19 tips to generate content ideas

05-07-2022

You have obviously thought about developing a successful content strategy for your organisation. And you have reviewed all possible means to captivate and engage your customers. After all, you know them like the back of your hand. You need to create content now. But where will you get all your ideas from? We are happy to inspire you with the 19 tips below.

Before we dive into these tips, let’s have a look at the most successful content formats in 2021. These are useful to know, and they will give you some ideas straight away! We also previously published an article featuring six tips for the best-performing organic content, based on a study by SEMrush (known for its search engine data tool), so be sure to check that out, too! 

The best-performing content formats in 2021

It probably won’t surprise you that (short) videos are doing well, but blog posts and success stories are still very popular. The top 10 of 2021 were:

  1. Videos
  2. Blogs
  3. Success stories
  4. Case studies
  5. Webinars
  6. Infographics
  7. Product guides and manuals
  8. Data visualisations
  9. eBooks
  10. White papers

You now have a good idea of the best content formats to focus on. But what exactly are you going to create and share with your (potential) customers? What topics do they find interesting, and how do you keep them glued to your content so that they come back to you when it’s time to make a purchase? Where and how do you find the best ideas? Below, you will find our 19 tips to help you on your way.

TIP 1: Ask your customers

We usually make assumptions about what we think is on our (prospective) customers’ minds. Those assumptions will be true to a large extent. After all, you deal with them every day and are familiar with their wants and needs. But do you know exactly what their challenges and pain points are? Or why they would buy something at a certain moment?

There’s still a wealth of information to glean that can help you create content that inspires them even more.

There’s still a wealth of information to glean that can help you create content that inspires them even more. So, organise interviews with your (potential) customers! Other valuable resources to learn what questions people are asking online about certain topics are tools such as AnswerThePublic, as well as the Quora and Yahoo platforms—and don’t forget LinkedIn and Facebook groups!

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TIP 2: Ask your colleagues

Colleagues from the sales, customer service or hosting departments get different questions than you do. Perhaps you have field staff who visit the customer and have to answer completely different questions. As you can imagine, they will have a lot of valuable information.

Organise a brainstorming session with them and pick their brains! Together, you know more than alone. Do you work for yourself and have no departments at all? Then find people in a similar position to brainstorm with. They benefit just as much as you do!

TIP 3: Stay curious

Besides his iconic “Stay hungry, stay foolish” quote, Steve Jobs had another good tip: “stay curious and don’t be satisfied with the status quo”. In other words, continue to amaze yourself.

“Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

Have a look at your product or service through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time. What do you notice? If you were designing it now, what would you do differently? What’s happening in the industry? In your profession? Are there interesting developments abroad? Check out the issues of the day and zoom out.

TIP 4: Check your competitors

Your own strengths are just the starting point. You must also take an objective look at what your competitors are doing in terms of content. Why does it work well for some and not for others? Why does that one competitor have countless followers and a lot of interaction with their customers? What do they offer their customers? In short, what are they doing differently from your organisation and what can you learn from them?

TIP 5: Dive into a deep analysis of keywords

This is especially important in the process of creating content ideas for your website. Various SEO tools are available.

TIP 6: Be human, even as an organisation

People do business with people, not organisations. Build a human connection with your customers through your content. Give your organisation a face by introducing your employees. Or put a partner or supplier in the spotlight.

Dare to be vulnerable by sharing a “failure story” in addition to your success stories. Create interaction with your customers. For example, you could ask them a simple question online or set up a poll. Their valuable input also gives you ideas for new content!

TIP 7: Add value

If you know exactly what your customers are busy and/or struggling with and what their most urgent questions are, you can add highly specific value to your content. And if you ticked the box for Tip 1, you already know your customers and their backgrounds!

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You can reassure them in their struggle because you’ve come up with a solution. You know how to answer their most urgent questions or fulfill their most urgent needs. In order to do that, you just need to ask questions. You don’t have to sell anything! You can actually add value to their (working) lives.

Also consider offering something tangible, such as a cheat sheet, a checklist, a template or a glossary. Something that makes their daily life easier.

TIP 8: Share knowledge, not sales pitches

Sharing content is an excellent opportunity to captivate and engage customers without jumping into a sales pitch. Nobody (believe me, really, nobody) is waiting for the wonderful product or service your organisation offers. They only want to know one thing: will this solve my problem? The great thing about feeding your customers knowledge is that no one can ever take it away from them. It will answer their questions, but the choice remains theirs.

They only want to know one thing: will this solve my problem?

That’s why they love it, as evidenced by the top 10 most successful content formats above. So, offer them those eBooks, webinars, tutorials, white papers, product guides and how-to guides! Or even a free course or training. Content formats based on original research do best. So, remember to focus on authentic content as part of your strategy to gain customer loyalty and trust!

TIP 9: Analyse and recycle content

With content audits of your website, you can avoid spending time on content that does not seem to resonate with your target audience at all. In our article 7 Tips for Successful Content Marketing, you’ll learn that engagement increased for 45% of the respondents of the SEMrush survey, while rankings went up or traffic increased for 43%. It’s just picking the low-hanging fruit!

