How to use ChatGPT to find content ideas you haven't thought of

Posted by Juliet Dreamhunter on 31 Jul, 2023
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A practical guide to using AI effectively to help with producing content, while retaining your author authenticity.

ChatGPT for content ideas.

Image Source: Freepik

The trajectory of content marketing has been significantly altered by a new player on the field: ChatGPT. This AI language model, developed by the tech wizards at OpenAI, has quickly become a favorite among SEO professionals, helping with everything from ideation to content creation.

Finding new topics to write about can sometimes feel like a struggle, especially if you have been writing content in the same niche for years. Tools like ChatGPT are able to give you a fresh perspective whenever you run out of ideas.

With a handful of the right instructions (also called "prompts" in the AI industry), you can make ChatGPT your brainstorming partner and get a potentially neverending flow of new article ideas tailored to your niche and audience.

Sounds too good to be true, right? But it's not. It's simply AI doing its thing.

Keep reading to learn my five favorite ways to use ChatGPT for finding untapped content ideas!

Benefits of using ChatGPT for content planning

With ChatGPT as your content planning partner, you can effectively streamline your brainstorming process while also unlocking a reservoir of fresh and unique content ideas.

Here is why it's a good idea to involve an AI generator like ChatGPT in your content strategy development:

ChatGPT benefits

It has a huge database

Imagine having 2-second access to a limitless library of information on every conceivable topic. That's what you get with ChatGPT. It pulls from a massive database, tapping into a wide array of topics to help generate ideas that are fresh, relevant to your niche, and informed.

Do note, the tool won’t be your best choice for uncovering trends since its knowledge cuts off in September 2021, but it's great for just about anything else.

It's a fast thinker

Time is money, and ChatGPT saves you plenty of both. Instead of spending hours brainstorming with a team, you can get a comparable list of potential article ideas in just 10 minutes with ChatGPT.

While it doesn't replace a good old-fashioned brainstorming session with humans, it certainly makes the solo ideation process more efficient, especially if you have time constraints.

It's conversation-based

The conversational interface of ChatGPT makes collaboration incredibly easy. Instead of having to learn difficult algorithms, you simply tell it what you need in a natural way. From my experience, it's actually really good at understanding what you want, even when there are slang, abbreviations, or typos involved.

You can provide feedback and iteratively refine your ideas in a back-and-forth manner. This allows you to "co-create" with the AI, building upon its suggestions and shaping the output.

It's budget-friendly

You don't need to break the bank with costly AI keyword research software or SEO-focused content management platforms. ChatGPT offers a freemium model that, even in its premium version at $20 per month, doesn't compare to the cost of hiring a content manager or subscribing to pricier platforms.

It's context-aware

ChatGPT "remembers" the context of your conversation, saving you precious time you'd spend on repeatedly prompting. As long as you keep using the same conversation, it recalls your previous instructions, making your interaction smooth and time-efficient.

How to use ChatGPT to find more content ideas

If the benefits alone haven't convinced you to give ChatGPT a chance, wait until you see the examples!

Actually, why wait? Here are five ways you can use this powerful AI tool to uncover more content ideas:

1. Ask for out-of-the-box ideas

There is a concept in computer science called "garbage in, garbage out." It means that the quality of the prompts you give to ChatGPT significantly influences the quality of ideas it generates. So, if you aren't impressed with the AI suggestions, it might be your fault.

Asking the AI specifically for unique, out-of-the-box ideas can yield intriguing results. Keep in mind that every word in your prompt can impact the output, and try different wording until you get the output you are looking for. Craft your instructions carefully, and you'll be rewarded with a bounty of novel ideas.

Here’s how you can get it right.

Bad prompt: "Give me 10 topic ideas about personal finance."

The above instruction will give you a bunch of generic topic ideas that have been covered a thousand times before on every finance blog.

Good prompt: "Give me 20 unique and unconventional topics related to personal finance that haven't been widely covered."

Also good prompt: "Give me 20 out-of-the-box article ideas on narrow topics in the personal finance niche. Make them listicles."

You can then build on the output and dive deeper. For example, choose one of the topics it suggested and say, “Give me 10 more ideas like number five."

2. Seek topical authority

To build your credibility and authority within a specific niche, you need to cover a comprehensive range of topics within that space. ChatGPT can help you identify these topics.

The goal here isn't to write verbatim what the AI suggests but to gain insights into the range of subjects you should cover to appear authoritative in the eyes of both search algorithms and your readers.

Example prompt: "I want to build topical authority in the digital marketing niche. Give me an extensive list of topics I must cover to achieve this."

Another example: "I want to be known as an expert in gardening and appear knowledgeable about plant propagation. What article categories should I include on my blog in order to achieve this?"

3. Explore different angles

Every story has multiple angles, and a single topic can be dissected in countless ways. ChatGPT can help you identify those unique perspectives, diversifying your content and keeping it fresh and engaging.

If all the articles on your website follow the exact same structure, such as "how to do X" or "N ways to do Y," or are all "ultimate guides" (I've seen this more than once), it doesn't appear genuine and professional. It looks like a conveyor belt of content instead of an authoritative resource.

Finding fresh angles to cover the same topic showcases your actual expertise and allows you to dig deeper into the subject matter as opposed to just scratching the surface with common tips.

Example prompt: "I want to write an article about building an outdoor kitchen. Give me five different title ideas on how I can cover it from different angles."

Additionally, you can feed it some styles you like, just as I did in this example:

Article suggestions for outdoor kitchen.

