5 Guiding Questions to Help You Generate Content Ideas

Are you looking for ways to generate content ideas? Here are 5 guiding questions I revisit over and over again when I look to create content.

Generate Content Ideas - questions to help you generate new content ideas - content ideas for your blog and Instagram - new content ideas

I’ve been writing and taking photos for Emma’s Edition since 2014. I was balancing my blog with my senior year of college and then transitioned to working full time a month after graduation. So I started out writing maybe one blog post every month or every other month.

Then in 2016, I decided I was going to take my blog and Instagram seriously. I doubled the amount of blog posts I created from once a month to two times a month. I knew I needed to focus on my content. I wanted to produce more high-quality content that my audience cared about. I figured out who my target market was, experimented with different niches, and continued to outsource photography so I could focus on writing.

By 2018-2019, I wrote and created at least 2 blog posts a week plus 6-8 Instagram posts a week. Focusing on my content strategy, production, and increasing my cadence helped me grow from 10,000 monthly blog views in 2018 to a peak of 40,000 monthly views in 2019. (I also focused on SEO + Pinterest to help me reach these goals!)

While it didn’t feel like it when I first started, creating content now feels like second nature. I have a pulse for what type of content my audience wants to see over and over again. So today, I wanted to share the 5 guiding questions I use to help me generate content ideas for Emma’s Edition.

Emma's Edition - Santo Coffee - Greenlake Seattle

Question #1: What content (photos/videos/captions) does my audience respond to?

If I’m not sure what type of content I want to create next, I go to my Google and Instagram analytics to see which blog posts, photos, and IGTV my audience responded to the most.

Typically, I look for the top performing blog posts in the last 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. I also look at Instagram analytics and look for the photos and videos that had the most reach and engagement. I learned over time that my travel content performed really well on both Instagram and my blog. I’ve continued to build my travel posts since I pivoted into the niche in 2018.

Here are a few examples of my travel content that continues to perform well on my blog:

12 Most Instagrammable Places in New Orleans

Pittsburgh’s Most Instagram Worthy Places

San Francisco’s Most Instagrammable Places

15 Most Instagrammable Places in Portland

I recommend looking at your analytics and seeing what types of photos perform best for you. Maybe it’s beauty posts or travel posts. Or maybe it’s photos around your neighborhood or city.

Generate Content Ideas - questions to help you generate new content ideas - content ideas for your blog and Instagram - new content ideas

Question #2: What are other people in your in my industry doing?

One way I find inspiration to create content is by looking at what my other influencer peers are doing. As a content creator, I hope to inspire others to create content. As a content creator, I also find inspiration in others who create content.

For example, I first saw the newspaper photo shoot from @kasey.jo.gerst. I absolutely loved how she set up a newspaper photo shoot and wanted to try it for myself. I made sure I tagged her in my Instagram post and used her hashtag so she could see it!

Question #3: What are my favorite things about my niche? Or lifestyle?

If you aren’t sure where to start or need to jump start content creation, I recommend reflecting on your favorite things about your niche or lifestyle.

For example, if you’re a beauty blogger, do you love finding the best beauty blenders? Or do you love finding high quality drug store make up?

Or if you’re a fashion blogger, do you love sharing how to style something 4 different ways? Or what seasonal trends your trying for the first time?

If you’re able to identify what you enjoy about your niche or lifestyle, it makes content creation so much easier. I recommend writing down a list of your favorite things and seeing if any ideas come from that list!

Question #4: What products or experiences do I want to review?

There are some content creators out there who only do reviews. Their blog posts, videos, and photos are all focused on reviewing their niche. Food bloggers are a great example of review type of content. Some food bloggers only review restaurants. They share the service, their favorite things about their meal, food they were unimpressed about, and more.

If you enjoy sharing your opinion and love to share a product or an experience, I would recommend trying to incorporate reviews in your content!

Generate Content Ideas - questions to help you generate new content ideas - content ideas for your blog and Instagram - new content ideas

Question #5: What current events do I want to discuss?

If don’t feel like writing a review or talking about some of your favorite things, is there a current event you want to discuss on your Instagram, blog, or TikTok?

For me personally, I’ve been talking about how covid19 has affected me both on Instagram and my blog. I recently shared how I’ve been practicing self-care on the blog and how my travel plans have been cancelled due to the Stay at Home Order. While I typically don’t talk about current events, this global pandemic has affected everyone. I’ve chosen to talk about how covid19 has affected me while still sharing content creation tips and previous trips I look last spring.

What other questions do you ask your self to help you generate content ideas?

Emma's Edition - Santo Coffee - Greenlake Seattle

For more blogging tips, I recommend also checking out:

6 SEO Tips for Beginning Bloggers

How do I stay organized with my blog, podcast, and life?

How much time do I spend on my blog and Instagram?

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Emma

Photos: Holly Phan

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