Content marketing has been around forever, even before the internet was around.
For a few years now it’s been out of favor, especially in internet marketing circles, but it’s making resurgence as the tides of online marketing shift again.
Search engines and webizens alike both want original, and high quality content that meets whatever needs, wants and desires they currently have.
Creating content can be hard, and if you’re anything like me finding topics to produce content about is even harder.
Even if your particular niche is abundant with potential topics, it’s often difficult to pull out ones that will be interesting and useful.
To help you out, here is my selection of some of the best ways to find topics for your content.
1. Read Other Blogs
Keeping abreast of what content your competition and peers are creating is a great way to spark ideas and generate topics.
Sometimes these will come in the form of articles that have been written and that you think could be re-written (by you) to add more detail or to angle slightly differently towards your particular audience.
At other times it might be that the content your peers created makes you think of other ideas that are related and could be talked about.
This is also great as you can give a give shout out to the blog in question such as “I was reading a great article on I’ve Tried That the other day and it gave me an excellent idea…”, which can help with future outreach and general community cohesion.
Obviously plagiarism sucks, but there is nothing wrong with taking an idea and creating it in your own way, with your own words and your own spin on it.
2. Leverage Your Audience
This only works if you have an active and talkative audience, but it can be very powerful.
Every time someone emails you, makes or replies to a comment on your blog or interacts with your via your social media presences, define if they have a question and make a note of it.
These questions come straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak and are invaluable as they are an insight into the direct needs/wants/desires of the very people you are marketing to.
Creating content based on these ideas, while not always viable, should be a priority and should resonate deeply with your audience.
3. Alphabet Soup
This method has been around ever since Google added its autocomplete to its search engine.
The manual way to do it is to type keywords and phrases into Google and see what the autocomplete brings up as those topics should be ones that many people have been searching for.
A more automated way to do it is to use a site like Übersuggest to take all the hard work out of it.
The generated list will be long and a lot of it will be crap and probably not even related to your niche, but there will be some solid and viable topics in there.
This method is great, because as mentioned it uses actual metrics and data to supply the autocorrect responses, so you know that real people have been searching for these terms.
4. Seek Questions to Answer
As with leveraging your own audience, you can take the power of the internet and find questions people are asking in your niche.
Answering these questions in the form of content is a great way to get social shares, especially if you make the response in an easily shareable manner such as an infographic or video.
You may wonder what the point of answering these questions is, especially if they already have answers. Well, there are several reasons:
- You could answer it better – a lot of the responses out there are crap or even wrong
- You can rank for it better – a detailed answer on your site stands a better chance of ranking than a 3 line answer buried on Yahoo Answers!
- It will help give you authority – just because YOU know the answer doesn’t mean that other people know that you know the answer! In this day and age you have to promote yourself and what you know!
If there are no existing answers for the questions, it’s often worth giving a concise response directly on that site – you can always follow up and add a comment to your detailed answer later on.
You might be wondering why I didn’t include Reddit in the above section on questions?
Well while Reddit does have a lot of questions and answers it also has a lot more than that and the individual communities (subreddits) are often rich in more general information about your niche.
Just like with browsing your peers blogs and sites, keeping an eye on your Reddit is important. The only downside is getting distracted (yes, this article got paused while I looked at several photos, read a story and laughed at a cat video…).
6. Books & Videos
I am still amazed at how reading a book can spark numerous article ideas. Because these books are solely focused on one topic, there is literally a wealth of information that can be mined.
If you are not a reader, pick up some DVD’s or head over to a YouTube channel devoted to your niche or a subsection of it.
Personally I’m a reader, and as such I get the bonus of not getting distracted by cat videos while hunting for content ideas.
Even if you hate to read, head over to Amazon and check out the best sellers in your niche. The titles alone might spark ideas, and often the books come with extracts that might give you some ideas.
The Bottom Line
This list of methods to find content topics is far from exhaustive, but for me they all are easy to implement and have added bonuses such as expanding your own knowledge or increasing your perceived authority.
While coming up with topics can feel daunting, it doesn’t have to be. With some time and effort you can easily generate dozens if not hundreds of topic ideas, so much that you will be busy for a long time coming.
What are you preferred ways to generate topic ideas? Let me know in the comments!