In our last article we looked at what content is and why it’s useful. Now let’s start generating some!
It’s an exciting prospect but what if you have absolutely no clue what to produce? It is probably worth mentioning at this point that certain topics give more scope for content creation than others. For example, if you run a sandwich shop there is only going to be so much you can say on the subject, whereas if you run a computer repair company then you have a much wider scope for opportunity. All that said, it often comes down to how creative you’re being.
Get into Your Customer’s Brain!
This should be your focus when you are creating content. It really doesn’t matter what you think is interesting as it’s all about your customer or client. For my House Planning Help project I picture Graham! I imagine him to be between 47, successful in his chosen profession, he has a wife and kids, he loves learning and will be thorough in his research of house build options, time is his most precious commodity and he sees a future where energy is double or triple the price of what it is today.
This clear image in my mind allows me to test content. Will whatever I’m creating be something Graham is interested in? If it isn’t then I need to go back to the drawing board.
If you know who your target customer is, try to imagine how he or she might view your business. What do they really want to know? Can you be the resource they need?
1. What are the Questions You Get Asked Most Often?
For every business there will be questions that crop up time and time again. Have you answered them? If you haven’t then this is great place to start your content creation (or if you have an email list of clients, another option is to ask them directly). Try to be as helpful as you possibly can with your content, giving away your best information. This strategy may seem absurd but have faith that it will come back to you.
If you have already taken steps to answer your frequently asked questions – perhaps in an FAQ section on your website – consider whether you have been thorough enough? Or is there an opportunity to use it somewhere else (for example, turn it into a video or a podcast)? Your aim is to be everywhere your customer is, but without spreading yourself too thinly.
Where possible, do the work once and let the content drip down. By this, I mean that if you shoot a video, think whether you can use the audio from that video in a podcast. Similarly, can you use the audio content from a podcast as a blog post (which effectively you are doing if you create show notes).
2. Interview Someone in Your Niche
I love this method most of all because of the additional benefits it provides. Let’s use podcasting as an example. It is much easier to create compelling content between two people than it is to record a monologue. If you have an interest in your subject matter – which is probably likely if your business is centred around it – then interviewing someone else in the field is great fun. It’s also a form of networking. Cesar Abeid, from the Construction Industry Podcast, is a construction camera specialist and yet he has interviewed key people from world-renowned projects such as the Sydney Opera House, The Panama Canal and the Burj Khalifa. Content creation has given him this opportunity. Finally, it keeps you up to date with the latest trends.
3. Do a Case Study
Use your work as content! You may have a portfolio already but is there any way you can get more from it? I see a lot of architects and construction companies displaying completed projects on their websites but there is little information for those who want to dig deeper. If you are prepared to share more (or can get permission from clients) then you really could turn this to your advantage. If you sell products, can you review them?
4. Get Inspiration From Other People in Your Niche
This is not suggesting that you copy anyone else but that, if you’re struggling for ideas, find out what other people are writing about. You could look at one of their titles and then answer it in your way. Remember, you have all the knowledge you need. Just be you and try not to miss out any of the steps along the way. What might be obvious to you may be unclear to others.
5. React to What’s in the News
Each day that goes by there will be new stories that affect your business. If you have opinions or advice that stem from this then you should be using this as a content creation opportunity. Sometimes people will be more likely to share stories that are connected with the day’s hot potato so this could be a bonus. Also consider whether you can move a story on. A journalist will always be thinking this way, particularly if the main angle has been covered everywhere.
6. Look Through Comments on Previous Posts
Once you start to get a lot of comments on your blogs or videos then this method can be very worthwhile. See how the comments trail developed and consider whether there are any gaps in understanding or questions that were left hanging. Even if this was resolved the chances are that the information is hidden from most of your community, so create some new content about it. One of the key advantages is that you know you are directly addressing the needs of your customers as this has come from interaction.
What is your best strategy for content creation? How do you get through those times when you’re lacking inspiration?