This is the third installment of the generating content ideas series. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the previous two, you can check out Part 1 here: 8 Quick and Easy Ways to Generate Content Ideas.
And Part 2 here: 8 More Quick and Easy Ways to Generate Content Ideas.
If those aren’t enough for you, here is another 8 :)…
As I previously stated in the first installment, expanding on ideas you have mentioned in previous content can be a great way of generating ideas for new content.
Well your own content isn’t the only thing worth expanding on. In fact, expanding on topics presented to you by your readers can be a much more effective exercise.
If a reader leaves you a comment, sends you an email or asks a question, there’s no reason you couldn’t turn that into the base for a new piece of content.
Questions especially are a great source of information because if someone went out of their way to ask you something, that means there are countless other people with the same concern who didn’t feel up to the task of asking you.
Be their guiding light and clarify a topic for them. They will be forever grateful…and probably a little freaked that you got into their head :).
If the topic came from a comment, you can mention the person as your inspiration to give them a little ego boost. It’ll keep them coming back.
If the topic came from an email, you may want to ask the person if you can mention them personally (since they contacted you privately). Or you always have the option of referring to them as “a reader” and not mentioning them personally.
18. Play Devil’s Advocate
Playing devil’s advocate is not only fun, but it is also a good brain exercise (it can be really challenging sometimes). Plus, it can spark one hell of a discussion.
If you see someone writing something you don’t agree with, don’t be afraid to call them out. If you see someone you do agree with, still don’t be afraid to call them out.
Playing devil’s advocate doesn’t have to stop with other people’s content either. You can do it with your own as well. If you write a post telling one side of the story, why not write another explaining the other side?
YouTube is really useful. Not only for hosting your own videos (which is a good idea by the way), but also for finding topics to discuss.
YouTube is the second largest search engine (yes, Google runs the two biggest search engines, they control all you consume…freaky). That means that there is a lot of information on there. Probably a lot of information relating to your industry and subject matter. Get on there and see if you find something useful.
If not, this is a great opportunity for you to set the trend with videos for your industry.
If there is, write about it. Write a reaction to what you saw, a summary of what you learned, etc.
You can embed the video to give your readers a different form of media, which many of them will appreciate. The creator of the video will also appreciate the love. Although, you can always ask them if it is OK to use their video to be safe. You can use this as a good networking opportunity as well.
20. Amazon Books
Amazon deals in a wealth of information. They’ve always sold books online, but with the release of their Kindle, they’ve gone into Mega-Book-Store mode.
The good news for you is that you don’t need to buy the books for them to be useful for you. You don’t even really need to read them.
Amazon gives you a sneak peak of the inside cover for many books. The table of content is what you are after here.
Search out some books in your industry and pick out the highest rated ones. Now go through the table of contents. What topics are covered in the book? Check out the chapter titles. If this book is so popular and highly rated they’re doing something right.
You can cover some of the same topics in your own way and maybe even use the titles as a template for yourself.
21. Product/Service Oriented
If you have a product or service you are selling, write about it.
That doesn’t mean you should create content that is an overly pushy sales pitch. In fact, writing content that isn’t selling anything at all is the best sales pitch there is.
Write about updates that you have to your product. Write about new services you are offering. Write about success stories from people who have used your product or service. Write about the benefits of your product or service.
If you are going the benefit route, avoid talking about the specifications. Instead, focus on the actual benefit your potential customer will receive. Fore example, writing about the technical improvements you made to a cell phone antenna isn’t as powerful as talking about the benefit of “better reception so you never have to drop a call again”.
22. Seek out Guest Authors
You don’t have to bare the burden of content creation all on your own. You can seek out people to write content for you site.
They get a new audience to share their views and information with, along with some self-promotion. You get to share new view-points and valuable information from a third party with your readers.
This of course, implies that you need to be careful and screen the posts you are publishing on your blog. You want the content to be high quality and high value.
You can publicize that you are open to accepting guest authors on your site. But be warned, you may get a lot of low-quality content being sent your way.
The other alternative is to pick out people you already know create good content, and ask them directly to write something for you. Even if they say no, you will probably make them feel good that you respect their work.
Personal stories are great because it shows you are a real person. And people can relate to real people – they can’t always relate to a company.
Companies of any size benefit from having a story and a face. The face of Apple was Steve Jobs. It’ll be interesting who will replace him as the “spokesperson.”
The face of a company doesn’t always even have to be a real person. Progressive created “Flo” – a fictitious character acting as the spokesperson and face of the company (although I find her a bit annoying).
Telling personal stories and being human goes a long way. And if you can tie it that story into your service or product, it’s all the better.
This is the ultimate “I don’t have any ideas for content” cure: Metaphors!
With a metaphor, you can relate anything to anything.
People love metaphors. Different metaphors are easier to connect to and comprehend for different people. I can write about golf as it relates to content strategy and will instantly grab the attention of golf fans.
Metaphors also make possibly dry content more entertaining and fascinating. And being more entertaining means you have more attention. And more attention leads to higher conversion.
One More Thing…
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Another 8 Quick and Easy Ways to Generate Content Ideas by Eugene Farber