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#FiveTipsFriday Getting Ideas for Content

5034760960_6254b4cd1b_mYou don’t have to search for very long on Google to find plenty of news articles, blog posts, and videos about the importance of content in today’s business and marketing world. Whether you use phrases like “content marketing” or stick with old stand-bys like “written content” or “storytelling,” the fact is that the written word is a big part of the driving force behind most marketing efforts today. From white papers to blog posts to regular updates to a company Facebook page, people want to know what’s on your mind.

The question we are often asked, in light of all of this talk about content, is, “How on earth do you come up with that much content?” Our five tips today will offer five ideas on how to come up with fresh content on a constant and consistent basis.

1. Track the questions your customers ask you most often

An FAQ section on your website is ok, but imagine being able to direct a customer to a full blog post answering their specific question in detail. They can read at their leisure and you don’t have to feel rushed as you try to answer a question on the phone while doing five other things. Even better, answering common questions in blog post form is great for SEO. Your answers just naturally are bound to include a lot of keywords that will help boost your sites position on search engines.

2. Read trade publications (or general  publications) relevant to your CUSTOMERS’ work

Note we did not say to read publications just having to do with your work. If you are creating content to create new business, you are not going to want to focus on just what is of interest to you. Instead, you want to emphasize what will help your customers the most. Find out what kinds of topics your customers are reading about and offer commentary on articles you read that would be helpful to them.

3. News Stories relevant to your industry

You need to be cautious about this approach, as we have discussed before. You don’t want to be accused of just writing something as “bait.” However, if handled carefully, you can offer comments on a news event or a perspective that could be of potential use to your customers.

4. Solutions

Have you recently solved a problem for a customer? No matter what content you are producing, whether it’s a blog post, a white paper, or an article for a trade publication, people are hungry for solutions. Actionable items, proven results, “how to” instructions and similar types of content are all in high demand these days.

5. Blog posts

A great resource that is updated daily is the blogosphere. Maybe you  might come upon a blog post that gives you a new perspective on something. Maybe you see someone offering advice that you feel really could mislead your customers, or maybe you see someone offering great advice that you feel could help your customers. You always want to do some vetting of the source because you don’t want to spend time quoting a person who does not know what they are talking about, but the world of blogs will never leave you feeling bored in terms of ideas.

Those are five places we go when we are looking to create new content for ourselves or for our clients. What resources do you use?

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpaxonreyes/5034760960/ via creative commons

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One comment on “#FiveTipsFriday Getting Ideas for Content

  1. It’s truly a content firehose! I still only post once/week because I spend the rest of the time consuming and leaving comments on other blog posts to “further” the discussion.

    My issues:

    – Sometimes I want to write about what I’m feeling vs my target audience. I’ll write about leadership or want to write more purely about the emotions of an event…vs writing more about social media monitoring, etc…and I can’t even go down the road of writing about data architecture, business intelligence, etc.

    – Time…I need to come up with more promotional content – that isn’t promotional. How-To videos, case studies, basic solutions, demonstrations. The days blow by faster and faster.

    – Platform…I have a platform for my own ideas with my own branded blog. However, I need to take TIME (see point #2) to port our corporate website over to WordPress. I would then have a more effective platform for sharing the “informational w/o being promotional” content to represent our business.

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