing to some industry newsletters and use what they cover to help cultivate fresh content for your blog. You might also note who is writing the content and who is being interviewed for these publications. Following these people could lead to even more inspiration, or even an interview or two.

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12. Watch YouTube Videos

Having your own YouTube channel is a great idea, but you can also use the platform to develop content ideas. You may start by watching videos in your niche and reading through comments for inspiration, similar to what you might do on a competitor’s blog.

However, you can also try searching for some of your old topic ideas and then using the suggested videos to come up with new ones.

YouTube’s suggested videos section

You could also try looking at the most popular videos in your niche. This should give you a good idea of what your audience might be interested in.

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13. Stay Up to Date With New Products and Tech

Regardless of the industry you’re in, new developments are likely happening all the time. Staying on top of new products and technology related to your niche can regularly help you generate new content ideas. If you subscribe to industry newsletters, you’ll be well-positioned to discuss these advancements.

Try sharing this information with your audience on social media and get their thoughts on it. This is potentially an effective way to get a conversation started on your social platforms, which could spark even more ideas for you.

14. Talk About Recent Studies

Conducting original research is a great way to generate content, but it’s not always practical. Instead, let your readers know about new studies or survey results related to your niche. This strategy provides value to your audience and helps cement your reputation as an expert.

While you should probably share these findings on social media quickly to capitalize on recency, you might build other content as well. For example, you could craft an in-depth blog post or shoot a video exploring the study’s potential impact.

15. Refresh or Expand Your Old Content

Speaking of studies, if you’ve included any in older content, it could be time for a refresh. Taking time to look through old content can help update facts and statistics for the sake of accuracy. Also, suppose the content is especially dated. In that case, you may have been trying to rank for different keywords or using poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices.

You might also look through your older blog posts to see if you can expand upon ideas. A small paragraph in an old article could be fodder for a brand new piece of content.

Finally, you could browse your metrics to identify lower-performing posts that could benefit from some attention.

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16. Visit Online Forums

If you’ve already mined your own comments section for reader questions, you might want to try some online forums next, such as Quora. This website is devoted to the asking and answering of questions and covers just about any topic you can think of.

Alt-text: Questions about baking on Quora

Type in your area of interest, and you can find a wealth of content inspiration. Look for questions you haven’t covered, or curate a few related questions and try writing an ultimate guide.

17. Give Your Users a Survey

To find out more about what your readers would like to see, try asking them directly. Your audience will be familiar with the types of content you produce and the topics you cover, so they’re in a great position to provide advice.

This can be as formal or relaxed as you’d like. You can select individuals and ask them directly what they’re interested in, or just hold a conversation on Facebook to find out more about your audience. You could also try sending out a survey to your newsletter subscribers.

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18. Read Conference Agendas

If you’ve had success checking on industry newsletters, you might also explore conference agendas. These can be full of interesting topics to research and knowledgeable people to follow or connect with.

You can try reading through agendas for upcoming or even past industry events. If it’s being talked about at a conference, you should probably be talking about it as well. And once it’s safe to attend events again (thanks, COVID-19), you might consider writing a roundup for your followers.

19. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a website that connects journalists with sources. While you can use this tool in the hopes of being included in a story, it’s also helpful for generating content ideas.

The Help a Reporter Out homepage

Signing up for HARO as a source will get you three emails a day full of potential content topics. You’ll receive pitch requests every weekday, which you can mine for potential content ideas.

20. Browse Amazon’s Best Sellers in Your Industry

Amazon lists the top-selling books by industry. You might find your next read there, but it can also give you a sense of what people want to learn about. The list is based on sales and is updated hourly.

Amazon’s best selling books in the cookbooks, food, and wine category

You can pull up a list of relevant titles and start judging books by their covers (and table of contents). Try scanning summaries and chapter titles to help generate new content ideas.

Blog Post Ideas Made Easy

Consistently coming up with new content ideas can be one of the more stressful aspects of running an online business. However, it also has the potential to pay off. Besides better traffic and increased profits, content creation is how you build a community and engage with your customers.

In this post, we shared 20 tips that should help you come up with some new content ideas. You might start close to home by reading through your blog comments and looking to improve or repurpose old content. Don’t forget to stay on top of current events in your industry through conference agendas and new product developments. If you’re still stuck, you might want to give a topic generator a try.

Developing new content takes a lot of time and energy. The last thing you need to worry about is whether your web hosting is reliable. Have a look at our shared hosting plans so you can get your brain back in the content creation process.

Jason is DreamHost’s WordPress Product Advocate, based out of Bakersfield, CA. He is currently working on making our DreamPress product even better. In his free time, he likes to curl up on the couch and watch scary movies with his wife Sarah and three very small dogs. Follow him on Twitter.