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Content is the foundation of any successful online marketing effort. To generate content regularly means that you need to have a lot of ideas. Now, for some people, idea generation is easy- they seem to always have something they are thinking about and working on and planning to write about.

But, for other people, coming up with new content ideas can be a bit of a challenge- and it’s for you I’m offering up these six strategies for generating new content ideas a bit further down in this post.

When I think about writing new content for my blog and newsletter, as well as articles I write for distribution, and other avenues where I share my ideas, I notice that there is often a similarity or overlap in the themes for the month. It’s easier, often, to delve more deeply into a topic than it is to try and come up with disparate topics for each required item.

So, for example, my thinking process might go like this: I write for my blog, and then I lengthen or expand on this idea for my newsletter, and then I reshape that newsletter article slightly to become an article that will be sent out for syndication.

That way, I’m constantly building on my original idea, and refining my delivery of it, and this process makes sense.

But how do I generate content ideas in the first place?

Here are six strategies I use to generate new content ideas:

  1. I gather ideas from books I’m reading. So, for instance, when I was reading the book Willpower, I began to think about how I might apply this to my business, and then, also, how my clients might apply this information to theirs. Similarly, though I don’t want a lot of television, when I do see an idea or concept on TV, I will see if I can develop it into a blog post or article as well.
  2. I listen to themes that reappear in my client work. Very often, my clients will mention or report similar struggles or frustrations around the same time. I listen for these themes and find patterns in them. Once I hear something a few times in a week, from different clients, I know this is worth paying more attention to and generating content around. What’s also great about this approach is that it often helps my clients feel I’m speaking directly to them, and I can share more ideas and information as my understanding develops further.
  3. I review questions I receive in email and social media. When people reach out by email or Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, I note what they are asking and see whether I have content about it already. If I do, I might share this article or post with them. If not, though, I will respond to them, and then take the email response and convert it into a post or article. I also pay attention when I receive media inquiries, and I save my responses for these and may write articles from these as well.
  4. I brainstorm or free-think about things my clients might want to know. I will generate a list of 20-25 topics or ideas that I keep as “back up” or “spare” in case I ever need to create content and can’t think of a thing to say.
  5. I watch for trends and report on them with ideas of how to use or apply them. It’s especially intriguing to pay attention to advances in neuroscience, psychology, and technology and be able to provide some commentary or interpretation, or to help people see things in a new way. People always enjoy being on the forefront of new knowledge.
  6. I pay attention to ideas or strategies I use in my own life and work. Obviously, if I want to be seen as an expert, I need to share something about what I’ve tried, what’s working, and what isn’t. So I use myself as a way to test ideas and strategies and then to share my results. People are often interested in the personal aspect of this process; they feel like they know me better- and trust me more.

Each of these are strategies you can adopt too. If you’re stuck for new content ideas, start applying these six steps to observe the world around you. I’m sure it won’t be long before you have more ideas than you can handle.