So you’ve decided content marketing is the way to go.
You’ve developed your strategy; you’ve identified your audience; you know what you want to tell them; and you’ve decided how you’re going to reach them.
Now it’s time to start producing the content.
But where do the ideas come from? What will customers and potential customers find useful?
Often the answers are right at your fingertips.
Here are four different ways you can generate ideas for your own content:
Your customers are often the best source for ideas. What are the questions you most often get asked about your industry or using your products or services?
When they’re thinking of making a purchase, what are the things potential customers weigh up? There could be scope here for a how-to guide or blog post to help them make the decision (and to gently help them make the decision you’d like them to make).
And after the sale, are there any ways you can advise customers on how to get more out of your products or services, or how to use them better?
News and developments
Bringing customers’ attention to the latest news and developments in your industry can help position you as an authority. It could be something you’ve noticed yourself or something in an industry magazine or website.
What’s your take on the development? Is it a big deal or just a passing fad that can safely be ignored? How will it affect your customers? If you can answer those questions then you’re probably telling your readers something they’ll want to know.
Do a web search and look at your competitors’ websites or the websites of overseas businesses in the same industry. Are there any good ideas you can copy? (This can be our little secret.)
It’s about inspiration, not theft of intellectual property. You don’t want to plagiarize anyone else’s work, but you can take the germ of an idea and do something similar, but in your own voice and tailored to your own business and audience.
Other people’s content
The industry jargon for this is “curating”. This means sourcing and linking to content (usually on the web) that is of interest to your readers or customers. This could be news articles about your industry, blogs by experts or content produced by your industry association. Obviously you don’t want to link to content by a competitor.
Content curating is all the rage right now. But use it sparingly. It should only be done in conjunction with other content marketing initiatives. And it takes time and effort to get right. Otherwise you just end up with a random collection of web links.