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content ideas

How To Come Up With Provocative Content Ideas Your Audience Will Love

That dreaded cursor in Word…

It just sits there, blinking at you, demanding that you type something incredible.

But you’ve hit a wall.

The well on content has run bone dry.

Ideas are washed up or outdated. That blinking cursor is mocking you.

We’ve all been there as creators. Of course you want something truly spectacular, eye-catching, and even viral-worthy. Yet, here you are: watching the white screen.

The good news? Crafting quality content doesn’t have to play mind tricks with you.

But it takes some time (and energy) to get it done. Coming up with provocative content ideas is simpler when you have a little guidance. When you monitor the web, take a look at the trends, and listen to your own readers, you might be surprised at how many ideas come up.

Ready to be inspired? Keep reading!

provocative content ideas

Overcoming The Killer of Your Great Content Ideas: 4 Ways to Flood the Idea Gates

Creating engaging content is a skill.

It starts with the right ideas, and the copywriting comes second.

To help jumpstart your content ideas, you need to look at the resources you have available to you — and most are free. Here are a few places to look first:

1. Talk to Your Customers or Clients

The people you already work with may be able to tell you what they’re looking for from you. They are already customers, but they still have questions. According to Brian Sutter’s article on Forbes, asking your current clients what they are struggling with and then answering it within your content is key. Don’t just do a quick answer and never dismiss any question. Instead, take each question and create an entire blog post out of it. Expand upon what was asked, back it up with research, and make it entertaining.

Think about telling your client’s success stories, too! Check out how we talked about our client’s success in a blog post here. Our case study services are actually oriented to position your client’s success story in the best possible way, by not only creating a PDF but a short story blog that resonates with your subscriber list. (Check our out our case study writing and creation here.)

2. Use Tools at Your Disposal

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you grow your blog or website. From keyword research to content ideas. BuzzSumo is one of those tools. BuzzSumo allows you to analyze what content performs best based on the topic or competitor.

buzzsumo

BuzzSumo’s data goes even further by breaking it all down for you by Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest shares. You can customize the results further by the type of content (e.g. interviews, videos, infographics, articles, and guest posts). You can also identify the country, language and filter it by timeframe (such as 24 hours or up to one year).

3. Ask Your Sales and Support Team Members

Your marketing department is there to support your sales staff. According to Brittany Berger from SocialMediaToday, that means your content should be designed to stand in as a virtual sales representative. It should answer customer questions, entice them to try products or services, and educate them all at the same time.

So, ask your sales and support team members what customers are struggling with the most or what people don’t understand and often ask for clarification.

We’ve asked our team members for topic ideas that include the most common questions they get in sales, and have had fantastic results flow in content ideas!

4. Ask Your Readers

If you have a good following already, ask your readers what they would like to see next. Ask them what their favorite posts are or just look at your stats and see which posts have the most shares online, receive comments, etc.

What About Content Ideas for Boring Topics or Industries?

Yes, there are some industries or topics out there that make the world groan.

While they can be rather dull to think about, they do not necessarily have to be boring to read.

ProBlogger featured a guest post that dove into the task of finding topics for boring industries, and they shared some interesting insight.

First, they highly recommend Twitter. That is because social media is a mecca for finding content ideas.

Perform a tweet search on Twitter, searching by hashtags and keywords. While the results are not as refined as Google, they will provide you with some insight.

You could also use Twitter and other social media outlets to find out what’s trending.

Be cautious here, though.

You need to look for a hashtag that is trending that applies to your industry. Adding in hashtags or writing about trending topics that have nothing to do with your brand, industry, product, etc. is dangerous territory. The goal here is to be relevant and strike on hot topics that apply to your site.

Also, tap into the resources of other social media sites. See what’s trending on Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and of course, Facebook.

Our full time copywriter, Ashley, wrote a guide on how to craft content for boring industries. Check it out!

Putting All Your Great Content Ideas Together

Once you have a plethora of starting points, take the time to perfect and create your content from it all.

To see if you have a viable idea, take it and write a few headlines. Your headlines are just brainstorming, so they don’t need to be perfect — you can fine-tune your headlines later for EMV value.

