Coming up with new ideas for engaging, high quality content on a regular basis isn't easy.
Fresh content not only helps with your search engine optimization strategy; it shows your social following you are active and engaged in your industry and local community. It’s also a great opportunity to provide new and helpful information to current and potential customers.
Companies struggle to come up with new angles and ideas, though. Use this list to brainstorm new topics for your blog posts, social media posts, or videos.
Ideally, you’re planning your upcoming content using an editorial calendar and leaving space for coverage or current events. This helps ensure you have a steady flow of new content, with backup content to use when you’re just not feeling inspired.
Some of these ideas are interchangeable between categories (you might find a source in the video list that would work great to inspire a blog post) so I’ve tried not to duplicate between categories.
Without further ado, here are 88 ideas to inspire new content you can use to promote your business.
Inspiration for Blog Posts
- Local newspaper articles - recap and add your own opinion on local happenings.
- Questions posed via social - what are people telling you or your competitors they want to know?
- Comments on your previous blog posts.
- Quora.com - what conversations are happening around your product, service, or industry?
- Local radio talk shows - write about the topics being discussed in your community now; this doesn’t mean taking a political stand, but you can ask questions and get the conversation going on your platform.
- Answer questions asked by customers in-store in a blog post.
- Annual community events - write about how you plan to participate and where potential customers can meet you.
- Unique uses for your product or service - write about a way in which it’s been used that is different, fun, or innovative.
- Debunk a myth or misconception.
- Other information sources - compile a list of newsletters, videos, websites, etc., from your industry that your readers will find helpful and interesting (just not from your competitors).
- Recap and share national/global news about your suppliers or manufacturers.
- Industry news - use Google Alerts to deliver relevant headlines to your inbox and write a roundup post regularly.
- Solve a common problem - write about the problem(s) that your product or service fixes.
- Talk to your suppliers - do they have new products coming soon? Have they made improvements on existing ones? Stay ahead of the curve.
- Skim LinkedIn Groups in your niche for hot topics.
- Case studies - Share your customers’ successes.
- Profile a supplier/manufacturer.industry bigwig - Tell people more about the people and companies you do business with and why.
- Use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to find terms and phrases related to those visitors are using to reach your site and create content around those.
- Revisit hot topics or popular industry figures from years ago and write a post around the idea, “Where Are They Now?”
- Research - Offer an overview of a recent study or whitepaper relevant to your business.
- Quotes - find and list quotes from big players in your industry; try QuoteGarden.comor BrainyQuote.com for research.
- Monitor companies mentions online and write a post thanking someone for positive coverage; link back to their content or embed it in your own.
- Write about how you’re making changes to improve your service.
- Tie your topic to a celebrity (i.e., “What Madonna Could Teach Us About Plumbing” or, “10 Things I Learned About Great Food from Kim Kardashian”).
- Share the best takeaways from an industry event you attended.
- Check out Digg or Reddit for the top news in your category of interest.
- Write a post about something you learned this week or month.
- Use your blog categories to inspire themed content for different days of the week, ensuring balanced coverage of your topics.
- Try networked curation with a service like BagTheWeb.com to see blog posts related to your topics.
- Compile old posts into tightly-knit groups and write summary posts linking readers to these older resources.
- Go to an article site like Constant Content and see what others are writing about relevant to your industry.
- Use a search engine to search your own most popular blog titles and see what other related ideas come up.
- Visit competitor websites - a surprising number of sites still use meta keywords, even though they have zero SEO benefit. Use their keywords to see what they may be targeting that you aren’t (yet). Simply right-click on their page and choose “View Source” for a quick and dirty look.
- Repurpose video content by either transcribing and embedding in a post, or starting a new conversation about the video in a post.
- Read competitor product/service reviews around the web, pick out complaints, and write a post about how your product or service solves that problem, without actually mentioning the competitor’s review.
- Summarize complex, longer blog posts into shorter, more digestible posts and link to the longer version for more information.
- Tell a fascinating story by relating the lesson or “moral” of your post to one from a famous fairy tale. Use the fairy tale’s storyline but adapt it so it’s relevant to your topic and audience.
- Ask for feedback on new features or services you are considering adding to your lineup - not only do you get a blog post out of it, but you’ll get some great input from the people who know your business best.
Inspiration for Images (for Social or Blog Posts):
- Charity events/fundraisers - your company can become recognized as a positive influence in your community by helping charitable organizations spread the word about their events, and you get great content in the form of images, to boot.
- Your participation in industry or trade events.
- World events around your product or service - see how Starbucks uses images from around the world to show how their coffee beans are grown and harvested. What areas does your company touch?
