February 2, 2015
Any writer will tell you that coming up with engaging and relevant content ideas for a blog is the hardest part of the job. Once your blog becomes more established, you’ll find that you’ve covered the basics, gotten more advanced, written about your favorite topics, and answered your audience’s questions. This will leave you thinking that all too familiar question: Now what?
If you’re going to write on your blog everyday and are serious about keeping the majority of your content in-house, there will come a time when thinking of a content idea will seem impossible. Fortunately, because this can be such a source of frustration for writers and Webmasters there are lots of tools out there to help.
Below are some of the top tools that can help you come up with new content ideas for your blog or website. As you can see, the tools are broken up into two sections. The first sections lists tools that are specifically created to help you generate content ideas. The second lists different online platforms you can get creative with to come up with some ideas on your own.
This is one of my favorite tools when I feel like I’m in a tight spot. All you need to do is type in three words or keyword phrases that you’re thinking about writing, and then the tool will generate different topics associated with those terms.
This tool works almost exactly the same as the tool mentioned above except instead of typing in three phrases you type in one, and then you get a much longer list of titles that might work (a minimum of 5). SEO Writer Kirsti Heins also added in an iAcquire article that you should make sure that the titles the tool is generating have not been used before online. You may need to come up with your own variations, but the idea will be there.
This tool is a little bit more advanced because you still type in one keyword or keyword phrase, but then it will give you a list of potential ways that you can make your content better. For example, you may get the tip to use external sources to help improve the credibility of your post. In my opinion most of the writing tips given are not overly helpful, but they may be nice if you need a reminder every once and a while about best SEO practices when writing.
Each page will only give you one title idea and a set of writing advice, but if you keep refreshing the page you can get up to 20 title ideas (the highest number of all the tools discussed).
This is a premium WordPress plugin that will give you over 500 ideas based on the content you have already written. Because it’s a plugin, these ideas are built right into your dashboard. Keep clicking the next button to see more ideas until something strikes your interest.
Quora works like a social network of questions. People can ask and answers questions under a profile they create and then the best answers are voted to the top. You can follow questions, people, topics, and even reply to answers that have been submitted. You can learn more here about the specifics of the tool.
As for content generation, there are some great ideas here if you know where to look and are willing to get creative. Consider asking a question about a topic that interests you and then take a look at the responses you get to see if you get any inspiration. You can also simply type in a search for a keyword and see what people are wondering about that particular topic. If people are asking it, writing about it on your blog is the perfect way to drive traffic. Write an article and then link back to it as an answer in Quora!
This tool is really more about organization than anything, but it allows you to save content that you see online and may want to use later as a potential idea. You can make notes and save things to your own Evernote account and then see if you can piece something together for an article later. This one is going to take some more work on your part, but it’s great for those who like notetaking.
Although SocialMention is a social media monitoring tool, you can easily search for a term that interests you and then see what’s being discussed in your industry. You also have the ability to limit what you’re seeing to questions only so you can see exactly what people in your own audience are asking. Subscribe by email to get updates on certain terms and hopefully inspiration will hit.
The link above links to Google Consumer Surveys, but any type of survey or poll is a great way to get content ideas. When all else fails, this is a great way to talk directly with your audience and let them do the work for you. You can learn more about creating polls and surveys here.
The trick to coming up with content ideas is remembering that it’s just that—an idea. You don’t need to think about writing the article, about the headline and SEO, or even about relevance right at the start. Your first step is to throw out as many ideas as you can. Just getting an idea in the first place is the hardest part, but once that’s done you can begin to slice and dice your ideas to turn them into something that works for you. You’ll find this is always easier than coming up with the ideas in the first place.
Do you know of any tools to help generate content ideas? Let us know your tips in the comments below.
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