33 thought-provoking prompts to get you creating content
With 73% of organisations having someone in place to oversee their content strategy and 60% of marketers putting out content at least once a week, the competition to get noticed is fierce. Not only that, but regularly making enough original, engaging content can become a test that nearly half of marketers struggle with.
It’s not good enough to churn out any old posts, if people see you putting out too much half-hearted “me too” content then your reputation will plummet and they won’t visit you again. Creating quality blog posts, videos, Tweets, Pins, pictures and eBooks all starts with good ideas. Although we can’t produce your content for you, we can help with inspiration. Here’s 33 content prompts that can help get your creative juices flowing:
1. “This Is Something We’ve Been Doing Wrong All Along”
This idea gets people sitting up and taking notice. Nobody in your audience wants to be the person who is doing something wrong, and they may want to point out if they’re the genius who has been doing it right!
2. “Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started…”
This one hits a double-whammy of nostalgia (“I remember when I…”) and adds in the idea that these are things that every professional in your field should now know.
3. A Change You Could Make In 24 Hours
While long-term aspirational pieces can be incredibly useful and provide a lot of inspiration, sometimes we like to know what we can do right this second.
4. What [Trending Topic] Means For Your Industry
This will give you a good opportunity to get some topical traffic and a potentially interesting angle. If your theory is well-researched and has some validity then it could help establish your position as a thought leader.
5. Show It To Your Grandma
This can help give a totally new perspective on a topic, product, or industry that you’re writing about. Don’t have a Grandma available? This could work for kids, teens, or people who have nothing to do with your industry but who might offer an interesting view on it.
6. What If X Was Y?
Switching the roles, or replacing one factor with another, lets you highlight key differences between two things that can lead to shocking, entertaining, or interesting content.
7. The Top 10 Things You Learned At [Super Important Industry Event]
These are helpful for a number of reasons. They let people know you were there, they give you a chance to connect with other speakers or attendees, and it shows you were paying attention.
8. See What The Independent Experts Think
Contact independent key experts or influencers in your field and get their opinions on something. This should produce helpful content, and it should also help to increase its shares if the contributors share it with their community.
9. Compare Sizes and Numbers
People like being astounded. Show them how big something is, or how many of something there are in comparison with something else, and you will interest plenty of people.
10. Dig Out Your Thesaurus
Are you constantly describing things as ‘Great’, ‘Incredible’ and ‘Amazing’? There’s nothing wrong with these words, but if you’re using them in your headlines all the time then they can lose their meaning. Keep your content standing out by continuously building your vocabulary of descriptive words that will cause instant curiosity.
11. The Big List Of Things That Will Happen In Your Industry Over The Next Year
If you’re right, you’re a genius. If you’re wrong, you can update your predictions next year based on what you learned from this year.
12. Answer Your Questions
If you’ve had a lot of questions on a previous post (or one really good one), don’t leave the people hanging there. Why not create something specifically to answer them?
13. Aggregate ALL The Lists
Coming up to December, terabytes of data and a forest-worth of trees will be used up publishing a plethora of end-of-year lists ranking the great and the good of the last 12 months. Round up all of those lists from your industry, add up where everyone came, and create the ULTIMATE list. Why would someone read or share 10 other peoples’ lists when yours is the definitive beacon of informed democracy?
14. Repurpose Old Content
On Halloween, we wrote a post on how you could bring your old content back from the dead. The tips still apply, the puns don’t.
15. On This Day…
What happened on this day 20 years ago? Is it relevant to your industry? If it is, do something serious. If it isn’t do something fun.
16. Flow Charts
They help with decisions, they can be stuck on walls, and everyone likes following the various paths. The example below is an extract from Silver Oak Casino and making it was probably more fun than most things most people will ever do at work.
17. Try Something New
To help create truly unique content that stands out, you can look to cover breakthrough technologies, ideas, products or events that most people haven’t heard of yet. It could be a product, event or service that’s related to your industry. If it succeeds, you can write a follow-up piece on how far it’s come since you first tried it out, highlighting your trailblazing sense of adventure. If it fails, you’ve always got “10 Things To Learn From The Failure Of X”.
18. What Has Stood The Test Of Time?
Look back in time to find some products or brands from years gone by in your industry then see what still looks good today and what has aged badly.
