Sometimes the easiest way to come up with fresh content ideas for your business newsletter, blog, website, and more is to unplug and get out of the office. So grab a pad of paper (yes, really!) and follow these six brainstorming tips, and you’ll have a bunch of fresh content ideas in no time.
1. Think FAQs. Make a list of questions you’ve been hearing from prospects, customers, and employees. Don’t worry if it’s a question you’ve already covered somewhere on your website. Just make a list. FAQs make for great blog posts – you can address each question in one post. If you already have an answer on your website, consider going into more depth in a blog post or mixing it up by creating a video answer (which you can use in other places, like YouTube). Also, bundling a bunch of similarly-themed FAQs together can make for a great white paper.
For example, let’s say you’re a nutritionist and perhaps you get questions from concerned moms and dads about their picky eaters. You could brainstorm a bunch of FAQs around this theme. Bundle the questions together, include some fun, picky-eater-approved snack ideas, and release this “guide” in early September as the kids head back to school.
2. Get seasonal. As you soak up some rays and enjoy a deliciously warm summer breeze, consider how the different seasons jive with your business. Start with summer, since that’s the season you’re living and breathing right now. What should customers know about your business during summer? Do your hours change, do you offer certain season-only services or products, do you have special summer-only discounts? Are there special summer “procedures” you recommend that your customers do (for example, if you’re an interior designer, what suggestions can you offer to summer-ize a room)? All of these things can lead to great content ideas.
Here’s a hypothetical: let’s say you’re an acupuncturist and you help people with seasonal allergies. You could create a series of blog posts around common summer allergies and provide tips on how to deal with them. You can share these posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. You could create a special offer or three-treatment package that you promote in your summer newsletter. Look at that! You got a whole bunch of different content strategies right there, from one idea. But guess what? Now you can brainstorm for the other three seasons and come up with even more awesome, useful content.
3. Take a cue from beach reads. One thing you’ll see while you hang out at the beach or pool is people reading. Of course, we always hear about “summer beach reads” as we head into the warmer weather, and magazines and newspapers often issue their summer “must read” lists. Apply this strategy to your content brainstorming session. Think about books in your industry or related to your industry that you’ve recently read. Do you have any recommendations?
For example, if you’re an entrepreneur, perhaps you read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead or the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson. What did you think of them? Thumbs up or down? Why? Providing your own book reviews and recommendations always make for great content (and not just during summer), especially if you’re someone people turn to for recommendations (think consultants, business coaches, health care professionals, and so forth).
4. Say hello to re-runs. Summer TV is all about re-runs on the major networks. Now you can use this strategy, too. As you sit back and relax, think about the content you’ve released in the last year. Which blog posts, white papers, and articles do you remember? Make a list. Chances are if you remember something, it’s for a good reason: perhaps the content was particularly well written, it received tons of positive feedback, it went viral, or it’s an especially important message that’s worth reinforcing and reiterating. A quick blog post and/or newsletter you can write is a list of “awesome re-runs” and then link to some of this incredible content you want to make sure people don’t miss.
5. Don’t ignore evergreen topics. Have you ever gone to a summer concert for one of your favorite musicians and been disappointed when he or she didn’t play one of his or her biggest hits? It’s easy for the musician to think you’ve had enough of that hit (especially since they’ve been playing it over and over at concerts for years!), but for you, you just can’t get enough of the song: it never grows old.
Evergreen marketing content is kind of like that: as a business owner, you might think you’ve talked about a particular topic to death, but your customers and prospects are probably fine with hearing the info again, especially if it’s relevant, never-goes-out-of-date, and is helpful.
Don’t assume your audience knows as much as you do about your business: they don’t. So think about every aspect of your business, starting with your most basic products, services, procedures, and policies, and brainstorm some topics around these things. Think about information you provide in a variety of places on your site and think of ways to re-package and re-distribute it.
For example, maybe you own a pest control company and you feel you’ve written everything there is to know about bed bugs. Well, remember, you’re the bed bug expert: your customers aren’t, so they need reminders. A good article you could release this summer might be what to look for in hotel rooms and how to make sure you don’t bring bed bugs home with you. If you’ve already written an article like this from last summer, even better: just as the previous tip suggested, re-release it (update any relevant info, like statistics).
6. Start teasing. Yes, you’re enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer right now, but September will be here before you know it. What do you have planned for your business in Q3 and Q4? Make a list of promotions, sales, new products/services, policy changes, etc. Teasing exciting announcements/products in your blog posts, newsletters, website home page, and social media is always a smart content marketing strategy.
Notice something similar about all these topics? None of them required research. You don’t even need a computer or access to your site. In fact, for the purpose of this exercise, you should definitely avoid peeking at your existing marketing materials. The goal is to relax your mind and get it thinking about what’s worked in the past, what’s coming up in the next six months, and what great content is staring you in the face (e.g. books you’ve read, FAQs).
How do you brainstorm content ideas? We want to hear them. Share in the comments.