101 Content Ideas to Grow Your Audience
I dropped Seth Godin an email. At first I was disappointed he didn’t have time for an interview, but after exchanging a few emails, what I got was gold.
I was hoping to get his input on something I’ve struggled with since reading his latest book ‘What to do when it’s your turn’ which urges us all to put our best work out into the world.
When it comes to content, consistency is key to visibility and therefore often we have to live by the principle “better done than perfect” in order to execute our strategies in a timely manner.
Any piece of work can be improved over and over again. The process could go on forever. However in an oversaturated market, quality matters more than ever, being average is a sure recipe for failure.
Seth asked us all to step up our game in his new book. This opens up the difficult choice of good enough versus putting your best work out there. How do we bring our best self to be at peace with not being our best all the time so we can still achieve our true potential? I asked him.
(a mouthful of a question I know — nothing Seth can’t handle gracefully)
Seth’s reply went … I quote.. “there’s no conflict here. “important” and “perfect” are in totally different spaces, like walking to school and taking your lunch. Sure, it’s nice for it to be more polished, but better still to be important, to be missed if it doesn’t happen”
There is no contradiction in his words. You will be missed if you give value and are consistent with it. I can never get enough of Seth’s simple yet smart approach. In our quest for consistently putting value out there, we want to make sure that we vary our content and find efficient ways of producing good quality interesting stuff in less time.
Here are 101 content ideas that will help you show up consistently as your best self and grow your audience. Content marketing will boost sales and build your audience’s trust.
1. Shoot a 1-minute video
Not good at writing? Switch on your camera and get talking. Share 1 tip in 1 minute and stick it on youtube, spread on social media and use it to SEO your website.
2. Get a Transcript.
Transcribe your videos and turn them into articles. Writing may not come natural to all, but talking does. We all talk. With some practice, you can record yourself explaining something your audience values and then turn it into an article. Add a famous quote, an introduction, and a call to action and bam you have a blog post that works.
3. Call to action Buttons
You always need a call to action. If you don’t have one then it means the people who engage with your content will not know what to do next. It’s also a good indicator that your strategy is missing some key elements.
4. Square Imagery with and without text
Produce a set of square images for every piece of content you create. Your imagery may contain blog titles, quotes or important lines from your post. Vary the image types using vector and photography find out which ones your audience likes the most.
5. Book Reviews
Read any good books lately? Make sure it’s relevant for your audience and share the best lessons you learnt in your book review. Make sure you connect it to what you do.
6. Rectangular imagery with and without text
Always create a set of rectangular imagery for headers of your social account profiles. These images can help more people get interested in your content. Ideally make them different and more subtle than the square ones to be shed on social platforms. (Avoid image repetition — people get very bored of this)
7. Work on your subtitles.
No matter what type of content you’re creating, never underestimate the value of subtitles. These are great to tell your audience exactly whether they are a good fit for your content. In other words whether they are part of your target audience. Use it in social posts too not only articles!
8. ‘How To’ Article
Write an instructional article. teach something simple and why not accompany it with a video as part of a content set.
9. Bullet List Post
Create a bullet list article. List useful items for your audience. Whether its websites where they can find resources. Online tools they can use etc, anything that saves your readers time makes a good list.
10. Online Calculator
Create an online calculator or share how to calculate something. Find the numbers in your game and help you audience get insight using a simple calculation.
11. Email Mini course
Use automated drip email software like Convertkit or Drip to create an email mini course. The course can be placed under related posts to collect prospect details.
12. Pdf Cheatsheet
Create a cheatsheet as a follow-up to a blog post. For example if your post is about Facebook marketing then your cheatsheet could be about setting up Facebook ads. Turn this into a freebie download.
Write an eBook about your area of expertise. An eBook is usually around 20 to 50 pages long (even longer if you want) it can touch on any topic of expertise and can be sold or given away as a freebie. Here’s a good template to use: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/free-ebook-templates
14. White Paper
A white paper is a document which is usually of a technical nature and contains specific information based on actual research. It can help position your expertise in any given topic and is often considered a high value downloadable for which you can a use longer opt-in form.
