You’ve set the task of developing a killer content strategy to spread the word about your amazing business. You’ve defined your goals, know your audience, and have your content management system all lined up and ready to fire. Now, you need to generate a free-flowing stream of brilliant content ideas — buckets of them.
But you have just one problem: content congestion.
The light bulbs screwed somewhere inside your head and the noggins attached to members of your marketing team have dimmed. You toss and turn with potentially brilliant ideas stopped up by a pesky problem called content strategy writer’s block. With this type of congestion, you are in serious danger of delivering mouth-breather marketing full of vapid, lack-luster content. You need great ideas, you need your rest, and you need them now.
The Anytime, Dreary, Foggy, Sleepy, Stuffy, Stopped-Up, Brain-Cricket Cure for What Ails You
Did you hear thunder? Do you smell petrichor? I do because the cure for this content marketing cold is 100% brainstorm.
The traditional model for brainstorming, sitting in a circle and bouncing ideas (and maybe a beach ball) back and forth, still works and can still be useful, but today businesses have additional, more effective idea-generating tools at their disposal.
Brainstorm? More Like Brain-icane: 10 Idea Generating Tools from the Future
1. Fill in the Blanks
Try out BlogAbout, the website that provides headline formats and lets you fill in the blanks. In addition to generating titles on the site, you can also explore common blog themes, like customer experience and pain points to help you generate over-arching themes for more specific ideas.
2. Follow Your Industry
Feedly lets you monitor popular content topics within your industry so your content strategy won’t overlook a single conversation.
3. Grade Your Website
This free tool lets you grade your website to see how well your content marketing efforts are doing. Knowing exactly where you’re succeeding and where you could stand to improve will help you laser focus your content marketing efforts and idea generation around necessities like search engine optimization, metadata and keywords.
4. Ideas on a Silver Platter
Why sit around thinking up content ideas when you could let someone else do the work? This generator creates blog ideas based on the topic, theme, or general term you provide.
5. Follow the Crowd
With BuzzSumo’s market research tools, you can see which content ideas and types of content are working best for your competitor’s or are most popular among your target audience before you dedicate your content schedule to any particular theme. Use the site’s simple search tool to analyze what content performs the best. Then leverage your insider knowledge.
6. Add Spokes to Your Hub
If you have a “hub” (white paper or other in-depth article published), use the individual points and topics discussed in it to generate new ideas. Each topic or point from the article can be elaborated on to create new, related content (“spokes”). These types of articles are also a great way to publish guest posts on industry websites that link back to the original hub on your company’s webpage.
7. Test Ideas
You can analyze your title or topic ideas for potential popularity before you write an article that no one shares. Give it a go, here.
8. Try Out a New Format
With all the different types of media content marketing platforms can accommodate, your options for content formats are nearly limitless. This means you can turn any social media post into a blog, any blog into a video, or any video into an infographic. The possibilities don’t end there. You can also put your ideas into charts, graphs, how-to’s and guides, eBooks, newsletters, FAQs, interviews, live streams, podcasts, polls, webinars, white papers, and reviews. If you can share it, you can call it content marketing.
9. Schedule Guest Posts
Make use of your professional network and request guest posts from reputable individuals in your industry. Most will be grateful for the opportunity, the byline, and a link back to their own website.
10. Hire a Whole Team of Writers (without Breaking the Bank)
Affordably hire an entire team of writers with fresh ideas and unique perspectives by outsourcing your written content.
What Happens After Waking Up with Free-Flowing Content?
After these new brainstorming methods unblock your marketing sinuses and adequately complete your content schedule, you can still, for old time’s sake, sit around the boardroom table with your co-workers, a plate of donuts, and bottomless coffee, making free associations. But I bet, after all the restless, stuffed-up nights, you’d rather be catching some zzz’s.
Jennifer G is a full-time freelance writer and editor with a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Montana. She enjoys researching and writing creative content to engage readers and developing professional voices for clients across all industries. She specializes in medical, health, veterinary, and financial writing. Having worked nearly thirteen years in finance, Jennifer applies her experience in the banking industry (marketing, social media management, consumer and commercial lending, customer service, accounts, and bookkeeping) to her writing work within the industry.