It is difficult to come up with content writing ideas, especially on an ongoing basis. This is why when sometimes clients ask me to come up with my own content writing ideas, I charge them extra. Often, writing is easier, but coming up with writing ideas is very difficult and time-consuming.
I normally help my clients with writing topics when I’m working on their content marketing strategy rather than simply providing content.
A successful content marketing strategy cannot be implemented without a comprehensive list of content writing ideas surrounding a particular niche. Before you start writing content you need to know
- Why you are writing that content?
- Whom are you targeting (your customer or client persona)?
- What reaction do you want to elicit from your target audience?
- What is your long-term content marketing goal?
It is very important to know these points because otherwise, though content marketing is very promising, you will be simply wasting money and effort if you randomly publish web pages, blog posts, articles and email updates.
What is your purpose of writing content?
Different content marketing needs may have different reasons for writing/publishing content, and these may include:
Attract more people to your website or blog
- You aim at making your content go viral
- You aim for increasing brand awareness on other websites, blogs and social media platforms
- You want to establish yourself as an authority and an expert in your field or industry
- You want to help your customers and clients by providing them information they can use to improve the way they work
- You want to educate your prospective customers and clients so that they are in a better position to use your product or service
- You want people to click on advertisements published on your website
- You want to build your mailing list and hence want to encourage people to subscribe
- You want people to buy your product or use your service
Increase your general visibility
- You want more people to link to you
- You want people to share your content on their social media profiles
- You want to attract large number of people to your own website or blog
- You want to increase your search engine rankings
Every business can use a strategic mix of all these reasons to publish and write content. If you have a clear idea of these reasons, you can easily come up with lots of topics that can see you through over many weeks and months.
Aside from these, you can also decide whether your content should fulfil a need, should cater to a desire or a want, or simply provide enjoyment.
What keywords do you want to target?
Your keywords – both your primary keywords and related keywords – have a significant bearing on your content writing ideas.
If you have a list of your keywords, then you naturally want to cover them through your content. Only when you write on these keywords search engines like Google will be able to make out what core topic you are trying to cover.
Taking my own example, for my business I have two primary keywords: content writing services and content marketing services.
One way or the other, all my content – web pages, blog posts, graphics, videos – hover around these two primary keywords.
What sort of content can be published on a business website or blog?
On a typical website you can publish
- Educational and informative blog posts and articles
- Web pages describing your products and services and encouraging people to buy your products and services
- Case studies and white papers
- Email marketing content
- Curated content – useful, helpful, and relevant content gathered from other websites
- Testimonials from your customers and clients
- Straightforward promotional content
- Landing pages
- Industry News updates
- Your internal corporate updates (hired a new CEO, installed a new enterprise solution, started a new department, released an updated version of your software)
Using the information gathered to generate content writing ideas for a long time
Frankly, you cannot ensure an ever-lasting supply of content writing ideas.
Publishing content for content marketing is a journey and many unpredictable events can happen during your journey, and these events will generate further writing ideas.
But the information presented above can easily give you 40-50 writing ideas for your website.
When I start on a new content writing or content marketing project I try to get as much information as possible from the new client.
The basic purpose is, understanding what the client wants to achieve.
He or she must have a clear idea because if he or she doesn’t have an idea, it will be very difficult for him or her to make it clear to me what sort of content I should write and what sort of audience I should target.
Initially I begin with trying to understand what sort of questions and apprehensions people may have regarding my client.
What would stop them from doing business with my client and what information should be provided to them to allay their fears.
Together with the client, I prepare a long list of topics (preferably using the exact language used by the client’s target customers and clients) that should be of interest to my client’s prospective customers and clients.
If the client already has some existing content I go through it and make a list of strengths and weaknesses of that existing content. Sometimes new content writing ideas can come from existing content.
Also, existing content can be repurposed, and new content can be generated out of it.
Sometimes, same content can be regenerated using different formats, for example, an old blog post can be easily turned into a slide or an animated GIF, or even a YouTube video.
You may also like to read 15 ways you never run out of blogging ideas.
For an ongoing content marketing assignment, I also use Google alerts to get alerts on the latest content being written on my client’s profession. I also use content curation tools like Flipboard, Twitter feeds and Feedly.
Google search too is a great way of finding new content topics. When you search on Google, it gives you some suggestions that people have used to find similar information. When I searched for “content writing tips”, in addition to bringing up the results for my search string, it also gave me the following suggestions:
- How to write content writing samples
- Content writing samples PDF
- Content writing tips for beginners
- Content writing tips examples
- How to write content for project
There are more examples. Even when you click one of these suggestions Google gives you more suggestions.
You don’t need to generate topics out of every Google search suggestion, but they give you a very good idea of what people are looking for.
Checking Google trends is also a good way of knowing whether a particular content writing idea is worth trying for or not.
Closely observing Google Trends will also let you know that the topics that you want to cover are used mostly in which region. For example, if you compare “content marketing” with “content writing” in Google Trends, you will notice that not many people are looking for content writing outside of India. Very few people are looking for content marketing in India.
For every client I have an “Ideas” file where I keep collecting all the good ideas I come across on my own and from different sources. The list in this ideas file is not definite; it keeps changing. I keep modifying existing ideas and adding new ideas as long as they conform to
- The keywords that need to be used
- The messaging that needs to be conveyed
- The end result
I also arrange content writing ideas in an Excel sheet in different columns: Long blog posts, short blog posts, long web pages, short web pages and social media updates.
Sometimes my clients help too. For example, if they have multiple employees some of their employees come up with great content writing ideas because they directly dealing with their customers and clients, constantly.
Is it easier to come up with content writing ideas for one’s clients?
Compared to those who don’t write content regularly, and professionally?
Obviously. When your write content for a living you get into the habit of finding content writing opportunities everywhere.
If you hire me and I know you are going to pay me $35 for every piece of content I give you, my brain is constantly on an alert, even when I’m not aware of it.