November 22, 2021

How to Generate Content Ideas: A Guide to Brainstorming Topics

What should I write about next? 

I’ve been writing about this industry for so long. How do I come up with unique content ideas?

How do I find blog topics that will engage my audience?

These are questions all content creators ask at some point. Consistently sharing authoritative blog content is every writer’s dream, yet drumming up thrilling topic ideas again and again is no easy feat. Even the most practiced content heroes still struggle on their quests to generate ideas that align with their audience’s interests.

Topic generation becomes harder still when you look at the amount of content already online. Blogs are one of the most popular forms of content marketing. In 2020, 89% of content marketers included blogs in their content strategy. Translation: There are a lot of blogs out there. We estimate it’s probably somewhere between gazillions and kajillions.

With millions of blog posts published each day, how can you make your content stand out from the crowd? 

The first step is choosing a winning topic. 

In this article, we divulge our tried-and-true tricks for generating authoritative blog topics. (Trust us. It’s how we do it!)

Our Best Topic Brainstorming Tips

If only amazing topic ideas fell from the sky! Wouldn’t that be nice? There’s a myth that all good writing comes from divine moments of inspiration. Unfortunately, inspiration only hits so often. We have to put in the work, sifting through many mediocre ideas to strike topic gold. 

Brainstorming is how you come up with ideas. You must dedicate time to think about your audience, your services and trends in your industry. As you do, document any topics or ideas that come to mind. 

Below are questions to ask yourself while you brainstorm. 

  • What does my audience need to know? 
  • What questions are my customers asking? 
  • What problems do my customers have? What problems do my products or services solve? 
  • What products or services are my customers most interested in? 
  • What’s new or changing in my industry? 
  • When will I publish my content?

Developing good topics requires even the most seasoned marketers to carve out some of that elusive think time and start making a list.

Make Brainstorming Productive 

Productive brainstorming sessions leave you brimming with ideas and excitement. Whether you’re brainstorming alone or with a group, these brainstorming tips will help you make the most of your time. 

1. Don’t Add Pressure 

Some ideas are just plain bad. We know. We’ve had them. Brainstorming isn’t the time to limit your mind or judge others’ ideas—even the wild ones. You never know where one idea will take you or your team. The most off-the-wall thoughts can end up producing winning content marketing ideas.  

Brainstorming is not a high-stakes scenario. At this stage, labeling ideas as good or bad limits your team’s ability to speak freely, and you may miss out on someone’s contribution. If you’re brainstorming alone, pressuring yourself to find the “best” idea will keep you from exploring all possible angles. You may pass over something that would’ve made for a unique article. 

Words to live by: There are no bad ideas in brainstorming. 

2. Document Everything

The point of brainstorming is to put all of your ideas on the table. The good. The bad. The ridiculous. The hilarious. Your goal is to walk away with a list of potential blog topics.

If you’re brainstorming alone, jot down everything that comes to mind. You can also try mind mapping by placing a topic in the center of the page and then connecting things you associate with that topic.

Mind map example starting with "ping pong."

When you brainstorm in a group, appoint a note-taker or use a whiteboard where everyone can add ideas. Documenting ideas helps you follow your train of thought, jump back to a previous idea and keep track of everything discussed. Some teams may prefer to record discussions and play them back later.

Pro tip: Write down all of your ideas. 

3. Walk in Your Audience’s Shoes 

Who’s your audience? What do they like? What do they think about? When you focus on who the content is for, you’ll develop relevant ideas that fill a need and build your brand’s relatability. Think about conversations you’ve had with customers. Check your social media comments. Use research tools to learn more about your audience. Recurring themes and questions are the perfect fodder for an authoritative article. 

Remember: If your audience wouldn’t read it, you shouldn’t write it.

The Building Blocks for Your Ideas

Writing—and marketing—is both an art and a science. Your creative spark makes an article or angle interesting, but research backs up your idea. When you rely on creativity and research, you develop well-rounded topics based on the things your audience wants to know. 

When you’re generating ideas, brainstorming and research go hand in hand. Industry, competitor and keyword research show you how your topics line up with what your peers are publishing and your customers are asking.

  • Industry research. What are people in your industry talking about? Use Quora and Reddit to find popular questions and discussion threads. Are there changes in technology or services you could address? Comb through recent trade magazines, news stories and monthly newsletters for ideas. 
  • Trend research. Stay on top of what’s trending. You can use tools like Google Trends, Exploding Topics and BuzzSumo to identify what’s popular in your industry right now. Don’t just stick to your niche, either. You may find interesting topics in adjacent fields. 
  • Competitor research. It never hurts to spy on your competitors. Analyze their blog and social media posts to see if anything sparks your interest. Of course, you don’t want to write the same articles as your competitors, but you will find content opportunities by reviewing their chosen topics. Topic areas that perform well for your competitors may perform well for you. Additionally, you may find gaps in your competitors’ content that you could fill. 
  • Keyword research. Keyword research is a great way to determine if your topic idea is relevant. You’ll find out what users are searching and how they’re searching for it. Tools like Moz and Google Keyword Planner help you identify keywords. You can also glean information from typing in a search query and reviewing Google’s query suggestions, “People Also Ask” tabs and “Related Searches” section.

Two Brains Are Better Than One

Blog writing is an excellent way to share your industry expertise and answer your audience’s burning questions. Trustworthy, authoritative content shows your customers that you know your stuff and helps you place higher on search engine results pages. 

At Campaignium, our content writers are idea experts. We’ll plan, write and optimize your blog content, working with you to brainstorm topic ideas.

Contact us today to get started.

Authoritative Articles in Action

We’ve shared how to generate content ideas. If you’re wondering how those ideas become words on a webpage, here are four examples of authoritative articles we’ve written for clients. 

We created a series of articles focused on exercising during COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Read Running During Coronavirus: A Simple, Safe Way to Stay Fit.

Lost & Found Grief Center helps children and families cope with grief. We looked at another angle: how employers can help bereaved employees. 

Read Grief at Work: How Companies Can Support Grieving Employees.

In early 2020, Missouri distributed licenses for medical marijuana labs, cultivation facilities and dispensaries. Medical marijuana is legal at the state level but illegal under federal law. If you use it, what does that mean for your Social Security claim? 

Read Does Medical Marijuana Affect Your Social Security Disability Claim?

The popularity of podcasts exploded during the pandemic. We love podcasts, and we thought the truck drivers at Prime Inc. would too. 

Read Entertainment on the Road: Podcasts for Truckers’ Daily Drives.


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