Let us face it, as bloggers and writers, you are not always the first to publish every single story. Sometimes a story is covered, and you just want to offer another take on it. There are also times where people publish stories you have never even thought of before – and you’d like to tackle that topic too.
You also want to write content that is relevant and timely, but where do you find it? How do you find the biggest trending topics, and re-write them in a unique and meaningful way?
First and foremost, any content you write should be unique. Use your own voice. If you’re taking inspiration from somewhere else, ripping it off is a great way to not get noticed, and to make the internet angry.
Whatever you decide to write about, put an original spin on it. Find a way to differentiate your content. Add a unique perspective. After all, your readers want to hear from you or your site. Not just a report of unoriginal content.
If you’re looking for inspiration, want to catch up on trendy content, or are just under pressure to hit a deadline with zero ideas – here are 20 ways to find and generate content.
Buzzsumo is one of the best ways to find stories that are trending on any topic. You simply give it the topic of your choice, and you’ll find all of the stories from the last 24 hours, week, month, etc. are performing on social media.
It also allows you to sort content by type: article, infographic, giveaway, interview, etc. You’ll be able to see not only what stories are trending, but all the other media formats that are blowing up within the timeline as well.
Google News can provide a lot of information on trending topics in a variety fields. You can search virtually any topic, and you’ll see a list of the top stories. Google organizes the results so that the most relevant, and most published stories, are all at the top. This makes it easy to see what topics people are reading and writing about the most.
For an interesting blog post, answer the questions that everyone is asking. By looking at questions that are being asked, you can generate ideas for content. If many people are asking about how long it would take to get to Mars, answer the question! Quora will allow you to sort by most asked and most viewed, so you’re able to see what people are looking for the most.
Using Google’s keyword planner has been a staple of blog research for years. Keyword stuffing is generally discouraged these days, but you can use it for great blog ideas. Entering in your main keywords will generate hundreds of related phrases that you can use to generate ideas and content.
For example, entering in “Android” as a main keyword turns up hundreds of keyword phrases along with their search volumes. One phrase idea that popped up for our keywords was “cool apps for android” which has tens of thousands of searches would make a great article.
Hootsuite is mostly used for managing social media, but it has one really cool feature to help with content generation. They offer “suggested content” in one of their publisher tools. Once you connect your social media profiles, or enter in 3 keywords, it will automatically scan for content. This will provide dozens of current stories that are related to your social media account or the keywords you entered.
One great trick for generating content is to turn a video into an article, and vice versa. Search YouTube’s top trending videos for interesting topics. You’ll find everything from beauty tips and pranks, to music videos and daily vlogs. Find the ones that relate to your niche, and write a blog post that expands on the theme in the video. You can even embed the video to make your post more interesting.
Want to know what people are talking about? Go right to the place where people are talking about it. Twitter trends shows up in the left sidebar when you log in. You may not realize it, but you can actually change the topics that appear there by using the “change” button at the top of the sidebar. You can change the location, and find out what people are talking about almost anywhere in the world. What’s big in New York can be totally different than Paris.
Similar to Twitter, you can manipulate what you see in the trending topic parts of your feed. Facebook allows you to view more content about a trending topic, and also allows you to customize the trending topics you’ll see. Much like Twitter, there’s no better content than using the stuff people are already talking about.
Reddit offers thousands of subreddits that have content galore you can use for inspiration. The best part about Reddit, is that the submissions are all voted on. Generally, the content at the top has the most positive votes. However, for unique content and idea generation, you’ll want to check out the controversial tab.
This part of Reddit means up votes and down votes are both fairly popular. It’s a great way to find issues that are dividing people. There’s no better content than the content that people can both love and hate at the same time. Controversy equals views.
Hubspot’s tool will help generate topics and headlines. It works great for getting a few quick ideas on what to write about. You’ll get five free options by visiting the site, but offer up your email address and you’ll get one hundred options. Tweaking just one of the keywords will give you entirely different ideas, so play around with it to find some really cool ideas that fit your blog.
Potent’s tool is similar to Hubspot’s, except that you only enter in your subject and not 3 keywords. It also only gives you one idea instead of five. It doesn’t seem to work as well except for one great feature: it explains why it chose the words it did in the headline it provides. This can give you some great insight into how headlines and topics are written about – and what will work for making an article sharable.
This is going to take a little more work on your part, but it’s probably the most organic way to connect with your audience and find article ideas. The topics found in niche forums are usually related to product insights, support issues, and trash talking. All of which can be valuable in determining what your audience wants to read, and generating content. You can write product reviews based on user sentiment, talk about major issues in your niche, and find out which companies are being bashed.
For easy user generated content, throw out a survey to your current audience. They’ll have some wacky things to say that you can turn into articles. You can even do an article on the survey itself.
For example, if you run a tech blog, you could throw up a poll saying “who do you think would serve the tech sector better: Hillary or Donald?” – Your article could be about the response to that survey. “90% of people think Trump is better for tech” or “90% of people think Trump is a disaster for tech”.
This neat little hack is not often mentioned, but works well for current search trends. Google search will start to autocomplete whatever it thinks you might be typing in the search box. It does this by providing the most common search terms associated with whatever you’re typing.
For example, if you run a parenting blog, go to Google and type in “Parents never…” and Google will autocomplete with “parents never apologize” and “parents never leave the house”, etc. You now have two articles “Why parents never feel the need to apologize” and “10 tips to help parents leave the house more”.
People buy a ton of things from Amazon. The wants and needs of the people are always changing, and the Amazon best sellers list can give you great insight into what people are buying. You can create articles based on product reviews, based on Amazon reviews about the product, the top similar products to the best-selling one, and so on.
Look at competitors for inspiration. If they’re publishing a lot of content, you can easily rework them to work on your own site. It’s important that you don’t steal the content. You need to be original and only use the information for inspiration.
If the competition posts an article about “10 Easy Hair-dos for Prom”, don’t copy that article. You can use this as inspiration to create “10 Shoe Choices for Prom” or “5 Hair styles you can use every day”. It’s all about being inspired, not copying content.
Check out what major industry journalists are covering. If you’re in the tech world, you may want to pop over to Wired and check out the front page. They’re currently running a story about “The Biggest Crowdfunding Project Ever Is Kind of a Mess” – use this to create articles of your own. Like “10 Of the biggest crowdfunding flops” or “how to make your crowdfunding successful”.
Alltop is similar to Google News, except it covers the top stories of the day beyond just journalism. It covers the top sites, blogs, influencers and news sources. Check it out daily for hundreds of ideas on what’s trending.
Last, but certainly not least, is the fine art of guest posting. Allowing submissions is a tricky relationship. Sure, it’s free content that should be original, but there are a lot of ulterior motivations. Make sure whomever you allow to guest post is clear about their intentions.
This relationship works best if you volunteer to guest post on another site and look for a reciprocal agreement. Then you know the content is high quality and exactly what the motivation is.
Creating content can be difficult, but this list should keep you filled with ideas for at least the next few months!