Where to get content ideas for your blog

Content idea

I have now joined the team at Creativeboris.com which is a service supplying you with great blog post ideas.

Talking to many content clients over the years, coming up with great ideas is usually the first place people get stuck. There is a number of processes to go through when creating content of course and as it has got harder and harder to get attention and engage these days, every little helps.

Where the service really helps is that it keeps supplying content ideas, once you use up your natural reservoir of ideas things get tough. You can of course get in the mindset to be able to be an idea machine, but wouldn’t you rather be working on your business or speeding up the content creation process?

The current price is at an introductory level and will rise as the service fills, I suggest you get in whilst it is still new and hungry for subscribers.

Get ideas for your blog posts and content.

Why you should love content strategy and stop worrying about content

content strategy
I hate the content industry.

But isn’t that the industry you are in?

No, the industry I am in is communication and persuasion.

Sounds just as bad, so what’s up with “content”?

I was reading an article on adage.com and I had the warning, the word paradigm was used in the title. But what I focussed on was the bit about content…

At its core, it requires an understanding that audiences are not monolithic.” as if it were a revelation.

But surely everybody gets the fragmentation and micro segmentation of the audience nowadays.

It goes on,

Breakthrough content will be developed by agencies that were born and raised in the digital revolution. Agencies that have the ability to not only develop the content, but also the commitment to leveraging data in more complex ways than simply media targeting. It requires a commitment to creating both emotionally engaging content but also the more mundane tools that consumers need for frictionless experiences buying and using products. And, perhaps most critically, it requires the technical skills to build experiences that live within the consumer journey, not interrupt the journey.

Now, I am aware that it may be just the jargon that is winding me up, the use of friction and journey particularly. It’s this insistence that you have to be some can of yoofful, newdigital age, Facebook fugger to get it.

Bollocks, admen were creating emotionally engaging content back when cornflakes were first invented and even then way before that. And that tools and complexity is needed to create in the the pseudo medium (it’s not a real medium).

Crusted, old geezers can still pick it up faster than it takes a drop of watery mucus to fall from these snot nosed kids whose arses are more suited to bean bags than chairs.

Because it’s not complicated, it’s not new. Yes the tools are new, but they are simply mechanical devices invented to get the idea from one persons brain to another persons brain. To be honest the mechanical stuff is easy, pwning Snapchat, Instagram can be learned in an hour.

The information to suck into your brain in one swoosh of an internet surf hour resides in servers around the globe, just waiting for you to plug in and go. Do you have to be some man bearded, fixie bike riding metrosexual to and from the breakfast cereal cafe? No, of course you bleeding don’t, you muppet.

it’s relatively easy, it’s simple analysis and research. Remember, these systems are brand new, no one is really an expert in them.

Yes you have to have the right attitude, but to someone who is an expert in persuasion, it’s not hard to adapt to the current landscape.

How to tell a story is still the most important thing in branding or this “new paradigm” bollocks type branding. Which isn’t really new at all.

The story amplifies the culture. I am less calling in a brand these days, and think the term “culutre” is more accurate and rather than calling it an audience, lets call it a tribe.

Content production is increasing at an unprecedented rate because it’s cheap and it sometimes works. But the type of content that mostly gets built is garbage.

Content often follows no strategy apart from the SEO dept telling the content creators, “this week we need to rank for “Kim Kardashians ass“, and so every bit of content then produced is about Kim Kardashian’s ass and there is a lot to write about.

But that is not the way it should be done. SEO should follow the content, not drive. OMG, did I just commit SEO heresy?

A strategy, which reflects the culture of the brand should be developed and crafted. The story framed to highlight and focus on certain aspects. The content is simply the mechanical distributor of the story you want to tell. You need content to tell the story, but it is not the thing that really matters itself.

To be able to develop such a strategy you need to understand the culture of the organisation you are there to help. You also need to understand pop culture and the zeitgeist of the time, as content needs to catch the right current that is going to propel it a little faster than all the other boats that are sailing that day.

The tribes you wish to appeal too also matter, you must learn about them and be able to communicate with them.

