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We all have periods of creative drought…where we find it hard to think up new and innovative content ideas to feed our blog, website or social media channels. The good news is we don’t need to stay stuck thanks to a host of free tools available and some simple tips that will get you back on track.
Factor it into your calendar – One of the biggest mistakes marketers and business owners make is leaving content writing for when inspiration strikes. Content creation is just like any other business activity. If you don’t factor it into your calendar, your time will get eaten up by other things. And the more irregular your content writing process is, the harder it is to get into the zone of brainstorming content ideas let alone enacting them. You could set aside an hour every Friday or maybe you take a full day or two out every month to create content for the next few months: it’s up to you.
Keep a digital or physical notebook of ideas – Sometimes ideas will strike when you’re working on other things. Don’t forget to write them down, collate them in a Word document or use a tool like Evernote. If you don’t, chances are you won’t remember it later. Storing all your ideas in one place let’s you rank them by order of importance, group them together in themes (that you could use for a series related to a particular promotion), or take them to a team meeting to get other people’s input.
Vary up the types of content you offer – When people think of content, they often limit themselves by thinking solely to written content. But there are so many other content forms available, and it’s often the other methods that offer the best engagement.
Video is growing rapidly in popularity and can be used to share “how-to” ideas or customer testimonials. You don’t need to be a video producer to have success with making your own videos but do invest in a good microphone as it will really help your sound quality.
Live video is becoming prominent on Facebook and Youtube and offers immediacy that online users seem to like. It’s a great option to consider but do your research first so you know when your audience is likely to be online. Also promote your live session in advance so you don’t end up speaking to no one!
Infographics are great for educational content. Got a whole lots of statistics or science you want to share without having people doze off? Put it into infographic format.
Images and GIFs can be paired up with written content. Got a long article that takes 10 minutes to read? Insert 3-4 pictures or GIFs in between the text to highlight the most salient points.
Use shorter sentences – If you can say it in fewer words and still get your meaning across, just do it. It improves readability for the end user and it will also save you time.
Set a goal for your content – Many business owners get writers’ block because they simply don’t know what it is they are trying to achieve with their content. Each piece of content should have a goal. Figure that out before you start and the whole process becomes much easier. Your goal should inform both your heading and your last sentence which should be a call-to-action.
Google Suggest – Google Suggest is the tool that generates suggestions for you as you type in Google’s search box. If you type in a keyword and add a word like “for”, “with”, “and” or “vs” on the end of it, Google will generate several ideas based on what other people have searched for. This gives you an idea of the type of topics that are in people’s minds. E.g. if you make business cards and enter “business cards for” into Google and see that it comes up with “business cards for gardeners” or “business cards for life coaches” you could start a promotion targeting this group and create some informational articles or videos about what life coaches or gardeners should consider when designing business cards. You get to showcase your knowledge, give out some helpful advice and encourage people to choose you to design and print the business cards.
Alltop – Alltop scours the net looking for the hottest blog posts in your niche and industry. If your posts are falling flat with your audience, definitely check this out for inspiration on what is working for others.
Reddit – Reddit is a modern day chat platform with millions of threads. Used correctly it can add value, but otherwise it can soak up a lot of time. My top tip is to hang out on the subreddits. These are threads related to your geographical area. So if you are based in Perth, find the subreddit for Perth and monitor the conversations there and respond to or flag anything related to your industry.
Quora – This is a question and answer platform where anyone can ask a question and anyone can answer. Don’t get distracted by the front page, head straight to the search bar and type in keywords related to your business. You will likely come away with more content ideas than you know what to do with – everything from the serious to the humorous.
Don’t feel like you need to use all the tools at once – even one of them will generate tonnes of suggestions. Once you’ve got your ideas and have created content don’t forget to give it a catchy heading or tagline and don’t ignore the SEO – add keywords into your headings and meta-description at the very least.
Click here and see 5 more great reads from our digital expert Luke Chaffey:
1. What is seasonal marketing?
2. How to avoid 4 common SEO issues
3. 7 social media tactics you need to avoid
4. How to get and retain email subscribers
5. Improve your ecommerce conversion rate