Updated: Aug 26, 2020
Have you ever had one of those days where you’re super-motivated and ready? Ready to sit down at your desk and smash through your content creation for the week.
You close the door to your workspace, put your headphones in and open a word document. You’re prepared. You put your hands onto the keyboard and … crickets 🦗?
Look, we’ve all been there. It can’t be helped. Hell, I’ve been there a few times in the past few weeks.
This COVID ‘thing’ hit me hard on an emotional level and I just couldn’t drag my writing mind out of bed in the morning. It stayed there, snuggled under the blankets, wishing for better days.
It’s OK, though. Whatever you do, DON’T PANIC! There is a way to prepare yourself for these eventualities.
By having a list of constantly evolving content ideas by your side, you will have something to turn to on the days that you struggle.
Over the past few months, I have received some great comments from my audience on the content I put up on my social media profiles and I wanted to share with you some of my ideas. It’s nothing too technical and you don’t need training in it.
Sometimes it’s getting started that’s the hardest part. Just like when you do sit down to write that new blog post, it’s the first words that are the hardest to get out. But once you’re on a roll, the words/ideas will flow. All you need is to get a basic skeleton list of content ideas together, that you can build on and continuously grow.
So, that’s what I want to do for you. Give you a quick skeleton list that will help you get started.
Before we get going, however, it’s important that we just take a few quick moments to think about the what, why and how of social media posting.
What should I post?
First, some simple housekeeping:
Keep it relevant – make sure that the post is relevant to your audience and what they want to read about.
Relate it to your business – while I don’t feel this is an essential part of all social media posts, you should try to keep this in your mind most of the time.
End your post with a question or call to action – Can you end the post with an open-ended question or an engaging comment which is going to encourage comments and further engagement from your audience.
Talk to your audience
This is quite an important one. Try to write your posts with these 2 points in mind and constantly refer back, check and re-write:
Write TO your audience, not at them – Use you/your/you’re and make sure you’re writing in their language, using phrases they can relate to.
Pick your audience – you might have several sub-audiences for your business (depending on what you’re offering) but for each post that you write, do your best to pick just one of them and write your post for them only.
Post for a reason
Ok, I know that this sounds a bit odd but, honestly, you have to post for a reason. You’re not just posting for the sake of it. What are you wanting to achieve with each post?
To connect with your audience
To start a conversation
Traffic to another platform
Keep your overall goal in mind and pick your post topic and writing style to suit.
Don’t panic! Just keep the above in mind (stewing in the background). It’s time to dive into the content ideas themselves, are you excited?
These content ideas are nicely generic, in that they can be adapted for any business and most platforms. Just remember, you know your business and your goals better than anyone, so pick and chose what works for you.
I recommend trying to stick to the 80/20 rule. You want to keep 80% of your posts conversational, fun and educational/informative and just 20% of the posts for promoting yourself and your business services. You don’t want to bombard your audience with sales posts.
It doesn’t make for an interesting news feed and, be honest, do you like pushy salespeople? I HATE them and will find that if I don’t know anything about the poster, I’m more likely to just scroll past them without even considering what they have to say.
Don’t be THAT person. Share your knowledge, share yourself and help your audience more.
Getting to know you
These types of posts let your audience get to know you and your business. The saying goes that people buy people, so let your audience in once in a while.
Talk about a business, or personal, challenge you’ve overcome recently – what was it, how did you get through it, what did you learn from it?
Share a self-care/work-life balance tip with your audience – we all struggle to separate work and home life on occasion, how do you create boundaries within your business? Get your audience involved, asked them about their tips for balance.
Share a tip on how you stay positive/focussed/energised and ask your audience for their tips, too.
What are your favourite things? – a great conversation starter and way of getting to know your audience, too. Talk about your favourite: - Book - Music - Movie - TV show - YouTube channel - Influencer
Share a fun fact about you or your business
How did you come up with your business name – I’ve met some very interesting people over the years and the story behind their business names was interesting and inspiring … are you one of those?
Show the face/s behind the company – it’s important to let your audience see you on a semi-regular basis. Ensuring you post photos of you and what you’re working on will give an added sense of connection.
Promote your business
As I said before, these posts should be spread well across your content calendar. No one likes a pushy salesman so you must showcase your business and skills in different ways. When you do post about your business, with the aim of promotion, make it good!
Re-introduce yourself to your audience – as you increase your followers don’t forget to tell them who you are and what you do. I do this approx. once per quarter. It’s a great way to reflect on the past few months, thank new followers and remind your existing audience that you still care about them, too!
Promote a product or service that you offer
Hold a short, flash sale – top tip, keep away from traditional sale holidays and stand out from the crowd. Have you got a new product/service you’d like to promote at a discount?
Promote a new piece of content – do you also write a blog, film YouTube content or produce a Podcast? This is one of my favourite areas of promotion – make your content work hard for you, promote it across your channels to ensure your audience sees it on their preferred channel.