If you can come up with several headline ideas, you may be able to incorporate all of them into separate articles — meaning one idea became multiple ideas in a flash!

content planning cta

How To Use 3 Major Content Game Changers: Infographics, eBooks & Brochures

Alecs is the Client Accounts Manager at Express Writers.

Content is a little bit like clothing.

We all know which types we like best and, after awhile, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut so to speak, recycling the same 4 items time and time again, leaving 90% of the vast closet untouched.

While you may not be literally reusing the same pieces of content over and over again, I’m willing to bet you probably reuse the same types of content – blogs, tweets, links, etc. While there’s nothing wrong with this content on its own, it can make your brand feel stale, boring and predictable if you don’t branch out – just like that dingy grey sweatshirt you love so much.

But what if you brought in fresh new infographics, ebooks and brochures into your content wardrobe?

It might make your brand feel a little like this…

new clothes

3 Amazing Content Forms & How to Benefit From Them: Infographics, Ebooks, Brochures

Major content game changers

In order to switch it up and give your brand new life, try experimenting with the following types of content.

1. How To Use Infographics

Infographics are the belle of the ball right now in content. Their most obvious winning factor is that they drive insane traffic to your site. Just how insane, you ask?

  • Infographic search volume has increased over 800% in the last 2 years.
  • The brain processes visual information at a rate 60,000 times faster than it does textual information.
  • 65% of people classify themselves as “Visual learners”
  • People who use infographics on their site grow an average of 12% faster than those who don’t.
  • Infographics are shared on social media 3 times as often as all other types of content, which means they have a high potential to go viral.

Personally, our brand infographics, like this one, have garnered 3x the average shares one of our blog posts gets.

How’s that for content that is in-demand? In addition to being in-demand, though, infographics are also amazingly functional. This owes to the fact that infographics pack a ton of information into a small, easily digestible mechanism and can help your readers better understand your topic. Because of this, they’re shared more often, viewed more often and understood more comprehensively than text-based content.

In order to use infographics effectively in your content, there are several things you need to consider. First of all, the infographic should be strictly information-based. Don’t ever use an infographic to pitch your company’s many virtues. These infographics defeat the point (viral information sharing) and use the infographic’s power for evil rather than good. Instead, focus on taking an issue your industry faces, a hot topic that will encourage sharing or an interesting development and breaking it up to provide your audience with further information. If you need help coming up with an in-demand and genuinely interesting topic for your infographic, consider consulting resources like Google Trends or viral Twitter hashtags.

Once you’ve chosen a topic, you’ll need to gather information. When citing sources for your infographic, make sure they’re reputable sources comprised of industry experts and high-profile sites. Pulling information from obscure sites increases the likelihood that the information will be incorrect and decreases the likelihood that your infographic will receive a good reception (people don’t like sharing faulty information, after all). When gathering info, think about which statistics will make a good visual. Increase or decrease in revenue, for example, can be illustrated by a bar graph. Stick with great sources and highly visual statistics and you’ll have a great infographic in no time.

When it finally comes time to design your infographic, you can either pay a designer (don’t be surprised, though, if prices top out around $1,000) or you can do it yourself. Free web-based platforms like Easel.ly, Piktochart, Infogr.am get the job done with professional results and can help you stand out from the pack in an instant.

2. How to Benefit From Ebooks 

Ah, eBooks – the quiet princesses overthrowing the palace one step at a time. Ebooks now top paperbacks in sales numbers and are set to completely overtake the paper dynasty any day now. As a marketer, though, it’s possible that you don’t want to sell your eBook and that you only want to use your eBook as an incentive. This is without a doubt how eBooks rose to prominence in marketing and is still one of the primary ways they are used within content strategy.

The reason for this is that bundling has long been a market strategy to help consumers make purchasing decisions and to help differentiate a company from its competition. For example, when a consumer purchases a piece of clothing from an online outfitter and finds a $100 voucher for a new online wine club (a sister company of the clothing retailer) enclosed, that consumer is much more likely to buy from that retailer in the future. Similarly, when a customer visits your site and finds that you’re offering samples of your content or (better yet) entire courses for free in eBook form, they’re very likely to stick around to see what else you have to offer. This approach also proves to consumers that a company is so confident in the quality of its product that it is happy to literally give some of it away.

