Taking on the role of a webmaster is a path that leads straight to content. No matter what niche you enter, the one and only reason your visitors will come to your website is for content.
Content comes in all different forms – mainly writing and products (both physical and electronic). Without content, your website is just a design, and that benefits absolutely nobody.
Finding new topics to write about can be quiet difficult at times. There are always a million and a half things to express your thoughts towards, but it’s not always so obvious when it comes time to actually write them. Writer’s block emerges – how to fix it?
9 Ways to Generate Great Content Ideas
TIP: Create AWESOME content. The expression, “content is king” is wrong. However “great content is king” is always true.
Whether you want to face the reality or not, creating amazing content is only possible if you have a good idea. In much of the way that lemons are essential to lemonade, ideas are essential to great content.
As you progress, though, you may find yourself running out of ideas. Luckily, there are numerous ways to generate amazing ideas for future content – I have listed, below, a few that I take advantage of:
1. Read Other Websites In Your Niche
Whether you are able to think of ideas or not, somebody else in your niche can – and they can be used to your advantage! The wonderful thing about the internet – and blogs specifically – is that everybody has their own opinion.
I find it very helpful to pull multiple RSS Feeds (for blogs) into one central place (I prefer Google Reader), then find interesting articles to write my response to.
If somebody writes an article about why FaceBook is their favorite social network, take the initiative and write about what your favorite social network is, and then explain why everybody should use it. You can reference back and share it with their audience and generate traffic, too.
The key to this method is to be careful as to not steal their ideas. Use their content to help influence what you will share to your visitors.
2. Keep an “Ideas” Log
It happens all the time – you head out for a bit, and then, just like that, an idea hits you. Most people have nowhere to put it, though, and the idea fades from existence.
With the emerging cloud-storage services on the internet, it has never been easier to keep ideas in one central place no matter where you are. You can update your log from your phone, computer, or even tablet. Some of my favorite services are:
If you aren’t fond of a cloud service, a notepad and pencil will work just as effectively. Anything that will allow you to store your ideas and beneficial.
3. Think Back to Your Origins
For many niches – including website management – it is easy to create content by thinking back to when you started. What kind of questions did you ask?
One question I often asked, for example, is why SEO mattered. It would be very logical to assume that many other beginners also asked that question, so why not give them an article about it?
4. Eliminate Distractions and Think
In our everyday lives, we have hundreds of distractions that will deter us from the brainstorming that will lead to an amazing article. Skype, Twitter, Facebook, the television, the latest performance of Roger Waters’ The Wall – they all are harmful.
Before bed, each night, I generally have very few distractions that stretch before my mind – it’s the perfect opportunity to brainstorm. With a notepad or iPod in my hand, I will quickly sketch out ideas for new articles.
5. Check Social Media
Let’s say that eliminating distractions didn’t amount for much in the long run. It’s time to be counter-productive and open all the tabs again and, as you may have been told not to do, engage with your audience during writing time.
In TweetDeck, I have several columns created that show me anyone who tweeted key terms like “web development”. A quick scan will show quiet a few questions – that’s a free idea.
The benefit is simple – you get an idea, and after writing it, you are able to share it with people to create a larger audience.
6. Just Ask
Your readers will, in theory, want to have their questions answered. Figuring out the questions that ponder among their minds may seem difficult, but is incredibly simple in reality.
How can you figure out what goes on in their minds, you may ask? Just ask. That’s right – ask them what they want and they will, if they have a bit of sense in their brains, tell you.
One of my favorite tools for asking readers what they want is with a simple bottom-of-the-page-pop-up provided by KissInsights. The results are spectacular!
7. Create Follow-Ups on Past Content
As you write more and more content, you will generally run into the problem of outdated content. While effectively providing value to the old, outdated content, you can also generate a new idea!
I find it valuable to use plugins such as WordPress Editorial Calendar. Just skimming through the calendar will show you your old posts, efficiently allowing you to figure out what needs to be updated.
The best part is, is that if the article went over well the first time around, it will, the majority of the time, go over just as well, if not better!
8. Search a Forum
Forums are full of people who need their questions answered. Sometimes, multiple people will ask the same question. That’s where your opportunity lies – answer their question at length.
I’ve seen questions ranging from how to change a domain name’s nameservers to design advice. They’re all pretty easy to answer, and will pull in a few ideas for future articles.
A quick Google search will provide you with many popular forums in your niche. If you happen to be in the web development or internet marketing niches, a great forum is WarriorForums.
9. Walk Away
Some people don’t value the ability to walk away from their work for a bit. Whether you realize it or not, taking a break and not trying to think of ideas is one of the best ways to think of ideas.
Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like taking a brisk walk through the park or a warm fire outside. It’s pretty amazing how stepping away and focusing on other things will help you brainstorm.
Grab your notepad or iPhone and go for a walk – they notepad will be full by the end of the walk.
How Do You Generate Ideas?
Photo Credit: Thumbnail | RSS | Notebook | Always On My Mind |