How to Generate Effective Content Ideas

February 2, 2024
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‍Finding ideas for creating content may seem like an easy task until you try it in practice. It may turn out that competitors have already written and told everything, and the initial list of ideas is not so big. Even if you prepare really high-quality material, it will ultimately only be read by a few dozen users. The reason is simple: the post does not reveal anything new, or the topic is too stale.

How to Generate Effective Content Ideas

‍You need to look for fresh ideas for articles constantly. Particularly exciting things can be found if you move away from the standard method of “collecting semantics → grouping keys → compiling article topics based on these groups.”

Competitor Analysis: Combine, Don’t Copy

‍The first and most obvious way to find ideas for articles and new pages on the site is to analyze competitors’ resources. The problem is that everyone is doing this, and by copying what others have already created, you definitely can’t claim originality.

‍But the difference, as always, is in the approaches. It is not so important to collect the information itself as to interpret it correctly and create something new based on the results obtained.

‍For example, you can take page visibility data in Serpstat (SEO analysis → Leading pages) as a source of topics. But besides visibility in organic search, another important metric that you need to pay attention to is popularity on social networks.

‍Now, you need to think about how to form the headings of article topics so that keywords are integrated into them and the headings are attractive enough for the target audience to attract attention on social media. This approach allows you to play well with even quite banal and often described topics.

Explore Thematic Media

‍For some reason, almost everyone thinks of studying competitors’ websites, but few people think of looking towards thematic and mass media. This is often a much more attractive source for new ideas. Editorial teams ideally know what is attractive to the market and have extensive analytics regarding the audience’s interests. If you are interested in playing the long game rather than a one-time job, we recommend subscribing to the RSS feeds of the most exciting publications.

Pay Attention to the Forums

‍Forums are one of the best ways to learn potential clients’ fundamental problems, generate a list of non-obvious questions, and generate a large number of ideas for new articles or landing pages.

‍There are large forums in any more or less popular niche. Sometimes, sections with forums, discussions, questions, and answers are found on information sites with relatively high traffic. Just select a thread that interests you and start studying the topic headings.

Social Networks: An Inexhaustible Source of Ideas

‍While forums are primarily stagnant and their audience is not growing, user activity on social networks continues to increase. On Facebook, you can find communities and pages on almost any topic; filtering them by the number of participants is convenient.

‍Then everything is simple: search the feed for popular publications with many likes, reposts, and comments. This way, you can find completely non-obvious ideas that attract the audience’s attention.

‍I would also like to mention Pinterest. This is just a Klondike of interesting publications with an excellent recommendation system.

Channels and Videos on YouTube

‍One peculiarity of YouTube is that in terms of content distribution, the mechanics that work here are very similar to social networking algorithms. A large number of views is achieved not through optimization for internal search but through good targeting of the target audience’s interests. Well-optimized content that is uninteresting to people and to which they do not respond cannot become popular in principle.

‍This makes YouTube a good source of article ideas with potentially high engagement rates. All you need to search is to enter a key phrase on the topic that interests you and play with the filters (viewing, time added, etc.) Analyzing the channels you tagged videos from would also be a good idea. It is quite possible that the owner has put the creation of good content on stream, and it would be worth subscribing to it to track the appearance of new exciting videos.

Subscribe to Newsletters and Digests

‍Newsletters work well in terms of audience retention, and they are usually conducted by those players who have learned how to work well with content. At a minimum, to launch a newsletter regularly, you must first collect a subscriber base, and people will not leave their email if the content is not attractive to them.

‍Subscribe to competitors’ email newsletters, thematic media, and forums. Some resources simply send a list of the most viewed and discussed articles as a newsletter, but that’s precisely what you need.

Google Tips and Suggestions

‍We are talking about auto-suggestions seen while entering keywords in the search bar. Even if you briefly go through the main marker queries of the desired niche, you can quickly collect a couple of dozen great ideas.

Use the Principle of Deduction

‍Another method that significantly helps in creating content. The point is to take a topic and highlight additional subtopics within it, each of which is described in the form of a separate article. Thus, even a couple of interesting articles from other people’s resources can provide you with ideas for a content plan for the month ahead.

‍Let’s take this article as an example. Here’s how many separate publications you can make based on our subparagraphs just by playing a little with the headings:

  • How thematic forums and communities will help you understand the real needs of your customers;
  • Social media is an endless source of content ideas;
  • How Google Search Suggestions Can Help You Capture Your Customers’ Attention;
  • Collecting the best: why you should monitor your competitors’ email campaigns.

