If you are reading this resource, you know how important content is on both social media and your website. It communicates with your audience in a way that is not salesy and gives character to your brand.
Ultimately, it promotes long-term relationships with your customers - they will keep coming back for more if you consistently deliver great content that solves their problems or simply entertains them.
But sometimes you just do not know what to post! That is what I am going to help you with today. Three ways to generate content ideas that your audience will love.
1. Ask your audience
Who should you appeal to the most? Your audience! That is why it is so valuable to source your content ideas directly or indirectly from them. You can do this in more obvious ways, with polls and direct questions, or undercover, by constantly paying attention to what your audience is saying and doing.
1.1. Ask your audience directly
This is my favourite way of getting content ideas! If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen the polls I post every Friday asking my audience what they want to read from me. This way I make sure my audience honestly wants to read my resources.
I can already hear people without a huge following say “I will not receive any answers!” That may be true for a while but keep at it and you will soon get responses. Or you can cheat like I did in my first poll and ask your family and friends to vote!
In addition to polls, you may ask individual people what kind of content they want to see from you. Ask existing customers, strategic partners, social media followers, family members, and even friends!
1.2. Pay attention to your audience
Any time your audience interacts with you, you can keep your eyes peeled for problems they have and that you can solve, for objections they have about your products, for aspects of your business they want to know more about, and for the way they search for and consume information.
Here is how to turn what your hear from your audience in person, in messages, or in reviews into content:
- Solve your audience’s problems. If an existing customer brings to your attention a problem they are having with your products or services, find a solution and create a piece of content that solves that issue.
- Solve your audience’s objections. If a potential customer asks you about your products or services and then backs away, find out why and create a piece of content that solves that objection for other potential customers.
- Feed your audience’s curiosity. If someone shows they are curious about how you run your business, who your staff members are, or how you make your products or deliver your services, feel free to feed their curiosity if it makes sense within your brand.
- Create the type of content your audience likes. If you notice your audience likes a particular type of content more than another (video, image, text), focus on creating that type of content and use language they understand and can engage with.
2. Be inspired by your life
Some of my best ideas came to me as I was simply living my life. Maybe you have heard about the importance of play and stillness for imagination and creativity – I completely stand by that concept.
Coming up with your own ideas instead of outsourcing them has its benefits. This way you ensure you are interested in the topic and our passion will shine through to your audience!
2.1. Create content about your business
If your goal is to make people want to support your business and become regular customers, creating content about your business is a no-brainer.
Here are a few examples on how to incorporate your business activity into your content:
- When you fix a problem within your products or services, let your audience know what you are doing and then share with them when it is fixed. For example, you may reply to a negative review that highlights how your carrot cake was too sugary that day that you will fix it. Then, post that review and your reply on social media and highlight how you made a mistake and will be fixing the recipe. When you fix the problem, share a photograph of the new cake and boast about how tasty and healthy it is!
- When you improve your products or services, tease about it in advance and then promote the improvements. For example, people have mentioned how great your customer service is but you still think there Is room to grow and decide to invest in additional training for your staff. Tell your audience about it and their confidence in your service will increase even more.
- When you release new products or services, tease about them in advance as well and then make a big deal of the launch day!
2.2. Create content about your learnings
If you are anything like me, you are always improving yourself, your business, and your products or services. Much of what you learn is also be of interest to your audience!
Here is an example of how to incorporate your learnings into your content:
- When you solve a problem your audience also has, share with them how you did it. For example, if you sell shoes and you learn a new technique on how to clean them, you can share it with your audience!
2.3. Create content about your life
I do not mean telling your business’s audience what you do every day but, depending on your business, you can turn some of what you do into content.
Here are a couple of examples of how to incorporate your life into your content:
- If you use your products, you can turn your experience into smaller social media posts or longer case studies. For example, you can post a blog post how you felt during and after a week of consistently drinking the energy-boosting smoothies you promote.
- If you use your strategic partners’ products, you may promote them as well. This will support both your partners with prospective consumers and your audience with products that solve their problems. For example, if you are a B2B business who sells online, you may want to boast about the beautiful and intuitive website your strategic partner designed for you.
3. Pay attention to the trends
I rarely use these tactics for my business but I often use them when creating content for my clients. You see, I have an endless list of content ideas for Alexandra Pedro Marketing because I have been using the previous tactics since the beginning. But that may not be the case for you and that is why I am adding these additional methods of outsourcing content ideas!
3.1. Pay attention to social trends
If you find a trend that is somehow related to your products or services, your audience probably wants to know your take on it. So, you can create content about it on social media or on your website to join the conversation.
But how do you find these trends? There are three major sources: social media, search engines, and RSS feeds.
3.1.1. How to find social media trends
Your audience is probably on social media and both Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit allow you to check what most people in your geographical area or with your interests are talking about. I particularly like Twitter Trends and Reddit because you can take a look at them even if you do not have a Twitter or Reddit account.
3.1.2. How to find search trends
You can check recent global and local search trends on Google Trends. I am not aware whether there are other search engines that offer the same functionality. If most people in your audience’s geographical area use Google, these search trends may be more accurate than social media’s despite not being as timely.
Another option is using Answer the Public or similar tools that source their information from several search engines. These will not show you recent social media trends but will give you an idea of what people generally talk about related to your topic.
3.1.3. How to follow RSS feeds
Finally, there is this great tool that some of us do not even know about called an RSS feed! Basically, you can follow RSS feeds from news websites and blogs and then be alerted whenever new content is published. There are RSS feed aggregators out there that display all the RSS feeds you want in one place.
I personally use QuiteRSS but it is not for the faint-of-heart unless you only want to follow a couple RSS feeds. It requires you to find the RSS feeds you want to follow, add them to the application, and set up filters to seamlessly go through new posts. It is only suitable for people who find RSS feeds valuable, do not mind spending some time setting everything up, and are at least a bit of a tech-nerd!
There are other RSS feed aggregators that are easier to use, like Feedly, but I have not tried them out yet.
3.2. Pay attention to your competitors’ content
I would never tell you to do an exact or approximate copy of your competitors’ content. It will come across as unauthentic and people are going to figure out what you are doing eventually. Also, it is just a low blow you do not need to resort to.
What you can do instead is keep your eyes peeled for the topics they cover that you want to tap into as well. Then, think about how you can bring your own perspective to those topics and create content that only you can create!