You’ve been assigned to write content for your company. A blog post. Perhaps a whitepaper. Some sales copy. But your brain is fried from a million other marketing tasks with looming deadlines. You have no idea how to get some ideas. It’s ok. Save your brain cells for the other important tasks. Create content by being lazy.
(To my boss… if you’re reading this… I’m not saying I’m lazy. It’s just a literary vehicle to make a point. I’m hyper-caffienatedly productive every hour of the day. Obviously.)
Now that the CYA is out of the way, let’s all lean back and put our feet up on our desks. How can one be lazy and still generate great company content? It’s easier than you may think.
You’re surrounded by content sources.
Follow Your Followers Lead
You don’t write for you as the audience; the literary equivalent of talking to yourself. That would be weird. Depending on the purpose of the content, you write for social media followers, or for customers, or a targeted blog readership. Your readers can help you create content. Use them as an idea generator.
Your audience can be a feedback loop… part of your writing process. The content generates questions and comments, which you then use for ideas to write more of what your audience wants from your content. This relationship with your readers is like Tom Cruise’s character’s famous line in the movie ‘Jerry Maguire’… “Help me, help you!”
- What questions or comments are common on your social media posts?
- Ask your sales team what customers commonly ask about your company’s products and services. Learn what issues they have using your products. Why do they buy from you?
- Blog comments have become more infrequent in recent years. But you can track your posts’ traffic. Which topics generate more traffic? Use this to see where your audience’s interest lies.
Write, and then let your audiences tell you what to write more about.
Social media listening and social media monitoring are possibly the best features of the internet (just behind Netflix.) It’s so easy to digitally eavesdrop on nearly anyone.
- What’s the overall sentiment about your company and/or products?
- How do your customers and potential customers feel about you?
- Which are the top keywords relevant to your business?
- What are the hot topics in your industry.
- Who does your competitor target?
With social media listening and monitoring, potential content topics come to you. There are as many ways to parse the information as you can create. Just enter your target information into any of the social monitoring apps and start spyin-, er, listening.
The apps will show you what people are interested in. Then, you turn those topics into content!
Read, Read, Read
Do you follow industry-related blogs? (Who has time for that?! I have my job to do!) Have a favorite podcast? (Ok, technically not reading, but still.) Subscribe to a credible newspaper? (Online edition, of course.)
Read a lot. Do it every day. Read everything. Don’t just follow two industry blogs and think “I read three posts today. That’s good enough.” To paraphrase Alec Baldwin’s character in the movie ‘Glengary Glenn Ross’, “Always Be Reading!”
Read industry-related blogs, newspapers, pop culture blogs, Apple News headlines and trade journals. Create a Feedly account and receive curated articles. Twitter is a great source for salient snippets and timely topics. Follow your competitors online and stay on top of what’s important to them.
The list of resources is inexhaustible.
And what will this extra homework get you? (Besides myopia and a trip to the optometrist?)
All this reading will make your eyes myopic, but it does the opposite for your creativity. Your literary adventures will keep you abreast of current hot topics, expand your knowledge base and help you stay ahead of competitors.
Content ideas are right in front of you every day. Develop your ability to recognize them. Once you do, you’ll find sparks of writing creativity in almost anything you read. As a bonus, you may also experience an evolution of your writing style from reading so much other content.
And you can do this while leaning back in your chair with your feet on your desk… which I’ll go back to doing now. (To my boss… I’m not really. That was just another literary vehicle. Probably.)