19. Look Outside Your Field
Is there a particular blog writing content that always grabs your attention? Maybe there’s a YouTube channel which is always putting stuff out that you simply have to watch, or a Podcaster who you will sit in the car and listen to long after your journey has finished. Whether it’s related to your industry or not, there will be features of their content that you can use to inspire yours.
20. Let Keywords Be Your Guide
See what keywords are getting a lot of traffic in your industry, and look to create bits of content based around those keywords. If your company isn’t hiring anyone for search engine optimization (SEO), then you can use a service such as WordStream to perform a search on your industry and give you terms that are getting a lot of queries.
21. “Why Your Customers Are Going Elsewhere”
In any industry, this is an angle that pricks up peoples ears. Nobody wants anyone to stop being a customer, so they want to know how to stop that whenever possible. It can even be made specific to a certain feature or aspect of the business, for example “How Your Customer Service Is Causing Customers To Leave You”.
22. Social Media Tips For Your Industry
Social media tips are relevant for people in every industry, not just marketing.
23. Ask The Same Question To 100 People
...the answers may shock you. Or they may not. But a street survey, a question in a LinkedIn group or Quora post with an interesting question could lead you to some answers (or patterns of answers) that engaging content could be built from.
24. “Why This Steve Jobs Speech Teaches You All You Need To Know About…”
Doesn’t have to be a Steve Jobs speech, it could be a T.E.D. Talk or an old cookery recipe. Find something slightly obscure and see what lessons from it can be applied to your field of interest. For example, what wrestlers can teach you about social media.
25. Your Favorite Quotes
They could be inspirational, practical, or funny. Compiling your best quotes on a topic can be a rewarding experience in terms of both your own enjoyment, and your audience’s. If that doesn’t sound like your thing, then you can always take it a little less seriously if that works for your brand…
26. “How We Overcame…”
Without coming across as too self-congratulatory, creating content that shows how you saw a problem and dealt with it in an unusual manner can help to develop your brand’s story. It adds transparency and a level of authenticity to our communication.
27. The Pros & Cons Of…
Most issues aren’t black and white, and most sizes do not fit all. If you don’t fancy arguing your case one way or another, take the neutral route and give both sides of the story, allowing your audience to decide.
28. Go Against The Status Quo
This sometimes needs to be handled carefully depending on your brand, and controversy purely for the sake of controversy rarely ends well. But if there’s a long-term mantra or way of thinking in your industry and you feel it’s incorrect or outdated then you could possibly say so. If you put your points across well then it can get people talking, sharing, and clicking.
29. Do An Experiment!
It doesn’t have to be a deep and scientifically valid study. If you or a friend has some off-the-wall theory then test it out gonzo style with a bit of beer mat mathematics thrown in. What did you do, why did you do it, what did you learn, and why are you never going to try doing it ever again?
30. Grab An Industry Friend
Two heads are better than one, so why not find an expert in your field (not a competitor) and create some content with them? They could appear in a video with you, lead a webinar, be a guest on a podcast, be interviewed for an article, or contribute a guest post to your blog. This will help you to network, improve your reputation by association, and could also increase your audience if the expert is reasonably well connected.
31. Visualize Your Writing Or Write About Your Visuals
Not everyone wants to read a blog about your latest discovery, some people prefer to see what the information means. On the other hand, others may want to go into more depth than an image or a short video will allow for. This Tweet shows the former, as an infographic demonstrates the findings in the company’s study.
32. “Why I Fell In Love With…”
Members of your audience are still people, and you are still (presumably) a person. Therefore, giving a human element to your content from time-to-time can be an effective method of hooking people in. Saying what it was about your industry the made you fall in love with it, gives you a chance to put it (and by association, your brand) in a positive light.
33. “...This One Weird Trick”
Are we really telling you to use the classic clickbait headline? Not necessarily. But follow the principle behind it. Not every helpful bit of content needs to have 101 tips, there’s no need to be a slave to lists! You can produce strong content about a single key trick that can truly make the audience’s life better.
These are only suggestions and can be twisted in any manner you see fit to make content that works for you. Go wild! If you do one of these every week then you’ll have your content marketing sorted for the next seven months. But what about after that? We’d love to hear how you find inspiration for your content marketing, tell us in the comments below.