Kirsty Daniels wrote in an article that appeared on HubSpot, “the top three goals marketers achieve through successful content marketing are generating brand awareness, building credibility and trust, and educating audiences.” Great reasons to produce good content but coming up with valuable content ideas on a deadline is hard. Between writer’s block and a feeling of having already said everything there is to say, creating inspirational content is a challenge.
But don’t feel bad about it. When you’re producing tons of content (and you need to be for your business) you’re going to have dry moments. When that happens, you have two options – offer up some wine to the Muses or consult this list of best places to steal content.
To be clear, you should never “steal” content. Even if it’s not copyrighted. You may use things with a creative commons license and proper attribution, but if you want people to know you/your business as an expert, you can’t afford to take other people’s copy and content. Instead “steal” ideas and provide a unique view or opinion.
This list tells you where to find content ideas for inspiration so you can create your own masterpiece. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, even democracy was a “stolen” idea.
Best Places to Steal Content Ideas
- Quora: this question and answer site is rich with ideas to spark inspiration but be careful it can also be a fascinating rabbit hole. Make sure you only search for things relevant to your business, industry, or target demographic. If you search a general topic of interest to you, you could be there for hours.
- Medium: this blogging platform is a strong go-to place for excellent content. It can also be a strong source of ideas. There’s a uniqueness to the posts here.
- Twitter: When you follow smart people, you can use your stream as if it was comprised of newspaper headlines to spark ideas.
- Cosmopolitan Magazine: Speaking of headlines, run an image search on Cosmo covers. Now read their headlines and substitute a few key nouns and verbs for your industry terms. Their salacious headlines sell magazines and they’re good for clicks too.
- HubSpot Blog Idea Generator: Long before chatbots, this source was producing ideas for blogs. If you use it a lot, you’ll notice a pattern in its output but it’s still a good place to go when you get stuck. Just enter your topic and gain instant ideas.
- Your Customer Service and Sales Areas: Sit with customer service and talk with sales. The most frequent questions they field make great blog topics because you already know there’s interest in them in your target market.
- Your competition: are they answering questions you’re not? Are they covering topics you haven’t thought of? Don’t reproduce them verbatim. Put your own spin on them.
- Google alerts: Set up keyword alerts so you know what people are talking about on that topic.
- Association magazine or online community: if your industry has an association, skim the content of their journal, magazine, or social media streams. The association has a slightly different audience than you do, but it makes for great inspiration. See if their magazine has a letter to the editor section for even more ideas.
- Your life: look for ways your experience can yield ideas for your content. Help people get to know you.
- Facebook and LinkedIn Groups: find a group with a similar demographic and interests to your audience, then lurk to see what they’re asking. Answer their questions in a helpful, non-salesy way and you not only have content but you also have another outlet for your content.
- LinkedIn articles: Take a look at what other subject matter experts are saying and give your two cents on the topic. You can also look at other industries and copy their theme but apply it to your industry.
- Videos: not only should you read the comments on popular blogs that appeal to your demographic but don’t forget to watch trending videos for inspiration.
- Popular culture: tying in concerns of your customers and what’s going on in the world can be very effective. As a general rule, keep it more to Hollywood and sports and less about the real news. People prefer to be entertained with valuable information than stirred up with political rhetoric and current events.
- YouTube: as the second largest search engine, you should be paying attention to this site. Besides video of people flipping water bottles in outrageous places, what are people sharing? Keep an eye on the comments too.
- Instagram Feeds and Comments: again the gold is in the feedback from viewers. See what people are asking and sharing. Sometimes something they love can be turned into a post as well, particularly if you know those people are your ideal demographic.
- People: Get out of the office when you get stuck. Talk to others. You’ll be amazed at what people share with you or what you overhear that might inspire you.
- Surveys: if you survey your customers or potential customers use the comments for post ideas. Don’t forget to look at your blog comments and other website page comments.
- FAQS: every one of your FAQs should be a blog post or content created in some form. They should be on target with what your customers and prospects need and will often be keyword rich. The same goes for your competitors’ FAQs.
- Studies and findings: keep your eyes open for studies that would be of interest to your target market. Give your opinion on them with a link back. You can also use popular lists when they’re released like “Top Places to Retire” and give your feedback per your industry. For instance, “Alameda: A Top Place to Retire. Realtors Get Ready.”
A Few More Content Ideas
If you’re still at a loss for ideas, consider a roundup post. Some people even do these every week. They can be based on internal content – as in “Our Best Blog Posts of May” or external “5 of the Smartest Things on the Internet This Week.” Internal round-ups give you additional views, while external ones may get more traffic when the people you’re celebrating share your content.
Finally, all these ideas will be for naught if you don’t have a place to keep them. Create an idea file today so you always have a source for great content, even when you’re not feeling inspired.