How easy do you find it to come up with new article ideas for your Virtual Assistant business blog? Do you write content for client blogs? If so, how do you keep generating article topic ideas?

It’s not easy, I know! I write articles for a few different clients as well as for my own business blog. Which reminds me I’m more than 3 weeks behind with my latest one. Crikey, it’s at times like these I could do with my own VA!

Anyway I digress. The point is it can be difficult to generate ideas on a daily / weekly or even monthly basis, particularly if you have a number of clients with ongoing projects and you find the time you’ve dedicated to research gets pushed and pushed, until it has disappeared completely.

So here are 7 fab little tricks to help you come up with new content again and again.

1. Social media conversations

Get involved in conversations going on in social media channels relating to the industry you’re writing about or talking too.

For example, if you’re looking for a topic for your next blog article and your target audience is UK small business owners, make sure you’re connected with them to find out what they’re discussing.

Is there a question being asked that you can answer? If so, write an article on it, then include a link to it in your response.

Obviously, I don’t mean that you blatantly distribute your blog link! Instead answer the question, touching on the main points of your article and then invite them to read it in full via your website.

Then give the link.

2. Business forums

No doubt you’re already a member of relevant industry forums. This is a great way of getting involved with business owners, to find out what their needs are and to do a bit of networking.

So why not use it to stimulate article ideas too!

On a weekly basis, spend even just 20 – 30 minutes delving into the latest discussions and topics to see if there is a little nugget that could be turned into an article.

At this point I should also mention that you absolutely need an article schedule. A simple Excel spreadsheet will do the trick. Populate it with the dates you want to publish an article, then add the article topics as you go. This way you’ll be working weeks ahead (hopefully!) and will know exactly what you need to research in advance.

No more last minute frantic rushing around for ideas and publishing the article at midnight!

3. Quora

I’ve already talked about the benefits of Quora in a previous article here.

If you don’t know anything about it, read the article and then sign up. It really is a valuable resource for information, ideas, and expert advice.

What’s more, Quora’s content license states the following: “you can reuse all new content on Quora by publishing it anywhere on the web, as long as you link back to the original content on Quora.”

Perfect when researching and creating content.

4. Competitor blogs

Firstly I should stress that this is for idea purposes only. I am not suggesting you rip off someone’s blog or anything like that at all.

But by checking out what other similar businesses are writing about in their blog, or in their online publications, may help spark some new ideas for you too.

Once you’ve got those ideas, go away, do your own research, then write about it.

5. Publications

Whether it be in print or online, check out what relevant industry publications are talking about. If it can be spun toward your target audience then it’s also a great way to get new topic ideas.

As before, I’m not suggesting you take that content and work from it. The idea is to use the broad subject matter as a basis for your own research. Come up with a new angle. Research it some more. Then create a compelling article.

Ahem … simple!

6. Google Alerts

A great little tool from Google which makes my day a whole lot easier.

You can easily create a number of Google Alerts for different queries, search terms etc and have them delivered straight to your inbox.

I have a health and fitness client who I regularly undertake social media and blog article creation, and without this tool I wouldn’t have found half the ideas for articles or broadcasts.

As ever, use it to help stimulate ideas not to recycle.

7. Dissect successful articles

The final one is a proven method used by many very successful copywriters.

Again this is not to steal content, but to see what articles have had good responses by how many times they have been commented on and shared in social media.

Take those successful articles and dissect them.

Find out why they were successful. Was it the topic, the tone, the way in which it was shared? Then try replicating the same theory for your own articles.

This route won’t necessarily always give you new article ideas, but what it will do is help you figure out what works and why it works. Because ultimately whatever content you do publish and broadcast, you want others to read and benefit from it.

On that note, if you found this article useful, please share!