Content marketing is demanding if you've fully dedicated yourself to the strategy. Larger companies and brands need fresh, new, unique, insightful content churned out on a daily basis, and even smaller companies might have large-volume needs--with only one or two people to get the job done. In any case, it's common to hit a creative "wall" while trying to come up with new ideas or execute on old ones.
Fear not! If you're having trouble coming up with fresh, unique content ideas, try using one or more of these 20 possibilities as jumping-off points for your next piece:
1. Write a how-to or tutorial. These are always useful to readers, plus you'll have the opportunity to write a title with a long-tail keyword relevant to your industry. Include images and/or video if you can.
2. Give your take on a piece of news. Browse industry news sources first, and then extend out to national or international news. An existing piece is an easy segue to an opinion piece of your own.
3. Predict the future. Think about the direction your industry's headed in, and write up a thoughtful piece of where you expect it to be on a certain issue two, three, five years from now, or even longer. This is a two-for-one, as you can write a follow-up piece to evaluate that prediction later.
4. Try a top-ten or similar numbered list. They aren't any kind of groundbreaking journalism, but people still love reading top-ten lists (and other numbered lists).
5. Borrow a competitor's inspiration. There's no shame in checking out a competitor for possible content ideas. Just remember, use their blogs as inspiration only--never directly copy a topic.
6. Develop an infographic. This is especially fun if you've never done it before. Work with a designer to find a topic, collect stats, and publish them in an engaging format.
7. Address common mistakes made my newcomers. Everybody makes mistakes, but you can help prevent them. Write an FAQ-style piece that anticipates these common errors.
8. Introduce your industry to a novice. Think about people new to your industry. What did you wish you knew when you were new to the industry?
9. Do a personal video. You don't need fancy video equipment to make a good, interactive video. Just talk to the camera about an issue that's been bugging you, or a new technology that intrigues you.
10. Create a webinar, and save for future use. Get people to sign up for your informational webinar, and publish the materials to serve as evergreen content for your site.
11. Expand on a previous post to make a full-scale whitepaper. Dig deeper in your existing blog to find a topic that warrants expansion, then expand on it.
12. Aggregate your content to create an eBook. Round up some of your top-performing posts, and stitch related topics together with new content to make a comprehensive eBook you can then sell as an additional stream of revenue.
13. "Round up" current news in your industry. Report on several different pieces of emerging news in a "round up" style of reporting.
14. Search for a guest poster. Instead of writing a new piece yourself, find an outside expert versed in the field to do it for you--there's rarely any shortage of writers willing to submit guest posts (so long as you give them a link or personal credit).
15. Conduct an interview. Track down someone big in your industry, and interview them. You can then release video, audio, or a transcript of the engagement (or all three).
16. Attend a conference (or look forward to one). Report on an industry conference you've recently attended, or failing that, write about a conference you're planning to attend in the future.
17. Announce company news. Are you releasing a new product? Hiring a new leader for your team? Post about it!
18. Aggregate tweets, stats, or quotes from outside sources. Take a look at what some of your competitors and industry influencers are doing on social media (and publishing on their blogs). Aggregate all that information into something that's manageable and approachable for your audience.
19. Collect FAQs from customer forums and inbound requests. Look to see what your customers are asking about, as well as what their needs are. A simple post could help you clear up tons of confusion.
20. Ad-lib a podcast. Use a microphone to record yourself speaking ad-lib about an issue in your industry (or company). Your sincerity will come through as an appeal, and you won't have to spend much time creating something.
These 20 ideas should be enough to get you started on something, but remember, you aren't limited here--these 20 ideas are far from comprehensive in the realm of possible content pieces, and you can even blend them together in different patterns to form unique "hybrid" forms of content. It's almost inevitable that you'll eventually hit another wall, so take note of the strategies that did or did not work in helping you come up with new inspiration--content marketing is always an evolving process, so commit to improving yourself as well.