Adapt your existing content
1. Divide your existing content into smaller ‘micro content’.
Marketing legend Gary Vaynerchuk’s concept of ‘micro content’ is to take one small idea from your previous content and make a quick post about it. He suggests that the easiest place to start is to revisit your own content, and pull out an idea that can stand on its own as good advice. Another strategy is to call out a concept you have previously referenced that could benefit from an independent explanation or exploration.
2. Take your existing content and go larger.
Take ideas and thoughts that you have written or spoken about in the past, and group them together into themed groups. For example, create a Product/Service Comparison or an Ultimate Guide. You could make a list that brings together many possible solutions for a single problem (just like this article!). Do the research work yourself to save time for your audience.
3. Share or adapt your existing content for new platforms.
If you have written about a topic as a full article, you could easily record it as a podcast and a video. Maybe you already have a video topic that you could transform into an infographic. Look for inspiration in different places, online and offline.
4. Plan ahead for multiple platforms.
When working on your content creation schedule, you can plan ahead to use the same content for multiple platforms. For example, if you have a podcast, simply film your recording session and put it up on YouTube! Now you have double the content for almost no extra effort, and your YouTube audience understands that it’s a recorded podcast so all they are expecting is a single-camera video with no editing.
5. Share something really old.
Audiences are especially interested to see something that has never been online before. It’s always exciting to bring information online for the first time – especially if your company has been around for many decades. For example, scanning old photos or advertisements for ThrowBack Thursday posts.
Share stories and behind the scenes content
6. Stories from customers and client testimonial.
Customer stories and client testimonials are great because they are basically free advertising that you have earned by proving your value to that person. If you have helped people in the past, take a moment to ask them if they can share their story with your audience.
7. Interview an employee or colleague.
This tip is for companies and brands: by interviewing an employee or colleague, you can share a personal story that makes your content more relatable and interesting.
8. Time lapse videos.
This one is easy – just set up a camera while you work on something, and then speed up the footage into a quick time lapse video. It’s another strategy that helps you create more content with almost no extra work. Time Lapse videos work well to show the process of a single project, for example painting a mural, decluttering a room, or constructing a building. To capture digital workflows like illustration projects, simply use a screen recording software while you work, and then add music or narration over the edited video.
9. Go behind the scenes.
Similar to recording your project for a time lapse video, people are always interested in other “behind the scenes” style content. Popular examples are: to explain how a physical project came together, to make a video about how an Instagram photoshoot was staged and edited, and also going backstage at an exclusive industry event.
10. Live stream or record quick thoughts.
If you don’t want to live stream on social media, that’s OK! What you can do instead is capture authentic moments when they happen, and use those for quick low-effort posts that still have value for your audience. For example, if you hear something on the street that sparks a thought, just use your phone to record a quick reaction video if you think that your idea holds value.
Get inspiration from industry leaders
11. Follow industry leaders and repost relevant content.
Make sure that the content you repost is relevant to your audience and their needs. Only promote products and events that are relevant and helpful to your own online community.
12. Learn from the visual style of industry leaders.
Content is never just words – there is always a visual component to your communication. Even podcasts need cover art and channel branding! Pay attention to the visual style of your favorite industry leaders, and see if you can try a technique for your own content.
Get questions directly from your audience
13. FAQ: answer frequently asked questions.
The most obvious example of this is strategy is when influencers ask their subscribers to send in questions, and then the influencer answers those questions in a batch. Companies can do this as well – and might already have an FAQ section of their website that can be adapted into new content.
14. Find your audience forums and online communities.
Find the online groups and communities where your target audience and/or potential clients spend time – ideally you will find something like a forum where people share ideas and seek advice from each other, such as Quora or Reddit. This is the biggest secret to never running out of content ideas: just read what it is that your target audience is actually asking for, then take time to understand what they need or are struggling with, and finally generate specific content to provide the help they need. Once you have created the content that answers a question, go back and share it with that forum – your new audience will thank you!
15. Run a poll on social media.
Some social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook offer the ability to set up a poll to directly ask your audience what they think about a specific issue or topic. Then you can even make a follow up post that reveals the results! This poll feature is often used on Instagram Stories to have an audience pick which of two designs they prefer.
16. Ask your subscribers what they want to see.
A very popular strategy with personality influencers is to literally just ask their subscribers what content they want to see next. Guess what, it works!
Use Google Search and Google Trends
17. Read Google Search autofill suggestions.
Even when you don’t have content ideas, you can start by thinking of just one keyword or phrase that is relevant to your target audience. Start typing it into Google Search and as you type, the search engine will attempt to autofill / autocomplete your search phrase with suggestions that appear in grey ahead of your text cursor. This feature aims to reduce the time and effort of typing a long search query. Autofill suggestions are based on real Google searches from around the world, so you can trust that people are interested in the answers to those queries. Use this search bar method to generate many content ideas that are relevant to your target audience, all from just one keyword or phrase.
18. Read Google Search suggestions under ‘People Also Ask’.
Once you have used Google Search to look for a content idea, scroll down in your search results until you see a section titled ‘People also ask’. It is a collection of search queries that are related to the text that you just searched, and it looks like a set of drop down menus (with one drop down menu arrow next to each question). Use this method to find whole questions that people are asking about a particular topic.
