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Need a Little Inspiration?

Generating a consistent stream of interesting and insightful content online can be a grind. I’ve been feeling a little tapped out lately. The monotony of COVID restrictions, waiting for spring to arrive for good, and other factors are contributing to a sense of stagnation.

I went looking for a little inspiration to reignite my work in Q2. Here are some great places I found.

Be a Blog Reader

Subscribe to a variety of blogs related to your field and your target audience. Look to them for ideas that you can use for your next post. Sometimes you will find the same topic covered in different ways, giving you some good depth to draw from.

Be sure to look at the comments as well as the posts. There are often great gems in the comments that let you know what’s top of mind for your target audience.

Follow Aggregators

News aggregators pull blog feeds and newsletters together to provide a rich source of ideas around a specific topic. Just reading through the headlines can give you inspiration. Reading the posts can help with research around a specific topic.

Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are really taking off. You can find them on every topic, even ones you never knew existed! Give some a listen. Sometimes just looking at titles and descriptions is enough to spark some new ideas.

Learn from Questions and Answers on Quora

The Q&A website Quora is a forum for just about everything. The questions and answers there will give you ideas.

Put that Email to Work

We mostly talk about the overload of email, but looking at all those messages as a place to mine for ideas makes the deluge seem a little more palatable. Subscribe to interesting newsletters. Click-through at least a few items every day.

Content Ideas Offline

There are plenty of offline ways to get some fresh ideas, too. A friend finds them walking in nature. Another gets energized with a little retail therapy. There’s inspiration all around if you open yourself up to the opportunities.

Go, and be inspired!

Keep Your Content Simple

Keep you content simple

Guest Post by Amy Newton

Everyone who owns a business wants to tell the world about it. Sometimes, owners want to tell the world so much about what they can do, what they have recently done, and so on, that their websites or brochures are crammed full of content. While there isn’t any harm in writing about your services, expertise, and accolades, especially to help bolster business, is that all really necessary? Can the content be scaled down to get to the core — the “meat” — of what you do?

There isn’t any judgment about your writing here. We have all used business jargon, too many adjectives, and too many words in general. Whether you are writing text for a brochure or your website, getting to the point of what your company does and offers is achievable.

Plan your content

Let’s start with the nuts and bolts of your marketing material before we talk clutter. Think about the communication form you will be using and the information you want to provide to your potential customer. For brochures, decide if you need an eight-page, stapled booklet or an 8.5×11 sheet. If you are creating or refreshing a website, decide how many menu pages are necessary to focus on your company.

For either project, you will want to separate your content into pages or sections that are easy to identify. Titles/headers and lists are simple ways to break up paragraphs of text.

Keep it Simple

Once you have decided on the size of the printed material and/or menu of your website, text is next. Strike the balance of giving your client enough information about your company, while not making them click away because of text overload. A simple way to do this is to categorize what you want to include:

  • Need to Have
  • Nice to Have

Need to Have information is easy to identify. This can include: a brief overview of your company, the services or products your company offers, years of service/expertise, and company contact information.

Nice to Have information is the content that is extra padding. This includes: testimonials or recommendations, bios of team members, lengthy photo galleries or galleries that show projects many years old.

It isn’t wrong to include any of the information in the Nice to Have category. You will just need to be stronger with your editing because these areas can get unwieldy.

Keep in mind when writing content for your website on how it will translate to other devices. If you have to scroll down several times when reading your text on a desktop computer, think about how much scrolling one will have to do from a mobile device. While some are more willing to scroll for a little while, nobody likes to scroll forever.

Before you Post or Print 10,000 Copies

When in doubt if your content is clean and simple, take a step back, get a cup of coffee, and come back to review your text. Chances are you will find a sentence or two, or maybe a paragraph, that can be edited or deleted altogether. Time is valuable. Get to the point so that your potential customer can find what they need and contact you to get started.

Write Content that Matters

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You want your content to be noticed. Here’s a checklist to make that happen.

Address an Audience Interest

People read things that speak to their needs and interests. Period. If your content doesn’t talk about something they need or want, it is worthless.

For blog and social media posts, target a single interest or need. On your website, make sure your content addresses all key needs.

Make the topic clear in your headline and subheads. Repeat over and over in the text so the focus remains clear.

Be Clear and Authentic

Use clear language that doesn’t overstep. Stick to the bounds of what you know, to avoid losing the respect of your reader. Make sure the content reads as helpful and informative rather than like a sales pitch.

Offer Something Valuable

If you don’t have a new insight to share, you don’t have content worth sharing. Write your content in a way that offers a fresh perspective, that connects the dots, or shares your unique insight.

Make valuable, actionable suggestions that makes the reader feel rewarded for diving in to your content.