How is your content planning going?
Hopefully you aren’t feeling overwhelmed. If you are, take a step back and focus on one type of content. For example, begin your content planning and efforts by focusing on blog content.
Once you have a comfortable amount of content on your blog, then you can move forward with other types of content.
All of the content planning and strategy in the world won’t matter if your audience isn’t interested in what you’re saying.
In this post, we’re going to focus on how to create content that your audience wants to read and brainstorming good topic ideas.
Let’s start by taking a look at what goes into great content.
1. Easy to read – Content needs to be easy to read or understand. That requires a few key elements, including but not limited to:
- One main theme per content piece
- Subheadings to break up main points
- Simple formatting – Bullet points, numbers, and small paragraphs are easier to read.
2. Conversational – As you’re writing or creating your content, consider using your personal voice. Write content as if you’re talking to a customer, peer, or friend. That means using words that your audience understands, no industry jargon, and clearly explaining concepts.
3. Provide value – Before you sit down to create any piece of content, whether it’s audio, video, or written, ask yourself one important question: “What is the benefit to my reader?” Why will they pay attention, read your content, and consider it valuable?
4. Use the word “You” – When you’re creating content, write to your audience. Make them feel like you’re writing just to them. You can accomplish this by being a bit informal and using the word “You” in your writing.
5. Be likeable – Share personal stories and examples and get involved in your content. Show your audience that you care about them and engage in a little authenticity and transparency. You’ll connect with and engage your audience on a different level.
Creating content that your audience wants to read can take time.
It’s also important to pay attention to how your audience responds to your content.
We’ll talk about analytics later.
For now, consider creating a few pieces of content. Write a rough draft and begin getting a feel for your voice, style, and content creation personality.
How to Brainstorm Hundreds of Great Content Ideas
In the beginning, brainstorming content ideas may come more easily.
Over time, however, you may begin to feel like you’ve covered every idea possible in triplicate.
You may begin to feel like you’ve run out of ideas.
We’ll tackle that dilemma in as well as provide great tips on how to brainstorm content ideas.
* Set up alerts – Google provides this wonderful feature that lets you create alerts for keywords and keyword phrases. For example, let’s say you have a dog training business. You could establish alerts for key phrases in your industry like “Dog training tips,” or “Dog training tools.”
Once a day or once a week, you decide, you’ll receive a message with all of the content that contains those keywords. You can then read the material, stay abreast of information in your industry, and use it to expand on the topics or generate new ones.
* Read – Stay on top of industry publications and blogs. Subscribe to the feeds so the information comes to you. Once a day or once a week, read through your feed and keep a pen or open document handy. As you’re reading the material, great new content ideas will come to you.
* Engage – Get involved in social media and participate on industry blogs. The comments and feedback you hear from others will help provide you with content ideas. Look for questions, problems, and heated discussions. These are all opportunities for you to provide value and create benefit-driven content.
* Use content brainstorming tools – There are actual brainstorming software programs and applications that you can use. Some of them cost money so it’s important to test drive any system before you invest. You can also use Google’s free keyword tool to help you get an idea about what people are searching for. You can then create content ideas based on the results.
* Look for opportunities – Not every piece of content has to be a complete thought or even a new concept. Consider creating a blog series and break your content idea up into smaller pieces. Update an old blog post with new information and statistics. You can also create checklists, comparison pieces or product reviews too. There are many different opportunities to provide value to your audience.
Start carrying around a notebook or a digital recorder.
You can also use a Smartphone. Start recording content topic ideas as they come to you. Chances are you’ll have great ideas at the most inconvenient times – like when you’re driving or sitting in the dentist chair.
When you need a good content idea in a pinch, you can turn to your list.
Also begin signing up for alerts and subscribing to industry blogs, newsletters, and magazines. It’s not only a good way to generate topic ideas but also a great way to stay involved and informed.