Unlock the secrets to healthcare content marketing success.Get Your Exclusive Toolkit


From the Trenches

10 Ways to Generate New Content Ideas

Yvonne Lyons | March 25, 2024

Feeling overwhelmed because your once-bustling content calendar now resembles a barren wasteland? Life happens, we get it. But fret not, because running out of content ideas is practically a rite of passage for all content creators. 

Even the savviest of content marketers hit a creativity roadblock from time to time. So besides carrying a trusty notebook to capture strokes of genius on the fly, how exactly do you reignite that spark of creativity? 

When you find yourself in a content rut and the well of ideas seems bone-dry, here are 10 strategies to help you break free from the shackles of writer’s block.

  1. Repurpose something you’ve done before. This should be at the top of every good content marketer’s list when inspiration is AWOL. Use the subject matter from something you have already created — like a blog post — and create a video, an infographic, or an eBook. Boom! You have new content. And this is how to repurpose like a pro.
  2. Tap into the social media chatter. Remember all that hard work you’ve done to achieve an active audience? Pay attention to what they’re saying or the questions they’re asking — it’s a goldmine of content ideas. But if your own channels are a bit too quiet, don’t sweat it. Dive into other social media platforms within your industry and snoop around for trending topics. Just remember, you’re not digging simply to regurgitate; you’re there to delve into why those topics matter and why your readers should give a hoot. It’s all about adding your unique perspective to the conversation.
  3. Create crowdsourced content. Shoot an email to your industry pals and colleagues, throwing them a juicy, thought-provoking question. Then, weave their responses into your content creation process. This trick’s not just for blog posts; it’s a gem for beefing up the credibility of your eBooks too. Plus, the flood of insights you’ll receive might just spark inspiration for other content formats. It’s like tapping into a collective brain trust for a surge of fresh ideas. Check out how we used crowdsourced questions and answers from content marketing industry experts in our eBook, “How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.”
  4. Hold a brainstorming meeting. It’s like hitting the content idea jackpot, and fast. Your team and colleagues? They’re probably sitting on a treasure trove of ideas — you just haven’t tapped into it yet. Round ’em up, throw in some snacks for good measure, and watch the magic unfold. A brief brainstorming session not only makes everyone feel like they’re part of something big, but it may also uncover unexpected volunteers itching to contribute. Plus, it’s a speedy way to churn out loads of content. But beware: Your brainstorming session can be undermined by three psychological principles. Learn how to avoid them and for successful idea generation.
  5. Make a prediction. Look, predicting the future is a tricky business, and even the most insightful content creators strike out occasionally. But here’s the thing: being undeniably interesting and offering valuable insights, even if your predictions aren’t always spot-on, are surefire ways to spark a conversation. Imagine this: Your content gets people talking, dissecting your ideas, and maybe even throwing out a friendly counterpoint. That kind of engagement is pure gold! It means your audience is hooked, and that’s a win in the content creation game. So don’t be afraid to take a bold stance or explore an intriguing angle. Even if your prediction takes a left turn, the buzz and discussion it generates will keep your audience coming back for more.
  6. Talk to your sales people. Your sales crew is on the front lines, chatting with customers and prospects every day. And guess what? The questions they hear are some of your most valuable content ideas! These are the burning issues keeping your audience up at night — the very things influencing their buying decisions (ideally in your favor!). Compile a list of those FAQs and transform them into content magic. Each question can blossom into a blog post, a thought-provoking video, or even a handy how-to guide on SlideShare. Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure content buffet — blog posts for the readers, videos for the visual learners, and eBooks for the in-depth crowd. This way, you’re giving your audience the info they crave, in the format they love. Now that’s what we call win-win!
  7. Check out what your competition is doing. I’m not advocating that you copy anyone, but looking at what your peers are producing will spur some ideas that you can spin off. And it’s important to keep an eye on what they’re doing, right? Borrowing ideas from the competition isn’t illegal. Just don’t duplicate their content. That part is illegal. And you might be surprised to see that what they are doing is not as good as what you are producing. Then you can give yourself a little pat on the back.
  8. Recap an event. Standard recaps after a tradeshow, webinar, panel, or speaker session are an absolute snoozefest. Liven them up with this trick: Craft a story that highlights key takeaways and social media buzz. Quote attendees & experts, making sure to give them credit (and thus building relationships!). What from the talk or even is getting a lot of attention on social right now? Leverage that to decide where to focus your piece. Ta-da! Your recap goes from “meh” to must-read.
  9. Interview an expert. Who are the experts in your field? Email them a few questions and turn the answers into a post. Or if you want to put a little more effort into it, set up an in-person interview. Cloaked as an innocent conversation to create content and get to know the expert and his company, this is also a “Trojan horse” opportunity for you to introduce yourself and your company’s expertise while you’re sitting there. Very slick. Just make sure to put in more effort when publishing than simply making it a Q&A.
  10. Be newsy. Pay attention to what is trending in your industry by subscribing to blogs, monitoring social media, and visiting websites that cover news related to what you do. When you’re stuck, see if something’s going on that is worthy of commentary. But be quick. You can’t take two weeks to come out with your content. It’s news after all. And make sure you don’t just report it — you have to have some kind of opinion on it. People can get straight news in lots of places. They are looking to you to add valuable perspective to it. Tell them why it’s important to them, how the news will affect them, and what they should do about it.

You might feel like you’ve said everything there is to say, but that’s probably not the case. You can always dig a little more and come up with some new, remarkable content. Try a few of these ideas to alleviate your idea drought. You’ll be creating better content and your editorial calendar will stay full. 

Today’s challenge is to create content that will actually get noticed, engage your audience, and move the needle. Content that is actually powerful. These idea generation tips will help, but you also need to know what powerful content truly means in practice.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published on January 16, 2014, and has been updated multiple times since to maintain its relevance.

Related Resources

About Yvonne Lyons:

Yvonne Lyons is Right Source’s vice president of creative services, overseeing content and design for all of our clients. She ensures that all creative produced at Right Source is of the highest quality and is aligned with our clients’ business strategy and goals. Yvonne received a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University in writing and literature and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, and communications.