8 Methods for Generating Ideas for Content

Do you have a content strategy for 2020? If not, you may want to consider getting one. To help, I am publishing this guide, 8 Methods for Generating Ideas for Content.

A content strategy involves more than just the content itself. However, no one can deny it's a significant factor. This post can help you with your content strategy.

8 Methods for Generating Content Ideas

I don't know about you, but whenever I see a list article such as this, I skip over the intro and get right to the list. I am going to do the same for you. Here is a list with an explanation following the list.

  1. 1
    Take online courses in your niche
  2. 2
    Search for niche keyword terms in Google News
  3. 3
    Check out niche terms in FeedSpot.com 
  4. 4
    Set up alerts in IFTTT.com
  5. 5
    Repurpose your content (new and old)
  6. 6
    Learn what questions people are asking on question/answer websites (Quora.com) 
  7. 7
    Evaluate legitimate negative reviews for books on Amazon.com
  8. 8
    View Amazon's Look Inside feature of its books.

Disclaimer: site owner may receive compensation for purchases made from the links or banners on this website.

1. Take Online Courses in Your Niche

Websites

Udemy (Free and Paid)

edX.org (Free and Paid)

SkillShare (Free and Paid)

YouTube (Mostly Free - but subject to advertising)

Khan Academy (Free)

Other Options: Articles from The Muse

How This Works

Have you ever taken a course or seminar on topics related to your list, and ideas started flooding your brain during the course? You'll want to take advantage of this feature. 

When you use some of the websites above, try to go through the entire courses (or at least modules) before trying out the concepts. Write down on a piece of paper anything you start thinking about while taking the course.

Online Courses

How to Use

Some of the training resources have both free and paid options available. Start with YouTube and Khan Academy videos, then progress to the other platforms as you grasp the basics. You'll find other resources via search engines, as well.

As mentioned, the key is to take notes when a concept or idea hits you. Take the whole course or module to get as many ideas with the fewest distractions.

2. Use Google News to Search for Niche Keyword Terms

Websites

https://news.google.com

How This Works

Many people are not aware that Google has a separate news section of its website. Therefore, this can offer a bit of an advantage over standard searches. It is also news-related, which means it may be more timely than topics appearing on the standard search.

Google News

How to Use

When you navigate the Google News website, enter in search terms or companies (competitors, etc.) in your niche. You won't always get results you want for your content creation, but you'll be surprised at how many times you will.

3. Check Out Niche Search Terms in Feed Spot

Websites

https://feedspot.com

How This Works

Feed Spot is a website that announces RSS feeds. Website owners pay for placement into this service. The website offers top feeds (usually 100) in various niches. 

FeedSpot Money Making

How to Use

Use Google to search Feed Spot direct. Use specific keywords or type of industry, etc. As an example, suppose your niche is finance. You could try the following searches (with or without quotes):

"feedspot.com finance"

"feedspot.com money"

To make sure that you are only searching FeedSpot, you can use Google's site: operator as follows:

"site:feedspot.com finance"

"site:feedspot.com money"

The results will be a list of websites that are part of the listings of feeds. Browse through each to find possible content ideas. 

Note: this option usually takes a bit of time, so don't get discouraged. One suggestion is to use an RSS reader and add the feeds that you'll start using regularly. You can then read through the RSS reader after a while.

IFTTT - If This Then That

How This Works

IFTTT stands for If This Than That. The site lets you set up events that are triggered whenever a condition is met. The site is like a Command Central for the web. It monitors popular services on your behalf for changes. When those changes occur (based on the triggers you define), you'll receive a notification, or some other action occurs. Those actions are numerous, including sending emails, sending posts to your website or other web assets, etc.

How to Use

I have to admit the interface is cryptic. The company completely revamped the site. The old way for me was much more intuitive. Before, they called each action recipes, and you added conditions to those recipes. Now, they are calling everything apps and the interfaces are not really intuitive, in my opinion.

However, it is still a useful service that can be a timesaver in your content creation efforts. This deserves a place in your arsenal of content creation tools. Spend the time learning about how the service works. Trust me! It's worth the effort!

Use the resources above to help you learn how to use IFTTT. They'll cut your learning time down a bit.

