13 Tips to Find Valuable Content Inspiration For Blogging
More than two out of five of marketers who have a content marketing strategy struggle to find and source content according to research by IMN. BUT the problem is deeper than just churning out information!
Almost three-quarters of these marketers feel that their content does NOT work; specifically, it doesn’t position them as a thought leader in their field.
If you only talk about a single topic without outside input, chances are you’re running on empty when it comes to blog content ideas.
At Content Marketing World, I spoke with a marketer for a drywall manufacturer. (Talk about a dry topic, really I just couldn’t resist!) While they had created how-to videos for YouTube, they were running out of ideas for useful, engaging information.
This manufacturer has a challenge. While they sell to contractors who buy the product, the end consumer doesn’t know or care who made the drywall unless there’s a problem such as it falls down or causes a health issue.
What can this firm do for rich, useful content ideas?
Take a page from Architectural Record. Their editorial team curates the best of new projects submitted by architects. This HIGH quality content is a win for the architects, readers and publisher.
The drywall firm can encourage contractors and consumers to showcase their work. This may require incentives such as gift cards and links to get people to share photographs and stories. But those featured will likely share the content with potential customers.
13 Tips to Find Valuable Content Inspiration For Blogging
Here are 13 places to seek blog content ideas to avoid running on empty when you create content.
- News. Give your spin on the latest developments in your niche. This works especially well for high profile topics such as politics and fashion. If your topic doesn’t generate a lot of news, consider associating a relevant angle from mainstream events. BUT avoid the “Kenneth Cole Syndrome” when it comes to making hay out of other people’s tragedies.
- Trends. Either forecast, if you’re a thought leader, or explain what they mean to your audience. This type of information generally does well. The downside is that trends tend to change annually or seasonally so that doesn’t do a lot to fill your editorial calendar!
- Curation. Highlight the best of the information in your category. Be careful since almost half of marketers who use this technique have had some problem.
- Charts. Translate information into easy-to-grasp visualizations. Choose the data points to highlight carefully and use your graphic presentation to make your point since people take in visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
- Research. Get extra mileage from your research and/or data collection. Create sexy charts and commentary and package them for content snacking. Alternatively, provide insights on other people’s research. Of course, make sure you have the rights to use the research and link to the source.
- Social media. Pay attention to the latest buzz on social media as it relates to your topic. Use this input to determine the hot topics. Where appropriate reuse the content as the basis for your posts.
- Employees. Get ideas from the experts on your products and customers. Everyone in your firm has the potential to create content. That said, you must take away the fear of failing. No one wants to look bad because they can’t write amazing prose or are camera-shy. Hire editors and designers to make employee content sing.
- Customers. Gather your customers’ stories and put them in the spotlight. Make them feel special. Realize that you’ll need to enhance this content with editorial, design and outreach. But you can leverage the power of getting these customers to share your content with their social connections.
- Prospects. Answer your potential customers’ questions. Source them from your sales and customer service teams.
- Influencers. Take advantage of their sway over your buyer and/or user. This doesn’t just mean the c-suite for B2B marketers. Think spouses, children, friends, parents and others. Ask questions on social media and get their input.
- Competitors. Pay attention to what they’re discussing. Consider if it’s relevant to your organization as well. Monitor their content and social media outposts. This is one place where you want to use a personal email address to keep your lurking undercover.
- Guest bloggers. Allow other bloggers to create content for you. (Note: This blog does NOT accept guest posts!) If you want a top ranked blogger to create content for your blog, understand that you may need to compensate them with more than a link to their blog, especially if you’ve got a company or low traffic blog. While this can be a useful stream of content, it requires work to make it fit your blog voice. Further, many bloggers find that it doesn’t perform very well. (Kristi Hines shared her results.)
- Experts. Get input from trendsetters in your field. This may require compensation. At a minimum, link to your source.
Not all of these 13 options provide equally good content in terms of performance on your blog. Test each to determine what’s most effective for your audience.
While you may run out of content ideas, the world is full of ideas. So get out and listen to others. People want you to listen to what they have to say, not you!
PS- Please join Mack Collier for a discussion of this topic on Sunday, September 15th at 8:00pm Central time at #BlogChat.
Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner's mega conference at the waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt. It includes a networking party on a naval aircraft carrier and much more!
Presenters include Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Michael Hyatt, Jay Baer, John Jantsch, Amy Porterfield, Mark Schaefer and experts from more than a dozen brands—just to name a few. Find out More
Meet me in real life at CMW 2014 in Cleveland. Register before 2/28/14 to save big.
BTW – Don't fret if you missed my session last year: Get all the content of CMWorld 2013 OnDemand now!
Now there are two ways to get Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Content by Email:
Subscribe to receive the full text of each new actionable marketing post delivered free, five days a week to your inbox.
Signup for the weekly Actionable Marketing Newsletter and get a roundup of of the week’s posts, plus extra content you won’t find on the website, plus a free e-book: What Every Blogger Needs to Know – 101 Actionable Blog Tips