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10 quick ways to generate content ideas

With the ideal post rate of 3 times a week, and some people recommending tweeting or posting on Instagram 2 to 3 times a day, coming up with content is a real issue.

So to add to the plethora of blog posts with top 50 content ideas for Instagram, or top 100 content ideas for blogs, here’s 10 ways of how to come up with content:

  1. What’s going on
  2. Top trending
  3. Forums
  4. Reviews or round-ups
  5. About you
  6. Surveys
  7. Proverbs or quotes
  8. Re-purpose
  9. Promotional

What’s Going on?

This is often the easiest place to start creating content ideas: what’s going on in the world at the moment. A quick read of the news, or a quick google search will give you a plethora of possible posts.

Are there any public holidays coming up? What about international days? There seems to be an international day for everything, including world toilet day!

There’s not a world content day yet, but I’m sure it’ll be added soon. Today when I’m writing this, it’s international artists day (25th October), check out the full list here.

If there isn’t anything relevant to your industry in the latest news stories, is there just something that peaks your interest or frustrates you? You don’t have to just post about your industry. Sometimes giving your opinion can get a ton of response, and can be a conversation starter among your followers.

Similar to what’s going on in general, what’s going on in social media?

The first place to look is based on the hashtags you most commonly use or plan to post with. See what is trending with those hashtags and see if you have anything to add. Or can you re-post something to your followers that you think would be relevant and useful.

What’s trending on other social media platforms – check out the usual Facebook, Instagram and Twitter top hashtags, but also LinkedIn can have some insightful posts.

What are people you follow posting? Anything relevant you could share or develop further?

Also what are your followers posting about? You don’t have to do a survey to ask your followers what they want to hear, just do your research. See what your followers are posting about or who they’re following, what could you do that’s similar and would engage further with your audience?

Do you follow your competitors? What are they posting about? What are their most successful posts? Can you use any of the concepts and turn it into something of your own? Or can you do it better?

Who are the leaders in your industry? You’re probably already following them anyway, what are they posting about? If you use similar hashtags, you may be able to gain traction from their followers. For example, for content, a leading industry figure is Neil Patel, I follow him to see what’s going on and what people want to know.

Forums

Forums can be a goldmine for content. They also can be useful for you to gain more views on your blog posts, so this can be beneficial in many ways.

Reddit & Quora have constant discussions/queries related to every and any subject; there will definitely be questions related to your industry / blog.

Any question answered

Do a bit of research on Reddit and Quora, see what questions are being asked or what discussions are going on. If there is a particular query you can answer, you could write a blog post on this question and then post the most relevant answer.

Make sure you answer the question and then post the link to your blog post, don’t just post the link only.

Or you could just answer the question and link to your blog for more of the same if you don’t have a specific post ready. The more involved you are on these sites, the more of a trusted expert you will become and this will help with your blog SEO results, due to added backlinks.

Reviews or Round-ups

Can you do any product reviews? Or reviews of tools and services that you use regularly, any software you use, plug-ins, you could do a “how to” or even review a masterclasses that you’ve signed up to. If you do a review of a masterclass of someone with a large following, you could also approach them to include on their site and get even more traffic.

You can do a review of anything that you use day to day or is relevant to your followers or the industry.

If you own a product business, you could also do a post that relates to the use of your product. For example, if you sell tents, you could do a review of top camping sites in the UK.

A links round up is a great post, highlighting some useful links to other blog sites or other areas of interest that your audience may enjoy.

Round up posts boost your authority in your niche and can get you loads of website traffic. Here’s a great example of an expert round-up email.

Or do a round up of books you recommend to read, fictional, self help or business books. If you have an amazon affiliate account, great to add an affiliate link too, and earn some additional income on the recommendation.

About you

Alternatively, you can just write about you, your posts don’t always have to be exactly related to your business or industry. You don’t want to do too many posts outside of the topic people are following you for, but sometimes it’s good to understand the person behind the business.

Post about where you’re working that day or even what you’ve had for breakfast. A behind the scenes post is great for businesses and even freelancers.

Not a cat lover, how about a dog? Or why not both? You know you love it!

