By this point, you are probably pretty familiar with the differing qualities and benefits of inbound and outbound content marketing. You’ve even considered how you might take advantage of strategic inbound initiatives to support your longstanding outbound effort, but are afraid to jump in with both feet. That’s understandable. It’s not always easy to churn out consistently valuable and interesting content; it takes time. Even more daunting, you may simply have no idea what to write about and where to get fresh new ideas.
Worry no more because here I come to save the day. I am a big believer in the value of inbound tactics, both for your company and for your clients. And to be honest, I had to overcome many of the same fears that you harbor when I got started. Thankfully, I quickly learned that the idea generation part of the equation is usually the easiest to address, (finding the time to do all this writing, monitoring the conversations and staying abreast of social media is much more challenging). When you take a fresh look at your everyday experiences, you’ll realize it’s not hard to keep a steady stream of ideas flowing and create content that will be found and read online by just the people you’re hoping to reach.
Your clients are your best source for material. What are they asking about and what is causing them concern? Is there rampant confusion about some new regulation or is there a rumor out there you want to squelch? Find out what is on their minds then answer their questions. I promise you, your current clients aren’t the only ones wondering.
In your own life, fairly frequently, something unusual will happen to you that makes a perfect object lesson. This is one of my favorite tactics because it leads to some creative and highly-read posts. Did you recently have amazing service at a restaurant that reminded you of its importance? Did someone offer you a random act of kindness that you’d like to share? Did something funny happen that elicited an interesting response? Did you have a crazy dream that made you look at something differently? Believe it or not, any and all of these can lead to some great blog posts and articles, so don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone when coming up with ideas.
You can often come up with great content by thinking about the areas where you and your firm excel. What sets you apart from your competition? This is a good question to answer for a myriad of reasons, but it can also lead to some good content as well. Where can you offer advice that others need without giving away the whole store? If you are answering questions their current provider can’t, you’ll likely be on the RFP list next time around.
Industry chatter, a topic that everyone is talking about and that seems to be getting a lot of coverage, is another area ripe for your input. Is there an angle that you can add that others haven’t or do you simply disagree with the prevailing opinion? Don’t be afraid to take a bit of a stand when it comes to the topic of the day and get out there with your opinion.
Sometimes failure offers a silver lining in the form of a valuable content idea. I know none of us want to admit we are less than perfect, but I’d be willing to bet that nearly all of us have made a mistake or two along the way. What did you learn from that experience? Is there something you can share that will help others avoid the same missteps? You may or may not want to admit that you are sharing your own lesson, but you can uncover some great content simply by discussing mistakes and how to avoid them.
Relating some aspect of a hot news topic to what you do in your niche gives SEO benefits as well as timely content. This is one of my favorites, in part because it allows you to incorporate current events into your content but it also means you are very likely to show up in searches on that topic. Is there some political or news story about which you can comment? You don’t have to dive in and take a side on politically dangerous topics, but there are many ways you can incorporate current news events into your articles.
The lessons you learn at networking events, conferences or even social events often make for interesting content. This can be a great way for you to share the latest knowledge on a particular topic and also discuss what events you will be attending. You may want to let your followers know via social media that you’ll be there, then write up what you learned to share with them afterwards. Always give attribution to the speaker, but also share your own experience and interpretation on what is being said.
If you want to be an information resource you need to be on top of the latest news, so follow and read stories created by the leaders in the industry. If there is a new tax law or change in deadline, be the first to tell your audience about it. If there’s a book that everyone is recommending, read it and share your own comments and thoughts about it. Did the AICPA or a similar association that serves one of your industry niches make an announcement of some sort? Share and interpret it for your readers. You’ll be that information resource in no time!
Discussing articles you’ve read can be a great and somewhat easy way for you to add content when ideas start to run dry. Read what other good writers are saying then add your own two cents to that topic. When you read a general business article, you can go into more detail about the topic for a particular industry. If you read something that you disagree with then by all means, write your own article that spells out why. It’s amazing how quickly you can add content to your blog by using this tactic, but remember to always include a link to the original article and proper attribution.
Now you have more ideas than you know what do to with, right? Start a file on your computer or stick a small notebook in your purse or briefcase. Or consider one of my favorites: create a file in Evernote or Google Docs so you can add to it no matter where you are or what device you are carrying with you at the time. But whatever you do, get started!