A few months ago, I was invited to speak to a group of YMCA program directors as part of a day-long content, branding and marketing workshop.
These people were doing valuable work, developing health and wellness programming in York County.
As I was leading the discussion on developing content for digital distribution and sharing, a persistent question kept surfacing.
The participants were visibly anxious about generating valuable and timely content over the long haul, and they kept asking, “How can we possibly write every day?”
It Doesn’t Need to Be This Way
You see, brands of all sizes are forever tempted by the allure of real-time marketing and the proliferation of “junkweb” content as they feel caught behind the eight ball of the content machine, and continue to churn out crappy content to simply stay afloat and stay visible.
In our quest to consume more and more content, we’ve developed quite an appetite.
Perhaps now more than ever, it’s actually more difficult to carve out a little corner of the social web and plant a flag because there’s simply so much stuff being produced en masse each and every day.
Facebook. Twitter. Medium. Instagram. Every status update and blog post adds to the pile.
What Should A Blogger Do?
Developing a content calendar — or at least, having an editorial mission — is one of the most effective ways to ensure all the content you are creating and promoting does two very important things:
- reinforces brand promise
- maps to specific goals and business objectives
If the post you’ve been working on doesn’t do either of those two things, nuke it. You’ll feel better.
There are a number of excellent articles explaining how to actually build out a content calendar that tracks activity across months and years, but this one from Marketingland is especially good. The important thing to remember is that building a content calendar needn’t be difficult, especially if you think about general content “buckets”, rather than charting out each day’s content.
My Favorite Pool of Content Ideas: the Inbox
I have a love/hate relationship with my email, and it’s easy to get completely swallowed up by the sheer volume coming in every day, but I always make sure to read one group of newsletters almost as soon as they come in. Smartbrief.
Smartbrief delivers industry-relevant news several times per day right into my inbox. Then I click on my alerts from Talkwalker and Mention. Be sure to check them out if you’re looking to keep an eye on a particular person, organization, or brand.
Whenever I have those moments of “what do I write about today?” — and I have them more often than I’d care to admit, trust me — it doesn’t take too long for a fresh, new idea to come floating up to the top.
And one last idea: While the inbox is great, the next time you’re wracking your brain for a new topic, trying digging into your email’s sent folder. What were the last five or ten links you shared with friends and colleagues? If you start with what you’re already sharing internally or with friends, the germ of a blog post is right there.
It just needs a little watering to spring into something bigger.
What other creative ways do you get inspired with content ideas?