How to Find Social Media Content Inspiration

13 Tips for Overcoming Blank-Post Syndrome

Have a case of Blank Post Syndrome? Don’t know where to find the creative inspiration for meaty content that grabs readers by the collar and makes them want more? Try MBWA, which stands for management by walking around.

Skip the sanitized corporate-speak and find out what’s happening now inside and outside your company. I’m all for being green, but when it comes to blogs and social media content, recycling won’t do! Before you start, understand that blogging and social media aren’t old-fashioned push media where you can load up promotions to be released on a timely basis.

13 Tips for overcoming blank-post syndrome

Looking at a blank computer screen hoping that words will miraculously appear in some cogent form isn’t going to create juicy social media content for your business. You need to get out of your cubicle and engage with others. They may not have specific ideas but they can inspire you whether you take the route they suggest or another one. (Note: While these tips focus on corporate social media content, they can easily be adapted for solopreneur or personal blogs.)

  1. Examine product offering. Enhance your product’s appeal. Don’t give a boring description that sounds like it came off the package. Provide additional directions to help customers put products together; this is particularly useful for anything requiring assembly. Alternatively offer new uses for your product. For example, baking soda has a wide range of uses beyond cooking such as toothpaste and oder absorber. Show customers other product benefits, for instance: different mix and match options for women’s separates.  Lastly, offer customers patterns or recipes to create special items or foods with your products. Caveat: Realize that great content won’t change a poor product into a great one.
  2. Provide training. Think fun learning, not old fashioned must attend classes. These can be step-by-step tutorials that are a mix of photos and text. Or use short videos to show how to use your products.  This can sway purchase decisions. Alternatively use webinars and post them on your website.
  3. Offer area expertise. Let your local gurus, whether they’re product managers or consultants, supply insights. By engaging with customers they get information to help improve your products. Technical companies like IBM allow all of their employees to blog.
  4. Talk to front line employees, both sales and customer service. As your first line of contact with prospects and customers, they find out what your target market wants to know that isn’t on your website or available from other company communications. Sales and customer service representatives know what questions the public has and where there are issues. Offer customers a FAQ regarding products, company related services and/or returns. Answer other interesting questions that surface. Also offer a service representative’s view of the company as a profile post.
  5. Get an executive perspective. If one or more executives are interested in blogging, that’s great. They should understand that this means they actually have to write their posts (not have their assistants or chief of staff do it.) Alternatively, interview the executive so there’s no work involved. Include a video or photos. Also, look at the stories behind your company and its founders. These can provide useful content and lessons for the present.
  6. Extend marketing. Examine your marketing process as an outsider. Interview the creative people involved in your process. Or interview the actors in your commercials. What woman wouldn’t want insights from the Old Spice man? Get their input regarding your brand. This doesn’t mean packing more promotions into your social media content!
  7. Take a tour. Show prospects and customers what it’s like to work at your firm. You can take a video of the plants, executive offices and other locations or do one-on-one interviews. What do people say about their work?
  8. Talk to your customers. Run out of employees to talk to? Shine the spotlight on your customers and interview them about their experience with your product how they use it. For craft or hobby-oriented products, ask customers for show and tell of their projects.
  9. Round up your niche’s latest news. Collect the best articles in your area and add commentary on why you selected each article and what’s makes it worth reading. Include a link or a paragraph to entice readers. While there’s work to read and choose the articles, your writing is laid out. This doesn’t mean editing someone else’s content and calling it yours. For example, Chris Penn “does the five” every day on Twitter. He selects the five most important articles he thinks his followers would benefit from reading.
  10. Review products in your category. While customers may not trust your product assessment, they may be interested in an expert in the field. This works for retailers or distributors who can periodically review new products. Think insightful commentary about tech toys like that of David Pogue from The New York Times.
  11. Give your opinion. Are there important trends in your field or breaking news that has implications for your customers? If so, write an old fashioned editorial with your opinion? Alternatively, take a cue from one of the comments on your blog or other social media platform.
  12. Get out of the office. Go to events. Interview the panelists, experts, attendees and sponsors. Alternatively, live blog the events.
  13. Watch your competition. Monitor the news to see what’s happening with your competitors. Is there a potential for supplying information on a hot topic that they’re missing?

While it seems impossible to come up with new ideas when you’re staring at a blank screen, sometimes what you need to do is walk away from your computer and let your mind work. Once you start getting ideas for content, keep a record of them so that you can use them the next time you need help.

Are there any other suggestions that you have for creating content for social media? If so, where do you find inspiration to combat blank post syndrome?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit: Dam via Flickr

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