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While there are some alternatives to the phrase, most people have heard the term “content is king”.
You may also be interested to know that the term came from an essay written by Bill Gates in 1996 of the same title.
And for most digital marketing and social media marketing, content plays a significant and ongoing role.
Content marketing can seem like a never-ending machine that must be constantly fed, and while the benefits of content marketing are plenty (brand awareness, education, demonstrating expertise, search engine optimisation etc), it can be exhausting.
And sometimes you run out of ideas.
Even I do.
But because I know the benefits of regular content updates on your digital or social media channels of choice, I try to get over my “content block” as quickly as possible.
These are the techniques that help me come up with great, regular content:
1. Look back through your best performing posts
Sometimes the best way forward is to look back.
By looking back at your best performing posts, either by analysing your top performing social media posts based on engagement or clicks, or looking at your most viewed blog posts using your Google Analytics, you can gain a valuable understanding of the types of updates that your audience prefer.
Focus on these topics, and look for ways you can create new posts related to that topic, or even re-share the same post! (providing it is still relevant).
There remains a common misconception that you can only share something once, but that is just not the case.
I hate to break it to you, but not everyone will see every post you share.
Or some might see it and forget.
So if there is an important, valuable or relevant message, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing it multiple times. The frequency of updates will depend on where you are sharing it however. For example, the Twitter feed moves very quickly, so you can easily share the same update 5 or more times per month (depending how frequently you post on Twitter). However on Facebook or Instagram you may only want to share the same/similar update once a week or fortnight.
In the lead up to one of our webinars we post multiple times across all of our social media channels, in relevant groups, in multiple email campaigns etc, and receive new registrations every time.
2. Look through your competitors’ or peers’ posts
While I generally like to focus on my own strategy and direction, sometimes it is really useful to look around at what your competitors and peers are doing (then get back to your own game).
A quick glance through the websites and profiles of others in your industry might spark some inspiration for similar content, or your own take on something they have done.
You can also use tools such as Facebook’s Pages to Watch feature or the Instagram Best Nine website to quickly identify their top performing posts.
BuzzSumo allows you to analyse other’s domains (or your own) to identify the best performing content based on social shares.
3. Look around you, and remember, your ordinary might be someone else’s extraordinary…
We often take our own environment, routine and actions for granted. And might even find them boring!
The truth is not everyone knows our lives and work like we do, AND we are a terribly voyeuristic bunch who LOVE seeing what other people get up to.
Pay really close attention to what you (and your team) are doing, and simply share it!
Many social media updates were originally based on sharing what the person was doing right now (hence all the food photos), but it’s still of interest today!
It’s also a great way of sharing your skills and expertise without being overly “salesy”.
4. Google search for your keywords
Hopefully you know the main keywords relevant to your product, service or industry. Try doing a simple google search for them, and see what comes up!
Check out the “News” results to see current articles related to your topic or area.
These could be shared in their own right, helping demonstrate your awareness of your industry, or used as inspiration for your own content.
To keep on top of relevant news for your own business, competitors, or keywords, you can set up a Google Alert.
5. Find questions related to your keywords
If you know what your audience want to know, content creation becomes a whole lot easier – and more useful!
You can use a tool like Answer the Public to find out what questions people are searching for that relate to your area of expertise.
It’s a great way to get inspiration AND answer a specific need.
6. Visit industry relevant websites, review their blog/content
I always recommend having a list of go to websites in your industry or niche. They can be a great source of content to share as is, or inspire your own.
Use an RSS reader to keep track of, create a bookmarks folder of useful links, or subscribe to their enewsletters to get a digest of their updates sent to you for review.
7. Go back to your strategy
Admittedly I could have led with this suggestion, as I am a big fan of having a solid digital marketing strategy…
If you are at a loss for content, go back to your strategy, and review the foundational areas:
- What are your goals/aims/objectives?
- Who is your target audience? What is important to them?
- What does your brand stand for?
Focusing on these aspects with your content specs on will usually garner some inspiration.
Don’t have a strategy or need a review and update? Check out our free Digital Marketing Reboot ebook.
8. Browse stock image websites
Does anyone else do this!?
I started using this technique a couple of years ago, and it has really come in useful!
Sometimes I search for images related to my topic keywords or visual themes (laptop with coffee anyone?), or I’ll check out the “new” or “trending” images to see what’s out there.
This technique also works really well if you have a visual style or colour theme across your content.
My recommended free stock image sites are:
9. Ask your audience!
Our content should always be audience focused, so why not ask your community what they are interested in!?
As a bonus, the asking can be one post, and the responses should give you inspiration for further posts!
This can be done as a simple question from your social accounts, or make use of the polls option for Facebook and Twitter, or questions option in Instagram stories.
10. Answer frequently asked questions
You might notice a theme here, that there are lots of ways to create content that simply helps answer a question.
Answering questions is a GREAT way of educating your audience, developing awareness, and demonstrating expertise.
If you have a frequently asked questions or FAQ page on your website, share each question and answer one-by-one on your social channels.
Also go back through your recent emails, direct messages etc, and look for questions you are asked by your community.
I realised recently that I was answering a lot of direct questions one-on-one, but I could be sharing those questions and answers to a wider audience, helping even more people.
11. Share others’ content
We often focus on our own original content, and the pressure that comes with it, but it’s only part of the equation.
We tackle content strategy from a couple of aspects, including:
- Created content (your own original content)
- Collated content (relevant content you collect and share from others)
We have mentioned a few times already how you can look at what others are doing, review industry-relevant websites etc.
It’s also great to share relevant social media posts from others.
Not only does it tick your relevant content box, but it’s also a nice endorsement for the original poster, and helps amplify their content to a wider audience.
Just make sure you are using native sharing options, or request (and receive) their permission before sharing, and credit them as required.
Now over to you!
That’s eleven ways we come up with content ideas when we have run out. How about you?
What other techniques do you use? Let us know in the comments!