- Take pictures of contest winners visiting your physical store - mailing prizes is a missed photo opportunity.
- Snap or share pics of local sports teams, organizations or events your company sponsors.
- People using your product or service (have a short and sweet release on hand for these occasions).
- Make charts or graphs of common uses for your product or service - 45 percent of people use this to...
- Introduce your staff - who are the people behind the scenes making your company so awesome?
- Create your own charts or infographics using recently published statistics in your industry for data and credit the researchers.
- Screen capture Twitter conversations - if you see a hot conversation going on amongst influencers in your industry, screen capture it and use to start your own discussion.
- Use individual screenshots from your videos in other channels.
- Search Google Images or Flickr for keywords that draw traffic to your blog posts and see how others are creating images around these topics.
- Follow inspirational people in your industry and share their images - use their activity to inspire your own new content, as well.
- Turn your FAQs into images, one Q&A per branded image, and post on your social channels regularly.
- Use your analytics to see what people are searching for that leads them to your page and create images around those topics to draw more people in.
- Recycle one of your popular blog posts into a series of images.
- Top Stories on Facebook - signed in as your business, see which images posted by your competitors and industry influencers are getting the most engagement (you must be following them to see this).
- Search Yahoo Answers for unanswered questions relevant to your industry and create an image answering the question.
- Create images to illustrate laws or regulations in your industry.
- Celebrate longevity by posting pictures from your business in years past.
- Think of each image as the beginning of a series and gradually build out your coverage of the topic through photos or other images.
- Photoshop existing images (to which you own the rights) to create memes or add funny, helpful, or other unique content.
- Use Pinterest to see what types of images do well in your niche.
- Do a 30-Day Challenge in your business and post regular pictures of your staff and management’s progress.
Inspiration for Video Content (to use in social or embed in blog posts)
- YouTube - craft a video response to a popular video related to your industry or product.
- Review a book or video - record your own review of a popular industry book or video.
- What happening - Record a list of five or ten things happening locally or in your industry and add links to more information on each in editing.
- Use SurveyMonkey or Google Docs to survey your readers/customers and make a video sharing the responses.
- Find a guest - ask someone local to appear in your video and interview them.
- Revisit older, popular videos - expand on previous videos with news or updates around the topic.
- Make a time-lapse video of your product coming together, or a typical day in your offices.
- Focus on your customers - record a video with fun facts about your customers: this percentage are local, this percentage are business people, this percentage visit us at least twice a month, etc. Try SnagIt for screen capture software if you’re unfamiliar.
- Make a video prediction of something that could happen in your industry.
- Host a Google Hangout with a few of your suppliers, manufacturers, or other business contacts and discuss customer FAQs, then post to YouTube.
- Snoop around your competitors videos and use their video tags to inspire you.
- Make a funny video about how “not” to use your product - think of Rona’s “How to Do It Wrong” campaign.
- Publicly thank your customers for social comments - make a screencast of the best public comments you received via social accounts that week/month.
- Make a video response to a question posed in social.
- Try Mind Mapping - plug some popular video topics into MindMeister.com and see what related ideas pop up.
- Explain what a current piece of news means to your customers.
- Interview interesting customers - the one who travels the farthest to visit you, the oldest or youngest, your most frequent or loyal customers, etc.
- Check out TheAdFeed.com or AdsOfTheWorld.com to see which commercial videos are doing well and why.
- Create a video how-to or tutorial.
- Industry webinar Q&As - make videos answering questions that come up in industry-related webinars or conference calls you participate in.
- Crowdsource a customer question and make a screencast video discussing the responses - post the question to Google+ or Facebook and see what your other followers have to say.
- Make a “Quick Tips” or “5 Things You Might Not Know About X” video.
- Troll forums in your industry and see what types of questions people are asking, then making videos offering solutions.
- Host a local meetup, info session, or seminar and make a video of the highlights.
- Review or demo non-competitive yet related products that your customers may find helpful.
- Create holiday videos featuring staff and their well-wishes for customers. Use SocialBro.com to see what special events your customers in different locations may be interested in.
Some of these ideas are linked to happenings in your local area - even if they’re not directly related to your business, you are showing fans and followers you’re an active part of their community. Other sources will allow you to add your own perspective and tie the topic back into your own business.
The point is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, slaving away over a blank page for hours in an effort to come up with something to say that hasn’t been said a million times already. Existing ideas and content can inspire new content without running the risk of plagiarism or regurgitating old information, as long as you get creative!
The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates available through Sept 12. Register today!