Though compiling an eBook may sound complicated, it’s pretty simple. All you need to do is find a topic you want to write about (consider serialized topics you’ve blogged about in the past, consistent questions your customers ask, a problem many of your customers have or a new development you’re excited to debut) and write content (for more information about how to actually write an eBook, check out this HubSpot resource). In order to ensure that your content is as good as it possibly can be, ensure that it compliments your current brand, that it looks professional and that it is executed with precision. Enlist professional help to get your cover image on point and then give the eBook away as an incentive to subscribe to your company’s email list or as a promotional item bundled into more extensive courses or workshops.

3. Brochures Are Coming Back & How You Can Use Them

Did you think that brochures were an archaic form of marketing that nobody used anymore? Did you think that they were reserved for medical companies in doctor’s office waiting rooms and weight loss products? Think again. When done correctly, brochures can be a helpful piece of content that is ideal for spreading the message about your services and helping customers understand your mission. Alternately, brochures can be used to announce new products or services or to promote excitement surrounding sales.

Thanks to today’s technology, it’s completely possible to design web-based brochures that can be downloaded as a PDF or delivered directly to your customers’ inboxes. No matter what form you choose for your brochure, there are a few rules you should always abide by when creating brochures. The first is to be knowledgeable about your customer. Consider what the point of the brochure is – are you looking to promote information? Boost excitement? Introduce a new service? Now think about how the brochure needs to be laid out in order to communicate that – what kind of information does it need? Which questions should it answer? Once you’ve answered those questions, you can dedicate yourself to the writing process. In many ways a brochure is a small sales pitch and, as such, you should be writing great headlines and ensuring that your CTAs are on point. Even though a brochure is a somewhat rare form of content nowadays, it needs to fulfill all of the tasks of any other piece of content: provide information, intrigue audiences and tell them where to go next.

The Case for Content: How Infographics, Ebooks and Brochures Can Overhaul Your Brand

Today, everyone is online. That much is obvious. What people do online, though, is a bit more of a toss-up. While you may have a good audience for blog posts or podcasts, expanding out into other forms of content can help you reach new audiences and promote your message in a different way.

There are dozens of different types of content but for the brand that truly wants to overhaul its image and put forward a brave new face, there is no content so heavy-hitting and valuable as infographics, eBooks and brochures. Customizable, highly distributable and easy to create, these pieces of content are a fantastic way for you to spread information, drive people back to your site and ensure you’re casting your net as widely as possible.

Because, hey, while we all love that dingy grey sweater, it’s time for a change every now and then, don’t you agree? Who wouldn’t want their brand refreshed and dressed as well as a Marilyn Monroe?

Check out our infographic service to get started!

content inspiration

Taking Content Ideas from an Award-Winning Movie, The King’s Speech

Image credit: Trinitynews.ie

If you love award-winning historical movies that motivate you to pursue your most ambitious dreams, chances are that you have enjoyed (or will enjoy) The King’s Speech. This 2010 masterpiece directed by Tom Hooper won 4 Oscars in 2011 for Best Writing, Best Direction, Best Actor and Best Picture, outshining all its counterparts. Most people who watch this movie are inevitably moved by King George VI’s efforts to cope with his frustrating stammering.

This speech disorder stands in the way of his success and forces him to get expert help to be able to make his first radio broadcast in 1939. Naturally, skilled content creators will read through the lines and realize that The King’s Speech is not all about the new King’s attempts to control his stuttering, eliminate his fear of public speaking and find his own voice. This heartwarming story also encompasses a plentitude of useful copywriting lessons that can help marketers and content creators improve their tactics and obtain better end results in the long run. Here’s what I’ve learned from the King’s Speech.

1) Originality Is Not a Capital Sin. To overcome his stuttering condition that is putting his position at great risk, George VI decides to see a specialist. This is how he meets Lionel Logue, a respectable and highly controversial Australian speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. The problem is that Lionel Logue is far from being the submissive servant that a member of a royal family would normally expect to rely on.

