Whether you want to come up with content ideas or try out a content idea generator, this guide has you covered. You’ll learn best practice tips for thinking creatively to create content people will enjoy and value. Plus, you’ll get my rundown on 11 free tools that I use when I need a content ideas list or fun new content ideas for blog posts and social media content. Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
How Do You Come Up with Ideas Easily?
As a content marketer, one of the biggest challenges you face is consistently generating fresh and compelling ideas for your blog posts and social media content. You may ask, “What do I talk about next?” as soon as you hit the publish button.
There are 5 things I do that help me come up with good ideas for content consistently. Give these tips a try:
Be open to thinking creatively
Don’t limit yourself to the same old topics and formats. Think outside the box and consider new angles, perspectives, and formats to keep your content fresh and engaging.
Keep a running list of ideas
Inspiration can strike at any time, so it’s important to have a system for capturing and organizing your ideas. Use a notebook, a digital tool, or a whiteboard to keep track of potential content ideas.
Stay up-to-date with industry news and trends
Read industry publications, attend conferences, and follow thought leaders in your field to stay on top of the latest news and trends. This can help you identify new topics and opportunities to create relevant and timely content.
Ask your audience for input
Engage with your audience on social media, through email, or in person to find out what topics and questions they’re interested in. This can help you create content that resonates with your audience and drives engagement.
Use free tools to generate ideas
There are many free tools available that can help you come up with content ideas, such as AnswerThePublic, Google Trends, and Quora. Utilize these tools to spark your creativity and find new topics to write about.
In the rest of this article, we’ll explore 11 free content idea tools and tips for using them. By the end, you’ll be on your way to unlimited content ideas.
Let’s jump in!
11 Free Tools for Generating Content Ideas
You don’t need to use a paid tool or service to come up with good topics for your content. This section is all about the free tools that have helped me plan content and shake that feeling of not knowing what to create next, and includes tools from marketing’s big names like Google, HubSpot, Neil Patel, and Marcus Sheridan.
I’ll dive into paid tools elsewhere. If you’d like to stay up-to-date on the latest guides and tutorials I make, take a second to subscribe to my newsletter:
1. AnswerThePublic (Best Visualizations)
AnswerThePublic is a free tool that shows what people are searching for in search engines. It generates a list of questions related to your keyword or topic, which can help you come up with content ideas. AnswerThePublic was created by Neil Patel, a well-known face in the digital marketing world.
Though free searches are limited to 2 per day, the results of a single query can help you plan plenty of content. I love the visualizations of related questions!
Reddit is a platform where users can share content and have discussions on various topics. You can find subreddits related to your industry or niche and browse through the posts and comments for content ideas. You can also use Reddit to ask questions and get feedback from other users.
Reddit’s slogan is “The front page of the internet,” and rightfully so. It’s not unusual to see search queries with “Reddit” appended to the end, as people often want to see what real people have to say about the topic they are searching for.
3. BlogAbout by IMPACT
BlogAbout by IMPACT is a blog title generator tool created by Marcus Sheridan, author of “They Ask, You Answer.” You can enter your keyword or topic and the tool will generate a list of blog post titles and ideas.
My favorite part about BlogAbout is that you can categorize your keyword to help contextualize the results.
4. Hubspot Blog Ideas Generator (Best blog content ideas list)
The Hubspot Blog Ideas Generator is a free tool that generates blog post ideas and titles. You can enter up to five nouns and the tool will give you a week’s worth of blog post ideas relating to them. However, these examples are meant as a lead magnet. You do have to provide contact information to access the spreadsheet of 250 blog post ideas, but the ideas aren’t bad.
5. Portent Idea Generator (Most Fun Content Idea Generator)
The Portent Idea Generator is a tool that suggests catchy and creative titles for blog posts and articles. You can enter your keyword or topic and the tool will generate a title along with a brief explanation of why it’s a good title.
Some of the ideas make me laugh, like this one below:
But, hey – content that laughs or shocks = great for winning social shares (see also: How to Create and Copywrite Content for SEO vs. Social Media Marketing). Portent is a great way to get ideas for funny memes and social post ideas in addition to blog post titles.
6. Exploding Topics (Best for Conversation Starters)
Exploding Topics is a tool that identifies the latest trends and topics in various industries. You can enter your keyword or topic and the tool will give you a list of related trending topics.
The downside is that not all exploding topics are visible to free users. However, there are still more than enough free results to give you content ideas.
In my experience, Exploding Topics has been the most helpful in coming up with something to talk about on social media accounts with the goal of sparking discussion and winning engagement.
The blogs I write for don’t really have a news-minute focus (and aim instead for evergreen content). However, it’s a must-try if you write news content or want to update old articles with new information.
7. National Day Calendar (Best for Consistency)
The National Day Calendar website provides a list of fun and unique holidays and observances that you can use as inspiration for your content. Though the holidays on any given day may not be directly related to your brand or products, they can still inspire fun and casual content.
Tip: Try using an unusual calendar day as a reason to send an email or run a 24-hour promotion.
Google Trends is a tool that shows the popularity of search terms over time. You can enter your keyword or topic and see how its popularity has changed over time. This can help you identify trends and popular topics.
For a deep dive and video tutorial, check out Using Google Trends: 10 Practical Examples and Strategies for Easy Marketing and Content (kattwagner.com)
9. Quora (The Classic)
Quora has long been known as the Q&A corner of the internet. It is a platform where users can ask and answer questions on various topics. You can search for questions related to your industry or niche and use them as inspiration for your content, as well as subscribe to topics to get notifications of new questions and trending conversations.
Quora Tip: Quora posts commonly show up in SERPs. By contributing on Quora, you can reach people every time that post is clicked through a search results page. What I like to do is answer the question concisely and link to a longer-form piece of content for further reading. Many of my Quora responses have driven dozens of clicks to whatever content I linked to.
10. KeywordTool.io (Personal Favorite!)
Keywordtool.io is a keyword research tool that scrapes Google’s autocomplete to give you a list of key phrases people are searching for. You can enter your main keyword and the tool will generate a list of related keywords that you can use in your content.
I’m a huge fan of Google’s autocomplete for suggested searches and use it often as a quick way to decide how to word or title something.
However, it’s exhausting to type one letter at a time and see what’s suggested. Keywordtool.io does that leg work for you. It’s an incredibly efficient tool for figuring out content ideas. You can browse keyword suggestions, questions, and prepositions
Tip: Try inputting a single-word keyword into the tool and using 2 or 3-word results as hashtags in social posts.
11. SERPs (Google and Bing)
Related questions on Google and Bing search engine result pages (SERPs), often shown in the “People Also Ask” section, can be a great source of inspiration for content ideas. You can use these questions as a starting point for your own content.
For example, if someone types in “How to start a blog?” and one of the SERP results includes the question “What type of hosting do I need for my blog?”, you could use that as an idea for a blog post. You can then go into more detail about the different types of hosting and how they’re suited to other kinds of websites and blogs.
To sum it up, generating compelling content ideas requires creativity and research, and these free tools make it simple. With a little effort, you’ll be able to create a content ideas list in no time. For questions and further discussion, be sure to leave a comment or hop over to our Facebook Group, Brand Hacking for Small Business. Happy brainstorming!