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Published August 4th 2014

How To Generate Ideas For Shareable Content: 7 Approaches

Creating fresh new ideas for content is hard. Here are 7 ways to help you.

According to the Content Marketing Institute the most difficult challenge facing content marketers is developing original, relevant and timely content ideas.

At BuzzSumo we spend every day analyzing the most shared content on the internet and understanding why content is shared. Based on our analysis the following 7 areas provide plenty of scope for developing engaging and shareable content ideas.

1. Industry pain points

People are interested in challenges facing their industry. You can talk to your own teams and customers to gain insights into what keeps them awake at night and identify their pain points.

One useful way to address industry pain points, and to enhance your own authority, is to create case studies showing how businesses have overcome these challenges and the lessons that can be learnt from their experience.

2. Common customer questions

Content that addresses customer questions resonates well with audiences.

You can talk to your sales people and check what questions customers are asking. You can also review industry forums to find common questions.

Every customer question is a potential new piece of shareable content.

3. Trending industry topics

By their very nature trending industry topics are of interest to customers. As Robert Rose says when researching content ideas “go out and see what the zeitgeist is about a particular topic.” 

Search out what are people talking about in the more popular LinkedIn groups. You can also research the articles that are being shared most on social networks. You can do free topic searches with BuzzSumo to find the most shared content in any industry or topic area. A further step is to identify the key influencers using BuzzSumo and check what they are talking about and see the content they are sharing.

Once you have identified the trending topics explore where you can add value through your insights.

4. Brand stories

Brand stories provoke conversations and create a narrative that shapes the understanding of a topic. See my Kineo elearning brand story as an example. Ask yourself:

  • what are your brand stories?
  • in what ways can they provoke conversations?
  • how can they shape the topic narrative?

5. Data analysis

Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola’s VP of Global Advertising Strategy, says “data whisperers will become the new messiahs.” According to Jonathan data is the new soil in which ideas grow.

What does the data say in your industry? For example, what does the data say about your competitors? What is the most shared content on your competitor’s sites and why? Do a BuzzSumo domain search to find out. How does this compare to the top five most shared pieces of content you produced in the last year and more importantly why? Understand what content is resonating with your audience from analyzing the data.

6. Applying trends outside your industry to your business

Content that looks at trends in different industries and how these might apply to a different business area is very popular. How might this work in your industry? Are you reading a magazine or blog each week from different industry sectors to see how the latest thinking in other sectors could be applied to your business. Taking a trend from another industry and assessing its application to your industry is a great way to create original content.

7. Industry news and trends

Everyone is interested in the latest industry news and trends, and this is very shareable content. If you are immersed in your industry you will already know the trends and latest thinking. However, we can all become obsolete, you need to keep up by reviewing the latest RSS feeds, the latest surveys and industry reports. What was the most shared content in your industry yesterday? Do a BuzzSumo search and find out.

Finally, you can conduct your own surveys to provide industry insights. Remember every insight is potentially a piece of great shareable content.


Hopefully by reviewing these seven areas you will generate a wide range of new shareable content ideas for your content marketing.

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