By Quinn Whissen published July 16, 2015

5 Ways to Make Every Moment a Content Opportunity


Interesting and relevant topic ideas don’t always need to come from a team brainstorming meeting, a mind-mapping exercise, or a focused research session. As I always say in content marketing workshops I teach: “Every  moment is a content opportunity.” You just need to open up your eyes and know where to look.

To be clear, this thinking doesn’t assume the unrealistic mindset of optimism where you repeat, “I think I can, I think I can,” to convince yourself you have something when you’re really grasping at straws. Instead, you must grow your perspective as a content creator, as a marketer, and as a human to see the diamonds hidden in the rough.

If you’re passionate about what you do, this shouldn’t come as a hard task. You, like me, are probably constantly reading articles in your niche, scoping the competition, having conversations about your work, talking with customers, and generally being interested in what you do. Some of the best content ideas I’ve discovered have come out of seemingly disparate life experiences to my marketing industry – taking a yoga class, reading a design blog, volunteering, conversing with friends, and on and on.

Drawing from these places not only makes my time sitting down to create content easier, but the content becomes much more rich and interesting for someone consuming it. Why? Because the idea and the content are born out of my direct experience and I can speak intelligently on something that resonates with me. People are attracted naturally.

Let’s look at five sources that can help you shift your mindset to find content opportunities anywhere at anytime. Keep in mind, this is a way to expand your “content awareness” and uncover new opportunities with relatively little effort (and who doesn’t like that?).

1. Your colleagues

Whether you work in an office or remotely, you collaborate with someone, somehow. Why not use every interaction to dig for content topics? Look for trends, reoccurrences, questions that need answering, and gaps that need filling; that’s where good content lives. Use these questions as prompts:

  • What is a common theme I keep hearing in meetings?
  • How can I make a certain process, system, or product better?
  • What are some interesting stories I heard throughout the day?
  • What’s the theme of our company meeting? Why is that important?
  • What is our latest company news?

Tip: You’re not the only one who will have lightning-bolt moments. Make it easy for yourself and your team by setting up an email account such as “” where anyone can send content ideas as they arise.

2. Your customers

Your customers are huge beacons of topic ideas because they possess direct insight into the heart of your business. They’re most likely asking you questions all the time about your business/product/service, so use that engagement. Here are three prompts that will help you start to notice customer-derived content opportunities:

  • What questions do I get asked all the time?
  • Why do I get asked those questions?
  • How can I give better answers to the questions?

Tip: Nobody is better at answering questions and overcoming objections than your sales team members. The Sent folder of their email account is your gold mine. You’ll find mini blog posts in there just itching to be published … this is what I call “content magic.”

3. Your industry

Most marketers have a good pulse on their industry because they have to keep ahead of the curve. Use this to your advantage and see what can inspire you among the things in which you’re already taking part. You never know where the next idea will come from:

  • Magazines
  • Industry blogs and websites
  • Competitors
  • Events and conferences

Tip: Set up Google Alerts for mentions of key phrases that would be relevant or even peripheral to your business. You never know when something may spark your mind. These alerts are timely and come straight to your Inbox. You also can monitor social media with tools like Social Mention or Topsy.

4. Your personal life

There’s no division of church and state when it comes to content marketing. Topics can be found everywhere — even in your personal life. Some of the most powerful pieces of content can marry the business aspect of things with a personal narrative. Always be on the lookout for road signs that may point to content ideas from conversations, experiences, or shifts in your own internal landscape.

Tip: Your content ideas don’t need to be literal. Usually they come from inspiration. For example, I’ve been personally interested in productivity and making small improvements for big impact that compound over time, and I ended up writing a piece on how that perspective can intersect with content marketing. Look for the tangential connections with your life and content, and you may be surprised the connections you can make.

5. The stuff you wouldn’t expect

This is the one category in which you can’t really look because you never know where content inspiration will strike. Right now, I’m creating a piece about guacamole … for a content marketing blog. It doesn’t sound like it would make sense, but I saw something about guacamole and I ran with it as the foundation for my piece. Keep your mind open and you never know what you may stumble upon.


Make plans today to find inspiration for your content from the speakers, including keynote presenter John Cleese, and thousands of participants at Content Marketing World in Cleveland this September. Register today.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Please note:  All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team.  No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Author: Quinn Whissen

Quinn Whissen is the Marketing Manager for Vertical Measures, a Phoenix-based agency helping clients drive profitable growth through content marketing. She teaches content workshops around the country and speaks regularly on a range of digital and design topics. Quinn is also the co-founder of This Could Be PHX, an urban awareness group striving to revitalize Downtown Phoenix through creative content and online engagement. Follow her on Twitter @QuinnCW or LinkedIn.

Other posts by Quinn Whissen

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  • Milena Iuvo Omega Ltd.

    “Every moment is a content opportunity.”- Great point. I absolutely agree that every interaction can be used for finding content topics.

    • Quinn Whissen

      Me too – it just takes a bit of work to shift your perspective!

  • sherrygray

    Excellent article. Marketing hastag chats offer me a lot of inspiration. The questions people most often ask, topics they focus on, and things that spark a lot of discussion or controversy make good fodder. And I can’t wait to read about guacamole…I’m intrigued!

    • Quinn Whissen

      That’s another great idea! I’ll have to try it myself. And have fun with the guacamole – I recommend reading near lunch time so you don’t get too bad a craving :)

  • David Butler

    Thanks for sharing such a simple and power idea:) I share your passion for capturing ideas for storytelling. We created a cloud application to make it wicked easy to capture ideas for storytelling. It’s like what I call “rainforest sourcing” for story ideas. The “rainforest” is your social audience and connections. As marketers we are creative people and we can be even more creative given a platform that helps.

    • Quinn Whissen

      Yes, I agree. I think having a tool to help “funnel the rain” is essential. Most people just need that extra help knowing that content can be found any moment of the day and the tools should help to support that shift in perspective.

      • David Butler

        “funnel the rain” is brilliant. Can I quote you on that

        • Quinn Whissen

          Go for it :)

  • Dr Maduako

    From my own experience , the best content comes from practicing what you teach ; you can’t write with passion , if there is no experience . As marketers , the passion you bring to bare on the article can be seen or felt by the reader , it is not borrowed ..
    Forget keywords for some time ,don’t look at the screen and just write , from passion . Passion , practice and experience would always win anytime .

    • Quinn Whissen


  • James Helman

    I resonate particularly #5 … I often get inspired by people that think backwards/contrarian to the masses. They discover a solution while coming at the problem from a new angle. Rather than re-try the same solution only with more gusto, they move to the other side of the problem to get new perspective. I’m inspired by guacamole-thinking.

  • Daniel Obaike

    Hi Quinn,

    This is a very wonderful post. I like the idea of coming up with content ideas from your personal life. Coming to think of it, I find that most times when I reference a scenario from my personal life when I am writing, it kind of relaxes me and flows.

    I will certainly generate more ideas from here on. Many thanks