Right, let’s dive in!
Content, content, content. You need it for blog posts, words to put on your website, things to link to on your facebook page, useful links to tweet about….
But how do you come up with all this stuff?
Your challenge this week is to….
Create some fresh content
More specifically, to take one step that will make creating fresh content easier for you from now on. (But that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue!)
Here are some ideas you could try this week…
- Firstly, don’t panic!
If you’re not at the point where you’re ready to do all this stuff, don’t panic! If the next step for you is to open a Twitter account and learn how to use it, that’s great! Don’t feel you’re running to catch up, we’re all looking at social media and thinking “OK, how on earth do I make the best use of all this?” It’s just that some people have been doing it longer than others.
- Schedule it
If you find a link to an article that your Twitter followers or Facebook fans would enjoy, don’t post it immediately. Use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule the tweet or update so you get a steady stream of content going out. If you post useful content throughout the day, you’re likely to be seen by more people than if you post four links in ten minutes.
Don’t write blog posts individually, it’s more efficient to write a batch together and schedule them to go out over several days or weeks.
- Get a notepad
I get ideas for blog posts when I’m doing mundane things like loading the dishwasher. I keep my pad to hand so I can scribble down my ideas and then actually write the blog post when I’ve got more time. I aim to never be sitting at my computer needing to write a blog post but staring at a blank screen with no ideas in my head! That’s a really difficult way to blog.
You could use a more high-tech piece of kit than my notepad (e.g. Evernote), but I go for the cheap, portable, toddler-proof solution!
- Generate some ideas so you’re not stuck next time you need to write a blog post
Using these prompts, write down some ideas for future blog posts:
- What do your clients really want to know? What’s bothering them? What’s keeping them awake at night?
- If you were trying to be incredibly useful to your clients/readers, what would you tell them?
- Trends, fashions or newsworthy things that are happening in your subject area. But be careful to write what’s of interest to your readers/clients, not what’s of interest to you. E.g. a web designer might read blogs about the latest trends in cutting-edge graphic design, but her small business clients might want down-to-earth hints and tips on choosing a design for their own websites.
- Hints and tips, ‘how to’s, top tens. Take a question that your clients ask you regularlyand turn the answer into a blog post.
- Is there a post on someone elses’s blog that has grabbed your attention? Write about your opinion on that issue. You don’t have to be outrageous or controversial, but try to add something new to the debate. Here’s one that I wrote about the word ‘mumpreneur’.
- Seasonal stuff – can you use Christmas, New Year, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and so on as a starting point for a post?
Write your ideas on your notepad!
- Ask a question
Social media is meant to be, well, social! So use Twitter or your Facebook page to ask some questions and if you’re lucky you’ll start a conversation. If you sell widgets, you could ask “What is your biggest frustration with widgets?” Or you could use create a survey using Survey Monkey and post the link to the survey on your blog/Facebook page/Twitter with a brief description. That way you’re being interactive and doing useful research at the same time.
- Content doesn’t have to be text
It’s fine to sometimes publish posts that are mainly photos.
You can also record video or audio files and post those on your blog. While it may seem nuts to say “No time to write? Record a video instead!” this could really help you create content if you don’t enjoy writing. With a little practice and an inexpensive camera you can record videos, upload them to YouTube and embed them in a blog post surprisingly quickly. You’ll have no worries over your spelling and spoken grammar is much less of a headache than written.
You don’t have to speak into a camera either. I created my video Which Businesses Fit Around a Family? using just Powerpoint 2010, my PC and a microphone. It took me a while because it’s 12 minutes long, but talking around a three-slide presentation wouldn’t take long if you are already familiar with Powerpoint. Simply create the slides, run the slideshow as normal (recording your narration at the same time) then convert it to video – all in Powerpoint.
That’s it for this week’s challenge – please do leave me a comment to let me know how you get on. Or tell me your content creation tips!