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How do I come up with ideas for content?

Content creation is challenging because it requires you to build from what feels like scratch when staring at a blank page. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get going once you know how.

The first step in the process is understanding what platform you are publishing on and the audience you are publishing for. For example, what is the attention span of your audience? Should you be authoring long-form think pieces or something shorter, like “5 ways to..” posts? And what are their likes, interests, and most important, pain points? What do they care about?

Once you’ve gotten a general sense of what your audience would be interested in, the next step is deciding what the actual topic will be. First off, it’s always helpful to be timely and consider what is trending and on people’s minds. Take a look at Twitter, see what’s trending, or check out Google Trends to see what people are searching for.  You can even search by category to see what is trending in your area of influence.

Once you’ve gotten a topic in mind, it can still be difficult to actually create that article. Here’s a few approaches to make it a bit easier:

1) Create a “5 ways…” style post

This allows you to create useful content, while not having to dive too deep into any given area of subject matter. You can pretty easily make your own list by taking a look at the lists of others. Of course, you always should write each section from scratch as not to plagiarize, and should include your own expertise; don’t just rip off others. Not only does that hurt your reputation, it also is detrimental to your SEO. Generally, though, the ability to avoid deep research will save plenty of time and still provide value for readers.

2) Find facts and figures

Graphs that are on the public domain or can be shared with a linkback/reference can be used to create a narrative by giving you the subject matter, and just requiring you to explain what the graph is representing on your own terms. Also, some people may not want to actually read deeply into your content. Including graphs can give those users with not much time some easy insight and keep them locked in to your posts.

3) Do original research

While the above can help you get content our the door, there is no substitute for original insights. If you create original work, it will help deeply with both SEO and also with the likelihood that your content will be widely shared and even redistributed by journalists.

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