How to Come Up with Content Ideas When Your Imagination Stops Running Wild
You can say it a million ways: writer’s block; hitting a wall; the well has run dry; etc. Sound the alarm, because every content marketer out there knows what that means. You have no ideas and you may or may not be freaking out. It’s totally acceptable to take a step back and give yourself room to breathe and discover new content topics, but when you’re on a deadline, sometimes you just don’t have the time. So, what do you do to come up with content ideas when you’re on a strict, non-flexible schedule? You panic!
Just kidding, there’s actually no need to panic at all, because when it comes down to it, you probably just need to do a few quick brainstorming exercises. I have a few go-to tricks that I turn to when I need new content ideas (because believe it or not idea generation is one of the easiest marketing processes to get hung up on). Luckily for you, I’m very empathetic and want to share my ideas with the other content peeps in the world. Here are three ways to come up with content ideas when your imagination stops running wild.
1. Use a Title Generator
When you know that you need to cover a certain topic but are unsure if you can spin it in a different way than you already have, try using a title generator. Here’s how it works: you type in a few nouns that need to be included in the title, and then the website spits out a few different options for a blog post title. Sure, it doesn’t write the post for you and vary the content from your existing content, but it does give you a new perspective on the topic in general. I use Impact’s “Blog About” generator — here it is in the works:
I chose the noun “content” because I want to blog about content and I just can’t figure out what to write about it. It gave me this title, which is actually pretty good:
The reason I love this is because it only takes a few seconds, which is great when I’m running out of time.
2. Make a Feedly
One of the greatest services I’ve done myself as a content strategist is make a Feedly for each of my clients. If you don’t know what that is, it will actually change your life. As content folks, we’re supposed to tap into each buyer persona’s “watering holes” to find out where they go to get solutions for their problems — this is one of the most essential processes for inbound marketing success. With a Feedly, you can aggregate content from every persona’s favorite places to get information and then view that content in a newsfeed that updates every time a new blog post or article is published. Check out the Feedly I have for this very blog:
Those are the names of the websites I frequent to find out who is saying what about inbound marketing. My Feedly stream is a mix of all of those sources, so I never have an excuse to not come up with an idea that meets our buyer persona’s needs. It’s pretty awesome, and I love it.
3. When in Doubt, Free Write
This might sound like a tip from a college creative writing course, but I do it all the time when I can’t think of blog topics for a client during my content calendar week (which is when I’m on a strict deadline). I take a minute to write stream-of-consciousness about the client’s product and their buyer persona’s biggest challenges. When I start rattling off about things I know about the company and its audience, I look at some of the key words or phrases that I write down and try to decide if it would be worth a blog post. Usually, I can twist something I’ve written into a title and then develop an outline from there. Woohoo!
Just Realize It Isn’t You
Sometimes it’s disheartening when this idea blockage messes up your daily schedule, but you have to realize it isn’t a deficiency on your part. You just need to grease up the idea gears in your brain and step back for a moment to regain your focus. If you try these tools out the next time you’re feeling idea-less, I guarantee you’ll come up with something.