This is a guest contribution from Ellis McGrath, digital marketing strategist at VITEB.
A blank sheet of paper (oops writers don’t use it a lot anymore) well in that case a blank computer screen is the most frightening thing a writer could ever possibly encounter.
Sitting in front of a computer screen, rolling up sleeves, and ready to write. But nothing happens other than going in circles.
For many of us, the most difficult part in writing is to get the ball rolling. The life of a content writer could be challenging who often stumbles upon a creative roadblock when ideas for content just don’t come. Churning out blog post ideas for clients from diverse (and boring) industries could turn out to be a daunting task. But as professional writers, we have to find out various ways to overcome the challenge of turning out empty screen to an informative and unique article almost consistently.
I am going to share with you innovative ways to overcome the problem of creating content for boring topics, so you too can always come up with blog post ideas at your own sweet will.
#1 Knock the Door of Social Media
You have knocked Google’s door and gleaned through all search results. What next?
You follow the standard operating procedure of checking your competitor’s website/blog but still no success. Well, ever thought of social media? Social media tools are information gold mine. And what better way to get ideas from real people.
Here is how you should go about it:
The blue bird can come to the rescue of writer going through a dry spell of ideation. With 400,000+ million tweets from Twitterati each day, Twitter contains dynamic ideas for any writer out there. There is something in it for every industry.
However, you have to know where to look for information, instead of just browsing through thousands and thousands of random tweets.
But you are idea starved writer not sure what you are looking for. In such case how do you search information?
Twitter allows user to search tweets by hashtags and keywords. Of course, you will not get results like Google as results might not appear in a specific order. You can add hashtag and eliminate spaces for more targeted search of your keywords.
One of the best way to create engaging content is writing about topics that are trending and popular. Twitter trending topics allows you to do just that. It is a fab way to keep your content fresh.
Once you find right hashtag on your relevant industry/event you will be able to instantly connect with everyone tuned to the event and know what they are talking about. This will definitely spark new ideas.
Just like Twitter, you can look for at StumbleUpon tags for most popular and unique topics. It is a giant collection of the best pages on the Internet which recommends websites, photos as well as videos of your interest. You can also check out Stumblers following topics of particular interest by looking under the Discover tab.
But how? YouTube is not just about watching movies or funny home videos.
YouTube is second largest search engine with more than 800 million monthly unique visitors. There are loads of tutorials or videos of subject matter experts from all industries. Just watch YouTube videos related to your niche and you have tons of topics ready.
How can we forget the mighty Facebook!
There are tons of groups covering each and every industry/specialty imaginable on Facebook, as well as several guest blogging groups where you will find some unique ideas for your content. Select topics that suitable for your audience and go ahead.
You can become member of relevant LinkedIn groups. LinkedIn allows you to questions fellow members. Discussion thread in LinkedIn is one of the best sources to find topics for your content. You can also get to know views of thought leaders of your industry.
#2 Play around with keyword tools
Übersuggest.com: With this free keyword tool you can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries.
Übersuggest get suggestions from web search and search verticals like shopping, news or video. This amazing keyword tool takes your base term, adds a letter and/or a digit next to it, and extracts suggestions. You would be surprised to see the long list of keywords instantly triggering ideas for content and acting as a source of inspiration.
#3 Don’t shy from asking your audience
Content is king. Cliched it may sound but very true.
While there is lot of buzz about unique content, let’s not forget that content has to be informative. Is there any better way of finding out what is useful to your audience other than directly asking your audience.
Trust me you will get best ideas from your audience. Go ahead and write articles on topics requested by your audience and see the results. You can also use your Facebook fan page to ask your fans on which topic they would like you to cover on your blog.
#4 Stay inspired, from anything and everything
As a writer, you need to take inspiration from nature and people you meet. You need to be a observer and start getting inspired from your environment.
I know it is not as easy as it sounds, but you need to work on it. You need to think beyond your office walls or cubicles and take the time to see the world around you. The more inspiration you take from life the better. It will reflect in your writing, trust me. This will give a new dimension towards life in general and add a different perspective to your writing.
