5 Places for Content Inspiration

A blog is a great way to share your thought leadership and provide fresh content for online marketing. But writing blog posts can be a chore! If you are looking for some content ideas, this post is for you.

Get Content Ideas from Blog and Social Media Comments

When I am running short on ideas, I take a deep dive into my recent content posted at this blog and on social media. I look for likes, shares, and comments as a hint that the topic was of interest to my target audience. Comments are gold – they are rare, but they almost always tell me what’s top of mind and important to readers.

Ask Google

I’m a long-term fan of Google Alerts. I set up alerts for keywords and let Google email the latest relevant content. Couldn’t be easier.

When I know what basic topic I want to cover, I start with a Google search. The best intel comes before I hit enter.

Google will offer suggestions on what to search for as I type. These are based on actual searches people have completed recently. Not only do I get links to places where I can research, I get topics that are currently of interest to real people.

Google also offers common questions related to the topic and related searches. Lots of options from one search!

Learn and Share

I get a lot of content ideas from professional development events. Some ideas come just by scanning the topics being offered.

Once a week, I try to participate in a webinar. This gives me a deeper dive into a topic that can turn into great content.

Conferences are a larger investment of time and money, but can be very inspirational. I am always sure to keep the program from a conference. The topics give me ideas for posts and also ideas for people I can tap as guest bloggers.

5 Quick Topic Ideas for Business Bloggers

  1. Tap into the news of the day. What is in the news today related to your industry or topic. Use a Google search to see the latest headlines. Write about your take.
  2. Get inspired by questions. What was the last question you were asked by a client, prospect or peer? Chances are more people have the same question. Answer it in a post.
  3. Revisit the basics. Cover your products and services. Don’t assume your readers know or remember.
  4. Invite a guest blogger. Ask someone who is influential in your industry to share their take on a current topic.
  5. Share a client success story. Tell a story about how you have served a client and the benefits to both organizations.

Bonus tip: Look at this calendar of remembrances and holidays for more great content ideas!

Why You’re Not Getting Results on Social Media

Social media marketing is a cost-effective way to reach a target audience. Yet small businesses often tell me they are not getting results on social media.

I help clients work through this type of frustration all the time. Here are some common reasons businesses don’t see the results they want on social media.

No Social Media Strategy

As a default, I like to work off of a strategy. But I am learning that the majority of people see that word as a negative. Jumping right into doing things on social media may seem like a great way to avoid the perceived pain of planning, but doing so sets you up for even more frustration.

Activity without an underlying plan has a slim chance of helping you achieve your goals. You need to take the time to define your goals and research the specific ways to use social media to move toward that goal.

No one has unlimited time. You need to make sure every second you spend on social media is moving you toward the goal you want to achieve.

Squirrel!

Social media platforms crop up and add features all the time. It is easy to get distracted by the latest option and lose focus on what you want to achieve. Yes, Clubhouse is growing in use, but is it a tool that moves you toward your goal?

Your strategy needs to be an evolving document that takes advantage of new tools that are a fit. It also needs to morph as you learn what resonates and what falls flat with your audience. The fast paced nature of social media means that you can waste less time doing things that don’t work.

Be Real About Your Time

I recently showed a client how to post to her new blog. I suggested that she post once a month, based on my knowledge of her goals and her time available to blog. She wanted to do more and committed to posting once a week. It’s been four months now, and there have been no posts.

Be real with yourself about the time and resources that you have to commit to social media. It is better to do what you can than to over commit. That just sets you up for a sense of failure and could really disenfranchise your target audience.

Another client spent his whole marketing budget on social media efforts in the first 3 months of the year. With social media, the effort is over the long-term. Short bursts are not effective. You are better off pacing your resources in a way that will allow you to sustain a level of effort over time.

Putting It Off

If you are like most small business owners, you probably really don’t know where you stand on social. You are afraid to ask about what’s not working or look into a strategy because you just can’t add one more thing to your plate.

I hear you! If you are not getting results on social media, I offer a 60 day online presence boot camp. In a short period of time, we’ll dig into what you are doing and come away with a plan that you can work with moving forward. None of us has time to spend on anything that’s not getting results. Let’s turn that around for your business.

Tell Your Professional Story on LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile is an opportunity to tell your professional story. This is valuable in the job you are in, as it lets customers and potential customers understand your value. It is also helpful if you are looking to change jobs, as recruiters use LinkedIn heavily to look for and vet potential candidates.

Your profile should change as you reach milestones in your career. It should also change as your list of key accomplishments grows. At every stage, you need to make sure your profile is forward thinking and builds the case for the next job you want to have.

Following are some thoughts for each stage of your career. Note that if you have 30 years as a plumber and are working to build a career in fashion, you should create your profile using the guidance for the years of experience in the field you want to be in.

Before you dive in, you will want to refresh your list of the keywords that are most relevant to your profession and your immediate goals. The words and phrases that represent the most important skills do change over time.

1–3 Years of Experience

At this point in your career, highlight your enthusiasm for the work you want to do, your engagement within that field, and your abilities to organize, problem-solve, create, execute, etc.

Include pictures of yourself at industry events. Include any relevant projects, presentations, and other items related to your interests and industry of choice.

Share and comment on current articles or conversations related to the field. Follow relevant companies and influencers.

4–7 Years of Experience

Now it is time to remove details about your schooling and work experience that is not directly related to the work you want to be doing. It is no longer relevant that you flipped burgers to help pay for college, unless being a fast food manager is your career aspiration.

Focus on your experience, work products, and proven skills. Highlight these in your profile headline and summary, as well as in the most recent role in your professional experiences section.

Keep in mind that past positions are hidden away with a “see more” option and most people won’t bother to click this. Your current job description is central to your profile so make sure it communicates loud and clear about who you are and your value.

Keep it all short and easy to scan. Lengthy paragraphs won’t get read on LinkedIn or anywhere online.

8–15 Years of Experience

Tell your professional story in terms of your leadership ability and your specialized skills. Promotions and job offers come to people at this level who won’t need a lot of training and who have a healthy, relevant professional network.

Drop old work samples in favor of fresh items that show what you are doing today and reflect the next level that you want to achieve. Keep building connections with influencers.

Publish articles on LinkedIn that are relevant to your field and demonstrate your thinking as a subject matter expert.

Ask for recommendations for people in your focus industry or field. Recommendations speak to your professional value, but they also demonstrate that you are active and connected. Take time to identify the best people to make recommendations and ask them personally, either by phone or email.

16 and More Years of Experience

Make sure your profile tells a cohesive, compelling story about your skills, experience, and professional passion. Drop items that are not central to who you are and what you do now.

Focus on sharing your thought leadership in posts to groups, in comments on posts created by others, and in long form articles on LinkedIn. Be the leader that you are.

Want more ideas about marketing yourself and your business on LinkedIn? Read my post with marketing tips on LinkedIn.