5. Repurpose Your Content (old and new)

Websites

Your web assets (your blogs, YouTube channels, etc.)

https://SlideShare.com

https://YouTube.com

How This Works

Content that you have created in the past (both new and old) can be repurposed into other formats. You can create slideshows, podcasts, graphics, videos, etc. Be creative about where and how to repurpose.

NOTE: One way to repurpose content is to create videos. You can create videos quickly and professionally with Content Samurai. I wrote a review on the product and I describe how you can become a video creation machine. You simply take your previously created content as the source for your videos. Easy-Peazy!

How to Use

The following is one example of repurposing content:

Repurposing for SlideShare.com

  1. 1
    Create a new PowerPoint presentation.
  2. 2
    Use an old post and add each subheading as one slide.
  3. 3
    Summarize the information of each subheading and add it to the corresponding slides.
  4. 4
    If there is need for more information for a slide, continue on the next slide. However, try to keep one slide per subheading.
  5. 5
    Upload the slideshow to SlideShare. If SlideShare doesn't recognize the PowerPoint format, try saving as a PDF.
  6. 6
    Add a description, including a link back to the original blog post.
  7. 7
    Extras: Feel free to enhance the slides with graphic elements. Images taken from the blog post are usually best. As always, ensure that you have rights for all assets used.

Repurposing for YouTube.com

  1. 1
    This section assumes you created the PowerPoint for SlideShare (above).
  2. 2
    Save the PowerPoint presentation as a video.
  3. 3
    Upload the video to YouTube.com.
  4. 4
    Add a description to the YouTube video and point back to your original blog post.
  5. 5
    If you want to take this option to a higher level, you'll need to learn how to optimize your videos and description. You can find a great cheatsheet to help you accomplish this goal. It's called the YouTube SEO Cheatsheet

6. Question/Answer Websites

Websites

https://Quora.com

https://Answers.com

https://Answers.Yahoo.com

How This Works

When people look for answers to problems or questions, they often look online. Often, they are not successful with standard Google searches or other search engine results. They turn to question/answer websites.

Quora.com has become the most popular but is not the only player in this space. You'll find plenty of material for your content on these websites. Both the questions and the answers are useful.

How to Use

The first aspect of using these websites is in getting a feel for what people are looking for. Search for topics that you have researched either through keyword searches or via alerts from IFTTT. Then, see what questions are being asked and some of the answers.

Gauge the quality of the answers. If you find the answers are lacking in important details, that can be opportunities for you to fill in the gaps. Even better, if you have content that already answers a question, you can answer the question and point to the post. Be careful not to overdo this technique as it can get you in trouble. These websites don't want spammy links littered on their platforms. 

Even if you decide not to answer questions, you can use these platforms to learn the questions that people want answers for.

7. Evaluate Negative Reviews for Books on Amazon

Websites

https://Amazon.com

How This Works

When people leave negative reviews, they often specify what it is they didn't like about the books. They will explain what was missing, or even incorrect about the book. In general, this method is only good for nonfiction books. Fiction book will get blasted with bad reviews if the story is no good, or something to that effect.

Not all negative reviews are created equal, however. Some will be left by haters who have nothing better to do than to bring authors down for no reason. You'll know these reviews by a lack of substance. Ignore these.

How to Use

Negative Reviews

When you find reviews that are negative but are constructive in their criticism, you've hit the jackpot. It's this sweet spot that you want to focus on. Write down the title and ISBN (or ASIN for Amazon). Then, summarize the constructive criticism from the negative reviews. That is what you can focus on when creating your content.

You could also use the positive reviews. But, people don't leave critiques when they leave positive reviews. Sometimes, you'll get a tiny morsel from this, here or there. In other words, "I really liked this book. My only complaint is no discussion on how to groom horses with only two legs was given." You get the idea (and yes, that was a joke!) If you do happen to find a few morsels like this, that's a bonus. Just don't focus the strategy on that.

8. View Amazon's Look Inside Feature

Websites

https://Amazon.com

How This Works

Most books sold on Amazon make available a few chapters of the book for preview. What this often includes, but not always, is the table of contents (TOC). If you find a book with a TOC when using the Look Inside feature, that is the source of your content.

Look Inside

How to Use

What's crucial to keep in mind is not to copy word-for-word the subheadings in a book. While titles and headings themselves are not copyrightable (for the most part - oh, and no legal advice is being given here!), using the headings word-for-word or even as close as possible, is poor form. You can use a few, but consider rewriting the headings. Again, one or two from several different books and writing in your own words, is fair game. 