#5 Look for answers
Start religiously browsing Q&A sites like Quora to find out what people want to know about your industry.
Don’t simply dismiss this list as ordinary or boring questions for amateurs, keep in mind, people are asking these question on public forum. It means that these topics are important to them. So why not provide answers to the questions on your own site? There is no better way to create engaging content. Still not clear how it works.
We searched the term BYOD on Quora and these are the questions people are asking:
- Should startups go BYOD?
- What are the key mobile security policies for your BYOD program?
- What are the biggest challenges facing organizations in the midst of the BYOD trend?
- What are some best practices for managing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)corporate IT ecosystem?
The more you let your creative juices flow and think out of the box; the more likely you are to come up with a new angel in your writing. If some interesting news is creating buzz, it’s because it has generated interest among people. So look for a way to relate with the news and weave a story to capitalise on the popularity of the news story.
For instance, you own a blog for music lovers. It is the time for you to capitalise on the news of Apple’s iOS 7 release. But how? iTunes radio. Sounds interesting? Go ahead and try to connect.
#7 Interview industry stalwarts
Interview a particular subject matter expert and you’ll have more eyeballs rolling. We have used this tactic with much success. It is mainly due to the fact that audience likes to hear from people who know things that we don’t. So, does your industry have a star who could help you add a touch of panache to your content?
I would like to hear from you that if you find these methods effective. Now it’s your turn. Do you have any innovative ideas for spicing up content? Share with us. We would love to hear from you.
Ellis is a digital marketing strategist at VITEB. He is passionate about online marketing & web usability. He is associated with leading web & development company having experts web developers in India. Follow us on Twitter @viteb.
I am always inspired when I read down through the Twitter list that contains my favorite writers, bloggers and tweeters!
Yeah, the same for me. I also read through tweets from well know bloggers but i never have thought of searching for hot trends through twitter search. I also use youtube by looking at the youtube views.When i see lots of youtube views i know this is a hot subject to write about. I will definitely use the other 6 sources you wrote about. Thanks for the great post
These are great tips! The one that never ends to give me ideas is answering to questions from fans and clients. It’s the best yet and so rewarding!
I always make sure that I let that fan/client know I answered their question with a solution. This way they did not miss it and I really helped someone and not just writing content for the sake of writing :)
Realy great tips. I will follow. Thanks.
I normaly use twitter search and sometimes yahoo questions to get my ideas. My posts tend to answer travelers questions and I find this two very helpful.
Great post Ellis. People seem to underestimate the power of YouTube. Publishing a decent video or tutorial can really help to generate massive amounts of traffic and user interaction.
These are some great ideas, I had never thought to use StumbleUpon! I will definitely have to give that a try next time I need an idea. Thanks for sharing!
Awesome tips Ellis! Quora is a flippin’ awesome tool and I recently discovered how valuable Twitter search can be. In some cases, I’ve had more success finding information from Twitter search than Google! It’s great for finding “what’s hot” in conversation and thus, capitalizing on it with a blog is all too easy, just like you said. Nice job.
Wow, what a helpful list.
I especially like #4! A lot of bloggers get stuck just thinking about their readers as a static audience instead of as the dynamic community they are. With a little work, they can be the best researchers there are.
After all, nobody knows your customer, like your customer!
Great post Ellis.
As mentioned above, I also enjoy using Twitter for finding trending/popular topics or simply looking for content ideas.
