“If you want to be interesting be interested.”
Well, sorry to start of a post like that but there is a good deal of truth in that saying and if you’re business is content marketing or depends on your blogging activities you’d do good to keep it in mind.
Coming up with interesting content that address and tantalize your readers and giving it a remarkable personal (or corporate) spin is one of the basic tenets of content marketing and the recipe for blogging success but as most people will agree doing this day after day can be hard. Very hard. This is where the interested part comes in.
If you follow industry news, read blogs, and take part in industry level discussions you will not only stay on top of what goes on in your field and but also be much more likely to come up with new and creative ideas for content. Reading fiction, watching documentaries, and getting into books from other fields will make it easier for you to connect the dots and find a fresh spin on things when you weigh in on ongoing discussions.
Show your content creation the interest it deserves too. Don’t treat is as and add-on or after thought but as something that is integral to your business if you want to succeed. Do your research, define target audience, create a content strategy and measure and optimize along the way or your thoughtful analysis and brilliant writing might have little of the intended effect. You have to do it – it really is that simple.
Having these important pieces of the blogging and content production puzzle in in place you can freeform a lot easier. But sometimes inspiration runs dry and even the best laid plan won’t help you come up with fresh ideas when the deadline is looming near. Below are eight ways of shaking down your brain, your community or your organization for content when pressed for inspiration and time.
The great content shakedown – 8 ways to come up with great last minute content
Listening is key to creating compelling content and if you haven’t already set up tools for listening to voice of customer and voice of industry discussions you should do this first thing. Keep your Google Reader up to date with great and influential blogs and media channels sorted in folders to make it easy to search through. A fine-tuned reader is a great tool for coming up with new ideas on the spot. In the same vein a well-kept twitter client, setup with relevant twitter searches is another great tool to quickly create an overview and source new ideas.
Take part in industry level discussions. Join LinkedIn groups and maintain a presence at relevant forums. Not only will you be able to stay on top of what goes amongst your professional peers, you will also be able run through groups and forums in a last minute search for up to date content ideas should you need it. As an added benefit your idea will come with a number of great perspectives and comments you can add or address in your blogging but be sure to give something back to the community and share credit where it’s due.
3. Present and insider’s take
If you spend 3-6 months working on a project for a client you’re becoming something of an expert in their field. At the same time your outsider perspective will help see things in a different light and lets you seek out explanations to things that have puzzled you. This gives you a great vantage point to explain to your readers what this particular industry or company can teach the rest of the world about a topic. By blogging about the achievements and innovative practices of your clients you will also have a great chance to deepen your relationship with them.
4. Present industry related research
Everyone is busy heralding the era of Big Data – but you won’t have to go that big. Reports and surveys are being released all the time as data capture and surveying is becoming cheaper and far easier. With a quick search you’ll be able to find numerous pieces of interesting industry research and benchmarks to present to your audience. Be sure to give it your own spin and explain to your readers why the data is relevant and what it means for them.
5. Get personal
When was the last time something got you angry or made you laugh at work? Share it. There’s bound to be numerous blogs out there covering the same subject as you but you have something they don’t – yourself. While everybody wants insights and great perspectives we also desperately need human connection and real emotions. It’s easy to break the blog-writers block if you start typing away about something that recently moved you and clean it up afterwards. It adds authenticity and credibility to leave a little something of yourself in your blogging – don’t be afraid to do so, your readers will reward you for it.
6. Find a much smarter person than yourself
If option 5 isn’t going to do the trick it might be time to look to other people for inspiration. Find a subject matter expert within your company and ask for his or her two pennies on current changes in their field. Most likely you’ll be blown away by her up to date knowledge and smitten with her enthusiasm. Then unpack the thoughts for your audience and make your colleague look great in the process.
7. Repurpose old content
If you have already spent much time and energy creating brilliant content you shouldn’t let that effort be concentrated around just one post. The attention span of the internet and half-life of content is notoriously short and repurposing old content is not only fair game it is a great way of revisiting and qualifying your thoughts and discussions. Write a follow up piece to an old post or create a list where you present takeaways or insights from several related posts.
8. Share something
If you have been busy following blogs or going to conferences you’ll most likely have seen your fair share of both good and bad infographics and Slideshare presentations. Share the good ones with your audience. Share a great blog. Better yet, share the person or people behind by writing a short profile where you address what makes them worth following. Not only will you have brought your readers attention to great content you will also have taken an important step in building relationship with the thought leaders whose content you share.
Whatever you do be sure to tell a compelling story and add personal flavor to your content or blogs – this sounds like bad, last minute advice, but if you get excited and let your own engagement and interest spill over into your work more people will dig it too.
So there; If you want to be interesting be interested, it will be a lot easier to meet deadlines and come up with great content if you are.
How do you come up with new ideas for content? let us know in the comments.