The point being is you don’t have to be a new, shiny shiny agency to do all this, crusted and dusty agencies with saggy ball bags and a hacking, morning cough can also compete in this new arena.

The fact is, the older agencies have always had to adapt and have the minds with the ability to do this.

Is Content really the thing you should be concentrating on right now?

content

It’s not about content.

Content is merely the mechanical process to make communication and persuasion happen.

The creative act occurs in the brain.

Content simply transports the thought into the brain of others.

If you have other things to do you can stop reading now, the above 4 lines will be the best thing you have learned today.

For those who like to go a little deeper, read on.

Content marketing has been around for a while, although most businesses have a problem in properly using it to achieve their objectives. It’s a complex technique to get right, which relies on methodologies antithetical to most business minds. This is why most businesses should stop content marketing right now and place all of their spend on advertising.

It still represents the most effective, low cost way to gain market share, but only if it is done correctly and done by people who understand the nuance of communication and persuasion.

Some see it as a way to increase the ranking of their keywords in search engines. Others see it as a way to get people on their website and get their credit cards out.

Both things are worth persuing, but they are not the most effective results you can get from content marketing. For a long time, online marketers published content to get optimise the title tag of the web page and pull in the traffic from Google, add in a few paid links for guest posts, and your off to the races. The old techniques worked well back in the day. But things have changed.

Along comes the Hummingbird algo and things all get semantic, contextual and lots of other words that will not get you laid at a Dolce & Gabanna party, and the old techniques no longer work. The SEO agency changes brand to become a “content marketing agency”, or digital agency and this makes perfect sense as it communicates better to the people who we want to communicate to.

Because Google still relies on links, they are still important. In my opinion they are obfuscating their use of social activity as a signal, probably because it could be easily gamed. But social is important in its own right, regardless of whether Google taps into it and uses it as a signal.

Which brings me to the point of this post, “Why waste money on content marketing?”. I think the answer that most people would have hanging in their head but would never iterate in a verbalised format is that they “hope” content marketing would work.

information

The data however is against them. Consider a research report published by Buzzsumo.com:

The research, which analyzed the shares and links of 1 million posts, found a low level of content engagement they characterized as “striking:”

* 50% of randomly selected posts received 8 shares or less
* 75% of these posts received 39 shares or less
* 75% of these posts achieved zero referring domain links

Now, these are only the posts that they found, we don’t know how much content gets published that does not even get found by the Buzzsumo search bot.

Maybe you think this is OK for 50% of posts to receive 8 shares or less because the other 50% of the blog posts a business is putting out gets 1,000’s of shares. But if you look at most blogs you see that the share is consistent. It either gets a huge amount of shares consistently, or it gets a little amount consistently.

In other words, it’s not the content that is driving the shares.

If it were, then people like Seth Godin, who sometimes writes stuff that is a tad crusty around the edges (who doesn’t) wouldn’t still gets links and social shares. The evidence clearly shows that an influencer with a rabid fan base can get mediocre content promoted. When someone with little influence can put out great content and it mostly gets ignored.

This is because of the complexity of the relationship between the influencer and the fan, it’s not just about the content. It’s more about how people relate to others and the human condition, than about whether or not you use long form content or infographics.

It’s the culture, the brand, the emotional connection between the reader and everything the piece of content represents. It is not the content in isolation. You couldn’t get anything doing without content of course, it is essential, but it is only part of what makes the piece of content successful.

I have said in the past that the Secret of Ranking in Google is to build great content, but it’s not enough. It’s essential, but only gets you to the starting point.

The secret to content marketing, is to build a great relationship.

If you wish to know more, sign up to my email newsletter and I shall send you some interesting stuff.

Image source

STOP Building content right now and focus on Culture!

Content2

Unless your content is in the top 10% of all content currently being produced, you may as well not bother.

In fact you may as well invest your money in cupcakes and give your copywriters a rest.

Which will mean you will have happy copywriters and wont have shoveled more mediocre web content online, for people to ignore.

Do you ever wonder why your stuff doesn’t get any social signals, when not even your own staff, whose very jobs depend on your success, ignore your content?

It’s very simple, and you don’t even have to hire me as a content strategist for me to give the benefit of my years of experience.

