I maintain several websites and content-rich blog sites in order to promote my business and connect with potential clients. Each of these requires a steady stream of compelling, original content to keep readers engaged. I’ve been asked many times how I can keep up with this. “Don’t you ever run out of ideas?”
Well, sure. It’s not always like snapping your fingers to just rip off 400 more cogent, impactful words. So where does the inspiration come from? Several places, actually. But instead of trying to get you to immerse yourself in my world of constant communication coming from all directions, here are five steps you can follow to keep the content flowing.
#1 – Talk to your customers
One of the best ways I find to generate content for my blogs and websites is listening to my customers. They have a steady stream of excellent questions that represent the questions many more are asking. When you look at each question in that way, it helps you do three things. First, you find an accurate answer for that specific person. Second, you explore the idea in a wider context so you can help the next hundred people who all have a similar question. Third, you work to connect the line of thinking that led to this question and do your best to answer the questions along the way.
#2 – Read a lot
I make it a point to read at least twice as much as a I write every day. At minimum. I read newspapers, websites, related magazines and industry journals. I try to stay away from puff pieces and divisive stuff and stay focused on content that actually enriches, encourages and enlightens me. It never fails that, while reading, I am inspired to think more on or research more about a particular topic. When I do, this plants the seeds of several blog articles in my mind. I make note of these as well as the initial reference material and come back to it when it’s time to write the blog.
#3 – Write what you know about
The converse of finding inspiration in random or unfamiliar topics is mining for new content or perspectives in areas you already understand. Writing what you know offers a comfortable familiarity. But there are at least two challenges. First, you have to watch out for assumption. When you eat, sleep and breathe something, you can become comfortable in your expertise and less likely to source your opinions. That can lead to trouble. Second, there is a tendency toward redundancy because certain aspects of that topic will be more important to you than others. I never want people to land on my blog and think: “Man, Ronn Torossian, he always says the same thing.”
#4 – Write what you enjoy
One of the best sources of inspiration for me is learning something about something I enjoy. None of us know everything – even about topics in which we are fairly well versed. Writing about specific points, aspects or nuances forces us to do deeper and more extensive research. And while that sounds about as fun as wrestling a chimpanzee on a tightrope, it actually is fun because you are, one, researching something you enjoy, and, two, doing it because you want to.
#5 – Share your perspective
Most of my readers either already know, or learn within seconds, that Ronn Torossian is a public relations guy, so when people come to my blog they expect to read about topics from that perspective. Sure, sometimes I offer glimpses into my home life or other hobbies. But for the most part, people are reading to glean from my experience or expertise. So, I’m not shy about sharing from that point of view. Even current events get filtered through the perspective of public relations. Of course I don’t see everything that way, but for the purposes of interacting in that forum, those are the shades of glasses I wear.
As you can see, learning how to create consistent content is not just about “thinking up stuff.” It’s more about constantly thinking in general. Looking at new things in different ways and looking at familiar topics in new ways. Make it a habit to do this and you will have no trouble creating content.