How to generate creative content ideas

content ideas

Unique content can help improve UX and SEO

As the old saying goes, Content is King, even though the saying is a little overused these days. There are so many reasons why good content is necessary – whether you are writing copy for your website, drafting a blog, creating marketing material or sending out a newsletter. But, just how do you come up with enough ideas to keep your content fresh, original and engaging?

Here are just a few tips to keep your creative juices flowing:

Read as much as possible

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Read almost any autobiography by any author and you’ll find they talk about how much they read as a child, how inspired they are by other authors and how much they continue to read. It’s impossible to become a good writer without also being an avid reader. While you have to be careful not to plagiarise, you’ll find plenty of inspiration by looking at other bloggers sites, cutting out magazine articles you have enjoyed and keeping abreast of relevant news from your industry.

If you do nearly all of your reading online then bookmark your favourite articles into allocated folders for inspiration or print them off and create your own portfolio of information, basically create a place where you can store and capture content ideas.

Trending topics

Often a word or a phrase is enough to spark an idea. To make sure your writing is bang up-to-the-minute, keep track of trending topics on Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn. You’ll often find a topic that everyone is talking about that just might be relevant to your business or your blog, meaning you can join a conversation which has already captured the imagination of the masses.

Think about who you are writing for, find out what they watch, what magazines they read, what events they go to and what subjects get them talking.  Set yourself some alerts https://www.google.com/alerts and keep in touch with key topics that are being published on the web.

Learn from what works

Writing great content isn’t just about what you are drafting on any given day, but also about what you have written on previous occasions. By revisiting content you have written in the past, you can see what you still think reads well and emulate it as well as discovering what has provoked the most interest on your website or blog.

Are there subjects which have worked particularly well, or do your readers tend to prefer it when you write in the first or the third person? Check out competitor sites, which articles do they have the most social shares for, what has provoked the most exposure?  Lear from what works and run with it.

Make each word count

While it can be tempting to think that throwing adjectives and flowery language at a piece of writing is the way to make it read well, the opposite can actually be the case. The internet gives you as much space as you want. But one way to make sure your ideas flow can be to take a leaf out of journalists’ books. In print, every bit of space matters. If you’re struggling to figure out exactly what you want to say, trying brainstorming on a piece of paper, concentrating on the 5 Ws – who, where, what, when and why.  Write down as many related keywords as possible then consolidate them to start coming up with specific content ideas and angles.

If you are looking to brainstorm with the biggest ‘word bank’ of all time then just start typing into Google and let it ‘suggest‘ ideas for you.  You can see the ideas drop down as you type.  This is a great way to see what are the most popular related topics that people are searching for.

Listen to music

Different writers have different ways to find inspiration. For some, it’s the conversation they overhear in the coffee shop. For others, it’s the news story that proves thought-provoking. And for many more, it’s listening to a particular genre of music. New York Times writer Carl Zimmer says he listens to Bach or Thomas Tallis when writing while David Dobbs, author of The Orchid and the Dandelion, about how genes and experience shape us, says he likes to listen to music for the first 20 minutes when he settles down to write. Whether you prefer classical or something with more bass, there’s scientific proof that listening to music can make the difference.

Whether you prefer classical or something with more bass, there’s scientific proof that listening to music can make the grey matter work harder. According to Teresa Lesiuk, a professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami, music “breaks you out of just thinking one way”.

And, after all, that’s what the best writing does – it prompts a reaction, it engages the reader and it might even change your way of thinking. To get that sort of reaction, you need to give yourself the best chance to come up with the most emotive, engaging content.  On that note, I will switch off my One Direction (just kidding) and leave the rest to you.  Get writing!

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