Content is at the epicenter of inbound marketing strategies. If you want to build thought leadership for your brand, capture the interest and imagination of your target audience, and build a steady and loyal following, you must produce enticing content that bestows value for your audience.
Creating something utterly valuable and enduring goes beyond just sharing your expertise. You must be engaging and you must be able to connect to your audience by knowing the ins and outs of your buyer personas, the voice they respond to, the trends and news that affects them, and everything else in between. It's easy to strike gold with impactful content when you know your buyer persona well.
Finding Content Inspiration in The Right Places
Creating content consistently can be a bit of a challenge and may lead to an eventual "burn out" or a few uninspired posts here or there. When you get to this point, keep away from publishing content just for the sake of "quantity" as opposed to "quality". Today's audience are saturated with an array of unimpressive spammy content, and as soon as they identify you're becoming a part of the noise, they won't hesitate to cut ties and never look back.
If you're suffering from bouts of redundancy or lack of inspiration, or you cannot think of anything else you can possibly write about, it's safe to assume that you are just not being resourceful enough. There are plenty of resources you can exploit for great content ideas. Here are a few of them.
1. Industry Forums
Need to write an innovative, attention-grabbing, and user-engaging content marketing post? First stop should be your industry forums.
What are your buyer personas concerned with?
What are your competitors writing about?
What topics generate the most interest?
Is there anything controversial rocking your industry?
Industry forums are the perfect place to find ideas, brainstorm new angles, and leave with new inspiration for your latest content marketing creation.
2. Trade Publications
We love browsing trade publications. Why? For the simple reason that we get to examine both biased and unbiased articles involving our respective industries. Not only do we get to gain valuable insights, but we get to see what likeminded companies with similar target markets are up to.
Take the auto industry for example. In an auto trade publication you will see articles from auto manufacturers, insurance companies, and even data analytics companies. Trade publications can help you create content that will reach a larger audience.
3. Social Media Conversations
Here's an analogy for you: social media is to consumers what honey is to bees. In other words, your consumers are on social media. Join the conversation and learn what they are saying. A simple 120 character comment might just spark the creative genius needed to create the next impactful post.
4. Blog Comments
Your next content marketing idea might come from comments on your blog.
What are your followers saying?
Are there any frustrations or suggestions?
Can you expand on these ideas?
What are people saying on your competitors' blogs?
Follow the comments and you are sure to stumble upon a great new content idea.
5. Popular Site Posts
Did you recently post something that was particularly popular amongst your followers? If so, capitalize on that success. Delve a little deeper into the popular post by asking yourself:
What made it popular?
Is there another angle to the story?
Was it a controversial topic?
Do you have an expert in mind that can pitch in to expand or participate in the discussion?
Can the style of the post be replicated?
Understanding your past successes can help you to duplicate the result with a fresh, new idea.
6. Conversations with Colleagues
Ideas are around you, everywhere you go! Take the time to chat with your colleagues; after all, they have the company's best interests at heart. Chances are that your colleagues will:
- have a few brilliant ideas worth delving into
- read different sources than you do, and
- appreciate that you reached out to them for help.
7. Talk to Your Sales Team
What are prospects and customers asking? Talking to your sales team will give you valuable insights into the mindsets of your prospects and customers. Knowing what kind of questions they ask and what challenges they experience can help you create content that will speak directly to them. This works especially well come time to create advanced content like ebooks, webinars or podcasts.
8. News and Announcements
News headlines can be a great source of content ideas. Perhaps there was a recent headline that affects your industry or your customer's industries? Or, maybe there was a particularly moving headline that you can write about to highlight the goals, mission, and ideology of your company?
9. Recent Studies
Studies can be a great source of content ideas. However, not all studies are created equally.
Make sure that your chosen study was published within the last 3 years.
Was the study completed by reputable sources (and not your direct competitors)?
The digital world thrives on the abundance of data. Use this to your advantage and create riveting articles that are backed by facts.
Discover what ideas, photographs, videos, posts, life events, etc. are trending by conducting a quick trending hashtag search. The fact that they are trending speaks volumes about how "hot" the topic is. Sometimes a simple hashtag search is all that it takes.
Finding content inspiration is easy if you're looking in the right places. If you're still stuck, seek the help of your colleagues or take a day or two of hiatus to refresh your mind. Whatever you do, don't do your audience the injustice of publishing crappy content. If you want to be the cream of the crop in your industry, you have to lead the conversation and out value at the core of everything.