Here again one can apply the old saying “Good artists copy and great artists steal”. If we simply flip the topic of post of any pro blogger we can get a brilliant idea to write our next post. If we simply flip the title of this post as “How to add interest in a boring topic”. So for me title of my next post is ready; apply your creativity and get yours
The most challenging thing for me as a blogger hasn’t necessary been finding unique content ideas, but, rather, finding the time to execute those ideas. At any one time, you’ll find my notebook filled with a ton of “ideas”, however, finding the time has been the challenge. I loved point #3, by the way! So often, I think bloggers disregard the opinion of their reader’s themselves. Readers are like a proverbial focus group….some bloggers don’t seem to realize the power they are neglecting when they fail/refuse to seek opinions and feedback from their own audience. I do think, though, there can be some inherent hesitancy for bloggers to seek out the opinion of their audience simply because, even GREAT recommendations generally mean alot of ensuing work/effort to bring those ideas to fruition. Not only that, but if a blogger fails to follow through with a reader’s recommendation in a timely manner, the perception could be had (to the reader) that the blogger doesn’t care. Great post again, Darren!
Totally connect with the challenge of finding the time to complete posts – between the research and structuring, and then actually sitting down and making it an awesome, compelling document, every post becomes a bit of a time suck. So maybe that’s what Problogger ( or you or I ) should tackle next!
Sounds Good. You’ve mentioned pretty much good ideas for dull content. I have seen many times that we can loose our credit if content topic is boring. Now I got all the things how to attract people for this type of stuff.
Twitter is a great part of my inspiration on what to write since I can easily read what is currently on people’s minds and try to answer some unarticulated questions from the tweets
Never tried youtube for getting ideas. I am sure of giving it a try. :)
One of my way is to cover other great posts that get a lot of people like or retweet about it. Just read it, understand the post and rewrite it without looking at the post just incase copyright.
Great tips on coming up with a new creative spin on the same old same old topics!
I too also love the idea of asking your blog readers about your topics – and I’ve seen it work to great effect as well!
Regularly asking your audience what they want to talk about is important in providing the best solutions for their issues.
You’ve covered some awesome tips there Ellis!
I’m currently developing a social media presence and learning so much along the way. I always keep Evernote open to document any content ideas generated so I can act upon them later :)
Thanks for posting this article,
Now a days content marketing is very important, this post is very helpful for all the bloggers who want to understand about some topics and content,
Thanks for posting
Started using Ubersuggest a couple of weeks back and it’s easily become my favourite way to get ideas for content. Brainstormed about 30 post ideas in a few minutes.
Visiting and reading other blog posts in my category gives me many benefits. I can get ideas for my own writing, I can leave valuable comments to drive traffic and get links, and I can also meet some cool bloggers as well. We can also find great content ideas from our very own readers just like determining what our audience need to read.
Great tips.Thanks for sharing.Aside from creating a quality content for our readers,it is also important to make our content more fun and interesting to read.
Thanks all for your upbeat and encouraging feedback. Some things are so blindingly obvious that we often fail to see them. Think about social media, we simply can’t live without it, yet often fail to realize its true potential. Social media is a goldmine of ideas for writers.
It could be a challenging task to churn out innovative topics consistently. But challenge gives us the opportunity to innovate and think out of the box. I am glad you have found my tips helpful. Stay inspired and keep blogging. :)
I often find problems in writing or search for a topic, and social media is a new way for me to find ideas to write! Thanks for sharing..
When I had difficulty writing, I always visit google+ or twitter, Yes, writing unique content has become one of the great things very confusing. including for myself.
I prefer to use social media to get ideas for writing, because social media is a gathering place for fresh ideas so I’m more focused on it .. thank you for sharing interesting ideas of this post
What about Jaaxy?Does Jaaxy work for anyone? like the tool that uses the 2 keyword lists for new keywords to use in content. Very nice article. Great content is hard to find with good keywords to go after.
I usually use Twitter,facebook and youtube for collecting ideas in certain topics. But among them, I like twitter for short and sweet ideas. It’s really helpful and refreshing.
And Thanks for providing such useful tips. Of course, Unique ways you have given, for finding content ideas for most boring topics are very great and useful for all. Feeling very nice to read your every articles. They all are very interesting and useful. I love your ideas and tips.
Another interesting post. Honestly I never tried YouTube to find content ideas for my blog posts. Thanks for sharing the post.
