Websites need good content as often as humanly possible. Content fuels your entire SEO plan. Good content drives visitors to your website, improves search engine rankings, helps get more high-quality backlinks, and increases business growth.
What if you are too crunched for time to create content regularly? Or what if you don’t have any good content ideas? I’m here to help. Here are 12 content creation hacks you should try using now.
Content Hack #1: Conduct An Interview
How can you create content? One way is to respond to a potential customer’s pain point. So ask: how can you make their lives better with your product or service? The best answers may come from the pros within your own company. A Q&A interview with an in-house expert who has their pulse on the customer needs and concerns would make a great piece of content. So start interviewing today!
Content Hack #2: Repurpose A Presentation
Did you or one of your team members recently make a slideshow presentation about something that impacts customers? Slideshows make great fodder for future content. Take one aspect of the presentation, or summarize the entire presentation — it doesn’t really matter. Creating good content can be as simple as expanding on another good piece of content.
Content Hack #3: Go Through Your Old Stuff
If your business has been around for a while, there is probably a dusty old file box lying around that has some information or data that’s historically relevant. Why not peruse the old stuff and see if you can turn it into something new? If you ask around, you may even have someone on your team that wrote an article years ago that could be revised into a new, fresh version. Producing good content quickly means squeezing more out of what you already have at your disposal.
Content Hack #4: Write An Article About Another Article
There is more than one way to do this. First, you can take an article that someone on your team has published in the past – or even an article in which they were quoted – and you can summarize that article and provide a link to it. Alternatively, find an article that you find interesting, controversial, fascinating, etc., and write a summary with comments about the topic. Again, it’s about making more with less.
Content Hack #5: Use Social Media
Take a few minutes to browse your social media profiles and follower activity. Is there something that social followers seem to like and share a lot more than other things? Maybe it’s even a comment from a frustrated customer that you can respond to with a blog post. Remember, answering a customer’s pain point through content helps overcome customer objections and drives other customers to your site. Take the bull by the horns and address concerns directly through your blog.
Content Hack #6: Use Google Analytics Search Queries Report
Formerly a part of Google Search Console, you can now find the Search Queries report in Google Analytics. Google provides you with some great instructions on how to read and filter the report, but if you sort by queries, you can get an idea of how many times certain terms show up in search results (impressions) and then how many times people click on each result. A piece of content surrounding terms that get lots of impressions and clicks can impact your rankings and drive more potential customers to your website.
Content Hack #7: Create A Listicle
Although some people think a listicle is nothing but cheap clickbait, I say they’re wrong. Listicles are incredibly popular with readers because they can find a list of something that interests them without having to click around to find answers in multiple locations. Listicles (like this article itself) are things like “10 Ways To Help Your Grandma Feel Better” or “10 Of The Best Adventure Vacations In Colorado”. The opportunities are endless, and your website visitors will love it.
Content Hack #8: Start An Editorial Calendar
This may elicit a groan from your team, but it really works. Plan a one-hour meeting and have every person on your marketing team bring five good content ideas to the table. Before you know it, you’ll have an overflow of great potential content ideas, and new ideas will sprout from this meeting. Divide up the list, assign deadlines and begin writing!
Content Hack #9: Revise Content For Different Audiences
This is a good one as it can be a great way to use something you already have to get something new. Take a piece of content, a brochure, presentation, or other marketing material and spin it to fit a different audience. Many businesses cater to several audience “personas”. Challenge your team to re-write the same piece of content in a different way for each persona. You’ll be thrilled by the results, and you’ll have several new pieces of content.
Content Hack #10: Conduct A Poll
It’s amazing how interesting data can be used to create good content. Consider creating a poll about something related to your industry. Perhaps you work in IT, and you want to know how companies are responding to the new GDPR regulations. You could create a short poll, send it to other experts in the IT industry, and gather their responses. The data can then be packaged into a piece of content. You can also poll your customers about their preferences and write an original blog post about their responses.
Content Hack #11: Use Google News
Google News is one of my favorite content generation tools. I also use it for outreach efforts and for social media posting fodder. This method is simple. Just type in some keywords related to your business and do some searches. What are other people talking about? Is there a way that you can write an article that comments on some “hot topics” showing up in Google News? Do the headlines spark other ideas for you? The research only takes 10 minutes and will help you generate some good ideas.
Content Hack #12: You’ve Got Mail
This can be done via social media, email, or a blog. Tell your followers and website visitors that you’re going to start a new “Mail” column in which you answer a customer question each week. This works under the assumption that you’re fully prepared to answer the questions that you get. Encourage your customers to ask questions about your business, history, or tips and pointers about how to use your products and services. It can be anything. Similar to a Q&A magazine column, you’re writing a direct response to a reader’s question. It’s a creative and fun way to produce new content and have a more direct relationship with your customers.
Why Automated Blog Content Generators Don’t Work
Automated marketing personalization has reached incredible levels. Who hasn’t seen an ad appear on Facebook or another website targeting your personal tastes, location and other preferences? Email tech has also moved into this realm as images and messages are swapped out as per user preferences. Smart Display ads – in which Google controls the bidding, targeting, and creatives – are another example of marketing automation. Some say the Internet spies on us, and others even claim smartphones can read their minds. Just think of a product and it appears on your feed. Yikes!
In this age of hyper-personalized marketing, it may be tempting to resort to using automated blog content generators to produce content for your website. After all, if the eventual goal is to create content specifically tailored for each website visitor, then content production would quickly become a bottleneck.
We recently searched Google for “automated blog content generator”, and one of the first sites that appeared was this one. It claims to “rewrite” original, fresh content in seconds. When we typed in “content marketing” as the keyword, the first article came up like this:
At first glance, we thought, “Wow, that was fast. It’s readable with some decent insight. Impressive.” But we were only fooled for a millisecond. If you Google the opening paragraph, this article about content marketing from Forbes shows up. It’s the exact same text. Even the image caption is the same. Some call this content “scraping” and there are varying levels of sophistication. Other platforms will scrape and spin the content in an attempt to avoid Google penalties.
To be fair, there are legitimate services out there that actually use artificial intelligence (AI) to write blog articles. For example, AI Writer claims to produce AI-written articles based on any topic. However, from what we’ve seen a writer would still be needed to edit, polish, and add human insight to the resulting article. Some similar services position themselves as “AI-assisted” content generators by having humans and machines working together to create content.
Despite the availability of automated and AI content services, we believe that human-generated content is still the best. In our opinion, stand-alone machine-generated content of the same caliber has yet to materialize. For now, any automated blog content generator still needs a human touch.
What audiences are really looking for is authenticity. So instead of resorting to machine-generated content, use the above 12 content creation hacks and pump out some new, high-quality content fast. Need help with your content strategy? Contact us.