4 Invaluable Idea Sources for Your Website and Blog Content
It is easy to find an excuse for lack of content on your website. I bet you are very busy and writing an essay seems like an insurmountable task, not suited for the busy reality of entrepreneurship. Yet every expert in an online marketing field will point out the importance of great content in the pursuit of online success. There are no magic tricks to get to the top of search results, only sweat and creativity.
How to be creative in an uninspiring industry
It is true that some industries seem very limited or uninspiring. For example, 'driveway cleaning' may seem like a very limited topic at first glance. The truth is, that every industry, no matter how small or unappealing, can be a source of great content.
As a business, you sell a solution to a problem in a form of product or service. Most problems that people encounter in their daily lives are multifaceted, raising many questions your customers have to consider before deciding to purchase from you. Addressing these questions on your website is a great way to produce valuable content that:
- Saves time (for you and the customer) - if they can find answers to all their questions on your pages, they are less likely to make a bad purchase decision that exposes you to returns, cancellations, refunds and bad reviews.
- Drives traffic to your website - Google and other search engines love content. It allows them to provide relevant search results to their users alongside targeted ads (their source of income). This is why they boost content rich websites in their rankings.
- Makes you look like you care - customers want a supplier that is educated, helpful and a great resource. Answering their questions on your website shows that you have a wealth of experience in providing your solution to the market.
There are many types of content you can create, depending on how much time you can dedicate to the task. This is something we covered in our previous article. The bottom line is, you should strive to gradually grow your website to become the definitive resource for your industry (at least in your geographic area).
It may seem tempting to hire someone else to write your content and blog articles, but you (and your staff) are truly the best for this job. You know your product inside-out and you deal with your customers on a daily basis.
Additionally, everything you write will be unique. Hired writers may cut corners and plagiarise other people's hard work without your knowledge. This, in turn, will achieve the opposite effect on search engines, as Google and other services penalise duplicate content and are very good at spotting it. You can spend a fortune on useless content resulting in frustration and missed opportunities.
There are many good writers around, but they charge what they are worth. Instead of skimping on a poor writer, do the job yourself and avoid the risks. If you feel your grammar or writing skills are lacking, use a proofreading service or an editor to review the content before you publish.
Where to find the ideas for your next piece of content
So where can you find inspiration for your content, blog articles and FAQ sections? There are several sources to consider, in order of importance:
- Your customers - make note of every question your customers ask. If they have trouble understanding even the simplest aspects of your offer, product or service, don’t write them off as stupid or ignorant. If they don’t know, there are more people who find themselves in the same situation with the same questions. Answer these questions in great detail - it’s not a nuisance, it is an opportunity for you to dominate their demographic.
- Online Forums - websites like Quora, Reddit and other niche discussion forums are full of questions and answers on every subject imaginable. Keep track of new posts mentioning your products, industry and solutions. You don’t have to participate in these discussions, but you can use them as an inspiration source for your own content. See what problems people experience with competitors and use that knowledge to improve your own offer and content.
- News Channels - every industry has its own media coverage. Many of them publish blogs, news feeds and press releases. Keeping on top of them can provide great ideas for your content and your business as a whole. You can easily subscribe to them using a news reader like Feedly. Then use your computer or smartphone to scan headlines for interesting stuff that would be of benefit to your customers and website visitors.
- Competition - you should be subscribed to all blogs and news feeds of your main competitors, but also businesses who provide the same services and products in different locations to different markets or audiences. This can serve as a great motivator and source of ideas for your own content.
The above channels should be monitored on a regular basis. Even if you don't have time to act on the stuff you find straight away, you should have a strategy for capturing the ideas for future use. You can use a simple notebook or an application like Pocket or Instapaper to save the inspiration for later. Don't wait too long, though, as great content is what can drive new business to you, instead of your competitors.