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How to Come Up With Fresh Topics and Improve Your Content Calendar

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Goepps content calendar

So, it’s time for you and your marketing team to come up with your upcoming content calendar for next month or next quarter. All you see on your screen is a whole lot of blankness. You know the type of content you need (format), understand what it’s supposed to do (goals), and how you plan to deliver it (media).

But you’re stuck on what the content should be about.

Most marketers experience this every now and then. You simply can’t come up with any ideas for topics.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Check out our favorite hacks for coming up with ideas for building out our content calendar.


1. Repurpose an Audience Favorite

Have you created a piece of content that significantly outperformed?

Take it as a sign that you should be doing MOTS (more of the same).

Ever wonder why Hollywood produces so many Marvel movies? If people show up for one movie, it’s likely they’ll show up for more, sometimes starring one of the Marvel superheroes, other times featuring a group of them, with all the plotlines being a variation on similar themes.

Hollywood will keep producing these movies until people stop showing up.

Take a lesson from this and figure out how you can repurpose your “best of” content. Think about ways it could be broken up and reassembled into new pieces. Or find new angles that could take it in a different direction. Or think about how it could be translated into a different medium.

Another way to repurpose is to combine several smaller successful pieces into an ebook, webinar, or another type of longer form content.

Repurposing could help you find your next content idea in your last one. Learn more about repurposing in this article.

Tip: Link your new piece of content to the original piece that inspired it. It will provide a solid internal link that will help with search engine optimization (SEO).

2. Offer an Opposing View

This is related to repurposing, but a little different.

In this case, you identify a popular piece of content, then develop another one from the opposite angle. For instance, if you’ve run a “how to” piece that people in your target audience liked, you could write a “What not to do” article to compliment it. Similar to our tip in the previous section, link the two pieces together for SEO purposes.

3. Leverage Your Keywords

This is a great tactic for people who like to take a structured, organized, and strategic approach to content development.

Start by reviewing the list of search terms you want to rank for. Then come up with a list of master topics for each term. These will become larger articles, videos, and other assets. They should be idea-rich pieces that demonstrate expertise. Next, come up with a list of subtopics related to each master topic. These will become shorter pieces, such as checklists, infographics, and how-to articles that demonstrate your commitment to the topic.

This approach to content development will not only help you come up with a large number of content ideas, but each will also support your SEO strategy and priorities.

4. Borrow from the Best

Google the terms you want to rank for. See what content shows up on top. Use these top-performing pieces to come up with new topics for your own content. Even better: Leverage the ideas in these high-ranking pieces in your own content. Of course, you never want to plagiarize, but using the material in top-ranked content as the research and building blocks for your own pieces makes it more likely your material will be able to out rank theirs. While you’re doing your research on top-performing content, see if you can identify a gap in the leading material your piece can fill.

5. Check Out Your Competitors

This content ideation process is a bit involved, so it’s not an option if you’re in a calendaring crunch.

Conduct a content audit by examining your content and comparing it to that of your competitors. We explain everything you need to know about content audits in this article. The audit will reveal content types and topics, along with individual pieces, that you should be doing, or that the companies in your category are doing better.

A content audit is time-consuming, but it will create a list of quality topics you can develop content about for a very long time.

6. Look to the Future

Leverage Google Trends to come up with tomorrow’s content ideas today. Simply input your search terms and Google Trends will show you related searches that are trending upward. It shows you what people are becoming interested in, which could spark fresh, forward-thinking on new content topics.

7. Ask Yourself: Do You Really Need a New Piece of Content?

If you’re not coming up with great content ideas, it could be because you may not need a new piece, or you’re over-saturated on certain topics. Rather than developing something new, it might make more sense to revise and improve something you already have or explore a new subject area.

Whether you need to completely revamp your content strategy or simply need more accurate keyword data, these tips will comprehensively serve your marketing plan for years to come.

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