Let’s have a candid conversation for a moment. Can we all agree that finding inspiration for your next batch of content pieces can be a little tricky?
We all know that content is important: it fuels our SEO initiatives, social media feeds, and advocacy marketing efforts. After all, your fans can’t share your content to their personal social media feeds if there’s nothing to share in the first place.
If you’re hitting the wall with your content calendar, don’t stress. Get inspired. We’ve put together seven of our go-to sources for inspiration!
Editor’s note, we identified these inspirations back in 2018. In 2021, it can be even harder to find original ideas that make an impact. So we’ve added four more inspirational sources perfect for taking your content to the next level.
Where To Find Content Marketing Inspiration
Review Customer Feedback & Frequently Asked Questions
Your customers are a never-ending source of potential blog and social media post topics.
Listen to them. For every piece of feedback or question you receive, there are probably 10-times as many people out there with the same feedback or question (just a guesstimation). Use your content calendar to address these questions or feedback points publicly.
Start with your trusty FAQ. Every single question your customer service or sales team is repeatedly addressing can stand alone as its own blog post topic.
Scan The Blogosphere
If your brand only produces content that focuses on your product or your immediate market space, you’re missing out on gold. Take a step back. Look at your industry. Is there a big shake-up going on? Are their broader market trends? What are news sources, bloggers, or podcasters in your space discussing?
If you find yourself hitting a wall on generating new content ideas, write pieces that offer insights on new industry trends and market developments.
Keep in mind, the goal of content is not to constantly shout your sales messaging through the screen to your reader; you want to provide value. Use your blog or other digital publishing platforms to inform your audience about what’s going on in the marketplace. Then have your advocates share this valuable information through your advocacy marketing program.
“Stalk” Your Social Media Fans
Inspiration can come from the “experts” in the field, but it can also come from your own advocates.
Conduct a quick audit of your top performing advocates. You know, the ones that open almost every email and share your content religiously. Then take a quick look at their Twitter feeds or Instagram accounts. What type of content are they sharing and creating?
Look for subject matter themes shared by your advocates. Often times, your advocates will share a similar demographic or psychographic (hint: it matches up with your target demographic). These themes can help to inspire your next batch of content topics.
As a quick example, let’s pretend you’re a sunglass brand that specializes in rugged, durable, eco-friendly men’s sunglasses. You look through some of your top advocates’ Instagram pages and notice that there is a lot of content being shared and created around the topic of whiskey. Taking this insight, you could create posts that tie your advocates’ love of whiskey to your brand. For example:
- The Ultimate Camping Gear for the Whiskeyphile
- How to Dress for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail
- 5 Eco-Friendly Whiskeys You Should Be Drinking This Summer
Using insight gleaned from your top fans social media profiles will help you create content that they are more likely to read, watch, and share
Take A Page From The Competition
Hitting a content dam? Look at what your competitors are creating:
- What topics are they writing about?
- Are they focusing only on their products and services, or are they speaking about the broader industry?
- Does their content consist of one-off pieces, or do they have a regular series?
- What media (images, infographics, video, blogs, podcasts) do they use?
- Who is sharing their content? Do they have an advocacy marketing program?
The goal isn’t to copy your competitor’s work verbatim. You want to take inspiration from their content focus and improve on it, making the content your own and better than your competition’s.
Become A Member Of Social Media Groups
Private social media feeds aren’t the only place your brand fans are having conversations. Many social media users also use Facebook and LinkedIn groups to interact with other like-minded individuals on these social platforms.
Investigate the topics of conversations and look for opportunities to provide value to the group through a content piece. Is there a common question being asked? Can you provide clarity around a tactic or best practice? Just like with mining feedback and FAQ’s, if one person is looking for a solution, chances are multiple people are looking for one.
Go Deeper On A Previously Published Topic
One of the easiest places to start looking for content inspiration is none other than your own published content.
Often as producers, we casually mention a tactic or best practice in a bullet point or paragraph. Use these casual mentions as a starting point and go deeper into the topic or strategy and flesh out the tactic addressed or the point made in its own dedicated content post.
As an example, almost every sub-point we’ve made in this blog post could turn into its own post later this year. So…stay tuned for our step-by-step guide to how to go deeper with your content.
See what we did there?
Ask Your Fans What They Want
There are dozens of benefits of having an advocacy marketing program. Not only can you increase your content’s reach and social engagement by having your advocates share it to their personal feeds, but you can also lean on your advocates to help generate content ideas.
SocialToaster makes asking your advocates what they want easy with our built-in survey functionality. Simply put together a quick survey asking your fans what topics they’re most interested in reading about and sharing. Then use their responses to influence your content calendar. You can even reward individuals that take the time to complete the survey!
Seek Out Guest Posts
Feel like you’ve said all you can say about a topic? Content burnout is a real thing, and sometimes you need a little outside help. Guest posts are a great way to get fresh content while also cross-promoting to different target audiences. Utilizing someone who is an expert in your product or service or maybe is just extremely passionate about the industry you’re in could help your brand connect with customers you may have otherwise had to have spent thousands of advertising dollars and years trying to acquire them.
A guest post from a trusted voice can help instill confidence into potential customers who may be unfamiliar with your product or service offerings. By using a fresh voice and unique insight, you can gain content that you can use, repurpose and inspire new content in the future.
Read Your Comments
Then use those as inspiration for your next blog or social media post! Reading through your post comments can help you find out in as close to real-time as possible what your readers and audience want. Comments allow for in-depth discussions and suggestions that would otherwise take excess time, manpower, and dollars to find out.
You can take the more severe route and use the comment section to expand or address specific comments. Or you can make a light and silly post where you address your funniest and most absurd comments. Just keep in mind to be respectful of users. You want to use these comments to inspire posts that encourage users to continue to comment, not scare them away.
Google Search Suggestions
Have you ever been searching for something practical, and Google recommends the most ridiculous search suggestion? Google doesn’t just pull these out of a magic hat. Whether this surprises, delights or frightens you, these are real searches people are looking up. So how can these weird, absurd, or downright wrong search suggestions help inspire your new content? You can use these Google search suggestions to address the right, the wrong, and the downright weird.
For example, if you see a Google search suggestion that asks a question that is misguiding users in their search you can use this as an opportunity to create a post that improves the search experience for users by guiding them in the right direction. Remember, creating content from the bad is all about the spin. How can you spin your most ridiculous related searches into something positive and educational?
Update Old Posts
Do you have posts that are over one year old? A lot can change in one year, especially after 2020! Between technology changes, popular jargon, and internal updates, it’s very likely your old posts could use some serious polishing. The great thing about updating old posts is that you don’t have to start from scratch. Simply review your old content and see where you can update the current content. It may be something as simple as a few sentences or several new sections.
Here are some ideas you can use to update old posts
- Any technology changes related to your products or services
- Updating trends that are relevant to the current time and your products or services
- Social media trends that may have changed that relate to your product or services
Above All Else, Create Great Content
Content marketing is a crowded space. Often the struggle isn’t coming up with topics, it’s coming up with GREAT topics. Don’t create content that adds to digital noise pollution. Create blogs, images, podcasts, and videos that make you stand out, then use your advocates to share that content with their social networks.
Ready to start sharing your great content with the world? Schedule a free SocialToaster demo today and learn more about how to recruit and activate your advocates.