Creating great online content is one of the cornerstones of an effective digital marketing strategy.
It compels people to follow you therefore driving more traffic to your website. With consistency, you will be able to build your online reputation.
As you continue to earn trust from your audience and develop credibility, the success of your online content strategy will eventually carry over to improved sales conversions.
Thus, a focused, purposeful, and thoughtful online content creation strategy can help your business achieve long-term success and sustainable revenue growth.
Creativity stimulates ideas.
All content originates from an idea. Sometimes creativity gets stifled and your content generating machine comes to a grinding halt. It happens to everyone.
Brainstorming is a good place to start coming up with ideas for content. However, these top-of-mind topics may not be relevant or usable to your audience.
Spending time and energy on a bad idea is a waste of valuable resources. In addition, the consequences could be severe. Poorly written content can turn off your audience. With consistency, it will drive them away.
If the creative well runs dry, you have to find other sources that can stimulate ideas for better online content.
Here are 5 creative sources that you should look into to get inspiration for those ideas:
- Your Audience
The first rule of creating better online content is to write for your audience.
Search is the number one activity on the Internet. People are constantly looking for resources that will address their needs, concerns, wants, and interests.
Thus, when creating online content, start the process by looking for questions instead of answers.
However, the bigger question for you is “How do I reach my audience and find out what they need?” There are many ways you can reach your audience so you can solicit ideas for your next content topic:
- Surveys – If you’ve built up a sizeable email list, invite your subscribers to participate in a survey. Let them know the survey is intended to help you create better content. Offer a special gift or give an attractive discount to encourage greater participation.
- Social Media – Invite your followers to suggest topics they want you to write about. Stay connected with your audience by engaging them in the comments section. Take note of the type of questions posted by your audience on your page. This will give you an idea of what their current interests are.
- Online Brainstorming – You can create a community billboard on social media networks such as Pinterest and ask your followers to pin topics for you to write about. Podcasts are also a great way of getting your audience involved in a brainstorming session.
Once you have all the content suggestions, organize them into a spreadsheet and determine its frequency distribution. This way, you can prioritize the topics your audience wants you to write about and develop other types and forms of content from there.
For example, if you are a Personal Trainer in the fitness industry and “Weight Loss” received the most mentions, you can develop a content creation calendar around this topic.
Prospective topics include: “Best Exercises for Weight Loss”, “How to Use Cardio for Weight Loss”, and “The Best Supplements for Weight Loss”.
- The Competition
The second rule of creating better online content is to accept the fact that you don’t know everything in the industry.
There are others; namely your competitors, who may know things which you don’t. This is why businesses conduct comparative analysis of their competitors.
To become an industry leader, you must stay one step ahead of the competition. By staying informed of what they are doing, you can prepare counter-measures or work to offer a better solution.
Content creation is no different.
If you want to gain a wider audience and build the strongest online reputation, you must find out what your competition is writing about.
The good news is getting insights on your competition is easy:
- Website – Visit their website and take note of the types of content that are posted. Which topics are generating more engagement, likes, and shares? What kinds of images are posted? Does the site have videos that are linked to other social media channels?
- Social Media – Click onto their social media pages and see what your competitor posts about. Don’t just go to one social media page. Visit all of them. Observe their distribution strategy. What topics are posted on Facebook? What topics are posted on Twitter?
- Forums – A quick Google search might present links that mention your competition in various online forums. Find out what your market thinks about your competition by visiting these online forums.
You don’t have to look outside for the best solutions. Sometimes, the solutions to your problems can be found under your very nose.
To be more specific, they could be found within the organization.
If your business involves sales, talk to your sales representatives. They are your front-liners and are your first point-of-contact with your end users.
In a feedback cycle with the customer, they represent your company.
Sales people are great sources of information. They know what your market wants, needs, and have an idea of their pain points.
Invite them to participate in a brain storming session. Collaborate with them on possible topics.
Ask them to fill out customer survey forms or encourage your sales people to actively suggest topics for future content.
Take it one step further by inviting a select few to contribute content for your website and give them full writing credit.
Of course, inform them that their work will be subjected to editing. However, try to keep the tone and voice of the content intact.
Influencers are key thought leaders in your industry. They are good sources of content topics because influencers routinely keep track of the latest trends and developments in the industry.
Influencers know what issues are of utmost importance to your audience.
You can find influencers in social media. Follow them or like their pages in order to receive content regularly.
You can also try to engage them in social media networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook. For business, LinkedIn is a valuable resource for content ideas. It is the preferred platform of professionals especially by industry influencers.
The great thing about using influencers as sources of content creation is that they frequently cite statistics and other figures to validate their information. Numbers add credibility to your content. It will give more value to your readers and further enhance your reputation as an important resource.
- Online Tools and Platforms
We’ve frequently mentioned social media throughout this article.
Social media is an effective source for creative online content creation. In the first place, it attracts a large community of 3 billion users on a daily basis.
Social media is a highly-active forum for sharing content as well as engagement.
Likewise, you can join focus or special interest groups in social media. Focus groups are collectives that share a common interest.
Members routinely open a topic for conversation. Observe which topics generate the highest levels of discussion.
Twitter is a great tool for getting a pulse on your community’s interest. All you have to do is follow discussion threads among your followers or of those you follow. Jump in anytime if you have an idea to contribute and build up on that to gain more insights.
Google Alerts is another wonderful tool to get content ideas. Simply identify the topics you want Google Alerts to search and it will email them to you.
Just like optimized content, your online content creation strategy has keywords. And these important keywords are “great” and “consistent”.
Great content is described as content that has the following qualities: fresh, unique, informative, usable, and engaging. It is difficult enough to create great online content.
Producing it on a consistent basis is the biggest challenge facing content marketers.
You could be on a roll hitting content pieces that generate a good number of engagement, likes, and shares. Then, without warning, your creativity hits a wall.
Nothing seems to flow out.
You’re left staring at a blank computer screen as your hot mug of coffee begins to turn cold.
It could only be for a few hours. Consequently, if the hours turn into days, then you have a content creation problem. Time is another consideration that you should factor in the content creation process.
The time spent on creating content can have an effect on its overall value and relevance to your audience. If you cannot produce great online content on time, your audience may end up patronizing your competitor.
Save up on valuable time and protect yourself from opportunity cost by utilizing our suggestions for 5 best creative sources for developing better online content.