If writing is part of your job, you know the nonstop struggle to produce inspired ideas.
Everyone gets stuck. Fortunately, there are loads of ways to spark creativity and generate fresh, compelling article ideas.
Try these five strategies when the well runs dry:
1. Diversify your content.
Do all your articles have the same format?
If you’re stuck in a 500-word, five-bullet blog post rut, consider creating:
- A how-to guide
- A cheat sheet
- A checklist
- A short video
- A post featuring an interview with an industry expert
For inspiration, check out the Travel Channel blog, which features a lovely mix of topics and formats.
2. Monitor trending news.
Newsjacking is an easy way to find inspiration.
To see what’s trending in your industry, give Buzzsumo a try. It can help you find popular stories related to your search term, and you can take a broader look at general news topics or coverage.
What’s happening that you can piggyback on? Find a compelling person, story or event that has a broad appeal, and use that topic as a springboard for your piece.
3. Repurpose old content.
If you’ve maintained a blog for a few years, there’s a good chance that older posts could be valuable for your audience. Instead of simply reposting an old article, beef it up. Try these repurposing tips:
- Update an old post with new info. Say you wrote a guide called “How to get more YouTube followers in 2018.” In 2019, you could update that piece with new guidance. This technique applies to any content that offers tips that change over time, such as evolving guidance regarding SEO or social media best practices.
- Turn a single post into a series. If you have a standout post that resonated with your audience, why not create a series of similar or related posts?
- Create variations of the same subject. Take a topic you’ve written about, and apply it to a narrower audience. If you’ve covered “Best summer vacations in New England,” you can then do “Best summer vacations in New England for families with kids” or “Best vacations in New England for solo travelers.”
4. Keep an eye on the competition.
You don’t want to steal anyone’s content, but you can use competitors as a source of inspiration. Perhaps someone in your industry covered a hot-button topic that you missed, or maybe you see that a peer’s followers are responding well to something you hadn’t considered.
Your competition can also be a great source for collaboration. Is there someone in your industry you admire and would love to work with? Try co-authoring an article or swapping guest posts on your respective blogs.
Don’t view the competition as an enemy. Collaborating with competitors is often mutually beneficial, and it’s an easy way to expand your audience.
5. Ask the audience.
Ask your people what matters to them, which types of content they enjoy and which platforms they prefer.
You can create a poll on social media or pose questions and see what people say. Either way, let your audience’s preferences, needs and insights drive the content you create.
All writers struggle to consistently generate creativity, inspiration and fresh content ideas. Instead of waiting until your muse arrives, kick-start the creative process by taking advantage of the story components around you.