5 Creative Ways to Find Things to Write About

Ask any content marketer what their greatest fear is, and they’ll probably say something stupid and obvious like heights or spiders or clowns (or some kind of unholy, nightmarish spider-clown slowly descending the Burj Khalifa).

What we should be scared of is running out of stuf

  1. Find Things to Write About Using Competitive Intelligence Tools

Since were always telling you to rely on hard data rather than assumptions, were going to look at coming up with content ideas using competitive intelligence tools first.

Find things to write about competitive intelligence keyword research tools concept illustration

Competitive intelligence tools can be invaluable during the content iteration process because they can help us quantify why some content ideas are better than others specifically, which topics are being shared and discussed most.

I dont want to get bogged down in a platform-specific tutorial, but for the sake of example, were going to use BuzzSumo, but Ill keep the concepts as platform-agnostic as I can.

First, we need to specify what keyword or vertical were interested in. We do this by entering our query into the relevant field. In this case, Im going to take a look at content about content. (How meta.)

Find things to write about BuzzSumo total social shares results screen

As you can see, the results above show us a range of useful information, but were most interested in the number of social shares. Why? Because the more shares an article has, the more confident we can be that another article on the same topic will also be shared widely.

Social shares are a pretty reliable indication that the article in question is pushing the right buttons. Its important to note that social shares dont necessarily mean the article will be positive, or even well-written; all we need to know is that many readers, regardless of the articles angle or perspective, felt compelled to share it with their networks.

An article being shared widely across social platforms can be an indication of several different things:

  1. Its a breaking news story that got the scoop first and is being shared/cited widely
  2. The article is particularly useful, insightful, or actionable
  3. The writer has a unique perspective or insight into the topic
  4. The opinions in the article defy conventional wisdom about the topic
  5. Its an article so bad or an opinion so controversial that people are sharing it out of anger or incredulity

With the exception of the last one, any of the preceding points are worthy of emulating in our own content.

Find things to write about Reuters news content statistics

And this is just one news outlet. Image via Reuters.

Obviously, news content is uniquely fresh and new precisely because it focuses on emerging or developing events, but this doesnt help you if your publication doesnt publish news content. As a rule, we should always be striving to produce actionable, insightful content, so the second point is kind of a no-brainer. It also goes without saying that we shouldnt be trying to publish content that people only share because they cant believe how bad it is, so what does that leave us with? Publishing content with unique insights into a topic, and that offers an unusual, fresh perspective on a well-worn subject.

Weve discussed the value of contrarian content before, but its worth reiterating that adopting an alternate viewpoint can be an excellent way to distinguish your content from the rest of the crowd. Its also an easy way to come up with new content ideas; simply find the prevailing points of view about a current topic in your industry, then come up with an angle that takes the opposite stance to everyone else.

Find things to write about New York Times most emailed by emotion

Remember its not enough to know your topic inside and out, or be able to write well. You have to be able to identify broader trends and think creatively about how to provide value to your audience by exploring alternate angles.
A Note About Comments

Some content analytics platforms allow you to filter results based on the number of comments an article has. An article with dozens of comments could suggest that the article inspired vigorous debate, but it could also mean that the site that published the article just has a terrible spam filter.

Find things to write about toxic comments sections concept illustration

Image via Pew Research Center

Another potential pitfall of relying on the number of comments an article has as an indication of its potential worth as a content idea is that while many content analytics platforms do a fine job of correctly tallying the number of comments an article has, this tends to be more difficult to calculate accurately. There are dozens of comment systems in use across many of the most popular sites on the web, from Disqus and Kinja to Postmatic and Jetpack, and not every analytics platform can accurately capture true comment data from every commenting systems.

Basically, try to think of comment volume as an interesting secondary metric to consider rather than a reliable indication of an articles potential as a source for a new post.

2. Find Things to Write About Using Keyword Research Tools

While were on the topic of tools, our next tip focuses on using keyword research tools as a way to develop new content ideas.

Regardless of which keyword tool you choose to use, what were looking for are relevant keywords that we may not have thought of otherwise. This can be especially helpful if, like us here at WordStream, you work to a frequent publication schedule for a popular, established blog.

There are dozens of free keyword tools out there, but we like to think ours is pretty good, so Ill be using WordStreams Free Keyword Tool to illustrate this process.

First, we need to choose a nice, broad initial keyword to start our search, which is sometimes referred to as a seed keyword. For this example, I went with the keyword cryptocurrency with no industry vertical specified and results limited to the United States:

ReadMore by Clicking on this link Find Things To Write About