Coming up with a constant flow of fresh content to write about can be challenging, especially if you’re not feeling overly imaginative. We’ve all been there. Even the most experienced and talented writers run out of ideas eventually.
One problem is that a lot of online creators try to generate content ideas from their head which can be quite taxing. Another is the belief they’ve got nothing new to say. First of all, it’s impossible to come up with an “original” idea—something that hasn’t been talked about before. If you’re trying to come up with fresh content ideas your audience hasn’t heard yet, you’ll be stuck indefinitely.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the people in your niche haven’t heard it from you. Your fans want to hear your voice. Your perspective. The unique experiences that led to your personal point-of-view. Unfortunately, your fans are flooded with online content every single day. What they really care about is connection. Hopefully, this eases the pressure of trying to be overly imaginative or prolific with your content. But I know that still doesn’t solve your problem.
In this post, you’ll learn my 5 go-to strategies for consistently coming up with fresh content ideas which should give you some inspiration for the days you don’t know what to write about.
But before I get into it, I recommend you start by dedicating an hour in your schedule each month (or every few months) to coming up with new content ideas that inspire you….write about topics you love or know something about—it’ll be the easiest place to start.
The more consistent you are about showing up and sharing your content with your fans, the easier it becomes to generate fresh ideas on a consistent basis.
Keep reading for my personal strategies.
Wishing you joy and ease on the next piece of content you write.
01. Brain dump
Usually, when I “lack” inspiration, I’m flooded with too many ideas and don’t know where to start, or I’ve got a big list of to-dos occupying my mind and my brain can’t absorb any new information.
Start by setting a five-minute timer (I like this one) and brain dump any content ideas you have. It’s important not to disregard them or judge them as being stupid or uninteresting. Write down whatever comes to mind. The main point is to free up space for new ideas to flow.
Some of your content ideas might be worth exploring down the road and others you may feel inspired to write about now. Place the ones you feel called to write about at the top of your list to make it easy to create content when you’re ready to begin. If you’re lucky enough to have a flood of ideas enter your brain, keep going. When you’re done, write each idea on a separate sticky note, then categorize them based on their similarities.
Is there a theme emerging? Try to create a list of between 3-7 categories. Any more and it may feel hard to manage, or your topics may range too much which can paralyze you further. I do find it easier to create content when I have a container to draw inspiration from as opposed to a wide array of topics that deflect from my core intention which is to serve and support my audience.
On the other hand, if you’re struggling to get more than a few topics down on paper, then the rest of this post will teach you how to come up with fresh content ideas when you’re stuck and not sure what to write about.
02. Ask your audience
One of the best ways to come up with fresh content ideas is to ask your audience.
I like this question…
You can ask this in the form of a survey, poll your followers on Facebook, reach out to friends, family, and people who would benefit most from your content and ask them what they want to see from you. Personally, I love to meet and interview people from my audience one-on-one because it’s the best way to learn more about them. I recommend leaving two or three open spots in your calendar each week for market research interviews alone. I promise, your effort will pay off in spades.
When I started my business and didn’t have a following, I wrote about topics that I felt called to write about (what I thought my audience would like). At first, it felt like wasted effort but the more I put myself out there and shared my views about topics I was passionate about, the people who needed to hear my message gravitated toward me naturally and my message became clearer.
Most of the people who are drawn to my work have a similar point-of-view or would relate to my experiences. For instance, my audience has never asked me to write about being an empath in business or boundaries and self-care. I know it’ll resonate, however, because most of my audience are empaths and will likely struggle with establishing clear boundaries, too.
By getting to know and understand your audiences interests, troubles, and core desires, your inspiration for fresh content ideas becomes almost limitless. It’s essential to create content that resonates with your true fans because, in the end, that’s who you want to attract and retain. If your content doesn’t speak to your ideal audience, your posts may provoke some engagement short-term, most likely superficial (i.e. an easy like on Facebook or a heart emoji comment on Instagram) but not a deeply resonant connection that builds an authentic fanbase over time.
Listen to your followers and pay attention to the questions they ask. The majority of my content is created from challenges I see them struggling with. What better way to be of service to your audience than to solve problems you know they have?
PS. If you don’t have a large audience or you’re not getting much engagement from your polls and surveys, then the rest of my tips will be more helpful.
03. Search Facebook groups, forums and the comment section of popular posts
Look in the places your ideal clients are asking the questions. Facebook groups and business pages, YouTube comments, LinkedIn posts and Quora are just a few of the places you’ll find your potential clients looking for answers to solve their problem.
When I first learned this strategy I was amazed because it felt like an endless supply of content ideas at my fingertips. It means that I can pick a keyword (ex. fresh content ideas) and type it into Google, Facebook groups where my audience hangs out, or the comment section on YouTube to see what people want to know. The other benefit of doing this is you can collect the everyday language your ideal clients are using to describe their problems and use their words to help you write content that truly resonates.
Some people use third-party tools like Keywords Everywhere to help them determine how popular a topic is or to find related keywords—this is not only good for SEO but for sparking fresh content ideas. Answer The Public is another great tool that will give you the questions people are asking online as it relates to your keyword. If you intend to use content marketing as a strategy to reach potential clients then one tip is to create content that your audience is searching for.
I tend to find the best content ideas in the comments section of Facebook posts of groups I’m in. Join groups where your audience is hanging out and pay attention to the questions people ask and what kinds of topics they’re engaging in. Better yet—actively engage inside the community yourself and give a response that adds real value. Who knows, you might pick up a client or two by demonstrating your expertise.
As I’ve said, the most important thing you can do for your audience is to simply listen. Leverage social media to learn about them so you can create content that’ll truly benefit them.
04. Mind map
This is so simple but incredibly powerful for inspiring fresh content ideas that’ll serve your audience.
Take out a piece of paper and jot down one main idea (or a central theme) that relates to your niche, industry, service or business. Think of a topic your audience will care about. Then, think of subtopics to branch out from your main idea (literally draw branches like my example below). Write as many ideas as you can think of that relate to your core theme.
Once you get going, you’ll find that this process generates more ideas and you can just keep adding more branches. Mind mapping is like an organized way to brain dump and it requires a little more thought. I prefer to brain dump on a restricted amount of time so I can freely dump my ideas and get them out of my head and onto the page.
Let’s explore my example. Content Marketing as my central theme.
I created many branches that includes subtopics like:
- How to get over the fear of being seen
- How to know what to write about
- What to do with your content after it’s published
- How to write a blog post in half the time, etc.
From there you can create sub-branches that organize the ideas drawn from your main theme. For instance, sub-topics related to content marketing might be: visibility, batching, writing, design, etc. Next, you can create 5-10 topics that relate to your sub-topics to keep things organized. If you want to get fancy you can colour code your sub-branches/topics to make it easier to follow.
05. Connect with people
I read somewhere recently and it really resonated…
I loved those words because isolation as a solopreneur is an easy trap to fall in to… especially for a hermit like myself. Connection, building relationships and talking to real humans is paramount for your business. In other words, don’t waste time and energy worrying about what type of content to create, what platform to use, how often you should post or any other fears that might be blocking your creativity. Focus on connecting with people and the outside world around you.
How to track your content ideas:
Keep it simple. Most of my ideas are kept in the notes app on my mac. I like it best because it’s quick and easy to pull up from any device. I’ve tried to get fancy in the past and I always revert back to my quick notes app. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s simple with very little resistance to using it.