You know that good content will keep your target audience coming back for more. You have insights you'd like to share, you keep track of industry trends, and you – of course - have a good working knowledge of your product / service. But how do you get started?
The beginning is always tough. With inspiration from the right quarters, you can make a confident start. Once you get into the flow, creating blogs and articles will feel like second nature. But a mid-term crisis may also hit you – the dreaded writer's block – a condition where you struggle to produce new blogs/articles. You can overcome this helpless feeling by turning to the right quarters once again.
Google Alerts is a free tool that sends you email alerts of the latest search results relevant to your search terms on Google. You can choose to receive daily, weekly or real-time alerts. The big question is what do you set your alerts to? Here are some options:
- Questions relevant to your niche being asked by web users (Eg: “how to lose weight *” or “Why use social media to *”). Google will substitute * by any phrase it finds, giving you more content ideas!
- You can then create blogs that answer these questions.
- Check out the popular trends in your niche with search query terms like “popular * designs” or “Best * restaurants”
- Use '~' before the search term to let Google know it has to search for the term's synonyms as well. Eg: for '~restaurants', Google will also look up 'food chain', 'take-away' and 'fast food'.
The trending topics will give you content ideas that have current appeal for your target audience.
Forums are an excellent way to generate ideas for blogs/articles. The first step is to find popular forums in your niche. Start contributing to them; it will be an enlightening experience. You will find a plethora of questions that people seek answers to. Identify common questions, write blog posts that outline the answers to these questions, and post a link to your blog posts on the forum.
Pick up the phone and ask clients about problems they have been facing lately, and jot these down. This is the easiest way to conduct a survey. Use social media to ask questions and solicit answers from your fans and followers. There are two benefits to this approach. One, the answers you get will help you brainstorm content ideas. Two, your fans / followers / groups will definitely want to know their peers' responses and this, in turn, will encourage them to engage with one another. It will also develop a sense of contribution in them, and make them more receptive to your future questions.
Quora and Yahoo Answers
Both are good ways to identify the questions being asked in relation to your niche. Yahoo has a more casual feel to it while Quora is more in-depth.
TweetChat is an online chat room on Twitter scheduling regular events where people across the world have conversations about a specific topic. It can really open your eyes to questions, answers, opinions and facts related to your niche.
If you have anything from your experience that you feel your target audience will find useful, go ahead and tell your story through blog posts. Readers will connect to you more personally and feel encouraged to open up to you through blog comments or other avenues.