7 Simple Ways To Break-Through Mental Barriers & Come Up With New Content Ideas
Alexander Hunkin January 29, 2020

Out of ideas for content?

Join the club.

Coming up with new content ideas is a challenge. It’s especially hard if you have to do it on a regular basis for multiple platforms.

But that’s our job as content marketers. If we don’t produce fresh, compelling content, traffic will slow, conversion rates will drop, and sales will suffer.

So what do you do?

You can break through the mental barrier you’re facing with some simple content generation strategies. The kind of strategies that’ll blow a hole in that idea dam and get your creative juices flowing.

So get ready.

Here are 7 simple ways to come up with new content ideas:

  • Repurpose Old Content
  • Tap Into Trends
  • Subscribe To Newsletters
  • Join Marketing Groups
  • Explore Your Competitors
  • Know Your Audience
  • Brainstorm In Batches

 

1. Repurpose Old Content

 

If you’re truly having a complete mental block this is your go-to move. There are three straightforward ways to take your old content and turn them into fresh pieces.

In order of difficulty, they are as follows:

  • Break up a listicle into a series of individual posts
  • Refresh and republish old posts
  • Create an infographic off of an old post

 

Breaking Up Listicles

 

A listicle (list + article) is a blog post in list-format (like this article).

A phenomenal way to come up with new content ideas is to just take one of your existing listicles and convert it into a  series of individual pieces of content.

For example, you could write a whole blog post on repurposing old content, going into much greater detail then we are in this post.

Breaking up listicles is also great for SEO because it’s essentially using the pillar and cluster content marketing strategy that Google loves to index.

 

Refreshing & Republishing Old Posts

 

This gives you another boost to SEO. Here’s how to do it:

Find one of your older articles and edit it to make sure there’s no outdated information (especially stats and anything with a date on it).

Then, add about 20-25% more info. For example, if it is a listicle with originally 8 tips, you add at least two more.

Make sure you change the date of the post and reshare it across all of your social media channels.

 

Create An Infographic From An Old Post

 

This tactic takes a bit more effort, but it really pays off. Here’s what you do:

Find an existing article (doesn’t have to be your own) that presents interesting statics.

Take those stats and turn that info into an infographic post, making sure your new infographic article has at least a 500-word intro and a 300-word conclusion.

Don’t have an in-house graphic designer to make the infographic?

No worries.

You can use one of these DIY infographic building tools or simply use Fiverr to hire a designer on the cheap.

And just like that, you have some fresh, engaging content.

 

2. Tap Into Trends

 

See what’s trending on Twitter or searching for popular hashtags on LinkedIn.

Explore Quora to find the burning questions your target audience has on their minds.

Or if you want to know what customers are talking about in a given niche, use BuzzSumo. It shows you what content receives the most attention online.

If you want to know what the hot topics are, BuzzSumo has you covered.

And of course, there’s Google.

You can simply start typing a topic into Google and see the search bar finish your phrase with search suggestions. Those suggestions represent popular search variations of the topic.

Finally, for a treasure trove of ideas, you can dive into Google Trends to see what topics are popular across the web.

 

3. Subscribe To Blogs

 

One of the best ways to come up with new ideas is to see what other great sites are writing about. The easiest way to do that is to subscribe to newsletters and blogs.

So go nuts.

Subscribe to every quality (and relevant) blog you come across. Do this and great content will find you.

Here are some great blogs to start with.

Worried about flooding your inbox?

Create a special Gmail just for subscribing to blogs and newsletters. Or use a tool like Unroll.Me to instantly see a list of all your subscription emails and easily unsubscribe from whatever you don’t want.

 

4. Join Marketing Groups

 

Online groups are can be your secret content marketing weapon. They’re a place where you can connect with like-minded people, build valuable professional relationships, and chat with industry experts and influencers.

And of course, groups are another great place to stay on top of industry trends and breaking news.

If you’re looking for new content ideas – join an online community in your field.

Where do you start?

Here are 18 of the best content marketing groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Slack.

 

5. Explore Your Competitors

 

Don’t ever plagiarize content. Don’t steal your competition’s content either. But you can use your competition’s content as inspiration to create something even better.

The first step is to see what content is working for your competitors.

To do this you can use a tool like Moz’s Domain Explorer to identify your competitor’s best ranking content.

(Source: Moz)

Once you’ve identified your competitor’s best content it’s time to sky scrape it. More specifically, use the Skyscraper Technique, a strategy developed by Brian Dean of Backlinko.com.

How does The Skyscraper Technique work?

First, you find your competitors’ best content, which we’ve just done.

Then you take the same topics you see preforming well on your competitor’s site and you make an even better version.

Your new-and-improved post should be longer, more thorough, more up-to-date, and better designed.

By creating a longer, more in-depth blog post, your article will naturally become the most helpful resources on the web. And that almost guarantees that your post will outperform your competitor’s original content on the same topic.

 

6. Know Your Audience

 

One of the best ways to come up with new content is to first identify who your readers are and what problems they want to solve.

To accomplish this you have two tools at your disposal:

  • The Buyer (Reader) Persona
  • The Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework

Buyer personas, or in this case ‘reader personas’, are essential to your content marketing efforts because they define who your target audience is. They allow you to tailor your topics and tone of voice to what you know will resonate with your readers.

Using the Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework is usually done in the context of selling a product. It entails understanding the “job” for which customers “hire” your product or service to do.

Understanding what jobs need to be done, allows companies to more accurately develop and market products tailored to what customers are already trying to do.

In the context of content marketing, people hire information as well. It’s the reason we read blogs, buy books, and watch how-to videos. It’s your job to figure out what your readers are struggling with and write content that provides a solution.

 

7. Brainstorm In Batches 

 

Creativity comes in spurts of inspiration. It’s just how our brains work.

For that reason, if you’re going to go into brainstorming mode, you should develop content ideas in batches. That way you have a huge list of topics you can reference later when you’re facing that mental barrier.

How do you go into brainstorming mode?

If you plan to brainstorm by yourself, create an environment where you can stay focused, free from distractions.

Turn off your phone, close your email, stay off Facebook, and just start writing.

The hardest part is to just start.

You’ll be amazed at how the act of just writing anything sparks new and better ideas.

Another approach is to brainstorm with your team.

Hold a meeting where you throw around ideas, go over your readers’ personas and jobs-to-be-done, review trends, and talk about what your competition is doing.

You’ll find your colleagues are filled with new perspectives you can tap into and use to break through that creative wall.

 

 

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Editor’s Note: The article is part of the blog series Grow Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.

 

Alexander Hunkin
Alexander Hunkin Startup Advisor

Alexander is an Australian based startup advisor and mentor with in-depth experience growing small businesses. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving, and cycling.

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