Upcycling, spying, and rebooting: 3 ways to get out of a content rut 

Many of our clients tell us they want to be producing more quality content, but don’t have enough ideas. After all, it’s easy to say “we want to publish 2 blog posts a week” – coming up with enough relevant topics to keep those blog posts flowing is another thing.

Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to get the creative juices flowing. In this post we’ll share a few of our tried-and-true methods for generating lots of new content ideas (and fast). Let’s go!

Everyone knows the feeling of staring at a blank page with no idea what to write. The good news is that you’re not alone. At Blue Seedling, we’ve even been there ourselves. Luckily, we also have some foolproof strategies to get unblocked. Here are a small handful of them that you can try right now.

‘Upcycle’ your existing content

Just like you might turn an old, worn-out pair of jeans into a new tote bag, you can rework existing pieces of content into something fresh.

Start by reading through your old blog posts and look out for:

  • Gems that performed well, but are now buried a few pages deep, waiting for a refresh.
  • Topics you wrote about a while ago, but now your perspective on them has changed or deepened in some way. Write a follow-up post or a “part 2” to update your readers.

Besides your blog, there are other marketing activities that can generate new content. For example:

  • Revamping or launching a new website page: Highlight this on your blog, social media, and in email campaigns to drive people to your site. 
  • Publishing gated content like product demo videos or whitepapers: Summarize and tease these with new blog posts. 
  • Attending a webinar or a conference: Post photos and key takeaways on social media and/or in a blog post.

For more of these tricks and tips, we have a whole blog post on derivative content.

Check out what your competitors are doing

While we don’t advise obsessing over your competitors, there are times where checking in on them can be helpful. Recently, I was brainstorming a handful of new content ideas to suggest to a client. Out of curiosity, I checked out the website of their top competitor. In about 10 minutes, I had a short list of great ideas that could be customized to fit our client’s needs. 

Here’s what I looked out for on their competitor’s site:

  • Any current events or trends their competitor was writing about, to make sure our client wasn’t missing an opportunity to be part of a bigger conversation in their industry.
  • Unexpected topics and just-for-fun pieces, like a lighthearted blog post about moving into a new office space, bringing dogs to work, or going on a team retreat. This made me realize the potential for more ‘talent brand’ content on our client’s site.
  • The ways their competitor had repackaged old content in fresh ways. For example, they had a series of self-guided courses on how to use their product, with most of the content taken from their existing blog posts and technical documentation.

Do a content brainstorming session

Sometimes your content strategy needs a more radical reset. When this happens, grab a few creative team members, carve out an hour or two, and do a content brainstorming session. 

If you use the Blue Seedling playbook (available as a free workbook here), here are the basic steps you’ll follow:

  1. Refresh yourselves and align on what your ICP is. You may want to dig up old documentation or market research for this part. Sometimes even just doing this step will shake some ideas free. 
  2. Delve into psychographics. Try to think about what makes your customers tick. What are their wants and needs? What keeps them up at night? What drives them crazy? For this portion of the session, it’s helpful to imagine specific customers and what you know about them.
  3. Brainstorm content ideas! Now that you’re armed with a deep understanding of your customer, coming up with specific topics, formats, or even tone should be easier. For example, understanding that your customers are busy, you might want to try a more direct, less wordy style of writing. Combining the ideas, formats, and tones should give you plenty of new ideas that you can start working on right away.

When we did one of these sessions at Blue Seedling, we generated hundreds of new ideas in less than an hour! And the good news is that you don’t need to do these that often – months later we were still drawing from our well of ideas to build out our content roadmap.

The bottom line

A content strategy is the (not so) secret weapon of any B2B marketing operation. But it’s common to find the process of generating new ideas challenging. Luckily, many strategies exist to help get you out of your content rut.

Related links:

Marie is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Blue Seedling. She’s also a runner, a painter, and a grad student.

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