A Handy List of Apps and Services to Ensure You’ll Never Run Out of Ideas Again
By , posted on June 9, 2014

Coming up with new ideas on a regular basis is one of the biggest challenges in content marketing. If you’re in this line of work, you need to come up with fresh, useful, and engaging content constantly in order to keep your audience coming back.

It’s not uncommon for content creators and marketers to feel uninspired from time to time. Topic fatigue is natural, especially if you’re often pressured to bring new ideas to the table.

Fortunately for you, there are several tools and solutions that can keep your creative juices flowing. The following are applications, websites, and services that you should look into whenever you feel the idea well running dry. We recommend that you download or bookmark these for future reference, to make it easier for you to come up with the fresh content your audience needs.

 

Buzzsumo

This is a content search engine that surfaces the most shared posts on any given topic or website, enabling you to draw inspiration or ideas.

Simply type in a keyword in the search box, hit the go button, and Buzzsumo will serve up relevant content so you can find out which posts, infographics, videos, etc are shared the most.

The tool has nifty sorting functions and filters to help you with your search. It lets you sort results by total shares, or by shares according to a specific social network. You can also filter results by content type (i.e. articles, infographics, guest posts, giveaway, interviews, or videos) as well as by time frame (i.e. past 24 hours, week, month, or 6 months).

On top of keywords, Buzzsumo also lets you conduct website searches so you can find the most shared content on your site (or on your competitors’).

 

SmartBrief

Sometimes, the best ideas aren’t the ones you look for, but the ones that make their way to you. SmartBrief is a service that can make that happen.

SmartBrief emails are newsletters that contain curated posts and links about a particular industry.  They have a team that sifts through tons of sources everyday, to bring you the best and must-read articles about your niche.

To get started with the service, just select your industry or topic, subscribe to a relevant “Brief” and you’ll start receiving their newsletters straight to your inbox.

SmartBrief covers just about every major industry, including business, retail, travel, tech, food, health care and more. So no matter what your business or profession is, you’ll likely find the perfect newsletter here.

 

Google Trends

A huge part of idea generation involves looking at current trends. By tying in your topic to a popular subject matter, you’ll not only come up with unique pieces of content, but you can increase their “findability” at the same time.

One such tool that can help you do this is Google Trends, which is the search giant’s service that enables you to explore trending searches in real-time. You can explore trends by country or subject matter, and you can even subscribe to the service in order to get Trends stories and updates by email.

You can also get more insights into the search trends of a specific keyword by typing it in the search box at the top. Google Trends will then display charts and graphs illustrating the interest for that keyword overtime, as well as the regional interest for that keyword and other related searches.

 

Bing Social Search

Want a quick and easy tool that lets you see what tweeps are saying about a particular topic? Head on over to bing.com/social.

This nifty service doesn’t have any fancy graphs, charts, or filtering features. The beauty of it lies in its simplicity. Just specify the keyword or phrase into the search box, and Bing will display relevant tweets and Facebook posts for the past couple of days.

No frills. Just straight up answers. Perfect for anyone who needs quick information on the fly.

 

Kindle / Audible

Literature can be great sources of inspiration, so you may want to download book apps into your smartphone or tablet. If you prefer the written word, download the Kindle app (you don’t need the branded tablet to devour Kindle books). Prefer listening? Audible has a vast library of audiobooks that you can listen to on the way to work, while at the gym, or anytime at your leisure.

Consuming books (fiction or nonfiction) will keep your mind brimming with insights and thought. It’ll open you up to the ideas of others and inspire you to come up with your own.

 

Think with Google

This is an awesome research hub that puts numerous papers, infographics, videos, and other resources at your fingertips. Find the latest insights, studies, or surveys pertaining to digital marketing and beyond all in one place.

While the main focus of Think with Google is in online advertising and marketing, the tool relates its studies to various industries, including automotive, consumer goods, education, finance, and more.

Think with Google can help you come up with ideas AND content. Aside from stirring up your creative juices with highly interesting and informative studies, this research hub is chock full of statistics and data that you can use to beef up your posts.

Google partners up with reputable research companies and educational institutions so you can be sure that the information you’re getting is credible.

Google Alerts

Another helpful service by our favorite search giant, Google Alerts enables you to monitor the web for interesting new content. Simply create an alert for a specific keyword, and Google will send you an email whenever it indexes new pages pertaining to it.

To ensure that you don’t get bombarded with alerts, be sure to use Google Alert’s filters and settings so you can indicate how and when to get those emails. Google lets you filter results according result type, language, and region. It also allows you to indicate the frequency of alerts (i.e. instantaneously, once a day, or once a week), and how many results to get in each email.

 

Feedly

Is RSS dead? Not for content marketers. Blogs are a rich source of content and ideas, so if your job is to come up with both on a regular basis, you need to follow relevant blogs so you always have an eye on what’s going on in your niche.

Use Feedly to get all your RSS subscriptions in one place, so you won’t have to blow up your bookmarks bar or visit blogs one by one.

If you need ideas while you’re out and about, download Feedly’s mobile apps so you can consume content while on the go.

 

Over to you

Got any tips for people running low on ideas? Share them in the comments below.