Here’s a good article about how to write one:
15. Free Chapter (even someone else’s)
If you have written an ebook or a book you can offer the first chapter for free and then sell the full book.
Interview someone who has a similar target market to yours but is not a competitor. Turn it into an article or video content.
17. Ask Experts a Question
Find a relevant question. You can use Quora.com to find a good question related to your industry) and ask that question to a number of influencers. Then create a post quoting their answers.
Create a podcast. Get your best articles, challenges, video blogs, talks or any other content and repurpose into a podcast script. Many influencers started off this way.
19. Sound File
Not comfortable with webinars or video just yet? Record your thoughts as a sound file and male them available on your website, product or a mini audio book.
No matter what your expertise is, you can create a template to help others do something more quickly. Everyone want to save time and pick an expert’s brain. Share your templates to build your list.
21. Step by Step Process pdf
Teach them how to do something. Pick something a small tip you like to share or something your clients ask about often. Break it down into simple steps and turn it into a 5 step process. Couple it with an infographic for more impact and share profusely.
Analyse what you do best. Break it down into a process and create a blueprint. Do not give it all away to your competitors but give away enough for your audience to see the value and try some of it for themselves. This will help people understand your strengths and how you work.
Have a good post or brochure? Turn it into a presentation and upload it to slideshare. You can also repurpose video.
Create a simple animation of a step by step process instead of a blog post, or even better couple it with a blog post and extract screenshots for an eye-catching content set.
25. Webinar replay
Do you run webinars? share a replay as a content throwback. It can help you gauge interest on the topic at hand. You could even ask your audience questions to understand what content they want following this webinar.
26. 3 second video
Create a 3 second video to share on instagram, Facebook and any platform that will take it.
Find a great quote and turn it into an image with your url at the bottom. Of course give credit to whoever the credit is due, but own the design and the url.
28. Go Live!
Go live on Facebook, Instagram or Periscope. It may seem like you need a lot of practice to get good and in fact you do. That is why you need to start today. Your race to online video comfort starts today. Go live. Cringe. Practice. Improve. Go Live again and Repeat daily.
Use article names that evoke famous book titles or films. For example I wrote an article once called 50 shades of blue (referring to the blue skies and seas of Malta) it got lots of hits although the content was pretty average and corporate.
Good titles work. Use them. People seek familiarity and they can’t help clicking.
30. Crack a Joke, Play a Little
Everyone likes a laugh. Cheer up your audience with some humour and watch them come back for more. Keep it light and Playful. Use puns and play on words. Make it short and easily repeatable and let the smiles spread.
31. Live event
Create a live event. Run a webinar with various experts that target the same audience and watch your list grow. Your influence grows by association, be seen with the best people you can collaborate with.
Run a challenge. Create a challenge whether its a 4,5,10 or 30 day challenge what matters is that your audience has daily wins to keep them coming back.
33. Free training
Offer free training. Create a video tutorial or a step by step article. People love to learn new stuff.
34. Twitter images
Create easily shareable twitter images. Text doesn’t always cut it. Make sure your scheduling software doesn’t only post links to your images but the actual images themselves.
35. Pinterest board
Create a Pinterest board that provides inspiration or value to your audience and share to your heart’s content and theirs.
36. Allow them to download articles as pdf
Create a printable version of your article and make it downloadable as a pdf. You can use a longer more detailed version or if your article is very long simply the same version because its easier to read when printed.
The human brain is wired to love data. Dig for interesting data in your niche, and turn it into a beautiful visual. You can use static or animated infographics. What matters is that the data is of value and easy to understand. You can get the visuals created by a freelancer on fiverr.com or peopleperhour.com. It’s pretty easy but what matters is that the data is of real value. Infographics get more shares when they’re actionable.
Create a historical timeline of something interesting that happened in your industry. For example: if you’re a health coach you could create a timeline of the use of Ginger over the ages.
39. Website copy
Don’t forget your web copy. When SEO-ed this can become a window into your website. If you base your website structure on keyword research then you’re much more likely to be found. Research keywords that already have traffic in your industry, then make sure you create pages (and blog content too) that target the keywords that have traffic.
