One of the biggest issues in content marketing today is the problem of rehashed pieces of content.
Readers find them appalling. Search engines don’t index them.
Even worse, your target customers hate them. Everyone wants to see something fresh and useful all the time.
So how do you ensure you’re always churning out unique (and useful) content?
Here are a few ideas that work:
1. Check your industry surveys and statistics
Your industry stats and surveys reveal the hot topics in your industry per time. They could serve as a source of great topic ideas for you.
For example, as a freelance writer, my business is in the content marketing space.
If I want to draw important topics in my niche from surveys or reports, I can just google “Content marketing report”, “Content marketing report 2016 (or 2015, etc.)” or “stats in content marketing”.
Here are the results Google puts forward on the first page for “content marketing report”:
So let’s say I opened the first result, here are some of the interesting stats I’ll find:
- 85% of marketers say they’ll be focusing on lead generation more than any other thing in 2016. So now I know lead generation is a hot topic for my prospects (marketers).
- Only 30% of marketers say they find content marketing effective. This implies that if I write a post or even an ebook on how to make content marketing effective, marketers will most likely pay attention to it.
To generate headlines from any of these statistics, I simply need to think of a few different ways they can be addressed or worsened.
Example: for lead generation, I could write on how leads can be generated or things that could damage a lead generation plan. Here are a few ideas that come to mind:
- 7 Uncommon Ways To Generate Leads From Videos
- 12 Lethal Practices That Can Easily Sabotage Your Lead Generation Strategy
- How To Smartly Generate Leads Using White Papers
- How Content Marketing Can Deter Leads, Instead Of Generating them
- And so forth.
Bonus tip: You can also google tips on [topics that totally unrelated to your niche] and see what to adapt to the topics you’ve found from your industry stats. For example, if you google “ecommerce tips”, here’s what you’ll get:
Take the first and second results for example:
- “50 Unbeatable Ecommerce Marketing Tips. We could change this to 10 (or any number) Matchless Lead Generation Tips.
- ‘9 Tips to Make Your Ecommerce Business Wildly Successful’. This could be rewritten as ‘9 Simple Ways To Make Your Lead Generation Strategy Wildly Effective’
Notice we’re not just copying and pasting the topics. Use synonyms to change the words in the headlines. For ‘Unbeatable’, I used ‘Matchless’. For Successful, I used Effective. And so on.
2. Share your experiences
Your stories can easily be a source for original ideas. Take Brian Dean of Backlinko for example, he blogs about his experiences with SEO most of the time.
And you’d notice that his topics are mostly unique. Why? They’re his stories. Even if he writes on topics that have been covered several times on other blogs, his would be unique––because he’d be writing on the topic from his perspective.
When you tell stories, even if they’re on topics that have been covered before, they’ll still be unique because you’d be writing them from your own standpoint, which would be mostly different from other people’s experience.
Even more, we’ve heard time and again that as emotional beings, storytelling helps us connect people on an emotional level. The Storytellers put it more succinctly:
“We have an intuitive, emotional side as well as a deliberate, rational side to our character. Too often in business, we only try and connect with people on a rational level but this isn’t enough to actually change how people behave. People may understand what you want them to do but if they aren’t emotionally engaged they just won’t do it!”
3. Ask your subscribers for the one topic they’ll like you to cover
Your subscribers are mostly the closest audience you have. For them to willingly give you their email addresses, your insights mostly mean quite a lot to them.
So when you ask them for the one topic they want you to cover, it costs them almost nothing to let you know the one obstacle they’re facing in your industry.
You can throw this question at them in a couple of ways:
- Add the question to your welcome email
- Periodically send out an email to all your subscribers.
4. Check your industry forums and comments on the topics you’re writing on
These comments could be on posts you wrote or those written by other people.
Sometimes, readers ask questions and make statements in comment sections of posts, and those questions sometimes reveal what a lot of other people are looking for answers to.
The same applies to your industry forums or communities. Folks in your space usually use forums to ask questions that confuse them or that they want to learn more about.
Take Inbound.org, for example:
You can pull headlines from any of the discussions above. For example, the first thread about fresh or expired domains is something I could write on. Here are a couple of likely ideas:
- 6 Surprising Reasons Why Expired Domains Are Great For Starting A Blog
- Why I’d Never Use An Expired Domain To Start A Blog
5. Read other experts’ content
Personally, I can’t count how many times I’ve stumbled on some of my best ideas from other people’s content.
Fresh ideas could come from points they make that you don’t agree with or points that you probably want to buttress on.
For example, when you see a topic “Why Lead Generation Is More Important Every Other Goal In Marketing”, you could disagree with the topic and persuade readers to take your side of the topic––if you have valid stats, surveys or case studies to back your points up.
So your ‘counter-topic’ could be something like: “Why [Something Else] Is More Important Than Lead Generation In Marketing”.
Expert Internet Marketer Sam Hurley (of Optim Eyez) once mentioned in a post on Contentools that there are three effective ways to generate unique content and countering popular beliefs is one of them. In his own words:
“Challenge dogmas: add a new perspective to an existing discussion (controversial opinions are always welcome).”
6. Jot down your random ideas
Sometimes our best ideas show up when we least expect them. And we’ve got to be ready when they do.
Otherwise we’d lose them, which could lead to a couple of consequences, like leads and customers that could’ve come from those ideas if we had written on them, relevant people, prospects or brands that could’ve noticed us, etc.
So you need to always jot down useful and interesting ideas. In other words, you should always have a notepad—of any sort—on you per time. It could be your phone, a small diary, etc. Just make sure you’re ready.
In a nutshell: Find topic ideas that people and search engines love
Regurgitating content isn’t good for anyone––whether search engines, your audience or your business. When you publish them, people don’t applaud you, search engines don’t index them and most importantly, you don’t get conversions. Hence, work on putting out great and original content all the time.
P.S. Have any tips to add on how to generate fresh ideas for content? Drop your comments below. If you like this content and need a freelance writer to help you write content of the same calibre, let’s discuss.