Worried about running out of ideas? How to figure out what to do next

Keeping up a content calendar can be a daunting task, especially if you’re on a smaller team. Maybe you’re looking over your content calendar and seeing that the next few weeks look slim, or you’re staring at a blank list intended to be filled with all of your new ideas for the rest of 2017. Don’t panic! Here’s how you figure out what to do next when you’re worried that you’re running out of content marketing ideas.

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Draw from past performance

Chances are you know or can quickly find out which of your posts are the all-time most popular on your blog. What common elements do your top performing content pieces share? You can start a list of new ideas building from that, but you can also think of ways to refresh the existing posts, depending on your resources.

Is there a new angle to write about the same topic? Maybe your audience has shifted and you can write about the same topic in a more polished way, or there could be a lot to update since the first time you wrote. It’s also possible you can tie an old evergreen post into a new trend— which brings us to our next point.

Draw from trends, but be careful

Always be careful about jumping onto a trending topic on Twitter or elsewhere on social. At best newsjacking can be seen as tone deaf and make your brand look out of touch and at worst it can be seen as capitalizing on misfortune. It is possible to destroy a brand almost instantly, and it’s just as easy to avoid doing so: Always, always click on a trending topic or research the latest fad or slang before you use it in your branding. 

We covered this in detail in How to take advantage of Twitter trending topics, but the bottom line is to have fun—  once you’ve checked to be sure something is okay to jump in on and that it matches your brand voice and values.

Not sure how to incorporate a trend? Think of way you can use it as an example in a product tutorial or use it show off your company culture.

Draw from competitors

What are your competitors covering? Is there an angle you can cover on a subject that they haven’t? Write about a topic because you have something unique to add to it, especially when it comes to what your competitors are talking about.

You also want to consider if there’s something your brand can do they can’t do. You definitely want to write about that.

Draw from something outside of your industry, or just outside

Do some reading that’s outside of your industry; it’s too easy to get caught up in an echo chamber of the same old jargon and talking points. You might get inspired by an article on science, nutrition, even celebrity gossip. If you’re trying to add more humor to your brand voice, spend some time reading the latest from your favorite comedians and think about how what works for them could be adapted to work for your brand’s voice.

When all else fails, get away from screens for a while. Go for a walk, get a coffee, talk with a colleague while you take a lap around the building.

Get a fresh pair of eyes

Sometimes all you need is some fresh eyes and typing fingers: Get a guest post from another employee, an industry expert, or an intern just learning the ropes. Any perspective can be a potentially interesting one for your target audience. Just pay attention to how any of these types of posts perform once you publish them so you know what your audience wants more of in the future.

Still need more ideas? Try these:

  • Write a behind-the-scenes piece or recap of an event you’ve recently attended
  • Cover the history of your brand and/or industry
  • Write about a day-in-the-life of your company, product or from a specific employee POV
  • Parody a popular TV or web series or a well-known publication if it makes sense to do so with your brand voice
  • Tap into topics around company culture and things that aren’t strictly business

Chances are you’re not actually out of ideas forever when you’re feeling dried up. You’re probably just a little burned out. Hopefully this post can give you a good place to jumpstart from.

Just be sure you’re measuring how your content is spreading across social so you know what your audience wants more of. We can always help with that!

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