5 Unexpected Ways To Find Content Ideas

“What’s on the schedule this week?”

“No idea.”

If you, like me, are a content marketer struggling every day to find new content ideas, this article is for you.

Despite the trends and turns in the marketing world, content marketing is here to stay.

According to The state of Content marketing 2020, almost half of the marketing budgets nowadays are spent on content.

With the huge amount of content produced around the world, it is common knowledge that at this point we’ve reached content saturation

Social shares of blog posts have declined steadily since 2015 (source)

This means that creating interesting, original, high-quality content is harder than ever.

Content marketing works very well for many businesses, including SaaS Businesses like Timeneye. I have written more than 150 articles for the Timeneye blog, in addition to product guides, landing pages, guest posts, videos, and social media posts.

So I’m very familiar with sitting in front of a blank Google Doc, starting at my computer screen, desperately waiting for inspiration.

via GIPHY

Creating high-quality content takes time and energy. Marketers have to be very careful about how they manage their schedule and still produce content with little resources, and cannot afford to spend too much time waiting for inspiration to strike.

If you need fresh content ideas, you can try to look into these 5 places you may have not thought about – and save you lots of time.

5 Ways to find unexpected Content ideas

#1 Google Autocomplete

This is not really an unusual place since the “google autocomplete technique” is widely suggested for SEO purposes when writing articles and blog posts.

But one thing I do is not just use the search bar, but the “people also ask” and “related searches” part of the SERP to find how to structure the blog post.

Full credit goes to Neil Patel for this technique, which he explained in this blog post right here (although he does it with an LSI Keyword Generator).

Step #1: Type the keyword in the Google search bar;

Step #2: Take a look at the “People also ask” accordion and the “related searches”:

Step #3: Make the top keyword your headline, then use the related searches in subheadings and subparagraphs.

This helps not only in outlining your piece of content, but also in building the structure of your article with queries that people actually want to know about, according to Google.

#2 Pinterest suggestions

I love Pinterest. I think it’s an underrated social network with so much potential. Pinterest works really well for some niches such as food, interior design, or anything visual.

I still use it even though I’m in the time tracking/productivity niche, to share infographics like this one.

And this is how I use Pinterest for generating content ideas:

Step#1: Type your main keyword/topic in the search bar;

Step#2: Hit “Search”;

Step#3: Take a look at the suggested tags under the search bar:

This is where your content idea pops out.

For example: if I type “time management tips”, I see that immediately under the search bar I have the suggestion “for students”.

Now, that’s an angle of the time management topic I can explore. Of course, I’ll have to craft a piece that’s more targeted and less general than “Time management for students” but this is still a great starting point.

#3 Job offers

I’m sure that as a marketer you have your marketing personas very clear by now.

Now, you have to create useful content that fits the needs of your personas.

What does your persona need to do in their everyday work/life? What are their responsibilities?

Nothing makes this clearer than job offers.

Step #1: Go to LinkedIn or other websites that post job offers. (I personally prefer LinkedIn because the job offers are very detailed, and it’s easier to refine the search with LinkedIn’s filters);

Step #2: Look for a job offer for the role of your personas;

Step #3: Take a close look at the job description and responsibilities. What this person is expected to do, is your content idea.

Here’s an example.

This is a job offer published on LinkedIn by the Disney Company:

This is clearly the profile for a corporate-level persona.

Scrolling down the offer, I can see that one of the responsibilities is “digital reporting and budget management”. I wonder if they need some help with that?

I could craft an article on the likes of “The best templates for digital reporting”, “X steps to deliver a project on budget”… and so on.

#4 Support tickets

This works really well if you’re offering a service or a SaaS product like we do at Timeneye.

In fact, I have used this technique to create a lot of content for our blog.

In my daily work, I take care of support tickets for clients as well. There are two reasons for that: first, we’re a small team and we necessarily have to wear many hats. Secondly, it helps me – and my team members – keep connected to our user base.

So, sometimes I may receive tickets like this:

Instead of just answering that single client, why don’t I try to answer all of them? If this client, in particular, has decided to write me, it’s likely that there are others in the same situation who have given up or don’t want to go through the hassle of opening a ticket.

I can create a longer version of the answer and turn it in a detailed blog post or guide, or even a video or a slideshow.

So, to sum it up:

Step #1: Find the most frequently asked questions in your support tickets;

Step #2: Take the answer and turn it into a long-form article, a guide, a video tutorial and so on.

I have used this method to create a “How to Timeneye” series on our blog, to help our users get the most out of the software and fit it in their daily work.

Here’s my content on the Timeneye – Asana integration specifically:

#5 Your own content

Take a look at the content you’ve created in the past:

  • Is there a topic that you have only written once about? Expand the topic!
  • Or, is there a very old article that you feel could use some updating? Write a better version of it!
  • Can you turn a blog post into a video or an infographic and vice versa? Do it! 

Hubspot managed to see a massive increase in traffic by updating and republishing articles without creating a single piece of new content.

Sometimes inspiration isn’t that far away!

Saving And Managing Time As A Content Creator

Every single step of content creation takes time. As it should!

You cannot create great content if you don’t dedicate the focus and resources necessary for doing a good job.

However, time is a finite resource and – as many content marketers learn the hard way – it’s really difficult to manage a busy schedule when we work on many clients, deadlines, and assignments.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, here are some time management tips that I think will help busy content marketers:

  1. Define the steps of content creation;
    Break down your workflow ( for example, for a blog post it could be “Brainstorming>Reaserch>Writing>Reviewing>Analysis”) so you’re aware of the different phases of content creation;
  2. Try to budget your time (to some extent);
    I’m not saying you should put a stopwatch on your desk, but try to assign a certain amount of time to any of the content creation steps, to avoid getting sidetracked;
  3. Use automation tools to remove repetitive tasks from your schedule
    I recommend tools like Zapier that makes you build automation between more than 2000 apps;
  4. Keep track of where your time goes
    You can’t optimize your time if you don’t know where you spend it, so make sure to use a time tracking tool;
  5. Audit your time
    Regularly performing a time audit will make you clearly see how you’ve used your time, and where you can improve.

Most Importantly: Have Fun!

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s important to manage time carefully. However don’t obsess about it, and most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy what you do. 

Learn how to manage your schedule, be more effective with your time, and also reaffirm the reason why you love what you do. You’ll find that it will give you a creativity boost!

Cover image by Steve Johnson from Pixabay

First published on August 2020, edited after publication for spelling and clarity

About Stefania

Marketing Manager at Timeneye. She's passionate about technology and finding better, smarter ways to work. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and belting out tunes from Broadway musicals (although the neighbours don't seem to appreciate that). Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.