Coming up with ideas for content is where most entrepreneurs fail.
Don’t be discouraged. All you need is a few simple ideas to help get your creative juices flowing:
This is where you spend 10 minutes writing down every possible content idea that flows into your head. Don’t get distracted by grammar or formatting. No matter what comes to mind, write it down, even if it sounds silly at the time. Once the 10 minutes is up, look over your list. You will have a few great ideas and a few stinkers. You will also have a ton of “in between” ideas that sound okay but not great. Take those in-betweeners and start mashing them together and you will coax out a few more gems.
Just because someone has already written an article – I guarantee you that you are not the first person ever to write about whatever topic you decide to write about 🙂 – about the decline of widgets in the Canadian market doesn’t mean that YOU can’t write about the same topic. There is nothing wrong with taking other people’s article topics and putting your own personal spin on them – in fact your main focus should be making them better. Just make sure that you make it your own by doing your own research and analysis. Don’t just copy the same facts that the original author dug up and rehash his or her opinions.
Google arguably knows more about what is going on in the world at any given moment than any other media organization. As such, the search engine suggestions are a gold mine of content ideas. Just visit Google and type in the topic you are interested in and see what Google throws back at you. For instance a simple search on “small business” gives me this result:
There is a ton of ideas right there for content related to small business. But if I add a simple word like “and” to that search I get this:
This list gives you some more specific content areas you could write about. These are not just random terms that Google spits out. Google is suggesting these because it knows that these are the topics that other people are interested in at the moment. If you generate content around these topics, you are sure to get some traffic.
Hopefully you have developed a few contacts in your industry. If you haven’t then now would be a great time to start. These contacts can be entrepreneurs, bloggers, customers or colleagues. Spend some time talking with them about what they want to know. Your customers may be interested in more specific information on how to use your product or service. Colleagues may want advice on launching their own startups or how to obtain financing. If you don’t have people you are comfortable probing for ideas, then go to other blogs and forums related to your industry and find out what people are talking about. Take their questions and concerns and turn them into original content for your site.
You can create useful and unique content by interviewing your customers, vendors, team members or business partners. You can do the interview in writing. If you want to take it a step further record the interview with audio or video. Then, you can have the interview transcribed. The transcription will enable you to post the same content in different formats. If you do a video interview you can post it on your YouTube channel. Audio interviews can be posted on your blog with the transcription.
Create a case study
Publish in-depth case studies about how you are helping your customers. Case studies help you show proof of results. They establish relevance and go well beyond personal opinion. When you publish a case study you show the challenges you overcome.
Ask the experts
Reach out to industry experts. Ask them questions about the most frequently asked questions and publish them on your site or email it to your customers.
Encourage guest posting
A great way to add content to your site is by inviting other to guest post. You can invite people to write on specific topics relevant to your business.
You can review products, services, software.
Provide detailed testimonials. Instead of posting “We are really happy with the work you did for us.” Create detailed testimonials that present the problem and solution in detail.
Read books relevant to your industry. You can create book reviews and book summaries.
Creating content is difficult but it is a task that is worth doing. Visitors are driven to your site by quality content and more visitors mean more exposure. Don’t stuff your content with SEO keywords or other “tricks”. Today’s web users and search engines can see right through these. Keyword stuffing doesn’t work. Your website is a reflection of you so treat it with the same respect you would any other part of your business.
photo credit: InkPhone via (license) TheBetterDay Lr43_L1000402