By Heather Townsend
You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all sat there looking at a blank page wondering what to write or say. But we also know that our bills are paid by being high profile and ‘present’ in our marketplace. But how do you find the inspiration and time to continually turn up with something to say? Read on to find out to make the most out of your content, regardless of how much time you have to spend on content creation.
Work to a plan
Our brains are the most energy-hungry organs in our body. This means that they are always looking for ways to conserve energy. Taking decisions means burning energy. So, our brains naturally want to reduce the number of decisions we take in a day. Try to make too many decisions in one go and your brain will start to resist taking another decision. This is where the power of a plan comes in. Having a content plan equates to fewer decisions needing to be taken. Therefore, more of a chance that your plan gets executed. Yes, talking about planning is probably not the nugget of advice you were hoping to get from this article. But, having a content schedule laid out with ideas for what to post and in what medium, really does make it much easier to create your content.
Know your audience
When it comes to people’s content it is often bland and ‘vanilla’. Whereas, you know that if you are going to stand out you need to be the equivalent of a knickerbocker glory. All too often our content reverts back to plain old vanilla flavour because we just don’t know our audience in enough detail. Just as having a plan cuts down the amount of decisions we need to make, so does knowing your audience. Because, after all, if you know the top things your audience really wants to view, listen to or read, deciding what content to create for them becomes so much easier.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to spend time interviewing your ideal audience, then go back and look at your content. What content did they engage with? What content has had the most hits, views or shares? This is a big clue that this is probably the content your audience most wants you to create more of.
Jot down ideas when inspiration hits
Do you find that your best ideas for content just hit you at random times? Rather than when you are sitting down trying to think about ideas for future content. If so, you are human like the rest of us. Don’t waste these bolts from the blue. Capture them when they strike so that over time you create a list of possible ideas for content. Then when you are planning your next three months of content, you’ve already got lots of great ideas to choose from.
If you have been a bit low on inspiration for good content, remember that ideas for great content are literally all around you. For example:
- Conversations with clients and customers
- Questions you receive from your staff, customers or clients
- Your competitors’ content, particularly their regular email newsletters or ‘tips’. (Just don’t copy their stuff.)
- Surfing your audience’s preferred social media platform
- When things have gone very wrong or very right for you. (Think about how popular blooper reels are!)
- Your sales reports, or reports on the state of your sector. For example: “What’s hot this month?”
- Funny or poignant moments or stories from your personal life. For example: “What happened next when my teenage son photobombed my recorded interview…”
Too often we fall into the trap of trying to always create new content. Firstly, from an SEO point of view, your best ‘search engine friendly’ content should be continually updated every 3-9 months if it is to maintain its high ranking. But, it’s not just about updating existing content, it’s about really making your content ideas earn their keep. And this is where repurposing your content can save you hours and hours of time.
For example, let’s suppose you deliver an online event, e.g. a webinar. There is a myriad of different ways this content can be repurposed. For example:
- The recording stripped out for a podcast
- The recording split up into videos for YouTube and social media
- The recording used as a lead magnet
- The audio transcription used as the basis for a series of articles.
- The slides from the webinar added to slideshare or used on social media
- The questions you get asked in the webinar can be used to prompt separate articles and/or social media updates
Once again, it’s the ‘p’ word again; planning. With a well-thought-out strategy, you can plan out exactly how you will repurpose each piece of original content you produce. A monthly webinar done well, should deliver 1-2 months of great content, before and after the webinar.
If you want to take the heavy lifting out of content creation, start with knowing your audience. Then plan your content in advance. And if inspiration strikes, add this to your content plan.
Heather Townsend is the author of The Go-To Expert. For more doses of inspiration, follow her on LinkedIn