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.