Share a free download – Guides, How To documents, checklists, etc are great ways to give your audience something back.
Provide a solution to a common problem your audience has – what is their biggest pain point and how can you help solve it?
Share a tutorial – what can you teach your audience?
Share your other social profiles with your audience – does your Facebook content differ from your LinkedIn content? Make sure your audience isn’t missing out on anything!
Celebrate a business milestone with your audience
Share the knowledge
Sharing your knowledge is a great way of helping your audience and, at the same time, showcasing your expertise.
Something that I feel quite strongly about is giving your audience more than you think you should. Giving them something that they can try and implement themselves is invaluable in showcasing your knowledge.
Provide a tip related to the service/product you provide
Share interesting facts and stats about your industry – I have a love for really odd facts from the people I follow so if you make candles (for example) tell me something weird about candles that I don’t know!
Offer a money-saving tip related to your product or service.
What does your audience want to know – ask them in one post and then create a new post with the answers. This may even give you great ideas for a series of posts that could then be built into a blog.
App/program recommendations – what makes your day easier and could, therefore, make your audience’s day easier?
Top tips and tricks – when I first started my business my whole content plan was based around #toptiptuesday. Each week I would provide a tip related to my audience’s pain point. From how-to posts for Word and Excel through to self-care and personal/professional development tips. They have been some of my most popular posts.
It’s important to keep your feed light-hearted and fun. It’s an alternative view into who you are, your personality, what makes you tick, and it can be a relief in your audience’s newsfeed when all other posts are salesy and serious.
Ask a question posts – these are so much fun and you see them all over the place. One lovely lady, I follow on Instagram posts once per week with a picture of her coffee cup and a poll (what am I drinking today)! So simple, so fun! Other popular ideas: - What’s your favourite cocktail? - Tea or coffee? - eBook or real book? - Which Disney villain would you be and why? - If you had $xx to spend on yourself every week, what would you spend it on? - Greenthumb or plant killer?
If you were to play on Mastermind, what would your specialty topic be?
Inspirational quote posts – with a beautiful and relevant image can get a conversation going.
Holiday posts – whether that’s your tradition holidays or obscure ones you’ve come across. You can also find industry-related holidays quite easily, too.
Share the love – shoutout a local business and share their story.
Share the joy – who do you follow that inspires you, creates joy in your day, or just downright makes you laugh when you see their posts? Share their pages with your audience and encourage them to do the same
That should get you started and, if you keep these main topics/themes in mind, you’ll find it a bit easier to brainstorm your ideas too.
Below is a quick list of tips for creating and maintaining your list of content ideas. Just keep adding when you see something that tickles your fancy and it will be constantly evolving and you’ll have so many ideas to choose from you won’t know where to start (a much nicer problem to have)!
Tips for creating (and maintaining) your content ideas list
Create your lists in themes/bundles – focussing on one topic at a time allows your mind to fully focus and the more ideas you write down the quicker you’ll be able to highlight the good from the bad!
Research your followers – who else are they following, what are they talking about?
Ask your followers what they want to know, what they want help with.
Check out your competitors – I AM NOT (!) telling you to copy their ideas but by reading your competitor’s content you might find inspiration for your content. You might have a different spin or opinion on something they’ve written about.
Google questions and Google suggestions – one of my personal favourites. I come up with even the simplest group of words and use the search results in the ‘other people asked’ and at the bottom of the page (other search suggestions) to brainstorm ideas. Top tip – filter your search results to within the last year, keep it relevant and up-to-date.
Reviews and testimonials – these are great for impromptu posts so it’s important to remember to ask for reviews from your clients.
Topic generator websites – again, great for some starting inspiration, look at your keyword/key topic ideas and pop them into a generator engine.
Sign up for industry-relevant newsletters – you never know when that one article will flood you with new ideas.
Watch industry relevant YouTube videos.
Write about a new service or product you’re working on – document the development process from start to launch.
My most important tip?
Revisit old content.
I’m a huge advocate of making your content work as hard as it possibly can.
Look at old posts (blogs, social, videos, and images) and think about how you could adapt them and re-use them. Look at your most popular posts. What made them popular?
Re-purposing your old, successful, content is invaluable and means that on the days you struggle, you can select from your library, jazz it up and send it on its way.
That was a lot of information, wasn’t it? I think it’s one of the longest blogs I’ve written yet.
My last tip, before I shut up and leave you to play with your new content ideas?
Keep a notepad, or cloud-based note-taking app, handy so that you can add new ideas to your content list when you’re on the move.
Having a list of content ideas that’s easily accessible is going to give you new inspiration on the days that you might be struggling to write and plan your social media content.
I’d love to hear from you.
I am going to compile a PDF document for download that includes an extensive list of content ideas, based on the categories listed in this blog. If you’ve got some content ideas that you’d love me to include (credited, of course) just pop me an email through my contact page, and we’ll work on it together.
Let’s share the knowledge.