If you’re doing any type of content marketing, then you know how difficult it is to consistently produce great content.
I’ve faced this issue many times myself.
I often feel like there’s a certain amount of creativity in me, and when it‘s gone, then it’s gone.
It’s the brick-wall feeling.
Sometimes you’re faced with writer’s block while on other occasions you struggle with transforming a mundane subject into something extraordinary.
Add to that the fact that you’re faced with deadlines and competing priorities and the challenge becomes a stress point. One that you’d like to see disappear.
Fortunately, it’s not as difficult to produce outstanding content as you might think. Add a few basic principles of writing to your content marketing efforts and you’ll soon find that you can whip out great articles in a snap.
I won’t promise that you’ll never write a snoozer. We all have our days.
However, there are some ways to produce less snoozers and more awesomes.
Here’s how you can consistently create remarkable content.
1. Scan Other Blog Headlines for Ideas
One of the best ways to get ideas for great articles is by scanning the headlines of your favorite blogs and using the headlines for inspiration.
You can do this by visiting all the blogs that you have bookmarked and just reading through the headlines.
But there’s a better way.
Almost all blogs and news sites offer a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed. That’s an abbreviated round-up of the most recent articles posted on the site.
If you view the RSS feed for a site, you’ll probably see it in XML format and it won’t make a whole lot of sense. To read it properly, you’ll need the aid of an RSS reader.
There are several RSS readers available, but my favorite is Feedly. With Feedly, you can aggregate all of your favorite blogs into one place and even categorize them based on one or more subjects.
To get the RSS feed for a site, just look for the “RSS” link (usually found at the bottom of the site) or the RSS icon.
Once you’ve found the link or icon, click on it. Again, you might not be able to understand the content of the page, but the link is what’s more important. Copy and paste that link into your RSS reader as a new feed.
If you don’t see a feed icon, just view the webpage’s source code and you’ll find it pretty easily. Here’s how:
Then do a search in the source code for the word “feed” or “rss”.
There should be a link to the feed nearby. You can grab that link and put it in your feed reader.
Once you’ve gone through that process with all of your favorite blogs, you’ll find that it’s much easier to browse around cyberspace looking for great content.
Go through your RSS reader regularly to gather ideas for new content. Remember: the idea isn’t necessarily to rewrite entire articles, but just to find headlines that might inspire you to come up with an idea.
Keep in mind: it’s best to go through your RSS reader even when you don’t have an immediate need for new material. That’s because you can use ideas that you come up with later on when you do need original content.
2. Remember Your Mobile Audience
This point is more logistical than anything else.
Remember: you’re not just developing content for people who will read your articles on a desktop or laptop device. Many people will access your site with a smartphone, tablet, or phablet.
As you might be aware, desktop users are on the decline, as mobile readership continues to dominate more of the digital population.
That’s why your content needs to look great on those devices. It should be easy to read so that visitors don’t have to do the pinch-and-expand thing just increase the text size.
This is an important point, because you probably think of remarkable content as shareable content. That’s certainly the case.
But you can be fairly certain that nobody is going to share your content if they can’t read it.
Likewise, if they have to turn their smartphone from portrait to landscape mode so that everything fits on the screen properly, you’re creating a user-hostile experience and making it less likely that people will share what you’ve written.
Make sure that your site is mobile-friendly by looking at how your content appears on the various types of mobile platforms.
Fortunately, you don’t need a bunch of mobile devices to run that experiment.
If you want to see how your site looks on a screen of any size, just view it in a standard browser on a laptop or desktop, and then shrink the screen down to the size of a mobile device. You’ll see exactly what mobile users will see.
If you don’t like the layout, sit down with your development team and look for alternatives. Modern technology makes it easy to adapt a website to various screen sizes.
3. Create Listicles
One of the easiest ways to create some great content is to curate a bunch of related posts from different blogs and use them to create a listicle.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a listicle, it’s an article that’s a list. For example: “10 Ways You Can Get a Good Night’s Sleep Without the Aid of Medicine” is a listicle.
The concept of listicles, as you’ve probably noticed, was popularized by websites like BuzzFeed and Cracked.
To create your own listicle, just Google a search term related to a subject you’d like to write about. Then, use the results to form the basis of your list.
Obviously, you’ll want to put your own words into each point. Google will penalize your site if you just copy and paste text. That certainly won’t help you increase your reach.
When you do start putting content into your own words, you’ll find that it’s usually fairly easy to create longform content with listicles. Just add a couple of hundred words to each main point in a 10-point article and you’ve suddenly got 2,000 words.
4. Go Old School: Brainstorm
If you went to business school quite a while ago, you probably learned about the virtues of brainstorming. That’s a group session involving people sharing ideas about how to best solve a problem or reach a goal.
People still teach brainstorming in colleges, but it seems like it’s not practiced that much in the real business world any longer. Maybe modern-day professionals are under the impression that brainstorming is obsolete in a Google-drive information era.
Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s still value in sharing thoughts among your peers.
If you’re at your wit’s end when it comes to generating ideas for awesome content, sit down with a few partners and brainstorm up some great concepts. You could easily walk away from that meeting with countless ideas that will keep your blog full for the next six months.
5. Poll Your Readers
When it comes to creating remarkable content, take a lesson from Journalism 101: give the people what they want.
And what’s the best way to determine what people want? Ask them!
Get on one or more of your social media accounts and ask a very simple question: “What kind of subjects would you like me to cover in the blog?”
Then, read the answers. If you see a certain theme or subject repeated more than others, move that to the top of your priority list.
Now, you’ve got a list of great topic ideas. Start Googling around to get more insight into each of the subjects.
Then, begin writing.
6. Interview Somebody
Who are the key influencers in your industry? See if you can score an interview with a few of them and turn that interview into a blog post.
Interviews are great options for content because they don’t require a lot of time. Just spend about half an hour talking to someone, then transcribe the recorded conversation into a blog post with a brief introduction. It’s that easy.
Also: interviews are a great way to put you “on the map.” If you go around interviewing some heavy hitters in your space, people are eventually going to notice you.
7. Invite Guest Bloggers
If you’re strapped for time and ideas, one option you have to get great content on your site is to let a guest blogger write for you.
That’s a great idea because guest bloggers not only produce fantastic articles, but they’re also free.
Why, you might ask, would anyone want to post on your blog for free? The answer: because it gives the guest blogger more exposure.
Guest blogging works both ways. You get content, and the blogger gets publicity, links, and brand impressions.
If you find one or more particularly helpful guest bloggers, be sure to enlist their aid as often as possible. Sure, they might toot their own horn in the process of giving you much-needed content, but as long as they’re not competitors, that shouldn’t be a problem.
8. Write a Review
You might be in an industry that sees its share of new releases periodically. If that’s the case, then use your blog to write reviews.
Some of these review sites are insanely popular and with good reason. People love to get the DL on new stuff. Or, readers want to get an accurate read on others’ experience with a product or service.
Any time a new release comes out, reach out to the product manufacturer or service owner for a review copy. If you’re well-respected in the industry, your request should be granted.
Keep in mind: you might not need to have access to the product or service to review it yourself. Instead, you can just aggregate the reviews of others and include them in a blog post.
As a content marketer, you don’t have to deal with droughts of ideas every now and then.
Just use the ideas of others as inspiration and look for low-hanging fruit when it comes to producing posts that are in high demand.
What are some of the methods that you use to create great content all the time?