Using a few headings won't be too much of a problem as the content you create from them is almost guaranteed to be different. Unless you buy the book, read through it in its entirety. It's highly unlikely you will copy the author in any way. 

Use the headings and subheadings as inspiration.

BONUS ITEM

Websites

https://SlideShare.com

How This Works

I discussed SlideShare as a way to repurpose your content. However, it can also be used to learn what others are creating or writing about. Many people will summarize their content and put it in a slideshow. They share these slideshows on SlideShare.com.

How to Use

As before, the intent is not to copy what you find on SlideShare, but to use the slides for inspiration for your ideas. One of the best ways to do this is to find several slideshows in your niche or topic. Take the best-of-the-best or those that fit with what you want to discuss.

BONUS ITEM #2

Websites

YouTube SEO Cheatsheet

How This Works

When you use techniques that have proven to work, you increase your chances substantially that they'll work for you. However, knowing these techniques is a challenge. I have included a cheat sheet to help you improve your YouTube videos.

Website owners and bloggers have learned that using video is no longer optional. However, many of these website owners don't know how to create videos or optimize them. That changes when you download this cheat sheet.

How to Use

Sign up (free) for the cheatsheet and read through it. Follow the advice in the cheat sheet, and your videos will be optimized for getting more views. More views mean more potential for sales. 

Jim
 

Hi, my name is Jim. I am here to help you learn how to create your own online business. Never before has it been as easy as it is to do so. I will give you access to the necessary training to make it all happen. Just follow the training and perform the tasks as the come up and at the end of the training you will have a fully working framework with which to start earning money from your online business.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 20 comments
RazvanIlie

Thanks a lot for such an amazing review about Methods for Generating Ideas for Content and the explanations given.

I read many articles like this on the internet, but they didn’t motivate me to take action. When I found this article, it helped me with developing my content strategy for 2020, so thank you for that. 

I especially loved the part about repurposing existing content. This is such a neat concept, and you showed step-by-step how to implement it. Kudos to you!

Thanks for this post. I am sharing this article on several of my social media account. Thanks again!

Reply
Jim

Thanks for your comment. I agree that repurposing your content is a great way to stretch it out and to get more eyes on it. Best Regards, Jim

Reply
jpaliskis

Hello, 

Great article! A lot of tips and great advice for everyone for generating ideas for content. That is what we need in 2020.

Usually, I use You-tube to learn something. It is an excellent portal. However, I never hear about SkillShare or Khan Academy. ( I already checked the SkillShare and, oh, boy! I found a lot of new information I never knew exists!) Also, I checked the FeedSpot, so I found  ” homework” for myself.

Thanks for the new ideas you showed me!

Reply
Jim

Thanks for your comment. I am glad you found the tips useful. I agree that these will be good for 2020. Best Regards, Jim

Reply
MrBiizy

Hello Jim. 2020 is the year I will be launching my website so I find these 8 Methods of generating contents ideas very useful. I love the Methods you have shared especially taking courses that are related to my niche. One of the ways I have also learnt is spying on the contents of my competitors. This will give me an idea of what to write and how to go about it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’d copy their contents. I’d get an idea of what to publish.

Regards!

Reply
Marios Tofarides

Hey there,

Thanks! This is a very detailed and informative post. I will try these methods, since I want to restart my blog and I feel like being out of ideas! 

Another great idea I use is Google alerts. You can set alerts in Google for the keywords you want, and then Google will email you daily with pages regarding these keywords. It’s great if I get stuck with ideas, and it also gives me a daily snapshot for my niche.

Thanks again. 

Have a great new 2020, and an amazing decade!

Marios

Reply
Christine

The Google news section is an excellent tip. Quora is great too, but one thing I don’t like about Quora is that people can get very aggressive about certain topics. It’s the reason I started getting less active there. 

Powerpoints are a very good idea too. I am good at making Powerpoints, and now that you explained how to incorporate them in my website, I will use this feature. This article has great tips which I will definitely use. I still have to improve on making videos, but I am learning.

