Everyone knows that in 2015, business owners should be as concerned with creating content as they are with generating leads. In the digital world, after all, one produces the other.
If you think that content is not as important as, say, attending trade fairs or scheduling meetings with other vendors, just look at the example set by the Marriott Hotel chain. Marriott now runs what is, in effect, an award-winning media company, producing stirring content (aspirational travelogue videos, testimonials ‘written’ by customers et cetera) that potential clients increasingly access on mobile and share with their friends en mass.
Content + shares = lead generation. Simple.
Assuming that you can find the time in your busy schedule to produce content in-house, however, we know that it’s not always easy to generate new ideas. Creative blocks can strike without mercy, and they can affect the best of us. But there are ways to utilise spaces within your working week (and weekend) to stimulate new articles, slideshows, videos and blogs that will keep your website fresh, your clients informed and your products flying off the shelves.
Postpone That First Coffee
It’s what we like to call the ‘magic five minutes’ – that golden time after waking and before downing your first shot of caffeine; when you find yourself stood, zombie-like, waiting for the kettle to boil, mindless, unaffected by the stresses and strains of the waking world. Like a newborn babe, everything stretches out before you, a plethora of possibilities.
This period of non-activity – when the mind remains partially in dreamland – should be cultivated and mined for all that is worth. Don’t chase it away with coffee – allow yourself to zone out and ride the creative wave.
It’s likely that you will be snapped out of this productive reverie by a screaming child, or a ringing phone, but that’s OK. Nothing good lasts forever. If you utilise it correctly, however, the magic five minutes could produce something special – a Top Ten list to end all lists, a video script that writes itself. It’s all about letting it happen.
Embrace The Traffic Jam
So you’ve left the house, packed the kids off to school, let the caffeine hit your bloodstream – it’s full steam ahead. Time to grab the working day by the lapels and shape it to your will!
And then – everything stops.
Don’t let the bile rise, though. Don’t grit your teeth. Please, whatever you do, don’t start beeping that horn! Instead, make use of the opportunity – while stuck in an endless snail’s march toward the office or client meeting – by turning your mind to content.
Put on the radio, listen to the news, use whatever is popular on the day. If GoPros are in the headlines, for example, think about how you can surf that particular SEO wave by writing about your own products. Don’t worry, you’ve got time to think – traffic jams are like that!
Set Yourself a Content Challenge
Nowadays, none of us ever turn off entirely. And if you run your own photography business, chances are you don’t turn off at all. Ever. It’s possible, however, to relax and create at the same time. The human brain is more than capable – once it’s had its coffee, of course.
It is often during those much-needed down times that the best content ideas raise their heads. If the mind has been preconditioned to do a little bit of something rather than a whole lot of nothing, invariably it will.
So, while you’re watching your favourite horror movie on a Saturday night, if it is on duty, your brain will see killer content ideas that the conscious mind would otherwise miss; it will score an amazing list piece as you kick a football around with your friends; it will stir up interesting stories as you attempt another pumpkin and peach soup.
Every Friday, then, start your weekend in the knowledge that you will arrive at Monday morning with three new content ideas good to go and ready for action. You’ll be surprised by how many gems you find in the mundane.
Go For a Run
It may be the last thing you want to do on a cold November evening, with the wind racing against you and the hard rain cutting your cheeks to shreds, but there is a definite mental benefit to pounding the pavement, even in the harshest of seasons.
The thing with running is, it’s incredibly boring. OK, the first few occasions can stimulate a sort of euphoria. Lost in your rhythm, with the perfect playlist pushing you ever onward, you can get to thinking that you’re superhuman. But the novelty soon wears off, and that’s when you can get to work!
Five kilometres can take a long time to complete – fill each kilometre with content. Make those two or three runs a week your most productive period – use them to come up with new Q&A streams, or think about how you might rejuvenate a tired blog. It will allow you to stop thinking about content the rest of the time and start thinking about other ridiculously hipster vegetable soup combinations instead. Result!
Don’t Be Afraid to Brainstorm
Always remember, you are not in the search for quality content alone. Even if you’re self-employed, you have friends and family who can pitch in.
It may be your responsibility to create new content to promote your business, but if you are part of a larger team, you should take advantage of each and every brain at your disposal. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s an easy, surefire way to create new content.
We each have our own interests, our own online news preferences, apps, circles of friends. We each see the world in our own inimitable ways, and we all have our own ideas. Find out what is on your workmates’ minds. What videos have they shared recently? What did they like about them? How might you do something similar with your own products?
Of course, these days, we all have far too much on our plates, but by taking the time to sit down together and think about content over coffee, you can take the pressure off. Brainstorming is, perhaps, the most fruitful content-generation exercise you can participate in. And when the session is over, it doesn’t matter who came up with the best idea – it was your idea to brainstorm in the first place!