Even the most creative of us suffer from writer’s block from time to time. If you’re charged with creating optimized content for your site but find the ideas just aren’t flowing as they used to, rest assured that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Running out of new ideas for interesting content is actually fairly common.
The first few pieces you created may have been technically difficult as you struggled to develop your own writing style and find your editorial voice, but it’s a fair bet that you were brimming with topic suggestions when you started out. However, as you used up these ideas and put your expertise down on paper, it’s likely become harder and harder to eke out fresh new angles.
A change in strategy will ensure that you continue to produce relevant, interesting, fresh, and optimized content. If you’re struggling for ideas, read on.
1. Compare Your Site With Your Competitors
There’s no point in reinventing the wheel, so spend some time reading up on your competitors’ websites. What do you like about their content? What interesting angles have they exploited? Don’t copy exactly what they have, but use the articles and news items that catch your attention as inspiration for your own ideas. If they have done a how-to guide that you found interesting, chances are your own site visitors will too. Consider writing your own version for a different product, or a different application of the same product.
2. Conduct News Searches
Conducting searches on the ‘news’ tab of search engines is an excellent way of developing ideas for future pieces of content. This method of research permits you an insight into the kinds of topics that are current and relevant. Use these as a basis for your own production. Reading a news item about new legislation introduced to your industry provides lots of factual background for your own take on the law. Do you welcome it or oppose it? Put your own spin on the event by writing it up as a press release or news item for your site. This gives you the added bonus of also being eligible for a news listing.
3. Subscribe to Industry Journals
If your company doesn’t currently carry subscriptions to any of the industry journals, consider purchasing a membership immediately. These niche magazines are a breeding ground for creative inspiration. Read the news and events and consider putting together your own briefing for inclusion. Is there a debate you feel you can add your weight to or burning questions that others have failed to answer to your satisfaction? Is there something missing from the magazine that you could provide?
4. Do a Blog Search
Whatever your industry, there are sure to be hundreds (if not thousands) of blogs on the subject. Conducting a blog search on the Google Blog vertical will allow you to tap into this plethora of content ideas. Using your keywords to identify appropriate outlets, browse through a number of postings from several different sources, and note the most-commented-on updates. These topics should form the crux of your new content. Be careful not to just copy what others are saying – include your own opinion and experiences to ensure the content is wholly unique.
5. Go Back to School
If you had to train to enter your profession, either through a formal qualification or years of on-the-job experience, cast your mind back to the content of the most memorable lectures or hardest lessons. Did you sit an exam to attain a recognized industry standard? Think about the essay questions you were forced to tackle or the toughest multiple choices that you struggled with during your final paper. Adding the benefit of your experience to date (backed up with internet research if needed to update your knowledge base), re-try those same questions and post your answers on your site. Sharing your knowledge in this way and taking a more academic approach to your area of expertise makes good link fodder and will show your visitors that you know your stuff.
6. Speak to Your Existing Clients
As you go about your day-to-day business and interact with your clients (or potential clients), keep a note of the questions you are commonly asked about your products and services and use this to create a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on your site. This type of content can take on a life of its own and will likely develop into one of the most traffic-rich areas of your site. Make your answers as detailed as possible, and don’t be afraid to elaborate with multimedia content such as diagrams, videos, or audio files.