By now, we all know that content was crowned king a few years ago.
Yet all is not well in the online marketing kingdom; Everyone knows the importance of providing great content, yet many blogs aren't doing it.
Perhaps many bloggers and in-house marketers need help generating fresh ideas that lead to the original, compelling content their audience craves.
Lets face it; a lack of content ideas can cause a marketer to copy other peoples content just to meet the demand for new content. Yet, even when a copycat links to the source or gives credit, the content itself still usually provides nothing particularly original. It ends up as just bland content filling space.
Meanwhile, your competition's blog keeps getting better.
So, since we know content is going to rule online business for a long time to come, what can you do to help your blog or website step up its content marketing game?
Go Talk To Your Marketing Personas
Recently I wrote on the importance of using personas to connect with your target audience. This is true if you're working for a company or you have a blog as a solopreneur.
Marketing personas can also help you generate content ideas.
If you've taken the time to flesh out who you're writing to, that's a smart move. Having your personas ready and available will help you generate lots of content ideas.
Here are some productive conversations you can have with your personas that should help lead you to some great content. These are taken from some of the questions I'm asking my audience on a regular basis, which helps me to sketch out my own marketing personas. Periodically, I'll go back and ask these questions to the personas and let them do the talking.
Asking questions like these to your online following develops your persona to begin with. Then, going back and asking the persona these questions every time you need new content ideas can be a productive practice indeed.
I'd love to hear in the comments how any of this is helpful for you or if you have any other ideas.
Questions To Ask Your Persona
So tell me this: What are your greatest fears?
This question is a little intense, but it reaches the heart of your persona and provides lots of content ideas.
This question reveals the personas motivation for doing things. Once I discover a definite thread of motivation through my blog audience, the door opens to many content ideas. The answers enable me to produce content that addresses the fear and provides solutions for overcoming the personas fears.
Three content idea examples:
A. A free guide that provides step-by-step help on something many prospects see as overwhelming to do alone
B. A blog post filled with bravery inducing ways to overcome their fear
C. An infographic filled with stats that relieve the persona fear
What is the solution you're looking for the most?
This question when applied to your persona can provide layers of content ideas.
What I mean by that is when we focus on solutions both macro and micro solutions are discovered.
The macro solutions normally tie into motivations and are more general in nature. Things like How can I get more free time to spend with my family or How can I pay off my debts more quickly would be two examples of macro solutions your content can address.
Micro solutions can provide an entirely different line of content that provides solutions to specific things like technical issues (What to do if it rains) or product/service information in detail (How to put this together in three easy steps.)
Consider what information your persona uses Google to solve.
Four content idea examples that address micro or macro solutions:
A. A video demonstrating how to use your product/service
B. A WordPress cheat sheet for folks wanting to design their own blog
C. Offer a Slide Share on the various ways your service provides the persona more freedom of time, money, or however the persona defines freedom
D. A blog article that builds on the dream of an early retirement (including how you can help them get there)
Why Are You Interested In My Product?
Again, this question reveals motivations and the answers you get will lead to tons of content ideas.
Some online products or services are more obvious than others (If you sell a cream that stops itching, chances are stopping an itch is the motivation behind most of your blog visitors.)
Other online businesses may be a little less cut and dry, or their target audience may have multiple motivations. For example, with my online business, over time this question revealed to me that a common motivation is a desire to help people. Bingo! With this knowledge I now know to produce content that demonstrates how a new blog can equip someone to help others.
Three content marketing examples here:
- Take a poll in a blog post and/or social media post (polls or surveys works with any of these persona questions.)
- Create a video showing how what you offer meets peoples needs
- Share a heartwarming blog article about a customer (in magazine article style)
What are your dreams in life?
This ice breaker identifies the why. Why is your persona browsing your blog in the first place? What can your content ultimately help them achieve? This leads to content ideas that show your persona how you fulfill what they desire. This is really important when it comes to converting inbound leads into sales. Knowing the goals your persona wants to achieve will help get you started on creating content showing how their dreams can be reached.
Two content marketing examples:
- Podcast of three happy customers talking about how your offer fulfilled their dreams
- A blog post targeted to granite countertop prospects titled, 7 Ways Granite Countertops Can Change Your Life
What are the biggest factors behind your choices? Or more precisely, why did you pick me over the competition.
Asking your persona this question identifies what it is you're doing right. (Whatever that is, keep doing it.) These answers provide content ideas that will separate yourself from the crowd while helping first time blog visitors get to know you more quickly. They will discover in less time what makes your business unique. These are your strengths you have to offer that your audience deems important. So don't be shy. Go ahead and create content that demonstrates this.
A few content examples include:
- Infographic showing why people are choosing you over the competition
- A blog post targeted to deer hunters titled, Why More People Bag a Buck Using Our Scope Than Any Other On the Market
- A video testimony from a satisfied customer
Final Thought: Begin a New Content Idea Brainstorm Today
Your customers are the human beings that make your business. Buyer personas crystalize who these people are intimately. Dreams. Desires. Fears. Without them, your blog is nothing.
I cannot think of a single online endeavour that doesn't involve people. Every company, charity or individual wants to somehow influence, connect or sell something to real people.
Great content is needed to do this. So be sure to research your personas so you can generate useful, compelling content on your blog that attracts the right visitors, converts them into loyal followers and repeat customers.
Just as people change, so will your personas. Which is good news for you, because this means you'll never run out of new content ideas.
Matthew Kaboomis Loomis has been a blogger, ghostwriter and copywriter for ten years. You can find his passion for helping bloggers and online businesses succeed at Build Your Own Blog