If you’re trying to make the most out of your content marketing strategy, nothing can be more frustrating than a case of writer’s block. You know you’ve got to publish something that’s high-quality, but you can’t think of anything to write about!

So what do you do? Panic? Assume that the web is so full of content that you can’t possibly create anything new and fresh?

No way!

The next time you’re struggling to come up with fresh content ideas, just rely on your ABC’s:

A = Ask your readers

Send out an email to your subscriber list asking what they would like to see from you. Not only will it fetch you some great ideas that you know your audience is hungry for, but it also lets your readers know how much you value their opinions!

B = Be aware of big news

Current events can be a huge source of inspiration! You may be able to take a subject that’s generating headlines and turn it into something that’s helpful for your specific audience.

For example, I used Richard Sherman’s explosive post-game interview to teach my readers about the importance of first impressions.

C = Check your inbox

If your content marketing strategy has worked so far — and you’ve been able to establish yourself as an expert — your inbox should be full of questions. If someone’s taking the time to email you with questions, just think of all the people who didn’t bother to email you — but still have the same question. You can answer each question in its own article or blog post!

D = Dig deeper

A great way to establish your expertise is to take a topic that everyone in your niche seems to be talking about and offer a deeper analysis of it. That way, your content won’t be grouped in with the rest of the herd. Instead, your readers will appreciate that you went the extra mile, and they’ll be more likely to remember you when they need to buy something or need to make a recommendation to a friend.

E = Envision yourself as a member of your target audience

What’s making you worry right now? What would you like to know more about? What information would make your life easier? The answers to any of these questions can easily be turned into an article or blog post.

F = Find new email lists to join

There are likely tons of experts in and around your niche that are worth keeping up with. By signing up for their email lists, you can read about new developments and take in another point of view. Just be sure you’re only signed up for newsletters that belong to legitimate experts. The “gurus” will simply frustrate you!

G = Google your target keywords, and search through the News results.

That way, you’ll be able to see new developments in your niche that you can break down and analyze in your next article or video. There may even be new studies that you can analyze and share with your readers.

H = Hop on intelligent forums

Odds are there are forums out there that are dedicated to your niche. Take a quick look around, and see what people are talking about. You may see a question you’d like to answer in your newest blog post, or you may see a misconception floating around that you’d like to clear up in an article. In any event, this will give you a great chance to see what your target audience is discussing right this second.

I = Interview someone you admire

Interviews are a great way to change things up on your blog or your YouTube channel. They also give your audience a chance to see things from a perspective other than yours.

J = Just walk away… at least for a little while

If you spend enough time brainstorming, that blank Microsoft Word document can drive you nuts! Unfortunately, fresh content ideas aren’t something that you can flip on like a light switch. Sometimes, the best solution is to get up and do something else for awhile. Take a quick trip to the gym, get a cool soda out of the fridge, take a short walk around the block… Do whatever you can to give your brain a brief rest. Trust me, the ideas will come eventually!

K =Keep a notepad handy

Inspiration can strike at the strangest times. (Personally, I’ve come up with some great content ideas while walking my dog, Minnie!) Keep a notepad close by so that you can jot random ideas down. That way, you won’t have to try and remember them all — and risk forgetting all about that great idea you had while you were waiting in line at the grocery store.

L = Look carefully at the comments on your blog

Instead of just blindly approving every comment that isn’t spammy, take a closer look at what your readers are saying. They may have a question that you can answer in a future post, or they may bring up a new angle that you hadn’t even thought of.

M = Make the most out of hashtags

Hashtags are an easy way to find comments and discussions that relate to your niche — which makes them a treasure trove of content ideas! As an added benefit, finding new hashtags gives you additional ways to promote your content after you publish it.

N = Never assume that a topic is too “simple”

Some of the best content comes from answers to “simple” questions. So, instead of trying to be witty or over-the-top creative all the time, think of some basic questions that people have about your niche.

