Stumped for new content ideas? 5 tips

Content curation isn’t just a way to share information with your community. It can also be a good source of ideas for original content.

I recently struck up a conversation with a gentleman seated next to me on a plane—also a technology marketer—about content curation and how difficult it can be to keep up with the barrage of information online.

We discussed the curation tools available, what we liked and didn’t like, and successful ways to organize relevant information to keep our respective communities engaged.

I asked him what was the key to curation and he said: “Learn how to be an intellectual thief.”

He explained that content curation is not only about discovering the most important and relevant information to share. It’s also about searching for clues within a story to expound the discussion, or carry the conversation in a different direction by creating original content.

Below are five content curation tips to help you become an intellectual thief. By “thief,” I don’t mean you should steal content or copy other people’s work without proper attribution or linking to the source. Always remember to do that!

1. Read the comment sections of posts and articles.

Dive deep into the fertile ground of blog post and article comment sections. You’ll find a treasure trove of expert insights and opinions, often with new or opposing viewpoints.

This is a great way to learn new perspectives, identify industry experts to interview (or ask to guest blog), and think creatively about developing new content.

2. Research content in industries other than yours.

You’d be surprised by how much you can learn from reading and researching information in industries unrelated to what you do.

If you struggle to come up with fresh content ideas for your community, take a look at industries outside your comfort zone. For example, since I work for a multi-national company, I sometimes look at how car manufacturers market their products in other countries for new content ideas.

3. Be the first to comment on an article or post.

Have you ever stumbled across an outstanding piece of content that no one commented on? Why not be the first to offer some feedback to spark the conversation? I frequently comment on articles by experts in targeted industries, which have sparked new ideas for an article or blog post. Additionally, after starting the conversation, I discovered some industry pros I was previously unaware of, one of which I invited to guest blog for me and he did.

4. Get out of the house and away from your computer.

It’s important to spend an adequate amount of time participating in conversations away from a computer or phone. Since it’s impossible to overhear online conversations, attend industry networking and educational conferences to exchange ideas and develop story ideas.

I recently attended a health care conference to mingle with industry professionals and journalists. During the conference, I met several people who gave me ideas on a couple of blog posts and an article. I likely wouldn’t have detected those opportunities sitting behind my desk.

5. Familiarize yourself with content curation tools and define a purpose.

This isn’t a how-to post on proper content curation techniques, but if you don’t use some of the free Web tools available, or haven’t identified the reason you’re curating content in the first place, here are some tips to get started:

John Trader works for M2SYS Technology. A version of this article first appeared on

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