19. Read Google Search results and go deeper.
This tip is for long-form content like articles or review videos. When you have a content idea but you are not sure whether it’s a good idea, go to Google Search and type in the draft title for your article or video. If you see results that have a numbered list such as “3 ways to do X” or “10 ways to do X”, then you can create similar content that goes deeper, such as “15 ways to do X”. Google Search algorithms prefer to serve this kind of in-depth content to answer queries.
20. Use Google Trends to find popular keywords and topics.
Google Trends (https://trends.google.com/trends) is a free online tool made by Google that lets you type a keyword or phrase and then it shows the number of search counts (i.e. popularity) of that keyword or phrase over time in a certain region. You can set the parameters for the date range that you want to see data for, and you can also select a country or region to get more specific data about what people are searching. Once you have specified the result parameters for one keyword, you can add another keyword to search and then compare the results for both. At the time of writing, Google Trends lets you compare up to five search keywords or phrases.
Use keyword analysis and suggestion tools
21. Use free website tool ‘Answer The Public’ to find popular keywords and topics.
Answer The Public (www.answerthepublic.com) is a free online tool that lets you type a keyword and then it shows all the actual questions being searched around the web that include your keyword or phrase. At the time of writing, this tool lets you search twice per day for free, so use them wisely! Data is displayed in a number of different ways, including alphabetically sorted lists and infographics.
22. Use Keywords Everywhere to find popular keywords and topics.
Keywords Everywhere is a paid browser extension that will overlay keyword search data across any website text. For this reason it is a powerful tool when combined with other tools that help you by suggesting relevant keywords and topics. For example, if you use Google Search for a query and scroll down to ‘People Also Ask’, then you will see Keywords Everywhere display the monthly search count (i.e. popularity) of each related search query. Keywords Everywhere was a free tool until mid-2019, and it now has a low monthly subscription price. It works in the Google Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Batch create content ideas for later
23. Keep an idea log.
Make sure to keep an idea log where you can save content ideas and titles. Ideally, save it somewhere that you can edit easily from your phone and computer. If you are creating query-based content, then make sure to double check these titles and ideas with the Google Search, Google Trends, and other keyword tools mentioned in this article.
24. Use the free online tool Awesome Titles to generate 700 titles.
Awesome Titles (www.title-generator.com) is a free online tool that lets you type a few keywords and then it generates 700 titles based on those keywords. Great for sparking content ideas!
Share your expertise
25. Share a lesson learned.
Create content around something you have learned through your experiences in your industry or niche.
26. Recommend a resource.
Recommend a resource to your audience, especially if it is a resource that you created. If you don’t have any, then go and create some educational resources for your audience. Resources might include a book, tool, training, course, video, directory, infographic, or a template file.
27. Entertain your audience.
You can be an expert or a professional business and still include moments of authenticity in your content. Your audience wants you to be relatable at some level, and maybe even to entertain them. Have a good mix of content so that most of it educates and entertains, rather than looking like a plain advertisement or self-promotion.
Demonstrate social awareness
28. Community or charity event involvement.
Create content around events where you or your company are participating in community or charity events. Look ahead to see if there are upcoming charitable events that you want to get involved in.
29. Social awareness and relevant environmental issues.
Modern consumers expect all companies to have some awareness of their own impact on the environment. If you or your company are actively reducing your environmental impact, then share your efforts and progress. Social awareness content can tie in to date-specific annual events such as Earth Hour.
30. Create date-specific content.
Date-specific content is either tied to a day of the week (e.g. Marketing Monday), or it is related to annual events, holidays, or special occasions that impact the public broadly – especially if the event impacts your normal business hours. For internationally important dates, refer to the United Nations’ calendar of UN International Days:
Collaborate with industry experts
31. Interview an industry or niche expert.
Interviewing an expert in your industry adds credibility to your content overall (which is part of a process known by content marketers as ‘authority building’). Interviewing an expert can give your content great exposure if the person is well-known in your industry or niche, and especially if that expert does not have their own social or online platforms to promote their own ideas.
32. Collaborate with another content creator.
This strategy works especially well if you collaborate with a content creator that shares the same platforms you do, so that you can more easily cross-promote the content that you create together. For example, if you both have YouTube audiences with similar demographics, then you could collaborate to make one video together for your channel and one video for their channel. This gives an opportunity for your audience to get value from this other content creator, and it also provides you with a chance to connect with their audience (that you already know is similar to your audience).
Ask for user generated content
33. User generated content: competitions or giveaways.
The holy grail of content creation is user generated content! This is a strategy where you establish opportunities for your audience to make content and tag you in it. If that sounds good to you, the best place to start is with a competition or a giveaway – and ideally a giveaway would be giving people a sample of your own products or services. Ask your audience to post on their own social accounts with a specific hashtag for the competition. This works best if you sell physical products, for example, if you sell sunglasses then you would ask your audience to post a photo of themselves wearing your sunglasses, along with your company’s main hashtag and the competition hashtag. Take the best user generated content and repost it on your own channels (with the creator’s permission if required).
34. User generated content: industry events.
If you are hosting an event, simply ask your attendees to use a hashtag that is specific to that conference or event. This will share your event hashtag with each of their social networks, some of whom might be interested in your next event. Take the best user generated content and repost it on your own channels (with the creator’s permission if required).