40. about us page
Never underestimate your About page. I have worked in web departments for the last 15 years and I can confirm what 9 out of 10 site owners will tell you, the most clicked page in any website is the ‘about’ page. You should weave your website’s mission into this page. If it needs to sell then make sure it does. If it needs to position you as an expert then make sure it does just that. Whatever you do use it wisely.
Add some FAQs to your website. Especially if your content is technical in nature you can use FAQs to cover the same content in a simpler way, which is often the way people search. It’s also useful if your product or service actually require this. You can also pepper this information with suggestions on why they should be looking to use your products or services.
42. LI Profile copy
Make sure your linkedIn profile copy is up to date. If you’re applying for a job or pitching for new clients make sure it’s not a copy of your CV or your About page. Keep it different but highly relevant. Always start with the most recent and important information because most people will only read the first sentence or two.
43. LI Publications
Make sure you add your published content on LinkedIn. Whether it’s a press release to promote a new product release or an article in the huffington post make sure you feature it. Use your content smartly to convey what you want your reader to perceive about you and your company.
These are the holy gail of online trust. It is one of the Key elements mentioned by Daniel Priestly in Key Person of Influence. Social Proof is key to developing trust online so whenever you can get a testimonial and once you get a few work them hard. Add them to your website, request them on LinkedIn, Add them to your case studies and why not, add a great quote from a client to your email signature.
45. FB Profile Content
Your Facebook Profile is often the first impression people get of you. Make sure you fill in all the information especially your social links your website and your side images. Use every feature to make sure people can see everything you offer. If you have a freebie or a Facebook Group add those too.
46. FB Competitions
Create a Facebook competition to harvest leads. Use a third party Facebook competition app like guava box to create a competition with a price. They’re very good at boosting your page’s engagement. Make sure you choose a prize that is directly relevant to your product. Don’t give away iPads if you sell make-up you’ll get a totally irrelevant audience. By all means do give away iPads if you sell them in your online store and perhaps offer a discount to all the participants that didn’t win.
Create original illustrations. In a world where templates are the rule original artworks still kill it. Make sure you hire a professional to create your illustrations.
I’ve been disappointed for trying to go cheap.
48. Case Studies
Create a case study about a client’s story. Choose well make sure the message is largely relatable to your target audience and couple it with a testimonial. Use video or articles with imagery for authenticity.
49. News Jacking
News Jacking is when you use current news and connect it to what you do or sell to catch current interest and boost short term traffic. Check out the book it can work wonders for your business https://www.amazon.com/Newsjacking-Inject-Breaking-Generate-Coverage-ebook/dp/B0065MKMMS
50. Guest Posting
Guest posting is an obvious one. You might think I am already producing so much content! How do I keep up with guest posting as well. You can start off with blogs or online magazines that do not request original content. Alternatively you can look at some old post and repurpose them and re-write them in a style and tone that fits the online platform you want to be a guest blogger on.
51. An image of you!
Use images of yourself. You may say but no-one knows me. How are people supposed to get to know you if you don;t use picture of yourself. Get some professional photos taken and use them online.
52. Image Tips
Use an image to give tips. Top Tip Tuesdays, or Tippy Fridays is just an example. Share a tip using an easy to understand image. Make sure your images are all consistent. Same layout, same colours, same font and add your blog url at the bottom.
53. Learn how to hashtag
Hashtag but please do it properly. There is nothing worse than people who hashtag without having any idea how to do it. Not sure if you’re doing it right? Check this out http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/what-is-hashtag/#HvL_SZLQrPqx
54. Snapchat video
Create a short snapchat video. This new and up and coming platform will be very useful to businesses in the short term. It’s already happening jump in now!
55. Edit a famous image or video
Are there any viral videos out there related to your product or perhaps a famous image. Edit them to give them a twist that connects them to your product. A good example is the Mona Lisa or the Scream they have been used and reused so many times yet it’s still very effective because everyone knows them
56. Industry Benchmarks
Make sure you get your data from a reliable source and get creative with visuals and interpretations. Data is like honey for your audience, people just love it. Benchmarks garner interest because people want to understand how they measure up.