His methods are often unorthodox and innovative and he doesn’t seem willing to make any kind of compromises because he is fully aware of the fact that he provides top-notch, extremely effective services. Originality is not a crime; on the contrary, original content allows you to make a name for yourself, become a valuable source of inspiration for other players in your niche and stimulate the curiosity of your readers. You don’t have to adjust your methods or dilute the original quality of your content just to please the masses. If you do compromise, this will only make you lose repeat customers and put your reputation on the line. Once you’ve finally managed to come up with a good content strategy, personalize it according to your own needs, goals and expectations and stick to it.

2) Let Them Leave, But Keep the Door Open. We all know how frustrating it really is to invest time, money and energy in a successful content marketing campaign without actually managing to please your clients or collaborators. Some clients and prospects just don’t get your modus operandi. Some of them just need a little bit more time to get familiar with your unique approach, your marketing strategies or your writing style. This is perfectly understandable. This doesn’t mean that you have to cling to their feet and stop them from leaving.

  • Keep Up the Good Work. If you’re good at what you do, keep your head high and your standards higher. They will eventually come back. The King’s Speech supports this idea. Shocked and intimidated by his therapist’s radical approach to addressing stammering, Bertie, the new king, decides to find another specialist who could stimulate his progress. After a short period of time, he realizes that the tough love method set in place by Logue was the only one that could actually favor noticeable improvements. Therefore, Bertie goes back to Logue’s office and continues his therapy sessions.
  • Implement Your Own Selection Criteria When It Comes to Choosing Your Audience. In his instructional guide for business owners, entitled “Book Yourself Solid”, Michael Port talks about the so-called “red velvet rope policy,” and its impact on (content) creators. In short, the key to success is to filter your clientele and your business partners and eliminate nutcases who could make you feel insecure without a reason. To perform optimally, content creators and marketers should be surrounded by people who energize them, share their methods and creative vision and actually inspire them to come up with meaningful content pieces and distribution tactics that exceed every expectation.
  • Developing a Negative Feedback Obsession Isn’t Healthy. According to Copyblogger, “dangerous” feedback from your readers can make you steer in the wrong direction. If you focus solely on complaints and any other kind of negative feedback provided by your crankiest readers, chances are that you’ll lose your voice and drown in a sea of uncertainties. You don’t have to divide your visitors into two categories: Brand Evangelists and the Devil. The main idea is that you should deliver great value to the targeted audience that represents a good fit for you and worry less about minorities. You can’t please everybody.

3) It Is Highly Recommended to Get Up Close and Personal with Your Clients. In orderto stimulate Bertie’s self-corrective abilities, Logue creates a powerful connection with his client. In a nurturing environment that supports the king’s progress, Logue tries to identify the factors that triggered his patient’s speech disorder in the first place. He makes Bertie relive the past and digs deep to tackle the real root of the problem. By understanding the unique impediments that stop Bertie from preparing and delivering a flawless speech, Logue manages to come up with the right solution to George VI’s pressing issue.

The Definitive Guide to Copywriting by Neal Patel and Joseph Putnam reveals that the web content that you write shouldn’t be about yourself, your brand or your personal ambitions and business goals. It should be about your readers. This is precisely why great copy involves a deeper understanding of your audience. Just like the great David Ogilvy once said, “advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” Therefore, you should realize who you’re writing for, how your readers think and what exactly they want from you.

All in all, The King’s Speech provides a few useful valuable lessons enabling copywriters to enhance the quality of their work and build solider bridges between themselves and their clients and prospects.

 

 

content demands

6 Ideas For Keeping Up With Content Demands

Today, one of the biggest investments for your online marketing is content. Just how big? Check out this interesting formula on how to calculate how many “questions” you could possibly “answer” with content for your niche audience.

Take the example of a typical business content marketing flow and need. Let’s say you sell dog food. Some possible content marketing for that simple, down-to-earth industry would include newsletters, blogs, print brochures for your local clientele, and possibly an infographic or two if you want to be trendy with your content.

