Many people get stuck when coming up with content marketing ideas.
They know they should be doing content marketing to build their brand, create awareness and community, engage with fans or customers, and drive major business results, but they often don’t know where to begin.
This is because they’re overthinking it. Don’t overthink or get bogged down and hung up on finding the right thing to post or share. Not every piece of content has to be a work of art that takes a lot of time to create.
In fact, some of the most consumed content right now is that which is live or feels current, in-the-moment, spontaneous, and voyeuristic. This is why short, disappearing videos, such as SnapChat and Instagram stories are so popular.
“But I don’t understand why people like that kind of stuff,” I can already hear you saying. “Who wants to watch me go about my day, doing errands, or working? I just don’t get it.“
The good news is you don’t have to ‘get it.’ If your target audience gets it, then do it. It’s not about you, remember? It’s about your audience. Personal feelings are not what should drive content marketing decisions or larger business decisions as whole. To succeed, one must respond to the needs of the market and cast one’s personal biases aside.
And don’t worry about failure or looking stupid. Don’t pull your hair out trying to get your hair and the lighting just right for the video or scrutinizing every word of your blog post before hitting “publish” or “post.” If you doubt and second-guess yourself before publishing, you’ll never get anything done and stand in the way of your own progress.
Content marketing – like many things in life – only generates significant returns when done frequently and consistently. The results are cumulative and build over time.
Document more than you create.
Here’s a helpful tip if you’re feeling stuck: Document more than you create.
Not all of your content has to be your original thoughts or ideas. Share relevant updates, post trending news articles or videos about your industry featuring a brief caption with your own two-cents on the issue, or take people through a typical work day or project. Share tips, quotes, and insights as you learn them and provide the information with a source.
And if something flops, gets no response, or receives negative responses, don’t get discouraged. I’ts important to keep going.
From my own experience as a freelancer and entrepreneur, I know that it’s incredibly important not to dwell on rejection or failures. The only way to win and maintain the enormous amounts of stamina needed to succeed is to channel your energy productively. If something doesn’t work out, simply dust yourself off and move onto the next thing. Unless you’re relentlessly and continually putting out content, your efforts to get noticed will fail.
Share your growth.
Don’t be afraid of showing that you are learning and growing.
Besides fear of failure and “creator’s block,” many people worry that they are not yet an expert or “thought leader” worthy of sharing with the world.
The truth is, you are worthy of contributing to the conversation as long as you stick to what you know. Avoid the common mistake of talking about things about which you lack sufficient knowledge or expertise. It will be painfully obvious and you’ll sound like a jerk. Rather, take people through your process. If you tell your story with conviction and sincerity, your content will be more likely to resonate and find an audience.
When I learned this, it was a relief. I no longer felt the pressure to prove I was an expert on everything. Simply by sharing my journey and documenting my process of starting a digital marketing agency, I can create content that can educate, entertain, and inspire on a regular basis.
And here’s the best part:
It doesn’t take much time away from my other responsibilities, because all I’m doing is showing my work and sharing what I learn as I go. As long as you can do it in a way that will keep your audience’s attention and provide them with value, it will catch on.
Don’t get caught up on things like lighting, camera gear, and your hair. It’s more important your content has substance and communicates authenticity. Not only on social media, but in the world in general, authenticity is of primary importance. Being authentic builds credibility, trust, and ‘likeability.’
When you earn the trust and adoration of your audience, you increase the likelihood that they will want to support you and your endeavors.
That is how community and brand are built.
Examples of documenting instead of creating:
Note: All of the following can be done from your smartphone and most can be delegated to someone else in your organization.
Wedding Planner: Produce short Facebook and/or YouTube videos with phone or camera featuring the couples sharing how they met. Capture the process of planning the wedding from the first client meeting to hiring a caterer to preparing the hall to the party itself.
Plastic Surgeon: Have someone film Instagram stories that show you operating (with patient permission) as you narrate what you’re doing and talk with the staff.
Real Estate Agent: Use Snapchat stories to show yourself walking around neighborhoods while you educate people about them. Host a virtual open house. Feature photos of new listings and film yourself interacting with buyers.
Financial Advisor: Tweet short, helpful financial management and money saving tips between meetings and paperwork (or schedule them in advance). Go live on Facebook or Instagram (or have someone in your office do it) once a week for 5-10 minutes answering common finance-related questions that crossed your desk over the past few days.
Plumber: Show short (15-30 sec) video clips and photos for Instagram, Snapchat, and/or Facebook that show you solving tough plumbing problems. Walk people through how you fixed the problems. Show the scene before you started the work, a couple quick video clips during the repair, and a photo of a job well done. You could title your show something humorous like “Bathroom Impossible.”
Animal Shelter: Share short video clips of you and your staff interacting with the dogs, telling the stories of how the dogs arrived to the shelter, and showing people purchasing the dogs and giving them a new home. Keep a short diary of these events and showcase it on the blog.
B2B Technology Software: Quickly jot down hiring, recruiting, and management challenges you yourself encounter as they happen and later convert them into short blog posts that can eventually be co-opted into ebooks or white papers. Host a once per week 20-minute podcast where you talk about recruiting or management best practices.