Search for the Perfect French Fry - Finding Inspiration for Content Development
“Remember that guy who wore sandals, Randal the sandal guy. We had a couple of dates. Six years ago? Is that anything? His name was Randal? I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel. Last week I wrote about my search for the perfect French fry.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex & the City
Yeah, sometimes we can relate. Inspiration - or lack thereof. Whether you are writing a technical white paper or a blog for your website, sometimes it’s a challenge. And while we could wax poetic about ways to get inspired, we are after all, a marketing blog and our job is sometimes to help create something out of nothing.
What do we do when the well runs dry? We start at the beginning and think of the obvious – what’s the objective? What are we trying to achieve? So let’s say you’ve done that. You’ve got those technical white papers, a data sheet or two, but what other content can you develop to help stay fresh, and more importantly, relevant in your space? Here are 5 different strategies for writers and content marketers to quickly discover, develop, and test content ideas.
1. The deal that went to the other guy. Which one just slipped through your fingers? What has been the biggest roadblock so far? By roadblock we mean ‘objection.’ Why didn’t that customer purchase from you? Ask your sales team, ask that former client. Be objective and narrow in on 1-2 of those points.
2. Do you have a happy customer? We’re sure you do, so use them! The same way you asked why a deal failed, ask why the deal closed. Again, focus on 1-2 points and run with them.
3. Google's Keyword Planner. It’s a really effective tool when you’re struggling with content development. If you've already got a topic in mind, you can use the Keyword Planner to research keywords and concepts related to your core idea. Then you can use the data you uncover to help brainstorm titles for upcoming pieces and optimize your content for search. Good old-fashioned keyword research provides you with a seed list of terms.
4. Be topical. Finding a news hook for your pieces could be the solution. If you want to grab your audience's attention and get them talking, take a look at trending topics online to see what people are talking about right now. (Google Trends is a great tool to check out current events, celebrity names, and cultural memes have captured the world's attention. And no, we don’t work for or with Google.)
5. What questions is no one in your industry willing to answer? If you want great content that magnetically attracts your audience’s attention, just answer this question. Every time you realize there’s a question no one in your niche dares answer, you can be the person who finally does. Your audience will thank you for it, and your competitors will likely create a voodoo doll just for you.