4 ways to find fresh, new content ideas

Reading your blog’s comments section, combing Google Alerts, and watching current events will spark ideas much quicker than staring at a blank computer screen.

Do you know the story of how BlendTec used “Will It Blend?” to keep content fresh about industrial-strength blenders?

While a big fan of their smart and creative videos, I didn’t know the idea for those videos came about because an executive noticed sawdust on the floor.

As it turns out, employees were putting broom handles in the blenders to see if they would blend. They did.

And so the campaign was born.

One of my favorite videos is from when the first generation iPad came to market and the people at BlendTec blended one. They put a nearly $1,000 piece of technology in a blender and blended it! This, of course, was part of their “don’t try this at home” series. I don’t think you really want to blend an iPad.

The point is this: BlendTec makes blenders. It has a lot of competition, and the blenders are not cheap. BlendTec needed a story to help build the brand and make people aware of its product’s incredible strength, as well as set itself apart from competitors that seemingly do the same thing.

Keep content fresh

I consider myself a pretty good storyteller. I write every day. Even though I didn’t start out as a great blogger—which I remembered recently when I went through some old blog posts—I put something on proverbial paper every day.

Now companies hire my company to help them tell their stories. And guess what. Sometimes even we get stuck.

We work with manufacturing, financial services, and software-as-a-service companies. None of these companies have anything in common, which requires us to be extremely creative—in different ways—multiple times a day.

To help us tell their stories, we do a few things to stay creative and keep content fresh:

1. Subscribe to SmartBrief.

I’m a big fan of the SmartBrief newsletters. They aggregate a bunch of content every day (at least 10 articles) around one topic. I subscribe to the entrepreneurship, leadership and social media briefs. It’s likely they have a newsletter for your industry.

2. Subscribe to Google Alerts.

I’ve said this before, but Google Alerts is an amazing tool. We work with a company that uses donated breast milk in fortified milk for premature babies. I have alerts set up for “breastfeeding,” “donate breast milk” and “breast milk donations,” as well as the company name and its affiliated milk banks. We get a lot of story ideas just by scanning those every day.

3. Read the comments.

Maybe no one comments on the content you create. We have two clients like that. Their readership and subscribers grow significantly every month, but no one comments.

Read the comments on other blogs, Twitter streams and Facebook updates in the industry. We’ll call this real-time research. Find out what strikes your audience’s fancy.

Not only will this give you content ideas, it will make people feel part of the process, which turns them into loyal brand ambassadors.

4. Pay attention to current events.

Can you tie Yahoo banning telecommuting to your industry and offer a different perspective? Is there a tie-in to the Oscars, Grammys or Super Bowl (think Oreo)? Sometimes scanning the news is the best way to get past writer’s block.

What do you do to keep your content fresh, tell your story in a new and different way, or get past writer’s block?

Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc. A version of this article originally appeared on Spin Sucks.

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