Or do you have a pet? People love to see posts of pets, particularly on Instagram, you may not be blogging about pets, but it doesn’t hurt to add the odd cat post every now and again!

You can also write about your general well being, or if something has annoyed you, letting people engage with the real you, not just your subject of choice. People engage more when they feel like they know you.

Surveys

If you have an existing audience, post a survey to your audience about what they want to hear or need to know.

It’s not my favourite post and you don’t want to do it too often, but it does help generate more content and can be a really useful way to engage with your audience.

If you do get feedback, make sure you respond to each individual and thank them for their feedback. If you can, keep engaging with them to ask them for further information on their response.

The more interaction you have with followers on social media, through messages and comments, the higher you go up the algorithm.

A useful way to do this is to do a bit of research initially on what hashtags your followers are using. Then try and focus a survey/question post on a topic similar. For example, if your followers are using #contentmarketingtips you may want to do a question post on what people want to know about content marketing.

If you engage with people using this hashtag, asking them questions, when you post using the hashtag, you will do better in the algorithm as you are frequently engaging with this hashtag.

You can also ask a general question to followers, like “what’s your website builder of choice and why?” to try to get some engagement and conversations with followers.

Quotes or Proverbs

I love a good proverb or supposed Albert Einstein quote! Who doesn’t?

Using tools like canva you can create visuals with quotes or proverbs to post on social media.

A quote or a proverb can also be a great way to introduce a subject in a newsletter or in a blog, as working in a quote from a well-known individual or industry expert adds to your credibility.

Re-purpose

Do you have any older blogs that could do with an update? Particularly any product or service related posts.

Do you have any youtube or video content that you could re-purpose into a blog or social media post? There are plenty of tools that will do the majority of transcription for you, you will need to tweak it before you post though.

Do you have any interviews you’ve recorded that you could create into a post?

Do you have any social media posts that have received a lot of engagement? Could you develop it further into a blog, vlog or masterclass?

Whatever content you already have, make sure you make the most of it! Transferring your content to different media ensures you reach customers however they want to engage.

Promotional

You do want to mix in promotional posts along with your regular informational, educational or interest posts.

Generally you don’t want a promotional post to be more than 1 in 3 of your posts, as you need to establish your knowledge and expertise prior to purchase, but at the end of the day, we’re all selling something.

You can often follow up on a general conversation post, review post or industry related news post with a promotional post.

This could be a link to your lead magnet for a particular product or service related to that previous post, or a even a link to sign up for your newsletter to get them onto your email nurture sequence.

Any other suggestions? Please add in the comments below, next time I can do a top 11 or 12!

What is big content?

Big content is more than Long form blog posts.

There’s been lots of talk of the need for big content in a marketing campaign strategy, but what is big content?

You may see many graphs such as the below showing that long form content is now the most shared content format, so is that what we mean by big content?

Average shares by content length

It may have started out as long form, storytelling. However, as with everything, big content has evolved to become more complex and tech heavy.

Marketing SEOs and business’ constant obsession with trying to scale and cut corners has led to short and long form content not being enough anymore to win the google game.

Big content refers to content that requires significant time and resources to create. It is engaging or useful to an audience, but difficult to produce.

It can be a great tool for building links, as publishers wouldn’t easily produce something as good or better, and therefore link or connect to the original content to add value to multiple additional content. The content therefore spreads virally as it adds value to audiences and content publishers, providing you with multiple back links. Without the link, the value would not be there.

Creating this type of big content can be expensive, and for the majority of businesses it is simply not possible to push out massive content campaigns one after the next.

So, what are examples of big content?

  • Quiz
  • Contest
  • Poll or survey
  • Calculators
  • Interactive games
  • Guide
  • White Paper
  • In depth analysis / research
  • Ebooks
  • Video Series
  • Webinars
  • Courses
Big Content Infographic

Small and big business alike have had success on social media by asking their audience a quiz or survey.

If you have a community or social media following, a great way to come up with new blog posts is to ask your audience what they want to hear.

There are plenty of contest campaigns run through social media to encourage engagement and brand awareness. For tips and rules see a great post here.

Calculators can be used to generate traffic to a website, as well as a conversion tool. What does your audience really need help with?

