Stumped by what your next blog post should be about? Struggling to find the right way to write about a new product or service?
Thinking of and writing new website content can be tough; but, you don't have to let writer's block get you down. Next time you're staring a blank screen or crumpled up piece of paper, check out one of these resources to get your marketing motor running.
5 Awesome Sources of Inspiration For Creating Website Content
LinkedIn is a great online networking tool for business professionals. It's also an excellent way to discover new topics to blog about or find new resources to help you write that next whitepaper or e-book. Two of LinkedIn's features--Groups and Answers--are very helpful when you need a little extra inspiration.
On LinkedIn, you can join a variety of groups. Some represent a general industry (e.g., inbound marketing), some represent a niche in an industry (e.g., SEO), and some act as forums for real organizations or companies (e.g., the HubSpot Washington D.C. User Group).
Many times, group members share links to articles, research papers, events and other resources--any of these things could spark your next idea!
Members also have the ability to start discussions or create polls.
It's almost like having a virtual marketing team at your disposal. By using the discussions tool, you can test out ideas, ask for additional resources and get feedback from real people.
Or, if you spot a discussion in progress, it may be a goldmine of website content ideas.
This discussion about SEO software and tools in the Search Engine Land group could be turned into any number of blog posts, like "20 SEO Tools You Might Not Know About" or "The Best SEO Tools for Any Budget."
LinkedIn also offers a dedicated Q&A tool, called Answers.
You can ask or answer a question, and you can see what questions and answers have been shared throughout the LinkedIn network.
Quora is a niche social networking site that uses a Q&A format. You can browse the site through questions; you can also search for certain topics or people.
Inspiration is everywhere on Quora.
Think of all the content that could be created for your investment advisory firm website by using this list of questions as your starting point:
- "Explained: Price and volatility's role in the valuation of a company"
- "Investment website reviews"
- "A case study: Different ways to plan for retirement"
- "What are pooled investment funds and how do they work?"
Do you have a new product or service? Are you trying to figure out how to write about that product or service on your website? Let your customers do all the hard work for you!
Surveys are a great way to get inside your customer's head. Through a service like SurveyMonkey or Google Drive (formerly Google Docs), you can quickly and easily generate a survey to share with clients or customers.
Your customers are a valuable and untapped marketing resource. By getting feedback from your customers, you can find out what their pain points were--such as "I felt really overwhelmed about learning about SEO" or "My website sucked, and I got really crummy leads from it". You can also see how a customer describes your product and the language they use.
Armed with the results from your survey, you can tailor the messaging and craft website content that will truly resonate with your target audience.
Seminars, Webinars & Panel Discussions
Online and offline events can give you a lot to write about (or illustrate, or record!). Have you recently attended an industry event or an online seminar? You could write an event recap, or share lessons learned.
Sometimes, the best inspiration comes during the Q&A session after the presentation is over. Have you recently hosted a webinar? Follow-up questions could inspire an e-book; or, you could use the questions to guide the topics for your next series of webinars.
Peers & Competitors
Turn to your industry; let peers and competitors guide your content creation efforts. See what they're doing, see what they're saying, and respond!
You won't always agree with someone's point of view. Or, perhaps you wish to explore an issue from another angle. When you take a stand, that can make for interesting articles or essays. On Smashing Magazine, for example, people will write and submit rebuttals to previously published articles, which Smashing Magazine then shares.
Remember, though, that your goal is to create thought-provoking content. You want to add useful resources to conversations, not fuel to PR fires. Avoid name-calling or finger-pointing. Be polite, show respect, and make a sound case with data or examples to back you up.
Are there other resources you turn to when you've got writer's block? What tips do you have for writing or creating website content?