The definitive guide to producing great content ideas on a small budget


By Ruth Hartnoll

Youve been presented with a small-town scrap metal merchant and you need to come up with 50 content ideas. If its not a scrap metal merchants, its a telecoms company. And if its not them its another company that immediately evokes the word all content marketers fear: dry.

Dry companies turn your creative mind into a sub-Saharan wasteland of writers block.

Sounds dire, right? It neednt be. There are plenty of ways to come up with engaging, creative ideas for dry or unsexy businesses.

Here are some practical tips for producing great content ideas on a small budget use them at your leisure. Generating ideas for that accountancy firm or training company will be a walk in the park. You might even surprise yourself with what you produce.

Get social

Pinterest blogging

Image via Pinterest under blogging.

Social media is a continuous stream of ideas for content marketers (as well as a massive click hole Im researching).

While there are few original thoughts these days, social media is a great catalyst for presenting old information in a new way. Lots of content marketing is presenting familiar information in a new way.

As Rand Fishkin likes to remind us: your content may not be entirely original, but it can still have unique value if youre presenting it in a new way.

How can you apply this to your small budget? Here are some of the things to look at when using social media for inspiration:

Find relevant feeds

Find relevant feeds to your clients industry and see what’s being said. This can be tough with some companies but, trust me, someone will have written about scrap metal or telecoms before and if they havent, youre in luck. What an opportunity to be the first voice to talk about an obscure subject.

What opinions are being spouted?

See what people are saying about a certain subject. Twitter is great for this.

Search for a keyword and see what opinions are being spouted. You could write a piece of content that directly relates to a consumers need/query. Its exactly the kind of search-friendly content you want to be making.

Lets use our trusty scrap metal merchants as an example. This may seem like a tough subject to produce anything exciting about, but if you search scrap metal on Twitter youll find something pretty exciting: robots! Old fashioned photos!



You’ve immediately got something exciting to talk about. Look at the robot image again. Now imagine these pieces: 15 Examples of Incredible Scrap Metal Art and 7 Things You Didnt Know You Could Do With Scrap Metal.

Scrap metal just became exciting – and all it took was a tiny bit of research.

Trending news and events

Jumping on trending news not only shows you’re writing the freshest content, it also shows that youre part of the bigger conversation.

But be warned, dont go jumping on any bandwagon and hashtagging away like a possessed marketer. Your scrap metal merchants probably dont have a lot to do with #HipsterCrimes, so steer clear. You can also try Google Trends and Reddit.

Your own social feed

You know how you share a lot on social media and then forget that its all stored on your wall or profile? Well, thats a whole bank of inspiration you can be drawing from.

Looking at what youve shared historically – and what you found interesting – is a great insight into your own demographic, and vice versa for those you follow on social media.

Compare what your Mum shares against what your 20-something best friend shares. Think sideways and bring two unlikely subjects together.

National holidays and local events



When it comes to campaigns on small budgets its good to think locally as well as globally.

National and international holidays, for example, are a good starting point for global thinking. If youre creating the content for a local restaurant or caf, you can write some content around food related holidays, such as British Sandwich Week, and youll be some of the newest content on that subject.

Google tends to favour new content in SERPs, so it can help with your visibility.

And, depending on what holiday it is, it may even be trending on Twitter so a potential double win.


Thinking locally, you could find out what events are happening in the same area as your client.

Is there a food festival near their restaurant? Are they going to a food event that they can give you info to blog on?

Putting your client at the heart of the local scene in their niche means theyll gain a positive reputation locally, which you can build on as a content marketer.

Think about the conversation you can join on both a small and large scale. Having a small budget doesnt hinder this at all.

635 brainwriting


635 brainwriting helps you create 108 ideas in 30 minutes.

Its also a helpful tool for content marketers that work remotely, as you can invite collaborators via email.

Creating volumes of ideas is one of the biggest problems with small budget clients, as it means a lot of time you may not have. Spending 30 mins out of your day on 635 brainwriting means youll get a few hours of brainstorming done in a much shorter time.

Topic generators

Topic generators

Coming up with the title is more than half the battle in writing – and content marketing is no exception.

A few companies have produced some great topic generators for content marketers. I would recommend Portents and Hub Spots versions.

Portents is particularly good as it annotates the title it generates for you, telling you why it works. That means you wont be so reliant on it when you come to writing more in the future.

Check out the great title it came up with for our ubiquitous scrap metal merchants.

Use cheap tools to create different types of media

Cheap tools

Sometimes your miniscule budget is turned into a hobbit-sized one, which means you can spend a little more time and use a different form other than a blog post.

Some of our favourites are below. Even small budget campaigns can enjoy a multi-formed output.

Piktochart infographic mayhem
Quizworks free quiz tool
Buzzfeed Community create your own buzzfeeds
Envato Marketplace find video templates, 3D animations and more
Pixabay and Death to Stock Photo quality, free images

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