As you can see, all of the ideas would result in very different articles, even though the topic is the same – building an outdoor kitchen. We have a step-by-step tutorial, a list of must-have features, common mistakes shared by an expert, kitchen examples that can be a roundup blog post of impressive real-life outdoor kitchens, and so on.

4. Find points of overlap with neighbor niches

ChatGPT can help you identify areas where your expertise intersects with neighboring niches. This can broaden your content landscape and attract a wider audience.

It is also helpful as a source of collaboration ideas with influencers or other bloggers. And if you do guest posting, ChatGPT can suggest topics that are relevant to the target blog and showcase your unique expertise at the same time.

There are various ways you can go about it, depending on your goal.

Example prompt: "As a nutritionist, what articles can I write about mental health to showcase my expertise?"

Another example: "As a graphic designer, what articles can I write for an interior design magazine?"

After running the latter prompt, here are some of the ideas from ChatGPT I liked:

  • Typography in Interior Design: Choosing the Right Fonts to Set the Mood
  • Branding for Interior Designers: How Graphic Design Builds a Strong Visual Identity
  • Beyond Prints and Patterns: Incorporating Graphic Design Elements in Interior Decor

5. Improve your online presence

Depending on what kind of digital creator you are, you can leverage ChatGPT for more than just blog articles.

It can assist in multiple aspects of content creation, be it generating a script for your YouTube video or brainstorming Instagram post ideas based on your latest blog article.

Let's look at some examples:

As an Instagram influencer, you might prompt, "Give me 5 Instagram post ideas based on my latest blog article about eco-friendly living in a city." (If you have access to web browsing, you can share the link to your article with ChatGPT, otherwise, just copy-paste the content for reference.)

As a YouTuber who runs a personal finance channel, you might ask, "Generate a script for a video on '5 Common Money Mistakes and How to Avoid Them'."

You can also ask ChatGPT to "Generate 10 ideas for YouTube videos that each solve a specific pain point of a bootstrapping entrepreneur."

YouTube video suggestions.

Not every AI-generated idea will be perfect, and the free version doesn't always follow your instructions to the T, but there will likely be some gems you haven't thought of. In this case, you could make videos about budget-friendly branding or cheap ways to build a website.

Don't miss this step: validate ChatGPT ideas based on real data

ChatGPT can be a godsend for brainstorming new content ideas, but it's crucial not to take these ideas at face value and start crafting articles right away. The internet has evolved immensely, and so have the algorithms that determine what content gets seen and what gets overlooked. If you aim to rank on Google, you must validate your topics based on actual data. This is where tools like Wordtracker come into the picture.

Back in the early 2000s, you could get away with just writing engaging articles. However, in 2023, to stand a chance in the vast digital ocean, you need to understand factors like search volume, competition and keyword relevancy.

Wordtracker, a comprehensive keyword research tool, is an excellent resource for this purpose. It allows you to validate the potential of your topics by giving you insight into the search volume and competition associated with each keyword or topic idea. This way, you can ensure your time and effort are invested in creating content that has a high chance of getting noticed.

One notable feature of Wordtracker is its integration of Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms. NLP helps the tool understand the context and semantic meaning behind the phrases you input, thereby suggesting more relevant and topic-related keywords. This feature is particularly useful when you are trying to optimize your content for topical authority and want to explore all possible angles.

With a two-step process of generating ideas with ChatGPT and validating them with Wordtracker, you are equipping yourself with a robust strategy for successful content creation.

Can ChatGPT write good quality content?

In 2023, 35% of businesses admit that they use AI tools for content production. ChatGPT is so far the most commonly used tool out there, mainly because it's really affordable and easy to use. But can it actually write good-quality content?

Since Google, the ultimate judge of all online content, publicly stated that it doesn't have an issue with AI-generated content as long as it's written for humans and not purely to please search engines, more and more people are turning to AI generators for content needs.

However, if you're planning to use the free version of ChatGPT, the quality of the generated content might not meet your expectations. This version only offers access to GPT-3.5, which is relatively basic in its content creation capabilities.

The language it produces can often be repetitive and sound robotic, making the content quite dry to read. Despite this, it still proves useful for generating content ideas, creating outlines, or even evaluating your existing content.

For professional content creation, however, the premium version of ChatGPT, which utilizes GPT-4, does a much better job. This model has a better grasp of linguistic nuances and can write in various styles without as much repetition as GPT-3.5.

The results tend to be more engaging and human-like, although it's important to remember that even this advanced AI output needs to be reviewed, edited, and personalized. Doing these extra steps ensures that your published content aligns with your brand's voice and your personal expertise, as well as satisfying your audience's needs.

If you want to be extra careful, there are ways to check your content for being AI-generated before publishing. If it appears non-human to the tools, Google will likely see it that way too. You might want to sprinkle a little more personality on it.

This hybrid approach of human-AI collaboration can deliver high-quality content that both your readers and search engines will appreciate.

Wrapping up

As we move forward in the age of AI, the integration of tools like ChatGPT into content planning and creation processes is no longer a futuristic concept – it's the reality. From content ideation to creating engaging outlines, this AI partner can streamline your efforts. However, it can't replace the authenticity of human input.

Using it effectively, coupled with other tools like Wordtracker for keyword validation, can significantly enhance your content marketing strategy. Utilize the power of AI, but keep your unique human perspective and real-life expertise at the forefront of your content creation efforts.

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