One of the biggest challenges our clients face when dealing with content marketing, content creation, blogging and the like is figuring out how to come up with topics to write about. Despite most of our clients being true experts of their fields, they still don’t regularly provide content that helps to fill voids within their industry. This is sometimes due to a true “lack of ideas” or often the result of believing their knowledge is “common sense” and therefore not worthy of further discussion or exploration.
But what is elementary to you, is NOT elementary to us, your potential customer. As a plumber, you know the best angle to insure my main sewer line easily transports my homes waste out of my home and into the city sewer line, but I sure as hell don’t. Even better, if I were to stumble upon an article where you explain this aspect of plumbing to me, in a way I understand and in a voice I relate to, that is going to go a long way towards earning my trust, and future business.
This topic is important to me, and would relate to it because my home did in fact have an improperly sloped sewer line that was responsible for transporting waste from my home to the city lines outside, and it’s poor slope resulted in what my wife and I call “The Shit Storm of 2009”.
Content creation is a challenge for everyone, but one simple tweak to the way you consider new ideas is all that is needed to open up the flood gates. You will here many talk about free writing, and researching other industry related blogs, and watch YouTube videos, sure, all very good ways to come up with ideas. I have employed them all at one point or another. Being that this “practice what we preach” series is supposed to teach “easily actionable” strategies, I’m going really, really simple here…
So what’s the best way to develop new ideas for useful content for your website or blog? Put yourself in your customers (or potential customers) shoes and ask yourself the questions you think they should be asking.
To make this easier, some of you already have an FAQ’s page. Start there. Take each topic, write a custom page of content or blog post about it, explaining the “why” or the “how” of the question in as much detail as you can muster. Maybe it only ends up being 3 paragraphs, or maybe you luck out and come up with 30 paragraphs, a few images, charts and graphs.
Even better, keep the FAQ’s in place, and link from each of the quick hit Q&A’s into the individual posts that further elaborate, allowing for quicker indexing by Google, and a nice little internal link scheme.
Examples, if you provide security software for doctor’s offices, some questions that might need answering could be…
- How does your software keep our patient data safe?
- What are the risks involved in not taking action to keep our patient data safe?
- What are some real life examples of patient data being compromised?
If you’re a contractor, let’s say a landscaper…
- Why should we trust you anymore than your competitors?
- What jobs have you done that would give me a good idea of what you could do for our home?
This question could result in 3 or 4 different pages of content, as you can write about and show examples for homes of like size and neighborhood. Showing someone in a $130,000 house pics of only your projects completed for $500,000 houses isn’t necessarily the best way to pitch and attract them.
- What equipment do you use?
If you’re a restaurant…
- What kind of events do you cater?
Another example of a topic that can branch off into multiple pages of content, each geared towards further explaining each type of catering niche you service, showers, team parties, family reunions and so on.
And the list goes on. In my case today, I decided to try and provide a practical answer to the question,
“How the hell do I come up with content ideas for my website/blog?”
The answer: Figure out what questions your customers are (or should be) asking, and answer them, in detail, and make the presentation worth of their time. Add nice pictures, include supporting data, include charts (people especially love pie charts…mmmmm…pie).
I learned from Kevin Costner that “if you build it, he will come”. I think in our case we could say, “if you write it, and write it well, they will come”.
If you consistently add new, quality content to your website, it is almost guaranteed to get you some new traffic, and sometimes you’ll luck into huge swells of traffic that can provide temporary, and sometimes permanent, boosts in leads and revenue generation.
In closing, if you provide clean up services for someone who’s main sewer line dropped off the wall and spilled all of the waste that was backed up into their basement, maybe you should write an article titled, How We Can Rescue Your Basement From A Shit Storm. That is an piece I’d be willing to read.