Content marketing is a great way to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your field to current and potential clients. Plus, it’s a very helpful marketing strategy to help you get known as well as to help your site’s search engine rankings. We looked at this in more detail in my recent What Is Content Marketing And Why Should You Do It? article.
You can use content marketing in all manner of ways, such as via articles or blogs on your site, in magazines or via a newsletter. Another suggestion is to create tip or informational videos for sites like YouTube. Of course, all this can be integrated into your social media marketing too.
When you provide this service to people who might be interested in your product or service, you can create loyalty, drive readers to your site, all while increasing awareness of your business. However, while content marketing is an easy and inexpensive way to increase sales, it’s essential to create and share quality content regularly.
One problem that many business owners seem to have trouble with is coming up with fresh ideas for content. This is something that can stump everyone at one time or another, even the most creative of people.
So here are some suggestions for ways to keep a constant stream of new content ideas flowing in:
1. Read the news and popular publications.
Commenting on a news article that is relevant to your customers or your industry is a great way to publish fresh content. Even if you simply provide a link to a news story with a note that you thought the article might be of interest to your readers, you can remind your customers of your presence.
In addition to traditional news, industry magazines and websites can offer great content ideas. Not as a way to copy their content – you should NEVER copy others’ content – but as a way to keep up-to-date on what’s happening and get ideas for your own content.
For example, refer to an article you read recently on such-and-such topic on XYZ site, include a link to the original article, and then write about your views on this topic.
2. Take the time to monitor discussions going on in online forums for your industry, too.
This is another great way to come up with content ideas that will help your customers. After all, if people are talking about it, you can write about it.
3. Periodically have a brainstorming session.
This might be with employees, colleagues, others in your industry or even just by yourself.
Make the activity fun, perhaps by having it over lunch or dinner. You may find out there are things of interest you didn’t even know about.
One of my clients owns a local retail business. Twice a year they hold a VIP night where they invite their best customers to spend the evening with them, previewing new products in advance and sharing in canapes and a drink or two. They use this time to gather feedback from their customers, including what they’d like to know more about, relevant to that industry.
Another client has a quarterly lunch date with 3 friends who also manage their own businesses. They use this session to brainstorm ideas for their marketing, including content marketing topics.
NOTE: I’m not sure if this is considered a tax deductible expense – it depends on where you’re located and on your personal situation. But it’s worth checking with your accountant.
Personally, I brainstorm ideas at my favourite ‘time out’ location … sitting on a quiet, secluded headland overlooking the ocean and hopefully watching dolphins playing in the waves below.
4. Announce advancements in your industry.
Don’t just announce advancements … let customers know how these advancements might affect them.
5. Develop seasonal content.
In many businesses, there are topics that come up every season. If this applies to your industry, keep an archive of articles on those seasonal topics.
Each year, bring one out, freshen it up with more current information and publish it again.
6. What are customers asking?
Do you get asked questions from your customers, members, subscribers or social media contacts?
If so – and most business owners would do – keep track of these and they can become the foundations of not only good content, but information your customers are opening telling you they want to know more about.
Once you’re in the habit of using content marketing, you’ll find that you regularly keep your ears and eyes open for ideas. As you hear of new items, keep a running list of topics so that you can create an article, blog or video about it.
When creating content, I find it best to “batch” it. That is, write several articles, blog posts or whatever I’m doing all in one go. These can be scheduled to be published on specific dates in the future and frees up your time.
If you’re outsourcing your content creation, ask your writer to write 10 or even 20 blog posts at once. Or you can get a “batch” of videos created. Send your freelancer a list of 10-20 topics and away they go.
I’ll cover more details of how to create and share your content another time, but in the meantime, go ahead and make your list of content ideas.
Do you have any other strategies to help you come up with content ideas? If so, please share them in the Comments section below.