Content creation is not an easy task. The Internet is rife with copycats and un-original ideas. The difference is, you’re running a business, and your ideas fuel a resource that turns readership into profit. When you can’t afford to let writer’s block slow you down, here are some powerful resources for getting the wheels turning again.
Mine Your Data
If you have a body of content, then you also have a body of ideas. Past blogging successes should inform future topics, and analytics provide insight that can help guide content creation and dig you out of your creative rut.
Look at your analytics platform and see which posts have received the most views. This alone isn’t necessarily and indicator of success, but if traffic on the page has remained consistent for some time, then you’ve likely stumbled upon a winner. Consistent traffic signifies that the piece has become a reference for others, resonating with your audience and maintaining traction as a result.
Monitor trends in high-performing content and leverage them to generate new ideas. If you’re an industrial supplier, a series of posts on safety with consistently high traffic should indicate that the subject is of great importance to your customer base. Additional posts on safety, or subjects like compliance, which feed into the topic, will likely find success, giving you new material with which to work.
Tap Your Co-Workers
When your job is to create ideas, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. Step outside your creative box and into the field where the work gets done to find new insights.
Colleagues work within your business, creating solutions that help customers on a daily basis. For this reason, their understanding of customer concerns and the intricacies of your operations can be of great value when creating new content. Ask for suggestions, hold round-table discussions, or ask for guest posts to give your blog a new voice and a new lease on life.
Scout Social Media
Just like numerical analytics, social media can be a gold mine of ideas. Users on social media are inundated with content every day, only stopping to interact with posts that actually resonate with them personally. High-performing posts can indicate that a topic is of importance, suggesting new ideas and alleviating your creative burden.
Comments on social media posts may also offer suggestions. In the aforementioned example of a safety series, comments to the effect of “how do we do this in our business?” may hint that follow up posts for developing your own safety practices would do well. Read between the lines of reader interactions and you’re likely to find a great deal of inspiration in the process.
Monitor the News
As an entity of authority, your insight is trusted. At no time is that insight more appreciated, however, than when it becomes relevant in the news. Wildlife researchers, for example, were treated with additional media attention during the Gulf oil spill, due to the fact that their unique perspective offered direction in a confusing situation.
Keep an eye on the news and look for opportunities to give comment. Doing so not only positions your blog and brand well, it also automates the process of inspiration for you. The aforementioned industrial supplier may see an industrial accident, for example, and provide tips for clean up and proper handling of volatile chemicals, achieving relevance and value simultaneously.
Check Out the Competition
It’s sometimes difficult to admit that your competition does something well, but their strengths can become your boon. Visit your competitors’ blogs and see what topics are occupying their pages. Copying ideas whole-cloth is not recommended, but trends in subjects can help give you ideas for new territory, providing the chance to turn their insight into your traffic.
Ask Your Audience
When you’re looking to hit a home run with each post, few methods work better than simply asking your audience. Gauging trends and assessing the potential of posts pales in comparison to direct requests for topics. When the ideas no longer flow, go to your most trusted asset and simply solicit topic requests. Doing so will provide a wealth of new insight and provide an engagement opportunity that gives readers a personal stake in your blog, turning one-time visitors into devotees.
Your content marketing is only as good as your ideas, and when your ideas seem to evaporate, it’s important to know where to turn. Your owned assets, social interactions, national relevance, and competitors all offer inspiration that can get your creative efforts back on track, so don’t despair the next time that killer topic simply won’t appear. Utilize your not-so-obvious assets and your business blog won’t miss a beat.