Ten Quick and Easy Content Ideas


One of the biggest mental hurdles for digital marketers and content creators is the dreaded feeling of constantly having to produce new and original content. Sure, we can curate content from an industry insider or retweet a Chrissy Teigen gem (always gold) but sooner or later our creative brain cells will momentarily wander away, along with our concentration, most likely while we stare longingly out the window on a beautiful 80-degree day. In service to fellow content creators, I give you ten (mostly easy) content ideas for your business, brand or persona. #youarewelcome

    • A quick take on what is trending: Log into Twitter, LinkedIn or your platform of choice and find out what people are talking about. I like Twitter because it will give you a taste of what is trending locally. For instance, as I write this post, Tim Cook is trending in anticipation of the iPhone 11+ release. Green Day is trending thanks to an announced tour with Weezer and Fall Out Boy. These may not have anything to do with your product or business, but surely you can find a way to relate to your AUDIENCE. Poll them and ask if they’ll be waiting in line for the latest Apple product. Ask when was the last concert they attended. Share your experience of when you first heard Green Day on the radio or the process of what it was like to actually go to the store to buy a CD. There is a potential rabbit hole here, but if you hit the right notes, the engagement will light up.
    • Top 10 lists (see what I did there?) Top 10 lists are so ubiquitous they border on cliche, but using the right keywords to match your SEO goals can earn traction in terms of website visits. Lawn Services can discuss the top 10 mistakes homeowners make in keeping their grass healthy through fall and winter. Retail stores can share their Top 10 favorite things about fall (don’t forget those fall weather boots on sale!) A real estate brokerage can give their take on the top 10 up-and-coming zip codes in their service area. The possibilities are endless. You are publishing this content to showcase your expertise and thought leadership here. Your opinion matters. Don’t overthink it.

 

    • Behind-The-Scenes: Best done in visual platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat, offering customers and stakeholders a peek into the inner workings of your business is a recipe for high engagement. People love feeling like they are getting new, exclusive content that they can’t get elsewhere. You could focus on one employee or department (A Day in the Life) or create an Insta story of key processes and players. If you are in the business of making things, showcasing the production process is especially visually compelling. Have you ever seen what a bowling alley looks like behind the lanes? This bowling center not only blogged about it, but ingeniously invited school children to come for a STEM field trip to examine the mechanics of the bowling alley! Remember, what’s mundane and rote to you can seem fascinating and curious to an outsider. One very important thing to keep in mind is to make sure the tone matches your brand identity. Don’t go cute or funny if your branding is usually serious and informative.

 

    • Vendor Love: There aren’t too many businesses these days that aren’t a client or customer themselves. Often times vendors and partners that we do business with have a great social presence that we can capitalize on while also throwing some love their way (social is, after all, an exercise in reciprocity). My favorite example is from a past client of mine. Patient privacy is always a top concern in healthcare, so getting original photos for digital use can be tricky. This particular dermatology office sold high-end skincare products from big brands that already had a great social presence. So they partnered with their vendors to curate their images, hashtags, and social posts. It was a win-win. The skincare brands loved the exposure, my client got professional looking photos with copy, branded hashtags, and promoted their office’s products and services all in one fell swoop.

 

    • Interviews/ Q&A: This one might require a bit more production and video editing than your organization has the bandwidth for, but hiring someone from the outside could be worth the professional look. Interview your employee with the longest tenure. Interview an expert in your field. Make serialized content out of the funniest work stories from various employees. Interview a local celebrity! If video simply isn’t feasible, start with a written Q&A in a blog (a pre-cursor to which could be asking users to submit questions ahead of time).

 

    • Letter from the CEO: People like to hear from leaders–just look at personalities like Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Ariana Huffington, Mary Barra, Bill Gates, Brene Brown, etc. Your CEO or owner may not have the star power of these big names, but no matter; most of your constituents are already interested in you and your business. Hearing first hand from the CEO helps add a face to the brand. The key is to make the topic relevant, the comments poignant and the message clear. (P.S. If your CEO isn’t regularly contributing to a company blog or at the very least on his or her own personal platform, they should start. Now).

 

    • Upcoming events: “But Carrie,” you say. “We don’t host or plan any events.” To that, I would say, “Are you SURE?” Do your salespeople attend conferences? If you are a retailer, is there a particular day of the week when a large shipment arrives, or when a popular item is most in stock? Does someone in your c-suite attend trade shows? Here in Maryland, most non-profits belong to the Maryland Association of Nonprofits. I can bet you many of them will be posting content with the branded hashtag #MANOAC19 while attending the annual conference next month. And if they are really strategic about it, they will relate it back to how attending the conference is helping them help others. And then their funders will be happy. And then they can keep doing good things. Think about the things your audience wants and likes and find a way to make it about them.

 

    • Printable checklist: Everyone knows about white papers, resource guides and the like. These are free, informative documents that your audience can download in exchange for providing an email address. By providing the email address, they are usually, by default, agreeing to be added to an electronic mailing list of some sort. The link is then sent to their email address for them to download. But white papers and resource guides can be time-consuming to create. They require expertise, vetting, editing, and several rounds of design. Offering a complimentary checklist for your audience can serve the same purpose as a white paper (in growing an email list), but with less time invested. For instance, an auto repair shop can develop a checklist for getting your car road-trip-ready. A luggage retailer can offer a packing list to download and print for free. An educational institution could provide a back-to-school shopping list.

 

    • Trendy hashtags: You know the ones: #tbt #fbf #wcw #mcm and so on. There is also #Mondaymood, #weekendvibes, and #tiptuesday. Some say this might be cheating, because it isn’t exactly original. But I say, used sparingly, utilizing these hashtags can strategically capitalize on trends, resulting in more exposure and higher ranked searches. Maybe the hashtags aren’t yours, but what you post with them is completely up to you. Just make sure it makes sense. Don’t post #tbt for something boring or #mondaymood to introduce a sale. These little slices of life posts are meant to be short, somewhat cute, often tongue in cheek and–most importantly– offer glimpses into your brand or business personality. This kind of cheeky post might not be right for your organization, and that’s ok too. These tools are simply a few of many different arrows in your proverbial quiver.

 

  • Local legislation: Notice I didn’t say local politics. It’s generally fairly bad business to get too political with your content unless you are well known for your political leanings or openly lobby for certain legislation. However, when your local legislature is in session, there are likely a myriad of bills to be introduced that you may want to weigh in on. Bypass the bills that get the lion’s share of news coverage, as they tend to be the most politically divisive: minimum wage, firearm sales, medical marijuana, etc. Go to your state and county websites for a full list of bills being considered, or, if it’s after session, those that have been signed into law. A daycare may want to tell its audience of a new child care tax credit; A car dealership may highlight its class of hybrid vehicles and tie that into a clean car incentive; a sporting goods store may see an opportunity in local parks being given a bond for field and recreation center upgrades; a non-profit may want to tell its donors about updated tax write-offs for monetary donations; a seafood restaurant might remind you that its own conservation efforts have been ahead of the curve even before tighter environmental controls were put in place. It can be a bit of a digging expedition, but if anything, understanding your local legislative landscape will be beneficial for your business overall.

What are your thoughts? When you are stuck thinking about content, where do you find inspiration?