eCommerce Insiders

Seven Surefire Ways to Generate Content Ideas

The clock ticks slowly.

You’re sitting at the computer – waiting for inspiration to strike.

Fingers poised over the keyboard, you sit, waiting, begging an irresistible idea to invade your brain and fuel your creativity.

Tick. Tick. Tock.

Moments turn to hours and words (even just one) have yet to appear on the page. If you’re anything like me, you’ve resorted to smacking your head against the keyboard – just to see if the force of your forehead might create usable text.

We’ve all been there. In e-commerce, content is vital, but, knowing precisely what content will resonate with our audience is a neverending challenge.

But raise your head from the keyboard – there is hope!

There are techniques for finding creative inspiration and discovering dozens of topics to engage your audience, and here are seven of them.

Check Forums

Meet your new best friend in idea cultivation – internet forums! Ready for a simple trick to discover a fountain of content? Use Google! By typing “forums: [your topic]” into the search bar, the engine will pull up all related forums.

For example, if you’re selling professional camera gear products, type in “Forums: photography” and, BAM – content galore!

Of course, you can try mutations of this as well “forums: photographers”, etc. Forums will allow you to catch a glimpse into the burning questions asked by those in your industry. You’ll be able to peer into the discussions of your target audience and gain key insights into what’s important to them.

Use Social Media

In some industries, traditional forums are dying. Other internet “water coolers” include Facebook groups, Twitter discussions, and Reddit threads.

On Facebook, type in “group [your topic]” into the search bar and suggestions will appear. You’ll find some closed groups, but go ahead and browse and join groups. You’ll be able to follow their conversations, and you can even ask questions and participate in the group.

A note of caution: most Facebook groups are VERY sensitive to sales pitches, and a high portion of groups strictly forbid self-promotion.

When you post, ask engaging questions questions like “what is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer”, or “what are your favorite sources of inspiration”. Do not pitch your products or attempt to direct group members to your website.

Search Twitter for appropriate hashtags, and search Reddit for subreddits that interest your potential audience. Take the time to interact via various social mediums, enjoy the learning process, and connect for those who have a passion for topics related to your product.

Guest Bloggers

You do not have to write every piece of content that appears on your web site. In fact, you shouldn’t even try. Guest bloggers bring fresh perspective, content, and readers to the table.

Additionally, guest bloggers frequently promote their work on their blog and social media channels. Not only will a guest blogger provide a fresh stream of information for your site, they’ll likely share their content with their audience, driving fresh potential clients to your blog.

As an added bonus, posts from other respected members in your field will lend to the credibility of your business as well! Everybody wins.

Seek Customer Stories

Your customers are your lifeblood. Reach out to your customers and ask them about their experience with your product. Seek out testimonies and stories that will resonate with your readers and share these stories!

There are a few ways to go about doing this.You could seek out customers and ask them to write their story for you. Or, you could conduct interviews or send questionnaires to your clients and then craft their stories from the information you’re given.

This process will require a bit of leg work, but in the end will be well worth it. Customer stories lend credibility to your product, and will resonate with your audience. Readers can paint their story into the post and see how your product can work for them.

Ask Your Readers

At the end of your blog post and on social media outlets, ask your audience what they want to know more about.  And, if they’re engaged, they’ll tell you! This is likely the easiest way of all to discover what people want – just ask!

While sending out polls or surveys can be useful, asking readers directly is the best approach. Simply posting something like “We’re so glad you’re interested in our content – tell us what you’d like us to write about!” is a simple and effective method for gaining content ideas galore.

Have Employees Write for You

The burden of content should not directly fall upon only you. Your employees work with your product every day and they have good ideas! Ask around and see who’s interested in writing for you.

They don’t have to script the most eloquent piece to be penned since the days of Poe, but you may be surprised at the talent hidden in your employee ranks!

Find Out What Everyone Else is Talking About!

Explore the blog and social media accounts of your competitors and see what they’re talking about. You can’t copy their content, but you can gather ideas and see which topics resonate with your target audience. Look for blog posts that have the most comments and shares on social media, and begin writing your own content on these topics–perhaps even presenting a dissenting viewpoint!

Revisit Popular Topics from the Past.

What were your most popular posts from the past? Put a new twist on the content and create a “remix”. Cover another aspect of the same topic, put a twist on your previous post, or add a “part two” with more detailed information.

And, there you have it – seven surefire ways to prepare content that packs a punch!

What secrets have you discovered for creating excellent content?

Rachel Novotny

I’m a Paleo foodie, coffee connoisseur, and writer who is passionate about helping people achieve their potential. I divide my time between crafting written word, making memories with friends, adventuring with my husband Dave, pretending I know what I’m doing in yoga class, and exploring San Antonio with my Husky mix, Jackie. Follow me on Linkedin or Twitter!

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