Producing Killer Content, Each and Every Time

As a writer, I can tell you there’s nothing worse than staring at a blank computer screen. The cursor mocks you, each blink a testament to your wasted productivity and creative failure.

Blink. Blink.

I actually got this idea because I was starved for blog ideas. Writing about content curation when you can’t seem to come up with something yourself? It seems a little meta, yes. But then again, it should be a comfort to you that even those of us who write for a living have to contend with brain fog every once in a while. If you’re looking for ways to come up with quality website content, stop staring at that scornful cursor and try one of these ideas instead.

Stop Trying To Be So Original

There’s a popular literary theory that all of literature can be lumped into one of seven basic plots. In other words, don’t try too hard to be original because there’s a high probability that it’s been done already.

Don’t dupe other people’s content, but there’s no harm in doing some research or adding new spin on an old idea. We live in an era where ideas are moments away, literally at our fingertips with a few keystrokes.

My parents, bless them, are technology laggards. They don’t have a home internet connection, and my Mom doesn’t even own a cell phone. Once a week, they drive to the local library to check their email. As part of the first generation to be totally surrounded by mobile technology, my siblings and I find this baffling. How do they know when stores close? What if they get lost and need directions? How do they price check to make sure they’re getting the best deal?

For those of us who aren’t stuck in 1995, we have a wealth of information available to us via the internet. A simple Google search may produce more leads than you think. So read and compile content ideas as a matter of practice. Keep a folder on your computer of useful idea starters and organize your bookmarks so you’ll never draw a blank.

Draw From Your Own Experiences

You’re a wealth of awesome ideas, even if you don’t realize it yet. Each day, you interact with potential content ideas: your barista, your spouse, your coworkers. Everyone you communicate with is grist for the content mill. Writers are, of course, experts at this. One of my favorite examples is John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, where he uses his observations of Monterey, CA to capture the pulse of its vibrant 20th century citizens.

You don’t need to be an award-winning novelist to make the same principle work for you. If you’re in the business of curating content for clients, use them as your resource. No one knows the product better than them, so listen to what they have to say. And when you’re short of ideas, take a look at the world around you. You’d be surprised what ideas it has in store.

Give Them What They Want

People presumably turn to your content for your expertise, so give them what they’re asking for. Be an expert. When people turn to a blog post, it’s because they’re looking for an answer. Say, for example, that your tub is backed up, and as a DIY kind of person you gamely try to snake it yourself. If you’re not a plumber, chances are you’re going to Google “how to snake a drain” for some additional advice. The article you read may well come from a plumber’s blog. If you end up needing help on a more intensive job later, aren’t you more likely to remember that plumber’s article?

To create killer content, give people the answers they seek. As an additional tip, do it succinctly and without unnecessary jargon.

Use Other People’s Ideas

When in doubt, defer to someone else’s expertise. Ask a guest blogger to jump in for the day or interview someone. Here’s the process:

  • Identify some other thought leaders or experts in your industry. Prepare a written interview for them, and ask them to respond to 5-7 questions.
  • Remind them what’s in it for them: exposure, linking back to their blog or website, and establishing them as a leader in their field. No one dislikes additional visibility.

Don’t Overtly Sell Your Services. Tell A Story

I’ve mentioned that you draw ideas from your own experiences and other experts in your field, now a word about execution. Whenever you’re creating content, you want people to engage with it in some way. Engaging your target audience leads to shares, and shares lead to more exposure. All engaging content has a few common elements:

  • A compelling introduction. People have short attention spans, even more so on the internet. So make your post’s introduction short, snappy, and entertaining. Leading with an anecdote will draw your audience in, as well as make your content more relatable.
  • Leave them with questions. This isn’t to say you should make a post that’s not comprehensive. But you shouldn’t give your readers ALL of the answers, either. Leave them with an excuse to convert or use your services. In the same frame of mind, craft a solid call to action. If your posts aren’t full of actionable material, what’s the point in having a blog?

With the wealth of ideas out there, making your content snappy and engaging shouldn’t be a huge feat. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find there’s treasure everywhere.

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Sarah Voightman

Sarah is a displaced Michigander who currently calls suburban Cleveland home. When not reading or writing, she can be found navigating the tumultuous waters of parenthood and dreaming of returning to her beloved Mitten State.

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