Content Marketing is an entrepreneur’s most powerful tool for growing a business. What more, its marketing for free! If done the right way, your blog i.e your content can take your business places that you cannot even imagine! Writing useful content on my blog has immensely helped my business as well as helped me connect with some influencers in the creative industry!
So today, I am super excited to be kicking off a new series on my blog : Content Creation Hacks for Bloggers and Creative Business owners. This will be a 4 part series:
- Content Planning
1.1 How to come up with Ideas for your content
1.2 How to create and use an Editorial Calendar for your blog
- Content Writing
- Content Design
- Content Management / Organization
Here’s the first module about content planning, here we go!
Content planning : How to come up with new Ideas for your content
The hardest part of writing content is knowing what to write about. Coming up with topic ideas can be daunting. You know that icky feeling all too well – you open your post editor to whip up a new blog post and you just end up staring at the blank screen for the next 30 minutes, not knowing where to start and what to write. Its not a good feeling and makes you feel unproductive and inconsistent. So here are 5 easy ways to help you generate new ideas for your content:
Headline swipe file:
Not only are headlines useful for attracting browsers to your content, but they also help you come up with new content ideas. How? Use a headline swipe file! I came across this hack a few months ago and it has been super helpful in coming up with new content topics. A headline swipe file is simply a collection of headline templates that you can use to find inspiration for new posts. Its super easy to create one, here’s how: each time you come across an interesting headline, just save it into your swipe file and create a template of it.
Let me explain this with an example here.
Say you come across a headline like this: “10 best practices to attract new clients”. You find it interesting and save it into your swipe file. Now create a template of this headline like this: [#] best practices to [<blank>] . The next time you want to write a new post, you can look into your swipe file for inspiration. Its super easy to plugin ideas into an already existing headline template to come up with a new topic, right? Let’s say you are a designer, you can now write a new post titled: “8 best practices to run a sustainable design business” or “10 best practices for choosing the right colors for your brand“.
See how easy it is to come up with new content ideas when you already have a template to work with than just starting with a blank slate. I have a freebie, just for you! Make sure to download the exact headline swipe file I use for generating my content topics right here for FREE!
Turn client/reader questions into topics:
This is the easiest way to find new ideas for your content. What are the most common questions your clients ask you? Turn that into a blog post. Do you receive emails from readers asking your advice on something? Lucky if you do, because this means that they deem you as an expert in that topic. It is also likely that there are more readers who have similar questions for you and are interested in knowing your opinion on a certain topic. Compile your answers in blog posts – your readers get their answer without having to send you an email and you get a new topic to share about – its a win-win! I maintain a notebook in Evernote to keep a track of questions that I am asked about and use that to write blog posts, it works like a charm!
Find out where your readers hang out:
I’ve mentioned this before – Readers love content that solves a problem for them. Find out the most common and current problems that your audience has. But wait, how do you do this? Find out where they hang out and listen to them. For example, my ideal audience consists of bloggers and creative business owners. I learnt that some of the places they love to hang out are Facebook groups, Twitter and Reddit. Often when I participate in twitter chats, I not only network and share ideas but I try to learn about the problems that my peers are facing and note them down.
Similarly, you can visit the hangout spots of your audience and listen to their current struggles, problems and challenges. And if you have the answers for their questions and solutions to their problems, write a blog post! They will thank you and also wonder how you read their mind! Sssh! Now that’s a secret! 😉
Repurpose old content:
How about using your old posts to generate new content? Heck, yes! Make a list of your top ten posts in the last six months by looking at your google analytics. You can do this by logging into your GA dashboard > Site Content > Behavior > All Pages and select the time period on the calendar widget at the top. Now go through these posts one by one and make notes based one these following questions:
- Are there any points/ sub-topics in the post that I can expand on?
- Are there additions or updates that I can make to the post?
- Can this content be represented in a different content format?
- Can this topic be written at a different audience skill level?
- Can you break down the topic and create a series out of it?
- Read the comments from your audience! Do they have any questions that you can expand into a blog post?
See how one idea can be expanded into 10 or more blog posts? Now you have a huge arsenal of post ideas to last you a long time. By doing this small fun activity from time to time, you will never run out of content ideas, I promise!
Use Google Alerts:
Read a lot. The more you read, the more ideas you have to write about! For example, a few days ago I read about the importance of using attractive headlines for content which sparked off an idea to write a post on the 4-U formula for crafting killer headlines. For inspiration, you can set up google alerts to send you new content for topics that you are interested in right to your email box. Just log into Google Alerts and set up alerts, its super easy (See the screenshot below). When you hit a writer’s block or are in need of new ideas, you can read the content sent to you by google to spark off new ideas.
Using these tips have definitely helped me keep my blog running smoothly. Not just that, it has also helped me develop better content as everything is planned beforehand and there is ample time for researching the topic 🙂
Have you downloaded your copy of the headline swipe file yet? Here you go!
What are your biggest challenges when it comes to content creation?