Social Media: Hashtags
Identify the influencers in your industry. Put them on a Twitter list or follow them. Look at how people interact with those influencers. Often, people will ask influencers questions; but because influencers are busy, they won’t have time to respond to all the questions.
SlideShare kind of falls into its own category of online content. It’s a hugely popular site, and there are slide decks for just about every industry out there. Search for your industry, and find the most popular decks. From there, create content that builds on the popular topics or that presents your unique commentary.
Are you unsure about what your customers need to know? Ask them what they’re struggling with. Ask them for three challenges they’re facing in the industry. Ask them what topics they would like to know more about. Don’t overdo it with surveys. Directing even one question to a few customers can lead to great content inspiration and ideas.
In the same way you can get ideas from the comment sections of other websites, you can get great ideas from your own comment sections. If readers are asking questions or telling you what you should have included, you can use that to create new content.
From Alexa to Google and more, voice-activated content and apps literally surround us, yet it’s so often overlooked when we think of creating content. Instead of optimizing like we would for search engines, we need to optimize for conversation, because we don’t say, “Hey, Google. Time now.” Instead, we say, “Hey, Google. What time is it?” It’s a whole different way of thinking about how users engage with our content, and how we answer their questions in return.
When CoSchedule launched a Click To Tweet WordPress plugin, they found an opportunity to help their audience enable their readers to share content directly inline in blog posts. It was also a terrific way to add “Powered By CoSchedule” to more than 10,000 blogs.
The Complete List of Engaging Content Ideas
The following ideas are a collaborations between myself and from Rob Garner, author of the book Search and Social. Keep in mind you can use multiple content types to create your content strategy. In his book, Rob tells us to consider how your audience consumes content. Use each suggestion below accordingly.
Interviews providing insightful Q&As with interesting people or thought leaders in your business area is a great way to attract a like-minded audience. Interviews can be fun, engaging, informative and can include many asset types, including video, audio, text, and images.
My approach to getting interviews is to invite people to be featured on my blog. This acknowledges their expertise and shows that I respect their input. That helps me build relationships with other important individuals in my field.
Interviews also help me broaden my reach and my network. I am banking on my subject telling their associates, friends, and connections about their interview, thus generating visibility for myself and my blog. As they share news about the interview, they create backlinks to my site, boosting my blog’s authority with search engines. See how that works?
Tips for the Interview Process
Stories and Anecdotes
Special and unique content comes when I share my real life stories and experience. When I tell a story that relates to my experiences or example within the context of a current topic or business problem, I feel I am developing a deeper relationship with my audience. Consider relating a business experience in a blog post and share on a major social network or discuss in a live presentation or webinar.
One of my favorite and most successful blogs was called “Why Do We Do Everything Google Says”. In my blog I talk about a dinner conversation we were having at my home with my husband regarding Google’s best practices and how we could use these to make changes then all of a sudden my daughter asked, “Why do you have to do everything Google says”? With that one question from someone outside our industry I was able to raise questions in my blog that created quite a bit of online conversation and social sharing. (Not to mention my daughter was excited that I included her in my blog!)
Contests and Giveaways
I love contests and giveaways, probably because I love winning! If you give away something that interests your key audience, you will receive attention in return. Use your entries as a way to offer additional content-opt-in opportunities or to simply ask them to connect with you directly in social networks (examples: “Please follow us on Twitter” or “Like us on Facebook”). Keep in mind that your giveaway should be relevant to your end goals, or else you will attract an irrelevant audience.
One of the funniest contests we did as a digital agency was when Google came out with their 360 degree business photos that allow visitors a virtual tour of our digital agency. Boy, did we have fun with it.
We created a game: Instead of the same old tour, we included a treasure map laid out on a side desk in our virtual tour. The treasure hunt was then used as part of our next social marketing contest.
Even though Google prefers no people in the photo shoots, we stretched that rule a little, too. We asked some of our employees dress up as characters and had visitors online find the characters, and if they did they received a copy of a new eBook.
We tied the photos into social networking games that rely on image clues scattered within the virtual tour of our business office. These types of interactivity are important for establishing the backdrop to engage an audience to play.
FAQs: If there is any one particular content idea or type that should be considered mandatory for any business, product, or service on the Internet, it is the “frequently asked questions” section of your site, otherwise known as the FAQ. FAQs represent exactly what the name suggests—the most commonly asked questions about your business or service. Creating a thorough FAQ on your website provides the answers that your core audience most commonly seeks. It also offers your audience and social-media managers a basis for answering and referring to questions outside of a website and into social networks.
Content for FAQs should come from your customer-service department (if you have one), from frequently asked questions on answer sites and forums, and from common-sense questions about your products or services. The development of your FAQ is an iterative process, and the more often you interact with your audience, the more awareness you will have around their common questions. Remember that FAQs are not only for social outreach but also for search, because many people will enter their common questions about your business into a search box.
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