While many writers and marketers battle writer’s block from time to time, I’ve found my recent struggles have revolved more around selecting writing topics that feel new, fresh, interesting and relevant. The amazing proliferation of online content has practically beaten me into a word-induced coma!
Are there any new ideas left that haven’t been written, tweeted, bookmarked or otherwise promoted? What happens when you’re asked to pitch ideas for new blog posts, email campaigns, website pages, ad copy, etc.?
With the challenge of generating something that feels original in mind, I’ve outlined 10 tips to develop content ideas:
- Stockpile your ideas. It’s hard to be creative when you’re on a tight deadline so keep a running list of topics, ideas or thoughts as they occur.
- Look at your web stats. See what pages, posts or search terms have received the most attention historically and then use those as a launching point for new content.
- Become a social stalker. Go to http://search.twitter.com and search relevant keywords or topics and see what others are saying.
- Set Google Alerts. This one is probably my favorite because I can set alerts on a variety of topics, scan them for relevancy and ideas and add them to my list (tip #1).
- Ask for suggestions. Use your website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to ask questions about what topics others would like to read about…the answers might surprise you.
- Get opinionated Take sides on a relevant current event, article, etc. and write about your opinion (respectfully, of course) – even if people disagree, they’re still reading what you wrote.
- Check out the competition. Stealing ideas or content is never acceptable but taking “inspiration” from what others are saying is fine.
- Give old content a makeover. Rewrite older content from a new perspective or persona to give it a timely feel and new angle.
- Think anecdotal. Everyone loves a good story and the inspiration doesn’t have to come from the workplace – in fact, some of my favorite articles have related a personal story to a business topic.
- Go for a walk. When all else fails, stop staring at the computer and hoping that inspiration will hit. Sometimes a change of scenery and a little fresh air will do wonders for the creative process.
These tips will help you think about your topics and writing in new, fresh ways. If you have a great suggestion for breaking out of ‘topic’ block, shoot it to me online or in a comment.