You must also analyse, among other things, your website’s findability and SEO, its popularity and conversion rate, plus the writing style and tone of voice. This gives you the opportunity to improve or delete pages. Refine your content! Tools to conduct these audits include Google Analytics and other SEO tools.

Get your writing style checked by a professional (SEO) copywriter. For example, CopyRobin’s experienced copywriters can help you craft and refine compelling texts. Has it been a while since you published certain types of content? Then feel free to add this step to your content calendar.

TIP 10: Show what you’re doing

Involvement with your customers does not happen by itself. It requires interaction and understanding. So show us what you’re doing. What a working day in your organisation looks like. Offer a look behind the scenes. Film a production process, a visit to a supplier or partner, a photoshoot that is underway. Show the events you are attending. Show passion for your profession; it is contagious!

TIP 11: Tell a story

Your organisation likely wasn’t established overnight. Why was this company founded? Were there any doubts and setbacks? Could you share more about your love for this profession? Who were the protagonists? How did it grow to what it is today? How has it withstood hard times?

Tell a story with your organisation in the role of the hero. A hero always has a problem to overcome, after which success tastes extra sweet. And remember, even a hero can only succeed when given help along the way!

Don’t forget to name the key people who have inspired you or lent a helping hand. Perhaps this reminds you of a person rather than an organisation? If so, go for it! People like stories. According to scientific research, we remember a message in story form better. That’s why people identify with your brand faster!

TIP 12: Answer questions

If you executed Tip 1 and know the questions and challenges of your customers, then you also know how to answer them. Show that you are proficient in your profession. Shape it into a video, perhaps in the form of a tutorial, or offer a webinar. Write a blog post (or have one written by a professional ghostwriter from CopyRobin, for example) in which you address a specific question. Have a good infographic drawn up. Maybe also think about creating a series of in-depth articles, an eBook or a white paper. 

TIP 13: Let others speak for you

Many studies say that nothing is more convincing than a peer’s opinion. That’s why most organisations post customer reviews on their website. Often, these are full of compliments. 

But… doubts and complaints from customers may also pop up from time to time. In the sales profession, you quickly learn that a complaint is an opportunity. And that a customer whose complaint has been satisfactorily resolved is an even more loyal customer! That might be an idea for your next piece of content! 

TIP 14: Make it fun and playful

Quizzes, questions and riddles: you can find a lot of them on social media. They are wildly popular and kind of like a snack for the brain. They do not take up too much time and they are fun to do. Especially if you receive a personal “reward” in the form of a correct answer or a prize.

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That prize could also include downloading a free eBook or white paper. Try to come up with some fun questions, quizzes or riddles based on your product or service. A brainstorming session with your colleagues will also come in handy here!

TIP 15: Let the customers test it

This is an excellent way to retrieve valuable information about a new product or service. Capture your product or service, whether as an image or in text, and share it with your other customers. They will certainly appreciate the transparency, and you immediately gain input that will possibly improve your product or service. You kill two birds with one stone, so to speak!

TIP 16: Share interesting facts

You can always share fun facts and insights about your organisation, about the industry, about the profession, and about your product or service. The main thing is to present these in a fun way. They can be facts and figures included in a nice infographic, for example. But a short video is very suitable for this, too.

Perhaps there is a myth going around that you can debunk. Or you can give customers a sneak peek into a new product. Short and sweet is the trick here, especially for a monthly newsletter. For example, we recommend that you do not share more than three newsworthy facts plus a CTA.

TIP 17: Organise an event

An event is content, too! And nothing is more desirable than getting to know your customers personally. Again, people do business with people, not with organisations. By organising an event, your organisation gets a real face, which makes it feel more real and tangible.

And don’t forget to generate content during the event! This could include videos, photos, or even short interviews with customers where they are asked how they liked the event. Set a concrete hashtag for the event and share the content you’ve created with your customers so they can also share it on their social media channels.

TIP 18: Use the content and knowledge of others

Do you still find it difficult to create enough content for a whole year? Good news! You don’t have to do everything yourself. For example, you can make a summary of the content that someone else has produced. For example, you could summarise some interesting research within your industry or a book that has just been published that is related to your offer or profession.

Sharing interesting messages from others is also great content, as long as you mention the source. And how about creating an expert round-up? This is a summary of answers you’ve gathered from experts in the industry on a specific topic. That’s a great way of networking, too!

TIP 19: Get inspired outside the office

Sometimes you want it so badly but your inspiration has simply run out. Creating content is a creative process. It is known that the creative part of your brain runs at full speed when you perform repetitive actions, such as showering, walking, running, etc.

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So, no inspiration? Put your mind to zero! Go outside, enjoy nature, talk to people. Zoom out and let things “ripen” for a while. Since content marketing is all about the human connection, there is plenty of inspiration to be found, even outside the office.

We bet you’ll come back feeling refreshed. And those ideas for great content? They’ll pop up again in no time.

Conclusion

There is a world of content to be created! The most important thing is having an overview ( in other words, a good content calendar), inspiration (to be found online, in the office and outside the office), and a deep understanding of your target audience (to optimise your content).

Want to get others to write your texts? CopyRobin’s professional copywriters are happy to help you with the right writing style, tone of voice and SEO.

Contact us for a free trial!

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