I hear so often that coming up with content ideas is “time-consuming” and “difficult”. I get asked:
“How do you think of something to put on Facebook EVERY DAY?”
“How am I meant to update my website ALL THE TIME?”
“If I blog weekly for a year, how on earth am I meant to come up with FIFTY-TWO TOPICS?”
So, in my effort to make running a small business a little easier and to hopefully inspire you a little, here are five quick wins when it comes to content ideas…
1. Save don’t share
It is so easy on social media, when you see something interesting or relevant to your business, to think “oooh I’ll share that to my page right now” – well don’t!
Firstly, is it the right time of day for your target audience? Probably not. Have you already published (or perhaps even scheduled – see below) some posts already that day? Probably yes. Is it time relevant? Would it matter if was shared in a day’s/week’s/month’s time? Probably not. Well then, why waste a good bit of content!
On Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, you can save links and articles. Facebook have even brought in a filing system for saved items so you can create relevant files and group saved items together. This means when you are then creating your weekly set of posts (again, see below) you can trawl through all of the exciting things you have saved and schedule them in then. You don’t just share, but you write your own post and add the link to the article (or post).
This means no more staring in to space, trying to write a witty social media post or trawling the internet for a quote or meme – you’ll have a whole list of items to choose from!
It is so much easier to schedule posts, blogs and website updates (even the sending out of a newsletter) than trying to put things out in ‘real time’.
I often write my blog posts over the weekend or late in the evening. I can then schedule them to publish when I want. Website updates are the same. You can draft them before making them go live and either schedule or go back and switch to ‘live’ when it is the best time. For example, you can have all your offers, whether they are for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas or January sales done months in advance and still published exactly when you want them.
Social media posts can also be done in the same way. You can do it within the individual platforms or use another site/app, such as Hootsuite, and do them for all of your social media accounts in one place.
Organising your content like this, all in one go, say once or twice a week, makes it much easier. You are in the ‘zone’. You can see the ‘story’ you will tell across the week and link things together, for example.
It also means if an extra meeting arises or a big deadline is coming up, your content output doesn’t suffer as it can all be scheduled and ready to go in advance.
(NB: one word of warning about scheduling, I often get accused of ‘posting to Facebook whilst in a meeting/driving/out for dinner/at the pub, etc. I am not, I have just scheduled posts in advance and they happen to publish whilst I am doing something completely diffent…but just to say that might take some explaining, particularly to loved ones!)
At the Content Strategy workshop I did back in September, the trainer gave us this great acronym ‘Create Once Publish Everywhere’.
I would slightly change this to ‘create once, promote everywhere’. If you have written a blog – have you talked about it on social media recently? And not just the most recent post, but promote the fact you have a blog, and then also other past blog posts, which might be pertinent, and other topics areas you will cover.
Similarly, if you have sent out a newsletter, have you told your social media followers that, i,e.check your inbox and sign up if you haven’t already! Then add a note about it on your website and at the bottom of your email signature.
If you had a post which got a particularly good reach, consider re-sharing it and say: ‘wow this reached loads of people, thanks for the support’. Then share it to groups or other pages it may be relevant to. People like to hear about success and they hate to miss out.
We all know that people’s inboxes are overflowing and that social media algorithms work against us, so there is no harm in telling people again and again!
A testimonial, endorsement or review is one of the most powerful marketing attributes you have. Think about yourself, how often are you swayed by a good review – whether it is of a product, a service or a place?
They mean so much personally, but when you get some, shout about them. Whether it is an ‘official’ review via Facebook or a Directory-type website, or even if it is simply kind words in an email. If it is the latter, be brave and ask them if you can reuse their words – be clear about how and where (and definitely ask first) – but then share it far and wide.
And don’t just share the words themselves, on social media, tell your followers how it made you feel. If you write a ‘diary’ type blog, make sure you mention it when it happens. And add it to your website. If you don’t have a testimonials section on your website…then get one!
5. Use the news
If you are ever really struggling for content, then turn to the news. Something like the BBC has loads of different sections – education, health, science, etc., – find the one most relevant to you and see if there is a story which links to your business. Use it to inspire a social media post, a blog post or an article in your next newsletter. It will make you look informed, knowledgeable and up-to-date. On this, please check the date the article was published!!! And do acknowledge if it is more than a month out of date.
If the BBC can’t help, then you can even search on Google under the ‘news’ tab – this gives news stories from a massive load of sources, including other news websites and newspapers.
Again, don’t forget to check the date published and make sure you read the whole article and not just the headline or introductory paragraph. I wouldn’t want you to share anything controversial and, more importantly, the idea of this ‘quick win’ is to use the news story for inspiration and then your view. So don’t just share the article, give your opinion or thoughts on it too.
There you have my 5 top quick wins for content output! Have you got any more to share? Comment below – I would love to hear them! Also, let me know if any of these work for you. I really hope they make your life just a little bit easier.