Here’s a question we received a while back from Robert and we wanted to share it here. It’s a perfect question for Annette and I to answer because it’s about stuff we do all day long at All Custom Content and that’s coming up with content ideas. Here’s the question…
“How do you come up with new and interesting things to write about if you’ve been writing about the same topic(s) for years? There are only so many things you can say about SEO, and only so many slants you can write from.”
Robert specifically asked about the search engine optimization (SEO) niche, but this advice applies to many niches…so definitely read on for help in getting more ideas for your niche, no matter how long you’ve been in it…
As Niches Evolve, So Should We
Most niches never stay completely the same and it’s important to stay on top of what’s happening. In fact, we think Robert is quite lucky, because while basic SEO principles may stay the same, search engine algorithms are constantly changing, so there is plenty of new stuff to report.
There are people who lose rankings and need help getting them back. There are always new black hat techniques to try. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the white hat or black hat fence, these can all still be interesting topics of discussion. Heck, there are sites like Search Engine Land that update multiple times every single day…all on the subject of search engines.
Even something as seemingly simple as knitting has evolved. Knitting technology and techniques have changed over time and it’s important to stay up to date on new ideas and techniques. As a go-to source of information in your niche, you need to stay up to date on this stuff and that’s the next point.
Stay In Touch and Up-to-Date on Your Subject Matter
- Sign up for newsletters and RSS feeds of leading information providers. If email is overwhelming, grab the RSS feed and browse through your reader on a mobile device during your downtime.
- Use your social media accounts to get updates from influential people in your niche. This is one of the main reasons we prefer to keep our social and business social media completely separate, so we have a concentrated source of information for our niches.
- Engage people in discussions on your topic. Ask them what they want to know about, what their opinions are on certain topics and really get involved.
- Read relevant print publications or anything in traditional media that applies to your niche. Keeping tabs on industry news makes it multitudes easier to come up with new ideas.
Need more ideas? We shared a few the other day.
Think Outside the Box
There are so many ways to look at a subject and you have many opportunities to provide your audience great value. Thinking outside the box might include finding new angles to explore or coming up with multimedia content to teach in a new way and appeal to new audiences.
New Angles: Going back to our Search Engine Land example, the site doesn’t simply provide how-tos about SEO. They talk about company news for the major search engines, social media and its affect on search, paid search, they report on events and a whole bunch of other stuff.
Or look at a site like BabyCenter.com, they’re all about babies but they include content for getting pregnant, pregnancy stages and age groups. They also have Q&As, product reviews, information on product recalls, helpful videos, photo galleries and more.
While you may not want to create such huge sites that requires so much updating and a team to run it, we can certainly learn from the way they think outside the box.
Multimedia: Obviously, not all of your content needs to be text. You can also use audio and video…many of us are already doing that. But you can think even further outside that and figure out how you can really help your audience. Do they need step-by-step guides with photos? Could a spreadsheet really come in handy, so they can keep track of things or make calculations? Would having your information or technology on a mobile app be particularly useful? Do they need checklists, worksheets or other items to get organized?
Jot Down Ideas as They Come to You
Another important thing is to never lose an idea.
Some of our best ideas have come to us when we’ve been sitting at the beach, while exercising, taking a shower or doing something entirely different than sitting at our computers. We always make sure we write these ideas down.
Alice prefers the notepad feature on her iPhone, while Annette prefers good old fashioned pen and paper. You might prefer a notebook or would rather quickly record your ideas on your phone’s audio recorder. It doesn’t matter how you record these ideas, just make sure you do.
Have Brainstorming Sessions
This is advice Alice has provided so many times, she might sound like a broken record. But if you follow it, it makes coming up with ideas so much easier. Dedicate time to coming up with ideas. For example, set aside an hour or so each month to get all your ideas down for that entire month. It’s easier to concentrate and build on ideas when that’s all your doing.
On the other hand, it’s often very difficult to sit yourself in front of the computer and log into WordPress and just write. If you don’t have the ideas ahead of time, you might be seeing a lot of blank space on your screen. And that’s a true killer of your productivity.
Expanding, Reusing and Repurposing
Your current content is one of the greatest sources of new content. Topics that are popular can be expanded on, revisited and updated. You can also distribute content in different formats. For example, if you did a blog series on search engine optimization techniques, those could be bundled up an distributed as a report or ebook. Or if you’ve done a how-to video on fertilizing your grass, you can create printable checklists that your readers can use and add to their home maintenance manual.
You know the saying, “two heads are better than one,” and when you get other people to contribute to your site, it’s easy to get new topics and fresh perspectives.
Coming up with fresh content ideas on an ongoing basis certainly takes a concerted effort, but it’s very worthwhile. It makes your content creation much easier and ensures you have a steady stream of great content for your audience.