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Do you remember the 90’s show Home Improvement? In that series, Tim Allen played the bumbling Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, host of the “Tool Time” home-improvement show. His quest for more power usually led him into destructive shenanigans, fits of catchphrase grunts and an upset wife. His saving grace? His Bob Villa-esque sidekick, Al, who was the only one with common sense or the practical knowledge to fix Tim’s messes. Al was able to accomplish this through a steadfast resolve to always have the right tool on for the right job on hand.

So, now that I’ve dated myself with this archaic TV reference, I’m going to channel Al for inspiration and share what’s in my content marketing “toolbox” when the old noggin’ runs dry of story ideas. It happens to the best of us, so don’t be afraid to bookmark some of these resources as you recharge the creative juices and build your content pipeline.

  1. Answer the Public – Content development is a lot about supply and demand. If a lot of people are asking questions about a certain topic —  answer them with your content! The site does a great job of visualizing questions being asked around who, what, where, when, why and how so you can get a 360-degree view of a topic of interest. Input the name of your company and you might even be surprised to find what people want to learn about your organization.
  2. Google Trends – Content that capitalizes on timely topics typically outperforms all else. So, there’s no better way to see if there’s anything happening right now that you can “trendjack” than to peruse Google Trends. While you may not want to connect your content to the Kardashians or Taylor Swift, you can use the site to see what topics are on the rise or fall around the globe.
  3. BuzzSumo – Want to know what topics are hot or not in your space? BuzzSumo gives you a way to dive into social chatter to get a sense of volume, interest and influencers. Not only can BuzzSumo help shape your content so it’s relevant, it also lets you know who’s driving the most engaging conversations.
  4. Statistica – I’m a big fan of data-driven storytelling. Don’t have any of your own data to share? No problem – Statistica can help you gather the right points to can strengthen your key arguments. Browsing data by topic can also spark new ideas or act as a jumping off point for fresh angles.
  5. Hubspot Blog Idea Generator – Don’t be ashamed to add an idea generator to your toolbelt, like the one from Hubspot. Inputting a few keywords can help reinvigorate your brainstorming and breathe new life into your editorial calendar when you hit a wall.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of stepping away from your computer and taking a walk to refresh your body and mind. I find that many of my best ideas arrive at unexpected times (like during my commute or during dinner with the family) when I’m sitting at the keyboard. And keep Evernote at the ready just in case you need to capture the spark of an idea!

Learn more about Merritt Group’s content services and how we can help bring your company’s story to life.  

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