57. Collect data and report on recent surveys from good sources
Not sure you can find data related to your industry? Create a survey and get your own data. Its easy and simple and it’s a great idea to make your audience and prospects think about your product or service the way you do.
58. Take a picture with someone famous (someone your audience cares about)
Go to a conference and find yourself a celebrity your audience love. get a picture with them and make sure you share it lots and tell the story.
59. Create an Instagram story
Create an instagram story about your brand or a problem you resolve it only takes 3 seconds literally.
60. Facebook articles
You’ve probably heard about the new Facebook articles. It’ s a mobile publishing format that enables news publishers to distribute articles to Facebook’s app this mean they load and display 10 times faster than the standard mobile web. Say hello more readers.
61. LinkedIn pulse
LinkedIn Pulse is the content publishing platform on LinkedIn. Available only to personal profiles this platform is an amazing way to connect and share your content. LinkedIn enthusiasts will tell you its better to publish your entire article on linked, however I disagree. You need your call to action, link to the full length article or a link to a downloadable to take people to your website. Content is futile if it doesn’t provide you with new leads. Make sure you’re getting people’s emails you don’t own linked it could be gone (or change) tomorrow.
62. Add seasonal material
Of course it might seem like you’re jumping on the bandwagon but if you’re on time (meaning you start before everyone else) then it will work just fine. Make sure you show appreciation and give more generously for special times of the year. You may also want to check your typical client and see what is the predominant religion of your audience, this often means different celebrations although around the same times of year.
63. Curate some content
Busy? Curate some content. Find good content out there from a non-competitive source and share it.
Want to sell more products. Crowdsource your content. Find similar businesses that would love to tap into your audience. Write some guidelines for posting on your blog and make sure you make it as easy as possible for people to guest post on your blog.
65. Email a celebrity
Email a celebrity and ask them a question. Use the quote for an article. For an example checkout the introduction to this article 😉
66. Stroll down memory lane
Find something interesting to your audience and create an article on how they did it. For example you could outline the various websites or logos that a brand has had over the years.
67. Look to the future
Find out what’s coming in your industry what’s gonna be the next big thing and make sure you learn and write about it as much as you can. If you don’t know much take a course it will pay off.
68. Events — before, during and after
Promote events and cover what is happening before, during and after. Make sure you use lots of real life imagery and live video.
69. Online events
Create an online event whether its a short chat about a topic, an interview or a full blown online seminar with multiple speakers. Make it engaging and interactive and make sure you you repurpose all the videos as blog posts for SEO.
70. Post sequences
Create a series of posts to keep your audience coming back. Make sure you create a series of images that clearly show this is series of posts.
71. 4-Part video course
Create a 4 part video course to keep people coming back to your blog.
72. Story telling
Tell some great stories. Look at the people in your business and find the stories that hold the emotions and passions in your business. People love stories they can relate to, make sure they are relatable to your target audience. It’s about a different angle not a different story.
Fold in some controversy. Make statements that divide people into two sides like “SEO is dead.” Keep to one side but state your reasons clearly. Makes sure you let others comment too, the idea is to get engagement, this kind of content is ideal for that.
Create a planner or calendar that your audience might find useful. It could also be a food diary or something similar for products.
74. Round up post — best of…
Re-use old posts in a new post by creating an inventory of links and descriptions of the best posts of 2016.
75. Talk about new trends
Talk about new trends, mentions them often, hashtag them and make sure you learn as much as you can about them.
76. Write a post on Medium.
Medium is an online publishing platform developed by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, it launched in August 2012 and is not connected to Twitter.
77. Youtube weekly Programme
Create a weekly video will keep your audience coming back for more. This, however requires a lot of work so you need to make sure you can work it into your schedule.
78. Relevant links and keywords
Do your SEO research and make sure you have a series of evergreen posts that are highly SEO-ed to target your main keywords. Make sure it has a lot of relevant links and keywords.
79. Visualise Data Comparisons in pretty Graphs
Learn some simple excel tools and visualise some data in pretty graphs. People love comparison graphs make sure you find relevant data that looks awesome when you compare.
