Writing for your website may not be as easy as you’d like it to be. Yes, you know you’re a great writer; you’ve produced great pieces in the past and I’m sure you can do it again. However, there are moments when you find yourself unable to come up with content ideas.
You get frustrated because this should be the easiest part, if only you can just get past through this, everything will flow so smoothly.
But no. Your brain just refuses to cooperate.
Believe me when I say you’re not alone.
Even the greatest writers in history have experienced writer’s block one way or another.
One of the extreme cases I can recall is that of Truman Capote’s. He released installments of his last work Answered Prayers on Esquire only to fall into a miserable state that would prevent him from ever completing what he thought would make him Proust’s equal.
Of course, being alienated by society and friends have played a major role. This only tells us that much of our performance is affected by the state of our life at the moment. Regardless of how professional you want to be in your line of work, it can sometimes be inevitable.
So why are we here in the first place?
Writers all over the world did not just succumb to writer’s block. We tried to figure out ways (and we keep on trying) in our small individual ways and tested techniques until they become as effective as they can be. You may have done the same as well.
So here in this article, we are going to cover tips on how to brainstorm ideas more easily in the hopes that this can help you be more productive and effective in managing your writing tasks.
Tips on how to brainstorm content ideas more easily
Before we get on with the tips on how you can easily come up with content ideas, let’s talk first about when you should do this and how.
You may or may not be one of those people who only come up with a topic prior to writing the article. I’m not saying this is wrong but this may not be the most productive way to approach the whole thing.
What I actually suggest is creating a list of topics for your upcoming posts.
There are several reasons why everyone should do this.
One is it’s more effective to focus on a single task at a time.
This may seem counterintuitive but brainstorming topic ideas shouldn’t be thought of as part of the writing process. It is a separate task that belongs to planning, which mainly involves filling out your editorial or publishing calendar.
So you allot time solely for generating ideas. Make use of the tips we are going to talk about later on and at the end of the day, you’ll have a list of 20 or 30 or 50 content ideas you can work on for the next few weeks.
This way, when it’s writing time, you no longer have to take that long pause and try to squeeze something out of your brain. You already have the topic. All you have to do is brew yourself coffee and get on with it.
So now, how can you generate these great content ideas we’ve been talking about?
1. Get to know the people you’re creating content for
Of course, this is one of the first steps of modern marketing. If you’re here because of a personal blog and you’re not really selling something, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you.
As someone who wants to entice more readers, you need to think of this as a business where you need to market your content.
How will you get to know your target audience? What can you do with the internet and your laptop as your only tool?
First you can generate ideas from your followers.
What are the things they’re interested in at the moment? There’s a high chance that these people will be talking about highly specific things and that’s actually a good thing for you.
In brainstorming content ideas, it’s best to be as specific as possible.
Next you can take a look at your comments section.
This is where online battles usually happen. People rarely agree on one thing and the result can be pretty amazing; you get to be exposed to the different sides of the subject and you don’t even have to do anything.
You can pick up ideas from them or better yet, it can spark more in you.
You shouldn’t also be limited in your own posts’ comments section. You surely have competitors. Take a look at people’s comments on their published works.
These may be in question form, an expression of dissatisfaction which you can address in your website, and so on.
Another place where you can get ideas is a forum. This is where people ask questions and discuss problems. By checking sites such as Quora, Ask Reddit, and Yahoo Answers, you can be updated with what ails your target audience.
2. Get to know the competition
You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Competitor analysis should always have a place in any good marketing strategy. And aside from referencing your competitors’ statistics to know how you’re faring in the industry, you can actually turn their websites into resources. Don’t worry about feeling like a spy; you’re not the first nor should you be the last to do this.
By examining the competition, you would be able to know what they are talking about. Considering you belong to the same industry, it won’t be surprising if you tackle similar content. However, you may find something you totally missed or ideas you think you can improve.
I personally like to use Ahrefs to look at competitors top pages and see what kind of content that are rank highly.
3. Make use of the tools available for you
In the age of premium subscription after 7-, 30-day trials, you’d think there’s nothing free out there anymore. Quite the contrary.
The web is full of free tools you can use especially in generating content ideas. There’s the google keyword planner. I also strongly advise this tool for a strong SEO campaign.
Another tool that you can use is Google’s organic search results. Enter a general keyword then through the results, you can get an idea on what people are looking for these days. Google’s algorithm allows the most relevant entries about the topic. The related searches you can find at the bottom of the list can also help a lot.
You can also try Buzzsumo. Buzzsumo is powerful online tool that allows any user to find out what content is popular by topic or on any website. I personally use buzzsumo to find trending and viral content ideas.
The next tool i always using is the Ahrefs content explorer. Using Ahrefs content explorer i am able to find content topic that rank highly in google search.
4. Read more
One of the most effective ways to improve your writing skills is through reading. There are a lot of things you can pick up from different sources. If you want your website to have interesting and timely content, you have to pay attention to news outlets, trending topics, viral posts, etc.
You simply don’t want your readers to think that your website is too outdated for their taste.