20 Different Ways to Source Ideas | Social Media Content
Writers’ or creative block is a REAL thing! I remember when Dani (my wife) and I started working online, we found ourselves going with the grain in some ways. Know what I mean? Following the same old patterns of others who, quite honestly, weren’t attaining the success we were looking for. And so, we quickly learned how to source ideas for content for social media (without following the crowd).
In this post, I will share with you 20 different ways and places where you can source content ideas anytime you need a little help.
You may already be familiar with some of them but aren’t using them to their potential (this is the most common).
And there will be others that will have you wondering, ‘why didn’t I think of that?!’.. those are special moments too. In a previous blog, I gave you a couple of dozen storytelling prompts to use, so be sure to check those out if you need a little nudge to get moving.
Let’s get started.
Source Ideas for your Social Media Content
One key thing I’ve learned from Neil Patel (one of the guys I follow for content and visibility online) is to get into a problem solver mode before you start brainstorming your content.’ Yes, your content should be engaging, entertaining, educational, etc. however, the goal when it comes to business is solving your potential customer or clients’ problems.
So, keep those’ problems’ in mind when using the following source ideas for your content.
Forums like Quora and Yahoo!
One of the first places I go to find inspiration for titles is on Quora. It’s an enormous forum where people ask questions about anything and everything that you could imagine. Type in the topic your audience is interested in or the name of your industry, and you will start finding questions (relevant to your ideal customer) that you can then turn into content.
Online Communities and Groups
Social media groups are almost like niche forums (think of your own even). People talk about industries, interests, and topics. So first, look for the groups that don’t allow much article sharing; those are mostly spam. Next, look for industry groups with many questions and answers.
Popular Topics in Industry Articles
Look for the sites in your industry that publish all the latest news, trends, tips, and everything else your audience loves. Then, look for the articles with the most engagement: comments, shares, views, etc.
Get a feel for what’s popular and what the hot topics are. Then, create the content on those topics, and try to bring a different viewpoint or expand on what’s already been discussed. Again, your perspective is valuable here.
Same Industry Articles, but Jump into the Comment Section
You’ll see comments on the same industry sites you explored above. The people leaving the comments are your target audience, so note what they’re saying. Since writers do not, and cannot, share everything on a topic in a single article, sometimes readers will ask questions. Look for those questions, and provide answers with your content. You can do this in the comment section and repurpose it on your platforms.
Hashtags on Social Media
Your ideal audience won’t always follow you. But you can still find them by following popular hashtags related to your niche. So follow the hashtags and look for popular articles, buzzwords, and questions.
There are a few ways you could source ideas from YouTube. The one that works the best, in my opinion, is to find the most popular videos from your industry, which could be;
- how-to videos
- trending videos
- news videos
Then, look for those with views, comments, and other engagement, and you’ll have the topics you should focus on with your content. User-generated content should never be overlooked.
Follow influencers in the online industry, and read the comments. They can lead to a content goldmine. But, again, influencers don’t have time to answer every question. That’s where you can come in. And influencers on Instagram get a lot of comments. So, take time to respond to those comments and repurpose these answers on your frequently used platforms.
Please note: You aren’t there to hijack the post and pitch your products, service or opportunity. Instead, show up there to provide value.
FAQ Sections on ‘Competitor Websites’
Visit the FAQ sections on your competitors’ websites. See what questions they’re getting all the time, and make sure you’re answering those questions with some content related to your area of expertise. Chances are, if your competitors’ are answering these questions, you should be too.
Agendas from Conferences (even ones you don’t attend)
Check out the agendas for conferences and see what the big topics are. Then, you can create your content based on the topics at conferences. If these conferences interest you, your audience can benefit from your expertise in these areas.
On search results pages (where you type in your search words), look at the bottom, and you will see related searches that can clue you into what you could cover in your content. The topics that pop up (related to your initial search) are ones that Google has populated as the most common search terms.
Set up alerts for specific topics that your audience cares about. See what’s being published; look for gaps in the information, and create content to fill them.
Use your Mistakes!
Have you made mistakes? Of course, you have — we ALL have! Source ideas through a mistake you’ve made. These are some of the best posts regarding engagement on any platform.
Reddit is a great (and free) online platform. You can discover just about everything on the site. Take a look at what people are sharing in your industry. Look for items with the most engagement because those items are what you should cover with your content.
And while you’re there, contribute to the conversation or create your piece of content.
Psychology Blogs or Magazines
As a psychology major, maybe I’m a bit biased, but …
If you’re like me and follow popular psychology blogs, magazines, and other publications, you’ll find studies about all kinds of things. You can source ideas for entire content pieces from a study. You also can collect studies on a particular topic and make a longer-style piece of content on a blog or otherwise.
Quotes & Proverbs
Quotes are always popular with people. We have them everywhere, right? in our email signatures, in our homes and on our office walls. Look for some new quotes to inspire you in general, and you’ll often find inspiration for content. Offer your feeling behind why you like this particular quote, add some context or create a great visual.
Take People Behind the Scenes
What is it like in your home office or workplace? Take people on tour. You might get inspired once you get out of your comfort zone. You could even give your customers a peak behind the scenes with a few photos or stories. Let people into your world a little bit more.
Customer or Client Reviews
Any questions your customers or clients ask can lead to content, but more importantly, pay attention to the language your customers use. It might be different from the terms you use. Always use the words your customers use when discussing your industry and product.
You want them to be left feeling like, ‘wow, they speak my language!‘
Your Email Inbox
Think about all the things you’ve signed up for over the years. Then, skim through your inbox and see what the people you look to for help, support or advice are talking about. Some of the best content pieces come from those dusty emails I have yet to delete.
Vacations or Relaxing Time
One of the best ideas I’ve had for posts came when I was spending time on vacation. Being in a new place can often spark inspiration. Source ideas when your brain is rested, and you will think clearer than when you’re busy with business.
Lessons you’ve Learned throughout your Life
Lessons your parents, family, and friends have taught you throughout life can lead to unique and nostalgic content. So don’t be afraid to dig into that past and share your overcoming with your audience.
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