One of the biggest problems people face in online businesses is coming up with ideas for new content. The more that is published online, the more each business needs to produce in order to be visible within the noise. If you produce less content than your competitor, they are more easily found online, there is more of their material to be shared and ultimately they are more likely to do more business. The only answer, it seems, is to produce even more content. But how?
There are more dormant blogs than live ones. Indeed, almost all blogs are dormant. They were started enthusiastically by someone, only to die after their enthusiasm waned because they lacked ideas for new content. Even corporate blogs bite the dust as the team responsible generate a stack of ideas right at the start, only to discover that “real work” gets in the way of coming up with new content ideas after a month or two. You only need to crawl the web for a while for content to discover that several websites have stopped production of new, original content. The problem is lack of ideas.
This issue came up recently in a content workshop I was running where I got people to write down a list of ideas they could easily produce for their website. Then I got someone else, who was not involved with their business, to simply chat to them about their everyday working life. The interviewers came up with many more ideas than the individuals had themselves.
This happens repeatedly. One of the problems for business owners and people who work in the content team, if a business has one, is that they are too close to the wood to see the trees. What they find “normal” and “everyday” someone outside the business – a potential customer for instance – finds fascinating.
One of the examples in the workshop was a law firm that had a rather specialist will-writing service for older parents who may need to make special arrangements when they have children late on in life. To the lawyer who dealt with this issue everyday, it wasn’t fascinating because it was routine to him. But the woman interviewing him about it found it really interesting and wanted to know more about the special measures that were needed to ensure the children were cared for. Several potential blog posts came out of that one conversation – all blog posts which the lawyer had not previously considered because he thought the topics were too mundane.
One of the best ways of finding out what kind of content you can produce for your website is to talk to other people – people who have no knowledge or background in your subject or industry. They will ask all sorts of questions you might not have considered. They will also say “ooh that’s interesting” to things you thought were boring. It’s all food for your blog.
Talking to other people – preferably potential customers or real clients – about what they find interesting will open your eyes to a whole new world of content you might not have previously considered. Chatting to people who have nothing to do with your line of work is an excellent way of pinpointing new items of content.
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