Now let’s take a look at the content need for just one of those avenues. Since blogging is one of the best ways to rank with Google (confirmed by SocialMediaExaminer experts) and long and frequent blogs are better, you’ll need at least 3 topic ideas per week. Getting those topics can be easy, if you know from which bucket to pull ideas. For example, what do your clients often ask you when they call in? If it focuses on grooming, come up with countless topics based on toenail grooming instructions, hair grooming, and then God only knows how many breeds you can come up with for different grooming instructions, from Pomeranians to Labradors.

How to Keep Up With Your Content Demands

Your content demands are going to be simple, but they sure can overwhelm you quickly. We are going to take some time to go through various ideas to keep up with the demands.

1. Make Your Content Available Everywhere. There is no greater letdown then trying to access the company’s website on your smartphone and realize it is only available in desktop mode. Another letdown is that a website may have a mobile platform but when you load it on your tablet, it is terrible. A great example of this is Instagram. You can only view the app on your tablet in mobile mode, but it is the size of a phone screen. If you resize it, everything is blurry and ugly looking. It makes using Instagram on a tablet difficult.

It might be silly, but that frustration is real and it can make someone ignore your site. Make sure your site content is available in different formats from desktop mode to mobile to tablet. By doing this, you will limit the amount of complaints you get each month, lessening the overwhelming feeling that your content strategy is way too big to manage.

2. Have A Focused Campaign. If your campaign is all over the map, you will definitely feel overwhelmed with your content, B2BMarketingInsider.com writes. You’ll feel like it is impossible to keep up with and this can cause you to burn out and not reach a wide audience. Keeping with the dog food motif, make one campaign solely based on keeping your pet healthy with natural foods, run some blogs during that campaign that deal with why it is important to feed certain foods to certain dogs. You can even break it down into breed or age specificity. For the next campaign, talk about how food can help a dog’s coat and write a blog with various grooming tips. This helps you stay focused and sends a clear message to your customers.

3. Utilize Different Formats and Repurpose. You don’t have to keep using one format. More formats equal more viewers and will help generate more buzz for your product. We listed some of these great formats above such as blogging, infographics, newsletters, and brochures. We think you should give them a shot! Now, you are probably wondering if you need to craft all sorts of new content for these different formats, the good news is you don’t. You can repurpose the content you’ve already written and use it in multiple formats. Quicksprout offers a really handy guide to do just that and this will definitely ease your content demand woes.

4. Make Accessible Goals For Your Content. A major reason your content demands are becoming overwhelming is because you have set some unattainable goals. Sure, your goals might be what you want in the future but right now, you’re going to have to give yourself time. Start by making smaller, more accessible content goals and grow your goals along with your company and how much content your clients are expecting. The demands won’t be as overwhelming for you by starting out small and slowly growing.

5. Work With Everyone, No Matter His or Her Language. Are you getting comments in French, Spanish, or Russian? Well, those comments probably aren’t spam like many people think and thankfully most browsers (i.e. Google Chrome) offer the ability to translate on the spot. Utilize those available translations and see what people are writing. This could be a very good indication that your product is starting to go global. Now, don’t let this overwhelm you! There are many tools out there that can help and you can start working on a strategy for global content writing.

First off, start by using a translating tool to respond. Always make sure the person knows you don’t know their language when using a translation program. This will help you engage with your customers, no matter what. Secondly, if you are getting more comments and views from overseas, start considering the steps to write for a global market.

6. Dedicate A Staff Member For Content Purposes. If content planning and strategy are becoming way too overwhelming for you to maintain, consider hiring someone solely for content. This can be either someone who is an outside source or someone who works within your company. You will still have a say in the matter, but let them do the ultimate crafting to keep the pressure off of you. This will be a great way to ensure you have quality content all the time.

Stick To These and Everything Will Be Fine

By following these 6 tips, you will find that you aren’t as overwhelmed with your content demand as when you started. These tips will help relieve a lot of unnecessary stress and will help keep your content top notch. Take a deep breath, implement these into your next content strategy and feel the unwanted stress of meeting demands disappear! This is perfect for crafting that awesome content you’ve always dreamed of.