A great example of this and also a great tool to work out social media ROI is at hootsuite.

There are also plenty of gamification campaigns used on social media sites. Gamification was used by Deloitte for a recruitment drive, you can see the campaign here.

With conferences and events being cancelled due to Covid-19, we’re already seeing a massive trend towards webinars and online events. Even celebrities are getting involved:

How do you come up with big content ideas?

Nothing is original. The easiest way is to look at other pieces of content and asking yourself “How can I create something better?”. What has worked for your competitors? How could I turn this into a fun interactive campaign?

An infographic is no longer enough, as it doesn’t need to link back to another site. However, an interactive tool or a white paper needs context. Therefore, think whether the content would make sense without the link.

As big content is expensive, to keep it lasting longer, try to keep your big content pieces away from a blog, to keep it as evergreen stand-alone content. You can drive traffic to the specific landing page, and this can also be used as a lead page to gain followers or for specific conversion.

  1. What was the main story hook? Does it elicit emotion?
  2. What format do you want to use?
  3. Format matters, but depends on your needs, what are you trying to achieve?
  4. Does it require action from the user?
  5. Is it shareable?
  6. Does it hook into current trends? Washing hands?

Maybe don’t just think about one idea or campaign, plan your next few big content projects. That way you are always looking ahead and not getting too caught up in the success or failure of your current project.

You will want to update our big content pieces every 2-3 years, an ebook or white papers can take years to produce, so think ahead.

How do you measure the ROI of your big content initiatives?

As with all digital marketing campaigns, ROI is generally assessed by the overall traffic generated & reach of the campaign, whether by measuring the numbers of social shares, links, mentions or page views.

If your goal is to increase website traffic and link building, you would want to measure the number of links and high-profile placements (what major websites featured the content). Did it receive much unlinked coverage? The SEO impact in general and for campaign related keywords and any growth in brand keyword volume from organic search.

If your goal was to use are content such as a calculator or white paper to convert customers, you would also look at the number of assisted conversions.

If your content went truly viral, you could look at the volume of traditional PR opportunities that arose.

Despite this, remember that the main focus of designing your big content should be to deliver value to your audience, not the ROI achieved from it.

The future is not what it was. Online marketing is an ever changing beast, and we are all learning from each other when it comes to driving traffic and shares. The big companies are constantly reviewing what works and experimenting with content formats and us smaller fish need to keep up. But we can learn from the big budget mistakes, and wins, to see what the future will bring.

Google’s algorithms are changing constantly, but we know it is trying to surface content that precisely answers specific questions and in doing so is getting much more granular with the way it serves up rankings. To ensure you’re part of the mix, you must ensure you have a content strategy that includes all types of content: articles, videos, social media and other content designed to answer the very things your audience is already searching for.

Any content strategy is all about variation to ensure the audience stays engaged.

Top 5 benefits of content repurposing

We all know content is king! Content marketing is one of the most effective methods of growing audience engagement, developing your brand presence, and driving sales.

This is a recent guest blog post for fellow copywriter and blogger Gudrun Lauret, see the post here or continue below for more.

According to CMI (Content Marketing Institute) 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement. In addition, 72% say it has increased the number of leads.

Running a business requiring constant high quality content is a resource-consuming process. So it’s important to make the most of your content, which is where repurposing content comes in.

Content repurposing has many key advantages:

  1. Expanding your reach
  2. Optimisation
  3. Consistency
  4. Review & redeem content
  5. It’s easy to delegate

1. Expanding your reach

Repurposing content allows you to take existing content and rework it so that it is suitable and engaging on other mediums to best reach an audience.  For example, utilizing SEO for blog posts or adding hashtags for Instagram or Twitter posts.

You’ve got all this content in vlogs, youtube videos, webinars or courses. You spent weeks, months, years creating this content, but you want to branch out into other areas, expand your following or build your email database through email newsletters, blogs or regular written content.

Repurposing your content allows you to transfer your content to different media to ensure you are reaching customers however they want to engage. It also allows you to engage with your existing audience or customers in additional ways to further engagement or the purchase cycle.