Reply
Twack Romero

I’ve pushed off something I haven’t opened in years and put this article on my bookmarks tab. Any one reading this comment needs to do the same. You will never need to struggle for content creation ideas again. I was aware of a couple but the rest are all just new, very relevant and totally usable. I use the IFTTT for social media, just so that they stay active if I don’t get chance to get on there. I know that there are far more options available though.

Repurposing old content was one of my favourites. I have over 250 posts that will probably never see the light of day apart from where they are. This is an ideal way of re-using some, if not most of them. Although I have a YouTube account, I have as yet, never added anything and I know it is a wasted resource that needs to be utilised.

I have found over the last year that one of my favourite methods of learning is by watching videos and taking notes, avidly. The sites you’ve listed will give me another avenue to explore, rather than waiting for something to pique my interest that’s dropped into my spam box. A perfect start to the New Year. Thank you.

Reply
Katja

Thank you for putting together this 8 methods for generating ideas for content, Jim. I did not think about having a method prior reading your post, but now you convinced me that it’s a great idea. Luckily, you also explained how to get there, so I appreciate your effort!

It was the first time I heard about feedspot and IFTTT, so I’m going to get familiar with them first, before diving into following yor list…

Reply
Jim

Thanks for your comment. Yeah, these tips are ones I use myself and I know they work. Enjoy and Happy New Year (and decade) to you as well!
Best Regards,
Jim

Reply
Jim

Hey Marios, thank you for your comment. Yeah, Google alerts is another good tip. I’m glad you shared it here in the comments for others to include it when searching for content ideas. Happy New Year! Jim

Reply
Jim

Thank you for your comment. If you get your YouTube channel going, you’ll find it can add exposure to your brand. Some people are not sure what to include for videos which is why I suggested using a tool like PowerPoint to create slides and turn them into videos. Good luck with your content creation and have a Happy New Year!
Best Regards,
Jim

Reply
Jim

Hey Christine, thank you for your comment. Even if Quora is aggressive you can still use it for content ideas. There is no rule that says you have to post to it. I found it’s a good source of ideas. I do agree that getting your video going will help your business no matter what that business is. I am glad I gave you some ideas on how to do it.
Happy New Year!
Jim

Reply
Jim

Hey Katja, thank you for the comment. FeedSpot and IFTTT are great resources. IFTTT does take a bit of learning to get it to do what you want, but it is well worth putting in the effort. There is just so much you can do with it.
Happy New Year!
Jim

Reply
Yolandi

Hi, Jim

I read a lot of articles on the internet, but yours explain a easy step by step. I’m more motivated as ever. Will visit your site more. Have still a lot to learn. Your site is amazing. Thanks for the post

Reply
Jim

Hey Yolandi, thank you for the comment.
Best Regards,
Jim

Reply
I Hate Working

Really helpful tips for content ideas Jim! I hadn’t heard of IFTTT.com before. Seems like a useful tool.

I also like the Amazon review and look inside tricks, really creative. I can see how you could get a ton of content ideas with them. Definitely going to implement them!

One of my personal content idea tricks is to find successful blogs in my niche and run them by Ubersuggest by Neil Patel. It’s a free SEO tool in case you haven’t heard about it.

I’ve found the data Ubersuggest gives isn’t that accurate but it gives a general idea what the competing blog is ranking for. Here’s the pro tip: Ubersuggest allows you to download the whole keyword ranking lists as .csv files. You can then pull the data up in Excel and start mining for lucrative topics.

Have you used any similar strategies to find content ideas?

Reply
Jim

Hey Jukka,
Thank you for the comment. I am glad you found these tips useful. I love that idea about Ubersuggest. I heard that Neil Patel bought the website but haven’t tried it yet. I’ll have to explore it. Thanks for your suggestion.
Best Regards,
Jim

Reply
Dan

Thank you so much for this awesome post Jim! I’ve been blogging a little over a year and have been hitting the wall a bit lately when it comes to creating new and fresh content. This has helped me so much. I’ve already written down a bunch of ideas as I’ve gone through your post. I especially loved the idea of reviewing negative reviews on Amazon for ideas. Ingenious. I never thought of doing that. Also a good way to think of new products. Thanks again for the help!

Reply
Jim

Hey Dan, thanks for the comment. I am glad you found it useful. I plan on including more of these in the future so bookmark the site if you like.
Best Regards,
Jim

Reply

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