It’s because your content is mediocre.

Your content isn’t crap, because crap does get a reaction.

It’s just that it’s beige, bland, boring, something that few people in their right mind would even think of sharing with their friends. It’s not sexy content.

twitter moments

The thing is, your agency isn’t going to tell you because you pay them for the production and they don’t hae the skill set to be a kickass publisher of attention attracting content.

Your copywriter is not going to tell you. They are too worried that the 504th line of their epic poem they are writing about Ernest Hemmingway’s beard to worry too much about your misunderstanding of content marketing.

You do content, because you are told that is what you should do. You hear it at conferences, on blogs, from smooth talking salesmen from the local SEO content marketing agency.

But it’s not what you should be investing in.

Because good content comes from good culture.

What I mean by culture is you have to have an interesting story and be prepared to tell it. You have to be transparent about who you are. You can’t hide any more, people like to buy from people they like, they want to associate with people they aspire to be.

This age has changed from the an information age, because information is flowing as freely as the screams of joy from a Tennessee whore house (too much?).

information

It is now the age of culture.

Do you have the right culture?

What are you kidding me? You’re a human being, you can chose your culture, your brand, the way people feel emotionally about your business.

See it from the perspective of someone who does not know your business. Why should they care, what is it about you are your website that makes them excited, that connects with them on an emotional level.

Discover the essence of why someone would care about your business and there you have the secret formula.

Now, most of you wont get this and that’s fine. Connecting the dots in this new age of content shock, you will realise that content marketing is not a sustainable strategy and there needs to be a little secret sauce added to get things moving.

That secret is one of culture, some call it branding but I think it’s way more than that. It’s also about relationships and how you are as a human being.

This is a bit of a rambling blog post I know, and not honed and edited to maximise the readers experience. But this is written in one pass, because that’s my culture. It’s where the good stuff is. It may not even make sense to most, as someone said of my last post. “I need a sub-editor”, and that is true, but don’t let that get in the way of the message I am sending out here.

We are currently in a massive crisis in the content marketing world, except most don’t believe it or don’t want to believe it.

To summerise:
Make the best content you can that elbows its way into the top 10%
Build a culture within your business and content that resonates on an emotional level with your customer base.

Image source

Why you should stop content marketing right now

stop

I’m being serious here, this is not clickbait. You should probably stop content marketing now and spend the money on Facebook ads instead.

The reason being you don’t really care about the people reading your content do you? Admit it. You only care about what they are going to do for you.

Well guess what, people know that.

You got into your business to make a bit of money, inspired by those blog posts with the dude in his hammock and a cool beverage, palm trees in the distance.

And you have made money, but you had to work hard for it and content marketing still does not work for you. Not even you or your boss retweets the content your SEO is pumping out.

That has to be bad doesn’t it, when the boss or CEO doesn’t even promote the content marketing the SEO agency is pushing out.

Hold on a minute.

Why are you outsourcing content marketing to an SEO company? That’s slightly worse than having a web design company doing but never as bad as getting a PR company to do it.

Most CEOs don’t tweet.

Other CEOs are so passionate about their business they seek every outlet to get the word out about how cool their company is.


You cannot outsource that.

If you want to invest in content marketing, understand that for it to work you and your company needs to get behind it and use it as a way for your passion to reach the wider public.

Your brand, your ethos, your integrity is what will drive a great content marketing strategy. If you don’t have these then I am not going to lie to you, it’s going to be hard. What content marketing does is amplify what you already have, if you have a cold, dead heart that is full of a black bile of cynicism. Then that is what is going to get amplified.

But if you really care about your brand, your product, your service, and love your customers then that is what is going to be promoted. If you have these in abundance, then you absolutely need content marketing. Not the stuff you buy off the shelf from a black hearted, cynical, agency with an expensive office with exposed brick walls, pot plants and and bean bags.

Ideally it should be in-house, from the people who really care and know your business. Failing that, hire someone who is passionate about communication and hire them to tell the stories your business has, rather than doing content marketing just because you heard about it at the latest Chamber of Commerce meet up.

Thanks to Dennis for the Tweet inspiration.
The fantastic image was supplied by Greg Westfall