‍Thus, you can launch a series of materials united by a common theme.

How to Use Brainstorm

‍You received information and understood the relevant topics thanks to the previous methods. However, you must correctly work with this data to create unique and interesting articles. The brainstorming method is perfect for this.

How to Use Brainstorm

‍You received information and understood the relevant topics thanks to the previous methods. However, you must correctly work with this data to create unique and interesting articles. The brainstorming method is perfect for this.

Write Down All Ideas

‍Sometimes, ideas come spontaneously. To avoid losing them, create a document repository of ideas for publications. In it, record the topics that come to mind. Later, they can be twisted and turned into full-fledged material.

‍A few rules to draw up such a document:

  • Make it simple, without any subtleties. The working minimum is a note on your phone, allowing you to add a new idea easily. If you make the structure too complex, there is a high risk that laziness will overpower inspiration.
  • Provide easy access to it. Choose a tool that you can use at any time. For example, you can connect to an online document editor from any device.
  • If you work in a team, ensure all employees can access the document. This way, everyone can independently enter a topic rather than wait for the document’s owner to do so.

“What if…” Technique

‍Just ask (and answer) a few creative questions like:

  • What if your idea had a theme song?
  • What if your idea made a splash?
  • What if your idea was a person?

‍Don’t limit yourself to one answer.

‍Whtifs is a free tool that helps you generate ideas. You enter your creative challenge, set a time frame for reflection, and then select a viewpoint from the list (time travel, children’s, and others). The Idea Generator will prompt you with a related question to answer within the allotted time.

Fast Thinking

‍The goal is to develop as many ideas as quickly as possible. Set a timer for five minutes. Write as many ideas as possible before the timer goes off.

‍For example, your established brand needs to develop a new line of facial spa products. If you’re quick to come up with ideas, you can make a list of these ideas:

  • communicate with influencers and bloggers;
  • write an article about the benefits of facial care;
  • make a training video;
  • hold an event in a shopping center and distribute samples.

Associative Brainstorming

‍The association technique helps break down your typical thinking patterns. Using this approach, there are several ways to come up with fresh ideas:

  • Word storm: start with a couple of words depending on your task or project. Then, write down the words that come to mind. When you’re finished, you can group the words according to how they relate to each other.
  • Word linking: this is the same as word storm, except you don’t have to worry about grouping words. Don’t overthink it. You’re looking for “hidden” words related to a topic that wouldn’t normally come to mind.
  • Visual association: instead of looking for inspiration in opening words, look at images that relate to your topic. What ideas come to mind?

Reverse Brainstorming

‍In this exercise, you don’t focus on creative solutions to a problem. You think about how to cause it. Ask, “How could we have caused this problem?” A list of ideas will help you find a new vision of the issue.

Reverse Thinking

‍Using the backward thinking method, you think about what someone else would do in your situation. Then imagine doing the opposite. Will this work? Why “yes” or why “no”? Are there better options than the typical approach offers?

Star Formation

‍Start the Star exercise with a six-pointed star. Write a theme in the middle of the star. Then, at each point on the star, write one of the following words: Who, Which, When, Where, Why, and How.

‍Use these words to ask questions. For example:

  • Who are our most satisfied clients?
  • What makes them like most about our product/service?
  • Where do our most satisfied clients come from?
  • How can we make these customers even more satisfied?
  • What can we do to make more of our clients happy?

Changing Settings

‍Do you feel like your best ideas come when you’re in the shower, trying to sleep at night, or otherwise away from your desk? This is probably due to a change in settings.

‍Step away from your usual environment when you’re struggling to generate ideas. Go outside and take a walk. Work at your local library or coffee shop rather than in your office or home. Keep a pen and paper handy for all those new ideas you come up with.

‍If you regularly experience writer’s block, set aside time every day or week to brainstorm. Do several of these exercises in a structured manner.


‍Finding fascinating content ideas is not easy, especially if you need to plan for months. But you actually have much more resources at your disposal than might seem at first glance. You need to change your approach a little and start looking in places different from those that most specialists are used to using. We hope this post gives you some new and effective search techniques and brainstorming methods you can use to delight your site’s readers with outstanding content and attract new audiences.

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