80. Moving Still Image
There are some snazzy new tools out there to create animated images. Create a compelling message through imagery or slide by slide text in animated gifs or use a cool image tools.
81. Create a charity campaign
Don’t want to spend a lot of money on PPC. Allocate your budget to a charity campaign. I’ve used this many times and it really works if you know where to find the right target market. Just give a small donation for each page like. Make sure your audience can follow the story of where the charity money is being used.
82. Use typography well
Use typography creatively to stand out. With so many self taught designers the pros still stand out through their knowledge of typography find yourself a good designer and ask him to create your message in a great typographic style.
83. Coin a word or expression
Invent a new word or expression to describe something you do. It doesn’t have to be unique it can just be a simpler way of describing something that already has many names. During one of my webinars I once coined a word which I still use now. I call it UPP. My Client’s Unique Personal Proposition. It means your unique traits that are a good fit for your ideal prospects. Now try finding yours.
84. Brand your personality
Make your personality your brand. Exaggerate certain elements of your personality and let them come out in your day to day writing. Make sure you aim for consistency and quality.
85. Share a Google doc (or dropbox)
Share something valuable. You don t need to subscribe to an expensive service you can do it simply through Google or dropbox.
86. Build Skyscraper Content
Find link-worthy content, Make something even better and reach out to the right people to make it known. Check out this case study to learn more about it: http://backlinko.com/skyscraper-technique
87. Do something wild and document it.
Thinking of doing a skydive. Live stream it. Connect it to your business. Say something deep or funny and make it visually entertaining, anything out of the norm will get you some attention and make you stand out. The world needs more exciting content!
88. Run an experiment
Do you have an idea you haven’t validated? Run an experiment Keep a diary and turn that into an article. I did this after interviewing an engineer about the Facebook algorithm I was so intrigued to see how it would work that I ran a test for 12 weeks. Here’s the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephanie-fiteni/my-12-week-online-visibil_b_10173710.html
89. Praise someone.
There are many people worthy of praise even in your own industry. If you notice someone doing something great write about it, appreciation stories are loved by many.
90. Stop being so serious and share some feel good.
I love the way Lana Schlafer will just record herself dancing and just put it online to share her joy. What do you do that’s fun? Share some of that.
91. Measure and give them more of what they like.
Make sure you watch your stats and write more content that people want. Take it to the next level but only for topics you’re getting good feedback on.
92. Interactive pdfs
Use interactive pdfs to help people follow processes. Make this the follow up to your blog post or article.
93. Write A letter.
Simply because it’s rare, it’s impact has returned. Write a real letter and post it, the traditional way with a stamp. If you want to impact someone specifically then send them a letter. If sell a business to business product, then you can actually reach many.
94. Use Snapchat
Create a sweet/cool or scary video on snapchat, and share to your delight.
Do you repeat something all the time to your clients or prospects. Turn that into an original quote signed by you and share it with people who love quotes.
96. Instagram Series
Create an instagram story that continues from video to video to keep em coming back for more
97. Pepper your logo with seasoning.
Change your logo based on the season add a Christmas hat or creepy spiders to it.
98. Organise a raffle.
Want to get some buzz on your Facebook page. Raffle some prizes and ask people to like, share or engage with you o participate. Or even better ask them to give you their email for the draw.
99. Do an industry round up.
Find out what the best in your industry are doing right now and write a post about it.
100. Create a Shortlist
Make a short list as a pdf or blog post of the best free resources your ideal client can find.
101. Merge and Recycle.
Find your best content whether it’s video , imagery or articles and merge them into new content. Edit videos and perhaps add a new voice et voila you have fresh content in half the time.
No matter how many of these tips you decide to use and how often you create content, consistency is the key to growing your following. Make sure you keep it regular and relevant and have fun with it.
But before you go ahead and start creating content profusely, you need to nail your Unique Personal Proposition. As explained in point x you need to nail your UPP so you know what makes you different and stay relevant. Make sure you know your target audience well and that you write your strategy down.
Make sure you stand out and grow your audience!