Q. Hi Sydni! I keep hearing you talk about the benefits of content marketing and I really want to use this strategy in my business. I’ve started an email newsletter (that I don’t keep up with consistently) and I’ve also started a blog but it looks rather sparse. One thing that holds me back is trying to figure out what I should write about? I don’t want to sound like everyone else, but I don’t think I have anything original to say. Can you offer some suggestions on topics I can write about that will be interesting to my audience? Thank you! ~ A. Taylor – San Francisco, CA
A. Thanks for this great question! You are definitely not alone… I talk to many business owners who have been stopped dead in their tracks with their marketing for this very reason.
Let me first say this… you absolutely do have something unique to add to the conversation that’s happening in your industry, you particular area of expertise and challenges your target market is facing. Instead of trying to be different from everyone else, be more YOU. Tell your stories, talk about experiences you’ve had with clients and prospects (who didn’t turn into clients) and share what you learn. Your ideal clients are interested in your particular point of view and they want to hear your honest opinions. So don’t hold bac
In terms of specific topics to write about, here are 7 suggestions that I personally have used and recommend:
- Create a Checklist: Make a list of items required, things to be done, points to be considered, or items used as a reminder. People always appreciate having helpful information summarized in one place.
- Identify Common Problems: Think about the questions new and prospective clients ALWAYS ask you about your products and services. Each of those is a hot piece of content just waiting to be developed.
- Uncover Obscure Problems: Sometimes your audience is struggling with a problem but they don’t necessarily see it, or they don’t recognize you as the solution. Point out how you can help alleviate challenges that may not be very obvious.
- Take a Stance: Share your opinion! I know you have one. Don’t shy away from a controversial topic. Speak your peace and let your voice be heard! This is a great way to create an engaging dialogue and allows you and your audience to get to know each other better.
- Propose Counter Positions: Your Mom probably asked you at some point in your life “if everyone else was jumping off the bridge, would you jump too?” (Maybe that was just my Mom….) Anyway… the point is still valid. Just because “everyone” is touting the same opinion doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon. Propose an alternative solution and position yourself as a thought leader.
- Jump Into Current Events: Use hot topics to your advantage! If you can tie a newsworthy event into the products or services you offer, you are clearly establishing yourself as an expert. Pay attention to what’s happening in the news and leverage related publicity to your benefit!
- Write a Dear Expert Q&A: Clearly this is an angle I love! Your prospects and clients will always have questions about your area of expertise. So answer them! The more they can gain valuable, tangible insights from you the more often they will come back and their trust in you continues to grow.
There are so many different ways you can approach your content marketing, but keep this in mind – Your #1 goal is to connect, educate and engage! You’re looking to build trust and credibility that leads to a real relationship. People do business with those they know, like and trust. That “trifecta” applies to ANY type of business, no matter how new or established you may be.
Use the suggestions I’ve provided to take a fresh stab at your editorial calendar and let me know how you make out!