Seeking Content Ideas? 7 Sources You Definitely Missed
I give up.
Or at least sometimes it feels like it. This often happens around the time when I open up my news reader only to discover that someone else has already published on the topic I have been working on.
That’s definitely not the best way to start the day, no.
And I’m damn sure you know how it feels.
We live in a content rat race times. We produce content at an astonishing speed and to an enormous quantity. It almost feels like being in a hamster wheel, there is no escape and all you have left to do is to push even harder.
And even then, there is no guarantee that your content will be noticed, shared and appreciated.
It seems that you only have two options to escape the failure – write about something completely new or, find a new angle for the story.
New Topic vs. New Angle
As I type these words, numbers of marketers hit the publish button. If they write on the same topic as me, I am already late. New posts, videos, graphics and more appear online only adding to the plethora of the content available. And they are followed by even more content straight after.
Of course you don’t compete with them all. But I am sure that even in your industry new content appears fast.
So, you only seem to have two options:
- Find new topics – Unfortunately, this might prove almost impossible in many industries, or
- Find a new angle to the story – write about something that has been written before but from a completely different and new perspective. Get your readers to think “wow, I didn’t think or see it that way before”.
Unusual Places to Look for Content Ideas or a New Angle
As the content landscape gets crammed by the minute, common topic research practices like keyword research no longer suffice. Checking what others write about is not enough either.
Unless you can demonstrate an extensive knowledge on the subject (which as I already stated here is quite difficult), you will have a tough time in becoming a resource. But if you are stuck for ideas, consider sources like these for example:
- Your Manager And His / Her Problems
Your boss, manager or client are usually the very last people you think about when it comes to content ideas. Yet, these are the people with potentially the most in-depth insight into the industry but also, common problems in their work. Such ideas might mean a completely new story, a one no one else in your industry wrote about or a new angle, since it will be based on a very personal experience with the problem.
- Other Department Managers
Similarly, other departments managers might share an invaluable insight into how the industry operates, what customers expect from different levels of company or organizations structure, what pitfalls they encounter.
- Other Managers and Business People
OK, the two examples above were probably the most suitable in an in-house situation. But what if you write for a client? There is no manager above you, or a boss, or other departments closely related with the industry.
One way to go around that is to interview your clients managers, with the clients permission of course. You probably won’t get the same level of information as you would from your colleagues, yet you still might discover some amazing insights. Also by observing managers at work you can gain an invaluable insight into how the industry you are working on operates.
- Customer Service Team
I mentioned this many times already, the people who face customers everyday are the best resource when it comes to content ideas that help the people you sell to. After all, nothing beats a video created on the basis of actual customer inquiries.
- The Faq Page
Quite often the best content ideas are right in front of you, yet you don’t see them. Taking a look at what topics your or your clients company lists on their FAQ page can reveal some really great ideas that are highly relevant to your customers or target audience.
- Q&A Sites
More and more we use the web to find answers. It’s become so apparent that Google even created the whole algorithm that takes that into consideration when throwing out search results. And, sites like Quora or Yahoo Answers are booming with users, asking all kinds of questions. Many of which can reveal some great content ideas.
- Classified Ads
Checking out what products in your industry people are selling can help to generate ideas. Moreover, it can also show you what language your potential customers use to describe those items, what they think of them and what you could include in your content.
Creating content has become a highly creative profession practically demanding an analytical skill. In the old days, putting together some basic information and filling the page with keywords was enough. Today, your content has to present you as an expert in what you write about and more. You need to surprise your audience, get them to think about what you wrote and last but not least, stand out from an ocean of similar content. And only then you stand a chance to get noticed.
What other unusual places you go to for content ideas?
Creative commons image by munhitsu / Flickr