‘Shit, I’ve got nothing.’
It’s not uncommon and you’re definitely not alone. Writer’s block is one of the foremost enemies of productivity for a writer. The longer it persists, the more frustrated you become and the less gets done.
Before we get into it I should say that if you’re happy to write the first thing that comes to your mind or any old tosh then this article isn’t for you. So good luck, and goodbye.
If you’re still reading I’ll assume you want to write awesome content that your audience wants to read. Stick with me and we’ll be on to the good stuff in no time.
Everyone has an issue they want to discuss or a question they want answered. You might even think you know exactly what your audience needs to read about. Now, whilst I’m sure your judgement of your audiences needs is absolutely spot on, it’s their wants that you have to really take note of. If you’re sat in front of Microsoft Word for the best part of the day, you’re not going to understand what they want to read. For that, you’re going to have to do some reading, in fact you’re going to have to do a lot of reading.
You’re going to have to check the communities of your niche. Get involved in the discussions and popular blogs to see what questions people want answered. If you’re able to find that one question everyone asks but is yet to be answered, you could be on a high traffic winner.
If you’re wondering where you can find your next hot topic content idea, check out the list below. If you check them out regularly you’ll have more content ideas than you’ll know what to do with.
LinkedIn is an awesome resource which is rarely used to it’s fullest potential. Yes, we all know it’s great to connect with other writers, find an elusive editor’s contact details or source new clients, but how many of us are using it for research and marketing?
There’s an abundance of groups on LinkedIn covering pretty much every niche you can imagine. These groups, often with thousands of members and free to join, are chock-full of intriguing, interesting discussions and questions. Questions you should be taking advantage of.
I’ve just now headed to my LinkedIn, checked on a group of writers with just short of 8000 members and found 8 new discussions that have been posted in the last few hours. Join a few of these groups check the discussions and you’ll have an abundance of content ideas to choice from.
Google+ is the new kid on the block when it comes to Social Media but has quickly grown to become the second most popular platform.
There’s plenty of reasons why I think Google+ is better from a professional standpoint than it’s competitors. One of the main pluses (no pun intended) of Google+ is the communities section. Much like LinkedIn groups you’re able to connect with others in your niche, comment on their beliefs/questions/content and potentially promote your own work.
This is a no brainer. You should already be checking other blogs in your niche to see what people are talking about and to get your name out there in the community of your niche. Each well thought out blog comment has the potential to serve as a back link to your own site so there’s no excuse for not taking part.
The beauty of blog comments is how they allow people to talk around the main subject of the article. It’s in the comments that you’ll find the questions that ask for clarification on a particular part of the article or even a closely related subject. Keep your eyes peeled and you should be able to dig out the odd golden nugget.
The internet has revolutionised the way we assimilate information. We now only have to wait a few hours for news updates instead of the old fashioned once daily newspaper or newscast. The hunger and impatience for information isn’t exclusive to world events and you should be keeping an eye on your chosen niche for any big announcements.
Create a well thought out piece just after some breaking news and it could be bringing you traffic until the next big change.
Anything to do with Reddit should come with an important disclaimer. Do not attempt to post anything on Reddit until you are fully aware of the audience and the guidelines. Redditors have the ability to completely discredit a person and ruin a reputation.
Now that the nasty business is out of the way, we can look at the good side of Reddit. If you are using it properly you can find more ideas and discussions than you can shake a stick at. There’s sub Reddits (basically categories) for all of the subjects you can think of and even a few weird ones you’d never know exist.
Used carefully, Reddit can be a great place to discuss ideas, ask and answer questions and even promote your work.
Quora questions is another similar site to Reddit just without the potential horrific backlash. The site basically lets people ask questions, pose debate subjects or offer links to what they think are useful bits of information. It can be a great place to find out what people are talking about and what your audience really wants to know.
I’ve written before on the benefits of tearing yourself away from the digital domain. This time it’s not about finding new clients but talking to others in your industry. If you’re wondering where you’ll find a group of professionals in your niche, meetup.com has you covered.
You’ll easily find a group of professionals in your niche and the majority of the groups organise regular networking events. These meetings are usually far more informal than most networking events and can be a great place to pick the brains of the people in your niche to find out what they really want to know.
Whilst the above are all great places to get your inquisitive mind going, you may find that you’re inexplicably hit with a bout of inspiration when away from your laptop. It’s these times you’re going to need to keep something to hand with which to take notes. I’d recommend using some form of note taking app for your phone to jot down any ideas when they come to you. By doing so I have quite a substantial list of potential content ideas.
Before I end this piece I’d just like to highlight the dos and don’ts of getting involved in each of these methods. Sure you could visit these groups and be a quiet forum stalker, staying in the the background, reading all yet never contributing but you’ll get a lot more out of it if you’re willing to offer the odd bit of advice or even pose your own question.
Getting involved has numerous benefits but most of all it stops you from being that person. The ‘LOOK AT ME’ person who only posts to promote their own work without helping anyone else. Don’t be that person. No one likes that person.
I’d love to know if you have any other ways to develop cracking content ideas. If there’s anything you’ve got to add to the list, have a word and let us know in the comments below.