Fact: Even the most talented marketers and content writers struggle to produce fresh content on a regular basis.
Whether you're selling cybersecurity software or professional services, chances are you find it challenging to maintain a content calendar without compromising quality.
And you're not alone. Around 46 percent of marketers rank consistent content production as one of their key challenges.
While it's true that coming up with creative content ideas to tight deadlines can be stressful, it may not be as difficult as you think.
To help you out, we've compiled a foolproof guide for generating content ideas quickly and with minimal fuss. Bookmark this page for the next time you're suffering from the infamous content writer’s block...
1. Unpack your research
Earlier this year, we carried out market research to understand the content marketing maturity of startups in Singapore. But we didn't just let the findings shape our sales strategy. We turned hours of work into a blog post with actionable insights to share with our readers.
Our reasoning goes like this: we've already put in the time and gained valuable insights. Why not share what we've learned with our audience? Research is a great way to repurpose existing work to show off your expertise.
I know that some marketers don't like sharing information, especially when it comes to research. They view it as giving away a hard-won competitive advantage. But giving is what builds relationships. At Mint, we believe that the B2B and B2C relationships thrive when brands are generous with their knowledge - without expecting an immediate sale in return.
Author Seth Godin put it perfectly when he said, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
How to get started
To turn valuable research into engaging content, you need to organise the data in a way that is clear, concise and compelling. To begin, I recommend explaining why you carried out the research, and what you were looking for. Structure the article like a narrative with an obvious beginning, middle and end.
From there, you can:
- Share your most interesting and important findings - without cherry picking
- Explain why they're relevant to your target audience
- Provide practical tips for solving your target audience's problems in this area
2. Show off your company culture
Sharing content about your business and the people who run it is a great way to connect with clients and prospective customers. It gives audiences the opportunity to:
- See what goes on behind the scenes - in turn, this fosters strong, trusted brand relationships
- Connect with your brand at an emotional level - brands that introduce and celebrate hardworking individuals behind a company are humanised
- Appreciate your team - culture-focused content goes a long way to showing employees that they are valued and part of the bigger picture
How to get started
You can incorporate company culture into your content in a multitude of ways.
- Tell a story about your brand - how did the business start? What were the early days like?
- Profile your team members - this could be Q&A style, presented as a blog post or video
- Ask your employees to share their experiences - what does their day-to-day job look like?
Regular Mint Content blog readers may be familiar with our meet the team series. We love these posts because they give us an opportunity to talk about our lives both inside and outside of Mint Content, and let people get to know us before they pick up the phone.
3. Reach out to your audience
User-generated content sounds like a cop-out. But just because it's quick, almost effortless and free doesn't mean it's too good to be true. It's actually a great way to engage your audience.
Sharing user-generated content fosters community development, enhancing brand engagement and deepening relationships with your target audience.
How to get started
Facilitating user-generated content can be as simple as creating a hashtag. For example, by inviting people to communicate using your hashtag, you're supporting engagement and participating in a two-way conversation.
Harness these conversations by sharing user posts on social media, or compile responses in a blog post. Sprout Social does this well with its Sprout Chat Recaps. It asks its audience to share thoughts on an industry topics, as seen below.
Then it compiles the responses in a blog post. Comments are organised in a logical, coherent way to show the flow of the conversation and vastness of insights uncovered.
User-generated content is also great for Instagram. Start a hashtag for your brand and ask your audience to share how they use your product. You could turn it into a competition and offer a prize for the best photo, or simply get people posting about your brand and giving you more content to share.
In an age when brands thrive on meaningful customer experiences, user-generated content is almost non-negotiable in some industries. For a great example of user-generated content at work, check out body scrub brand Frank Body on Instagram...
4. Repurpose old or outdated content
They say that new isn't always better. But in the case of your blog and social channels, your latest content is almost always more attractive to readers.
Years-old content ends up lost in the archives, no matter how timeless.
You’ve thought of creative ideas, turned it into killer content and put a lot of time into it. Get your money’s worth by tactfully repurposing and giving your content new life.
How to get started
- Adapt your evergreen content for another medium – for example, we plan to turn our article on what every marketer should know about lead nurturing into an e-book
- Turn a multi-topic blog post into a series - expand on each point from a single blog post to create a series of stand-alone articles. This could be done with this article - I could write six more blog posts by focusing on each content idea I have given.
- Reposition popular content to appeal to a new buyer persona - for example, our article, The startup marketer’s guide to creating killer content, could be adapted and reposted to target marketing managers in enterprise IT companies, or CMOs.
Recycle, recycle, recycle.
5. Invite a guest blogger to contribute
As an active member of your industry, you will likely have friends or business contacts working in the same field. Why not invite them to contribute to your blog?
Working with guest bloggers is a great way to present a different view and teach readers something new. It also shows that your brand is open to fresh perspectives and that you learn from others.
It can even improve brand awareness as your audience expands to include your guest's readership.
Guest blogging is mutually beneficial. You receive interesting content to share, and your guest promotes their brand on a new platform.
How to get started
Getting started is simple: identify contacts and ask them to contribute! Be aware, however, that you're responsible for maintaining your brand's professionalism and ensuring content standards are upheld. Make expectations clear, and consider inviting guest contributors with communications/professional writing experience.
6. Share your reading list
If you do a lot of industry reading (which you should be), you probably have a list of favourite blogs you follow. Keeping up with the industry and growing your knowledge are crucial to success in the content writing and marketing world. Why not hit two birds with one stone?
Compile this list and share a quick summary about each blog - what do you like about it? What can readers learn from them? Hey presto, instant content.
We do this in our weekly content writing wrap.
Each week we share interesting articles across our social media pages and then summarise the most powerful articles. We like this approach because:
- It is easy to produce - we're doing the reading anyway!
- Our readers stay up-to-date with the changing world of content marketing with little effort
- It shows that we stay current with what's happening in our industry
Bonus tip - write an opinion piece
Are you frustrated by regulatory changes? How is an emerging technology affecting the way you do business? Share your opinions (or enlist an expert team member) to share their thoughts. Use what you've learned during your time in business to inspire others.
Our strategy expert and business development lead, James, for example, shares regular opinion bites on LinkedIn. We compile these posts into a monthly article to reach a wider audience.
You can quickly and easily create fresh content by:
- Unpacking research findings
- Showing off your company culture
- Reaching out to your audience for user-generated content
- Repurposing old or outdated content
- Working with guest bloggers
- Sharing your reading list
What do you do when you run out of content ideas?