You’ve probably heard the saying “content is king,” and it’s truer today than it ever was before. Inbound marketing giant HubSpot constantly emphasizes how important it is to provide regular, relevant, awesome content (no matter your industry) to prospects and current customers/clients alike. Google’s Panda and Penguin updates are all about the content that’s delivered to site visitors—and how relevant and valuable that content is.
It’s easy, of course, to read this and say, “Yes! That makes sense. We need to create more killer content.”
But churning out that regular, relevant, awesome content is often what befuddles business owners. Where, exactly, does one get ideas for endless tweets, status updates, newsletters, blog posts, eBooks, and white papers?
Ready for some good news? You already have access to all this awesome content. You just need to know where to look, which brings us to the point of this post.
Here are 15 ideas on where to look for awesome content ideas.
1. Head to your archives. Certain content is what we call “evergreen” – it doesn’t die; it’s always relevant. For example, we recently wrote a post on how to create marketing plans. That’s something we should “re-promote” every year during fourth quarter since it’s an evergreen topic. You have topics like this in your archived materials as well—look at past blog posts, newsletters, articles, and status updates. See what info never goes out of date and then be sure to re-purpose and re-share.
2. Brainstorm some frequently asked question. Focus on one question in a blog post. Answer 20 questions, and now you have a newsletter or a white paper (or both).
3. Think about your company’s history. If your company has a long history, highlight that fact (since this can be an important selling point to customers). Do you own a limousine company that’s been in operation for thirty years? Dig out some photos of your limos from the 80s and post the pics to Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest. Do a blog post on how times have changed or how you started the business. Create a section on your website called “Time Capsule” and each week, feature some info about your company’s past.
4. Look forward. Are you working on a new product or service, but it’s still six months until the release? Build excitement by teasing it in social media. Write blog posts on the reason behind the development of the product or service. Draft an article for your newsletter that talks about the “challenge” your particular product or service will solve.
5. Think about where you’ve been. Have you just attended a trade show? Write a blog post on the three biggest takeaways.
6. Consider facts and trivia. People love reading interesting factoids. Do you run a gym? Provide calories for different holiday treats as you head into Christmas and the New Year. Do you own a home construction firm? Share trends on the hottest kitchen counter tops. Are you a landscaper? Give tips on how to grow a particular flower, shrub, or tree.
7. Think of easy questions. One of the fastest ways to create content on places like Twitter and Facebook is to ask your fans/followers an easy question. When we say “easy,” we mean ask a question that’s simple for people to answer. For example, if you own a design/build firm, ask people what’s the first room they’d renovate (if money were no object). If you own a veterinary practice, ask people something like this: “Yes or no – do you ever dress up your pet?” These are easy questions for people to answer. An added bonus: someone might leave an answer that sparks further content.
8. Turn to favorite quotes. Are you an architect? Post a quote from Frank Lloyd Wright. Are you a marketing consultant? Post a quote from Seth Godin. The quotes don’t always need to be text, either. Video is a great thing to share on blogs and social media alike.
9. Subscribe to “digests.” We subscribe to a bunch of blogs, and we especially like those that provide daily emails with a list of relevant articles. Follow a few of those in your industry, and you’ll never be at a loss for articles to tweet, share, and comment on…or for ideas for your own blog posts, newsletters, and white papers.
10. Consider industry-related issues that are important to you. Are you an acupuncturist who believes genetically modified foods are dangerous? Blog about it. Are you a home builder who thinks more people should understand the ins and outs of sustainable, green buildings? There’s a white paper topic.
11. Think about charities that you and your staff support. Blog posts, video features, website pages, and shouts on social media about your favorite charities make great content pieces—for both the charity in question and your company.
12. Turn to your testimonials or product/service reviews. Did you just receive a nice email from a client? Share a line on Facebook. Did your business just receive a nice review on Yelp? Tweet it.
13. Think about exceptional customers or fans. No, we’re not talking about those customers who spend the most money with you. We’re talking about those customers you’ve gotten to know personally who may have done something interesting/remarkable, such as building a home for Habitat for Humanity or completing the Appalachian Trail. Shining a spotlight on your fans is a nice way to give back and to show the human side of your business. This can also work for vendors and employees.
14. Re-purpose and re-package existing content. Not everyone in the world reads your blog. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there who wouldn’t find the content extremely valuable. So why not take 20 of your most popular posts, stitch them together in one seamless document, and offer it as an eBook that you sell on Amazon? Or take the content from that 20-page white paper and create a series of five blog posts based on the content? Don’t worry about repeating yourself…the chances of someone having downloaded your white paper and following all five blog posts is probably slim, and even if it happens, useful content is still useful content.
15. Think about things you can reveal. Pull back the curtain and share some insider shots. Pictures work especially well for social media and blog posts. Give a tour of your office, warehouse, or plant. Show employees in action. Do a time-lapse video of your construction crew building a deck. Take a pic of the mascot dog in the office. Have some fun!
Want even more ideas? HubSpot has some additional tips for content creation here.
How about you? Where do you get ideas for content? Share in the comments.