Ideas might have grown on trees for Newton, but content marketers have to look to some other unlikely places for inspiration.
If you struggle to come up with topics for blog posts and articles, you’re not alone. In fact, 44% of marketers are in the boat with you. Whether you’re a content marketer or simply trying to keep your business on page one of the SERPs, you’ll want to know the best way to come up with killer content in a matter of minutes.
In this post we’ll shed some light on some of the best methods and content idea generator tools to give your writing a headstart, saving you more time to focus on refining that copy.
What is a content generator?
A content generator is a tool that automatically generates ideas and content for websites, blogs or other online platforms. It may generate content by scraping existing content, using a template and filling in the blanks or even using artificial intelligence to create unique content, such as the much-discussed ChatGPT.
Content generators can help save time and effort in creating content, making them a popular choice for busy entrepreneurs and marketers. However, they need to be used with caution as they can create unoriginal and even spurious claims that could harm your ranking and your relationship with your audience base.
Really, there is no shortcut or substitute for understanding your audience and coming up with unique content ideas that will engage them emotionally and intellectually. You know your audience better than any computer from the interactions you have with them. And so long as you've cemented your brand story and style, you are going to be better equipped to write in that particular voice than an algorithm. However, if you need a launch pad from which to begin brainstorming ideas, there are some tried and tested methods and content idea tools that can help.
How to come up with content ideas
If you're wondering how to generate blog ideas or how to come up with content ideas for other types of media, then there are a few tips you can employ before you resort to tools:
1. Start with your audience: Consider your target audience and what they are interested in. What are their pain points, needs and interests? This can help you come up with content ideas that are relevant and valuable to them.
2. Brainstorm: Set aside some time to brainstorm ideas. Write down any topic that comes to mind, even if it seems silly or unrelated. You can always refine or eliminate ideas later.
3. Check out your competitors: Research what topics your competitors are covering and find a way to put your spin on those topics.
4. Use social media: Look at social media trends and hashtags to see what people are talking about. This can help you identify topics that are relevant and timely.
5. Repurpose old content: Take a look at your older content and see if there are ways to update or repurpose it. You can turn a blog post into a video or create an infographic from a podcast episode.
6. Ask for feedback: Ask your audience what they would like to see more of. You can conduct surveys, polls or read through comments to get an idea of what they're interested in.
7. Look outside your industry: Expand your thinking beyond your industry or niche. What topics are trending in the news or in popular culture that you can relate to your audience?
10 content idea generator tools
If you're at the point where you need a helping hand, then these 10 content topic generator tools could save you precious time and energy:
Any content marketer knows that producing copy that engages and gets those valuable shares and leads is key to boosting your conversion rate. BuzzSumo pools the top search results for specific keywords based on engagement across the web and social platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
It’s a great way to see not only your competitors but also inspire your own content ideas with trending content. You can gain insights for free, but the paid version offers much more and is a sound investment if you’re managing your own business blog.
2. Answer The Public
Although full use of this tool costs, you can get limited daily searches for free which is great if you really don’t know where to start with a topic.
Enter your keyword phrase and receive potentially hundreds of relevant query terms from real search engine users, so you know exactly what web browsers want to know and can deliver it straight to them (and them to your website).
The suggestions are divided up into easily scannable categories including who, what, why, when and how questions, which are the basis for most search queries and make great SEO-friendly titles.
SEMrush are masters of keyword and domain analysis, and investing in one of their plans is a great idea if you’re looking to take your website to new heights on Google. However, if you just want a bit of help coming up with some topics, use their Title Generator which comes up with attention-grabbing title suggestions for your keyword.
Another way to use SEMrush or another analytics tool is to furnish you with a list of relevant keywords which you can then create content around. If you’re building your blog from the ground up and want to start with a good foundation of SEO-friendly articles, this is an excellent strategy.
Find the most relevant keywords for your domain and services and work through them in order of the lowest keyword difficulty, helping you grow your position online. Remember to link back to internal and external pages to build your relevance and establish a clear customer journey.
Ubersuggest is an analytics and keyword ideas generator tool from marketing guru Neil Patel. Similar to SEMrush, only more simplified for first-time users, you can search keywords or domains and get instant insight into the demographics of searchers, click-through rates, browsing device, corresponding long-tail keywords and some of the top content ideas. There’s also a free-to-use version, just log in with your Google account.
5. & 6. HubSpot & Portent
The HubSpot and Portent idea generators are a couple more headline tools that can give you a fresh new angle on old-hat topics. These are a great option if you’re looking to make a boring topic sound fresh and interesting and want to stand out from the host of other content on the SERPs.
They certainly generate titles that stop you in your tracks, but take them with a pinch of salt as they come from a stock basis so the combinations don’t always make sense!
7. Google Trends
If you’re writing for daily news sites or simply to get picked up on social media, then it’s worth bearing in mind the top trending topics. Google Trends is a great way to see what people are talking about in different parts of the world over various timeframes, as you can narrow down your focus.
The only thing to beware is that it can be a double-edged sword: if lots of people are talking about this topic, then you know there’s a readership out there; but equally, you could easily get lost in a sea of opinion, plus trends come and go, so make sure you’re quick off the mark and that your angle stands out.
8. Social media
Similarly to Google Trends, don’t neglect those all-important social platforms for sources of content ideas. If providing up-to-the-minute commentary on the latest developments is integral to your brand, these allow you to know what your target audience cares about and start blogging about it.
Make sure you link to your blog on the relevant platforms, using the hashtags that are part of your audience’s wider conversations. Spreading your visibility from blog > social and back again is a great way to pick up new customers and establish your brand as a credible authority with its own voice.
9. News sites
Looking to create timely content? Don’t neglect the value of a good old Google News search. If you’re stuck for content ideas, simply navigating to this tab in your search engine and inputting your keyword will allow you to see the most relevant articles published recently. Make sure you toggle the search tools to within your date limit and country of origin.
Alternatively, if you want to write about a new topic that is creating a bit of a buzz, try other news sites such as the BBC, Guardian, BuzzFeed, LADbible, Bustle and Metro for inspiration on leftfield topics and angles that their features writers may have unearthed.
We've already mentioned ChatGPT and AI, and a list like this would be remiss not to include it. But we stand by the caveats mentioned above. Like all the others on this list, AI content generation tools can be good for quick ideation of blog topics, but they have their shortcomings.
For starters, they're not optimised for search, so if you'd like to make a dent in the SERPs, you really want to be doing keyword research to find the queries your audience are looking for online. They also need a good degree of human editing to ensure the content is tailored to your audience, by which point, you might wonder why you didn't write it from scratch or have a professional writer do it for you.
Prepare a go-to list
If you’re a regular writer of content, having an editorial calendar can help you keep on top of the topics you plan to write about so that you don’t let a good idea pass you. The added benefit is that you can then plan your content seasonally and around awareness days so that you can jump on the # bandwagon and promote your content across social media.
Or if you simply write for several clients on an ad hoc basis in specific sectors, then why not keep a simple spreadsheet or document with topic suggestions for each keyword?
Read More: How to put together an editorial calendar
Outsource your content writing today
If this all sounds too difficult, you might be tempted to throw in the towel. But why is it so important to keep up with your digital content schedule? Well, let me leave you with this thought:
“Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads”.
That makes it a no-brainer when you’re thinking about how to increase brand awareness and organic traffic.
✏️If you’re struggling to create content for your business that is topical, engaging and relevant, our blogging service can save you time and effort.
Main image credit: Miguel Á. Padriñán