30 Content Ideas You Can Create in
One Week or Less
You've heard the story of the cobbler's children, I'm sure. The shoemaker was so busy making shoes for his customers that his own children ran around barefoot.
Too often, service-providers run into this same situation. Like the technology business that uses outdated computer systems. Or, the organization guru who can't find her latest book among the piles of paper on her desk.
We're copywriters. We help businesses improve their marketing. It's critical that we showcase our skills in marketing our own business. A half-finished website, outdated self-marketing materials, and such just won’t do.
One of the best ways to show off your marketing skills is through content marketing.
What is content? According to the Content Marketing Institute, it's relevant and valuable information that's designed to attract and connect with our target audience — with the goal of moving our readers to action. In our case, that action is to hire us to do their copywriting.
But to be clear, content isn't selling. In a world dominated by social media, it's important to understand the difference. You see, people don't trust marketing messages any more. A recent study by Alterian, Your Brand: At Risk?, drives this point home. It reveals that more than half of consumers feel that companies are only interested in making money off of them, not in selling the product that's right for them.
But surprisingly, content can go a long way to building trust. According to a poll by Custom Content Council, more than three-fourths of consumers believe that companies offering custom content are interested in building better relationship with customers.
That belief is at the core of content marketing.
When you provide useful, actionable, and relevant information that helps your readers achieve their goals, you build their trust. So down the road, when they need a copywriter, you’re the first name that pops into their minds.
Bob Bly is the perfect example of this. His books, articles, and newsletter have given him strong name recognition. McGraw-Hill even calls him "America's top copywriter," a title that's sure to attract new clients.
By creating useful content and posting it to our websites, we can also develop the name recognition that makes us a go-to copywriter in our niche.
But, that's not the only benefit. A content website tends to rank better in the search engines. So, by regularly publishing content related to your niche, you're more likely to rank well in Google. That makes it easier for prospects to find you online.
And lots of good content impresses prospects once they've found your website. One of my newest clients told me he spent six hours reading my blog posts before hiring me. In one of his first emails, here's what he said: "Seriously, your content is some of the best stuff I've ever read. And I read a lot of the usual marketing suspects. I found myself nodding in agreement with what you were saying on several occasions. So keep preaching the gospel!"
The challenge, though, is what to create. To help, I've put together a list of 30 content ideas that you could write in less than a week. In fact, most of them could be done in a weekend.
Read it over, and find one that works for you. Or better yet, use it to get your own creative juices flowing, and brainstorm for ideas that are targeted to your particular niche.
30 Content Ideas
Articles or Blog Posts
- Write a how-to article about anything you do. Something like, "How to Get Your Social Media Done in 30 Minutes a Day," or "How to Write Headlines People Actually Read."
- If it's a complicated idea, write a series of how-to articles. I recently started doing this in my own blog. Rather than writing stand-alone articles, I'm covering one topic per month so I can go deeper with each subject.
- Share common mistakes and how to avoid them. Read Matt Furey's article, "Big-Time Email Copywriting Mistakes" for an example of this kind of article.
- List your favorite resources for getting your job done. Perhaps, "10 Social Media Tools That Help You Connect in Less Time."
- Give lessons from [your favorite hobby or historical figure]. This is an interesting twist on the how-to article. By gleaning tips from an unrelated topic, you can make an old subject fresh and new. For example, "Copywriting Lessons I Learned from Spock."
- Review a book relevant to your niche.
- Share why a program is or isn't worth the money.
- Interview a "celebrity" in your niche or industry. This can build your own reputation because connecting with big names gives you automatic clout.
- Promote a conference you're going to. For example, if you go to AWAI's FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair, you know you'll be meeting and learning from famous copywriters. Why not write about it?
- Share your favorite take-aways from the conference. You could write a series of posts, each one focusing on a different lesson learned.
- Explain how something you saw or did on your vacation relates to marketing or copywriting. Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies, did this recently. After a trip to Africa, her emails sported safari pictures and linked to interesting posts, such as "Sales Wisdom from the Elephants," and "Selling Secrets from the Giraffes."
- Compare and contrast tools or resources. My post, "A Quick Comparison of Three Email Services," was one of my best-read posts last year.
- Take a contrarian stand on a common issue. Like Seth Godin's article, "Keep the Trains Running," in which he tells writers that meeting deadlines isn't the most important thing they can do.
- Share timesavers that work for you. For an example, read Nick Usborne's article, "5 Online Tools You Can Use to Increase Your Value and Productivity as a Social Media Expert."
Develop Authority in Your Niche
- Curate information, such as a weekly roundup of interesting news in your niche. If you do this well, over time you could become the one place where your followers go for industry news.
- At the beginning of the year, predict what's going to happen in your niche or industry.
- At the end of the year, highlight memorable events of the year. Perhaps something like, "Remembering 2011: Three Events that Changed the Future of Online Marketing."
- Share interesting statistics from a new study.
- Do your own survey and share the results. There's no better way to establish credibility than to identify and respond to new trends.
- Share lessons learned, especially if you have an incredible success or failure on a project. A great example is Ed Gandia's article, "Are You Making This $45,000 Mistake?"
- Write about your own experience meeting a challenge that's common to your followers. Something like Pam Foster's article, "How I Landed 7 Ideal Clients in 7 Weeks."
- Turn one of your blog posts into a podcast. AWAI member Mike Klassen is doing well with podcasting.
- Would a particular subject be easier to show than tell? Make it a how-to video.
- Create a series of video tips. For example, instead of writing an article with 15 tips for optimizing your website, consider making 15 two-minutes videos. You could post them to your website or send them by email, one per day, to your followers.
- Compile your series of video tips into a program and add related articles. Then, make a promotional video to sell them on your website.
- Make a welcome video promoting your business and post it on the home page of your website. Visit FrogOnline, to see a terrific example of how AWAI member Kellie Craft did this.
- Instead of writing an "About Me" page, create a video instead, and post it to your website.
- Turn a picture into a holiday or seasonal greeting.
- Create an infographic. (Find some tips here.)
- Do you have an artistic bent? Draw a cartoon that makes your point.
Any of these ideas will get you started in content marketing. So, pick one that looks accessible and start today.
Over time, you may find you enjoy a particular type of content, such as podcasts. If so, you can specialize. But for now, focus on building up your website with lots of great content — one piece at a time.
Aim to showcase your marketing skills with a content website that makes your prospects salivate for your services. Get there by starting this week with your first piece of content.
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