Have you ever sat at your computer, just staring at the blank, white page of a word document that is a "yet to be determined" blog or LinkedIn Publisher post?
It can be hard to think of something new to write about each week, especially if you or your company are focused on a very specific niche or industry.
So what do you do when your well of ideas runs dry?
Thankfully there are number of places that you can go to not only find inspiration for next weeks' blog post, but also to ensure that you're creating content that will be up-to-date and in demand.
Here are nine easy places to looks for inspiration and ideas for your next piece of great content.
Idea #1: LinkedIn Newsfeed
A great place to look when looking for new ideas for a blog post or other piece of great content to create is your LinkedIn News feed.
Here in your news feed, you can quickly peruse what your connections are posting and/or sharing. While much of this may be content posted for their community, you'll also find different opinions and questions that they've posted - this can be especially helpful if you have a network full of potential prospects.
Look for posts that speak to your target audiences' needs and desires, but also keep an eye out what kind of response each gets. If you find a topic with lots of engagement, you may have a real winner on your hands.
Idea #2: LinkedIn Recent Activity Page
One of my favorite places to find new content ideas for your posts is the LinkedIn Recent Activity page - of both your current connections and potential prospects who you're not yet connected to.
The recent activity listing includes any status updates or blog posts which that user has interacted or engaged with (liked, commented or shared). If it's something they're taking the time to read and engage with, that's usually a good signal that it's of interest or importance to them. This listing can provide valuable insight into what kind of content they're looking for, including what problems they need solved and what matters to them.
To access the LinkedIn Recent Activity page, go to the profile of the person you want to look at, click the little blue arrow (found beside the Message or Connect button) and select View Recent Activity.
Idea #3: LinkedIn Group Posts With The Most Engagement
While groups may not have the same importance that they once held, they still provide great value in a number of ways. One of those is that you can still get a sense of what your prospects are interested based on which group discussions are getting the most engagement.
The secret to taking advantage of this is to join mainly groups that are full of your potential prospects, and then read what they're sharing and discussing.
As you can join up to 100 groups, it could take a while to scan through all of them, if you were to go group-by-group.
A quick way to find the most recent, active discussions is to go to your Group Home Page and scan through the feed located on the left hand side. Look for relevant and popular topics or questions.
Idea #4: The Most Popular LinkedIn SlideShare Presentations
SlideShare can be an excellent place to look for great content ideas.
To save time, click More Topics, in the navigation bar and start with the topic that your potential prospects are most likely to be interested in. You can also choose to search for a specific keyword.
While sometimes you might want to grab an idea just from the titles, you might also find it helpful to actually go through some of the different slides to narrow in on a specific topic or as a way to figure out how you want to structure a longer piece.
Idea #5: Social Media & Engagement
You can also glean topic suggestions from the other social media platforms that your potential prospects are using like Facebook or Twitter.
When you're going through the engagement, look for the questions that your friends and followers are asking - what topics are they talking about?
You can even use Twitter's search functionality to find relevant questions - in the Twitter search bar type in your topic, hit space, then put "?", and Twitter will return a listing of all the tweets which contain questions around that topic.
Idea #6: Competitors
Your competitors are a great source of ideas. You can see what topics they've created content around and what subjects they've missed. If you find posts of theirs that have performed really well, you can provide your own take on the same or create in-depth content based on those insights.
Check out their blog, newsletters and social media channels to find ideas.
Idea #7: News or Industry Specific Websites
Technology, best practices, regulations - all of these elements are constantly changing across most industries. You'll often find plenty of material to cover in your content just by sharing the latest industry changes or updates, and what they mean for your audience.
Idea #8: Update or Repurpose Existing Content
Bring new life to old content by updating out-of-date "how to" tips or best practices posts. If it was popular the first time, an update can bring in a lot of new viewers. You can also approach old topics from a new angle or try changing the medium (i.e. article, podcast, video, infographic, etc.).
Idea #9: Ask Your Community
But ultimately, the best place to get answers about what kind of content your community needs is straight from the horse's mouth.
When you speak with your community members - whether in person, over the phone, in an email or on social media - what questions are they asking? What challenges or problems do they share with you?
If you're you not getting enough feedback from your audience, don't be afraid to ask them. People will often appreciate being asked if they have questions that need an answer or challenges that need a solution.
While we all get writers block now and again, there are many different places that you can look for inspiration to write your next article or blog post.
Although you may borrow ideas from others, the one thing you don't want to do is copy someone outright, or even partially. Copyright infringement can lead to all kinds of legal issues, and it does nothing to showcase your own knowledge and expertise on your topic.