Having an online presence is a must for all modern businesses. Facebook has 2.4 billion monthly users, Twitter has 320million monthly users and Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users. But this shouldn’t distract people from conventional methods, in 2015 email still generated $38 for every $1 spent in the US (according to emailmonday.com).

The more content, and quality content, you have online the greater your presence, raising your brand awareness and also building your audience.

It’s important to turn your podcasts or YouTube videos into fresh content for Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, as well as re-purposing your existing content as part of your wider content marketing plan for use in weekly newsletters or incentives.

This leads us to the next advantage:

2. Optimisation

Making the best and most effective use of your content. Coming up with and creating content is time consuming, it takes a lot of focus and energy. Using content that takes hours to produce only once is extremely inefficient. This is why in 2015, Curata did a study on content marketing tactics and found that 85% of the best in class marketers reused and repurposed content in some capacity.

A single piece of content such as a podcast or webinar can lead to multiple blogs or posts. Good reuse of this content can lead to higher downloads or views months after release. When you repurpose content, you’re putting the best content in front of the right target audience who might not otherwise be exposed to that content, and in a way that they can understand and absorb.

Content repurposing is more involved than just trimming down your existing content. It needs to cater to the audience it will be used for, and if you are taking a vlog or youtube video, then the style of language may want to be adjusted for a blog or newsletter.

Repurposing can also be taken a further, by turning your podcast, videos or webinars into an e-book or online course. If you’re turning your content into an e-book you will need to expand upon, refresh, reorganize and build on what you’ve already covered in posts or podcasts.

Or when considering starting a podcast you can take existing blog content and turn this into a script. You can adlib when recording, but it’s best to have a basis of a content plan to allow you to talk for 30-45 minutes without waffling, as podcasting is a competitive field, you need to start strong.

Even a simple reworking of your most popular content into a list, a “what,” “why” or “how” post or even a video can greatly increase the number of social shares and comments that you get. In this way, optimising your content can help you grow your audience as well as nurture your existing audience to ensure higher conversion rates when you come to sell.

3. Consistency

Consistency is the key to marketing and growing your brand.

A study by McKinsey & Company revealed that consistency is the secret to making customers happy across their entire journey with your business. Read more.

You want to ensure you have a consistent message that you’re delivering to your audience. Repurposing content allows you to ensure a consistent message is delivered across multiple channels.

Your content needs to carry a unique and identifiable voice, style, and pitch across all distribution channels to build trust and set your audience’s expectations.

Give some time between posts. An immediate republish doesn’t give Google enough time to index your original article and ensure you link back to the original article.

4. Review or redeem old content

You can tackle existing content that wasn’t as successful from a new angle or rework it for a new segment that may appeal better to your audience.

Or turn your existing content into an easily consumable guide, such as a checklist or fill-in-the-blank template. This is a great tool to expand your database, by offering your audience a free guide or checklist by subscribing to your email list.

If you have content that created a huge amount of engagement, make sure you capatilise on this by using it further, in different guises, to ensure the maximum exposure and engagement.

Or you can combine your best articles into a roundup post, the best of the best. If your content creates an extra-long post, consider dividing it up into smaller posts and turn it into a themed series. A series will build up anticipation for your audience and spreads the idea out over time.

You can also turn your content into an infographic, taking the main points from your blog post or other content and use an infographic maker like Piktochart or Canva to create the graphic.

5. It’s easy to delegate

Even repurposing content takes time! Which is why this is a growing business for Virtual Assistants’ (VA’s). VA’s come in many forms, they can assist your business by providing administrative tasks, accounting, customer service and the big one people don’t think about: content repurposing. Content repurposing, SEO and social media have become a big niche for virtual assistants. As the importance of social media, websites and blogs increases within all business, the need for having content on multiple channels is even more important. So why not utilize someone else’s time to grow your presence.

If your not ready to hire a VA yet, many websites such as WordPress have some useful plugins such as the Click-to-Tweet plugin, you can pull quotes and customise the message that you want to have appear and the Click-to-Tweet plugin creates formatted, Twitter-ready boxes that readers can click to share.

These are just some of the great reasons why you should reuse your content, If you know some more other great ways of repurposing content, let us know in the comments below.