Everyone knows that content is king. The UK consulting firm Content+ found that having a blog gives sites 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links. Combined with the fact that the Pew Research Center reported in 2010 that 58 percent of U.S. Internet users research products and services online, it’s easy to see why having a branded content strategy is important.
Unfortunately, a lot of the content being created today is … well, terrible. It’s being put out without targeting, without strategy, and without quality control.
If you want your company’s content to stand out — in the right way — you need better content ideas. But how can you find them? The following three factors make up the secret formula to better content ideas:
Read constantly. Read business books, blogs, industry literature, and more. If you don’t know exactly what to read, check out my list of recommendations. Not only will all this reading make you a better writer, you’ll uncover plenty of great ideas for new content pieces. What questions keep coming up without an answer? What trends are hot in your industry? Answering these questions will help you create an immediate connection with your audience.
Many people claim they don’t have time to read, but it’s simply a matter of priorities. When you realize that reading is an integral part of your business success, you can prioritize it and make time for it — especially if you’re wasting time being busy, but not productive!
But don’t worry. Not all reading has to be time intensive. Reading magazines and billboards can be just as informative. When you see what attention-getting tactics are being used and which ones seem most effective to you, you’ll find it much easier to craft your own compelling content.
In our online world, we rarely make the time for face-to-face and voice-to-voice communication unless it’s truly necessary. But if you want to find great content ideas, you’ve got to actually talk to people. Find out what is going on in the daily lives of your customers and colleagues. Remember that the people you’re writing to are nuanced, real humans. When you put that human touch in your writing, your content will really resonate with readers.
In addition to your normal daily interactions, reach out and talk to industry leaders and other business owners. You’ll find that these discussions can be invigorating and will spark a lot of new ideas that you can share with customers on your site.
Finally, spend time with friends. Sometimes just unwinding with a drink can loosen up the mind and give you some brilliant insights about content that would be helpful to your clients and prospects.
There’s nothing like experiencing a new place to open the mind and expand your perspective. Trips don’t have to be lavish. Even going to a new state or a new city can help you see things in a new way. However, if you can take a trip to another country, you’ll encounter experiences that will change your way of viewing the world forever.
While traveling certainly should include leisure, you can make it purposeful as well. Pay attention to how your product or service is presented in the new area. Are slogans playful, serious, or humorous? What kinds of images are used? You can also pay attention to social interactions. All of these observations can go on to become ideas for creating great content on your site.
One of the most interesting things about travel is the unexpected. In our own cities, in our own routines, we don’t encounter many unexpected experiences. But a humorous event, interesting conversation, or even a traffic jam or flight delay can be used as the basis for your next piece of content — if you’re willing to push past your frustration and capitalize on the opportunities that are presented to you.
Creating great content isn’t rocket science, but it does require you to expose yourself to new ideas, new perspectives, and new ways of operating. By reading regularly, taking time to make real person-to-person connections, and traveling when possible, you’ll discover the secret formula to creating amazing content.
Where were you when your last great content idea came to you and what were you doing?
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