In last month’s blog we talked about why it’s a great idea to generate regular new content for your website to keep it fresh and attract and retain visitors.
But, how do you decide what kind of content you are going to produce? Before we talk about this, let’s think about what web content is for. Content is used to show people why your business is special, not to tell them.
It helps to define your audience
First of all, you’ll need to take some time to think about exactly what kind of people you want to engage and why. How well do you know your target audience? What kind of things push their buttons and make them want to engage? You might even decide it’s worth producing content which might alienate some people but make others absolutely love you. Do you want lots of people to quite like you or a smaller group of people to adore you?
Once you know who you want to appeal to there are two main ways of doing it.
Number 1: Give people some useful advice
What unique gems of wisdom can you share with people to show just how knowledgeable you are about your particular sector or field?
A common and straightforward example of this is hotels and holiday cottage companies which write about attractions and activities nearby. This has the effect of attracting potential customers who are interested in their particular area and are already warm leads for this very reason. It is also a chance for them to show off how much local knowledge they have and to tailor the content to appeal to their particular target market.
Offer people advice
You should also keep an eye out for future events that might affect your customers. It might be changes in the law, technological innovations or even just the turning of the seasons; anything that creates questions your customers need answering. Make sure you’re producing or planning some content that can help them out, build your reputation and attract lots of traffic and leads to your website.
Number 2: Tell stories which reflect what you’re all about
You can tell people you are socially conscious, great at customer service or rooted in your local community as much as you want and some of them might even believe it. But what’s even more effective is to share stories to show that you are all of these things.
If community is your thing, then tell people stories about the effect your work has had or the special causes that you try to support. If you have a nominated charity, why not make a video about them and the great work they do? If you’re excellent at customer service, tell some stories of how this has helped customers and made their lives better.
Where can I find ideas for content?
Once you start looking at your business, what you want to achieve and everything you are doing, we’re sure you’ll come up with lots of ideas. But here are a few tips.
Look for what people are searching for:
If you’re really serious about fine tuning your content then there are plenty of paid-for services you can use to analyse what different demographics are searching for online and hone what you’re putting out to fit the bill. The website answerthepublic.com is also really useful for giving you a broad idea of what kind of things people might be looking for that are relevant to your business. It offers a premium service which takes much more of a deep dive into the data, but the free search on its website is also great for finding inspiration.
Ask people for ideas
Ask the audience:
You don’t have to just rely on yourself to come up with ideas for content. There are plenty of customers who will be happy to write about using your products and services. Make walking equipment? Then get people to write about using it on their latest trek. Sell cameras? Run a photo competition, ask your customers to enter and then publish the best ones on your website.
Even if you don’t get your customers to actually generate the content you could try carrying out a survey or asking them via social media. Monitoring your customers’ social media closely will also give you an idea of what kind of content they like to share and engage with.
People, people, people:
The people who work in your business should be one of your most important sources for content ideas. Ask them what they are up to, what they are thinking and why. It’s likely there will be a big crossover in interests between your customers and your staff; after all they work there for a reason. Just introducing your staff and telling their stories can make for good content, as well as focusing in on all the interesting things they get up to. Are you an outdoor equipment retailer? Then you definitely need to blog about your shop assistant who is running the Bob Graham. A business with a social conscience? Then you need to make a quick vid about your staff member who volunteers with a local charity every weekend.
You can always cheat:
What was that quote about originality being the art of concealing your sources? There is so much content out there these days that it won’t take too much time trawling the internet before you find an idea you can repurpose for yourself. Of course, you can’t just copy something wholesale, but it’s inevitable that you and businesses in the same sector are going to have common themes you can explore and similar storytelling methods you can employ. You should definitely have a good look at other businesses who you think are doing content well and think about how you can apply some of the same ideas yourself. In reality, this is probably how those companies you admire got their inspiration in the first place. By the time you’ve taken some of those ideas and applied them to your own people, business and brand you’re highly likely to have come up with something new.
Making time to produce content isn’t easy
If you need a helping hand coming up with and producing content ideas for your business then we can help. Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.