For example, after seeing the entire web buzzing about the importance of content marketing, I asked myself, “how do you know if your strategy is actually working?” It’s a simple question — but one that didn’t seem to have a definitive answer. So, I wrote an article that listed everything that happens once you’ve achieved content marketing success.

O =Open any email that isn’t blatant spam

You never know who’s going to find you in some corner of the web. So, instead of deleting anything that comes in from an unfamiliar email address, take some time to go through each message. There’s a good chance you’ll find questions and comments that you never would have thought of — that you can now turn into a great piece of content.

P = Pay attention to where your content winds up

If you’re in the habit of publishing high-quality content, there’s a good chance that it has been syndicated and published on websites that you didn’t even know existed. So, Google the titles of your articles, and see where they wound up. Those websites may be full of great content that you can use to jump-start your brainstorming session.

Q = Quit thinking about word counts

Sure, that great website that you write guest posts for may want an article that’s at least 800 words long, but writing 800 words can feel like scaling Mt. Everest if you’re short on content ideas! Instead of worrying about how you’re going to come up with 800 words, try to think of the first few. For example, the inspiration for many of my articles has been a great title. Once I come up with a catchy title, I can figure out how to make the rest of the article support it.

R = Relax

Trying to force an idea out of your head is going to make you tense — and tense people are bad content writers. After all, the emotions you’re feeling when you’re writing are contagious. The last thing you need is to force out an article or blog post that makes your readers feel tense! So, take a deep breath, and calm yourself down before you do anything else.

S = Sort through you old content, and see what generated the most attention

You may discover that writing on a particular subject in your niche generates the most comments, “Likes”, and re-Tweets. Use these trends to steer yourself in a certain direction for future content. For example, if you’re in the gardening niche, and your web traffic spikes every time you talk about planting roses, focus your brainstorming on rose-related topics.

T = Think about your own personal experiences

I can’t tell you how many blog posts I’ve written about something I saw during my daily routine — like a commercial that was on at the gym, a gallon of milk that was sitting in my fridge, or a duck that was swimming in the pond behind my house. The simplest things can spark great ideas! And, as an added benefit, incorporating some personal stories makes your content more “human” — meaning it’s easier for your readers to relate to it.

U = Unleash your inner-psychic

If you’re a true expert in your field, you can make some educated guesses as to what’s going to happen next. Use those educate guesses as the basis for your newest piece of content.

For example, if you’re in the real estate industry, you probably know that those giant home price increases can’t last forever. So, write an article about what will happen once prices get too high. Will there be fewer home sales because fewer people can afford to buy? Will more homeowners list their homes for sale in hopes of turning a profit?

V = Visit the competition

You obviously don’t want to steal content ideas from your competitors, but checking out their blogs or their guest posts can be a major source of inspiration for your own content. For example, maybe you wholeheartedly disagree with something they wrote on their blog. So, write your own blog post that takes the opposing view.

W = Write down anything that pops into your head

I once had a teacher who described our brains as giant filing cabinets. He said that when you were trying to think of something, your brain would search through all of the “files” until it found what it was looking for. So, tap into your own “filing cabinet”, and jot down anything that pops into your brain. Some of it may be mumbo-jumbo, but some of it may be very helpful!

X = X-out the status quo

Maybe you’ve got an opinion that no one else in your niche seems to share. Or, maybe you’ve seen something from a totally different angle than the other people in your niche. Whatever you’re thinking, don’t be afraid to be different. In fact, web content that goes against the status quo often winds up getting the most attention!

Y = Yap about what’s bugging you

If you’re one of the “good guys” in your niche, you probably see a lot of things that you don’t like. So, write about some of the big things that bother you.

For example, if you’re in the internet marketing niche, you probably hate it when people act like their products can turn anyone into a millionaire by next Tuesday. So, write a blog post or an article that debunks some of these crazy promises.

Z = Zig-zag though your niche

You probably did a lot of research in your niche when you first started your business. However, sitting down and doing a bunch of research now may alert you to a topic that doesn’t get a whole lot of attention. Or, it may teach you something new that you can share with your readers. Who knows what zig-zagging through a bunch of authoritative sources will teach you?!