Indeed, more often than not, it is very challenging to come up with something meaningful when the topic is beyond boring. As mentioned above, Twitter is a very useful source of inspiration, but I refer to nature and people around me the most. Thank you for sharing these original tips, happy blogging!
You presented appealing and creative idea to present the dull contents. It is quite natural that we loose interest if contents topics are boring. By using your tips people now have knowledge that how they can turn their interest towards unexciting substance.
Great tips Ellis! I find it hard sometimes to write about abstract notions or some technology concepts and you’ve shared some interesting sources to start with!
Really great writing smart grabbing honestly. You helped give me well read material and a solid understanding of this topic. I am truly thankful to the holder of this website who has shared this impressive article at at this time. Keep t this good job guys.
As far as sharing your content through social media goes, I have found that google + communities are a good way to drive traffic. Don’t spam communities though. Post through your personal google + account and say something like I came across a great article on “fill in the blank” subject, it was funny or informative etc. Since google + communities are more like a forum, people are more likely to care about your content than a twitter or a facebook IMO.
These are seriously brilliant tips! Thank you for sharing!
I usually get ideas by finding out what it is that people in my target market need information about. I use social media, forums and the good old asking to get this information. It’s providing to be quite an effective way of thinking of content ideas – after all, I would rather write about something people find helpful.
Have a great weekend :)
These are really unique ideas and these are easy to implement in order to convert a boring content into an interesting content. This post concludes to give me a moral that use the power of these social networking site in a productive manner.
I make use of newsjacking all the time, but I think I need to utilize social media more as an idea generator and not just a source of info or platform for networking. Thanks for the interesting tips!
Thanks for the post. Note that it should be ubersuggest.org NOT .com
Normally I get ideas from google search results. But did not think in such a broad way like you described. i feel low when i am unable to find topics fro some of my blogs but your ideas gave me a new way to find more and more.Thanks for sharing with us.
Good tips Ellis! Twitter is a biggie for me. I like running searches and going from here. Be inspired. Look for inspiration wherever you go to become a content creating machine.
Nice list of tips that you provided here.
I think twitter and Facebook are friendly to me. but sometimes social media and keyword tools help a lot. And you have to be inspired and different.
Thanks for your sharing..
These ideas are going to be helpful. Right now I have finished promoting one article, I have material for my next one and have an idea for the one after that. I try to do an article every week. It’s easy to run out of energy and ideas. I think these will be really fun to try out, especially the #twitter idea.
Thanks for sharing your experience, nice work Ellis, definitely these tips going to help me.
And I am also want to thank Mr. Darren Rowse because whenever i come in your blog i learn too many ideas about blogging. which helps me on building my blog.
I especially like the idea of asking your readers what they want to see. I think you can go through social trends night and day but what it all boils down to, is what your readers want from you. Asking them in a blog post really isn’t enough though! You need to engage them in social media and even through widgets on your blog – like a suggest an article form or something like that. Thoughts everyone?
I agree with engaging the users to find topics and to help further build a one-on-one connection. Blogging is a two-way street, you have to be willing to add to the conversation.
I can’t believe I never thought about checking out Q&A sites! lol, thank you for the post. It has given me some great ideas to create more ideas :)
Hey Ellis, great idea for a post :) and I like your tips!
I find myself curled into a ball trying to figure out how to start a post. I mean, just finding a topic to begin with. Usually, if I have a boring subject picked out, I try to relate it to something that I find exciting and draw some parallels. But when that’s not possible, I just get creative and try to have fun with it. If I’m enjoying what I write, it’s more likely that the person reading it will enjoy it too.
Ubersuggest has been mentioned a lot lately. Sounds like a great little idea engine – I’m definitely going to start using it more.
i think these are the great ideas to search a topic for writing. Thanks!
These are great suggestions! For newcomers like myself, this is a source of creativity.
Great place to find some very needed inspiration :)
At this time it looks like Drupal is the preferred blogging
platform available right now. (from what I’ve read)
Is that what you’re using on your blog?