No ideas for content ? here are 10 suggestions for you

It happens to all of us, content marketers. We are faced with a deadline and need to generate a piece of content, but we simply have nothing to write about. Sure, some would say that if you don’t publish content which is super-interesting, valuable and engaging you really shouldn’t be publishing at all. I respect this but most client won’t, and most marketers will be forced at some point to force themselves to generate content. For some its even worth than lack of inspiration or writer’s block- some unfortunate souls have the daunting task of writing for and about companies and products which are not that interesting.

Whatever the reason is, we all need some help with generating content. Here are 10 tips for generating content when you having nothing to write about:

  • Re-use

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to take an older piece and re-edit it to look and feel like something new. You can take a lengthy article and turn it into list (10 tips for XXX) ot groups items from multiple items to form a new one (https://intsights.com/halloween-special-creepy-finds-on-the-darknet/). You can revisit old articles and explore their validity in regards to new developments. Do try to avoid making only cosmetic changes and reposting unchanged old materials- that that’s recycling.

  • Go visual

When you have nothing to write about, try to create a visual post. Turn a list into an infographic or make a post completely out of visuals (this also works well when reusing older materials, as it can be views as some sort of expansion or elaboration on a topic you’ve already discussed).  In addition to being the easiest way to generate content, it is suited for publication directly on social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  At this humoristic Halloween post, we dressed the team of a cybersecurity company as hackers: http://resec.co/halloween-is-a-time-for-mischief-but-traditional-cyber-stock-photos-are-just-a-bad-joke/

Halloweencollage.jpg

 

  • Shoot a video:

Instead of doing another piece about your technology, make a short clip to capture the usability, user experience or workflow. Video is easier to consume, share and will certainly boost your SEO rankings. Plenty of cheap or free editing software around, and you can easily combine footage from your smartphone with screen capture video and record voice commentary directly on your laptop. Here- instead of writing a boring post inviting people to meet them at a conference, the CEO sends a short video message:

clip.PNG

Video

 

  • Comment

Find a relevant research or news item and write a commentary article, which will show the audience that you’re aware of what’s happening in the industry and not afraid to speak up. Make sure the commentary is not to harsh or self-promoting. Here ReSec CEO comments on the state of phishing as reported by another vendor:

http://resec.co/spam-returns-to-2010s-record-numbers-but-now-with-a-new-trick/

 

  • Summarize

Same idea as commenting- find a lengthy piece of research that no one will read and write a much shorter post focusing on the highlights. In addition to providing great value to people (including executive who don’t have the time to read these 70+ pages research paper) you can chose which angles to highlight and focus on- naturally the ones which strengthen your messaging. Here is an example, aptly titled: “We Read the 70 Page 2016 Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment Report So You Don’t Have To”.

 

  • Write about the non- professional aspect of your company

You are allowed to stray off-topic if you uncover an interesting angle and provide something unique to your audience. Instead of writing a very mundane post notifying customers that one of my clients has moved to a new office, we turned it into a piece on how their CEO uses constant engagement to keep motivation high and attrition low (he basically rented and renovated new offices in complete secrecy, and took all the employees there under the pretense of an off-site lunch. The employed were surprised and delighted to find new, cool offices instead https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/work-space-environment-dotan-bar-noy?trk=mp-reader-card)

  • Though leadership

You can project thought leadership in many aspect of business and life, not just these which are related to your specific product or market. If a CEO is volunteering at an animal shelter and encourages other employees to follow him, it sends a powerful message, regardless of their line of business. It’s also very easy to produce and can be shared in many places, according to theme- Leadership, management, HR, etc.

  • Interview-

When there’s nothing better to do, just interview the CEO or the employees. You can gain terrific professional insights (what are the customer’s pain points for example) and show your company’s diversity and culture. Big plus- it also serves as a great source of pride and motivation within the organization.

  • Guest post

Zero effort to generate (other than several emails), can add diversity and external expertise and drive traffic from audiences which are not usually within your reach. The downside? You will either need to buy it or reciprocate in one way or another. At CyberDB we have a roster of guest bloggers and find their posts to be of great quality:

http://cyberdb.co/iot-ddos-will-learn/

 

  • Write about something else

This post for example, links to several other post which will now gain traffic and exposure. You can even write about the content production process itself (like I’ve done here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/some-vital-tips-making-corporate-clip-staying-alive-yotam-gutman?trk=prof-post)

 

I hope these suggestions will help you get out of a slump. As always, remember that your content/ publication calendar is your friend and try to stick to it- it will save you the last minute rush and the need to innovate and be creative- Something which I’ve found to be in want specifically in times of crisis.

 

 

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Owntrepreneurship- finding your inspiration

No doubt about it, starting your journey to be an Owntrepreneur is daunting. There are so many reasons against it, the most powerful is the power of habit (breaking this “habit trap” is a subject of another post).

So I will provide one very powerful tip to help in this critical and difficult step. The trick it simple- find someone else who’s “done it” before, and try walking in their shoes- or, at least, be inspired by them.

Find your inspiration
Find your inspiration

But finding someone who inspires you is more difficult than most people think. The obvious choice is to find extremely successful people, some of them actual entrepreneurs, and choose these as role models. For example, few would argue Steve Jobs’s phenomenal skills and entrepreneurial spirit (I do recommend at least seeing the speech he delivered to the graduates of Stanford University www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA- truly inspiring), as well as business and personal success. But how many would really want to BE Jobs? By all accounts the man was not a pleasant man, and reigned on his subordinates like a modern, Silicon Valley tyrant. Or Jeff Bezos, another dot.com maverick, who’s fiercely competitive and said on numerous occasions that to work on his company: “You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three”.

I have tremendous respect for these two innovators, but I do not wish to be like them. Not one bit. So I’ve started looking for inspiration elsewhere, with the people I know and admire. I’ve thought about my teachers at school and professors at the university (some of which who’s pioneered new areas in research), about my commanding officers in the navy and current and former bosses. But the longer I thought about this the more the answer became obvious- the Owntrepreneur I should be following is none other than my later mother. My Mother, Dorit Gutman (who passed away nearly 7 years ago) was a true Owntrepreneur. After teaching Biology in high school for many years she decided she wanted more and was part of a very small group of parents who started a brand new school with radical approach- the Democratic school of Hadera. She’s done so to allow my sister and I to enjoy better schooling than what the orthodox schools offered. Shortly after she started being involved in this initiative she left her teaching job and started working full time on her new venture, and later was elected by the group (by then an NGO) to serve as the co-principle (and later sole principle), a position she held for more than a decade during which the school has grown from couple of dozens of student to several hundreds, winning local an international awards and starting a nation-wide trend of alternative schools. But eventually she grew tired of it, resigned from managing the school and focus on her new interest- coaching. In a short time span she cultivated quite a following and was delivering workshops, private consulting sessions and training other to become coachers and counsels.

While I love my mother deeply and admire her achievements, it only recently dawned upon me that amongst other things, she had true Owntrepreneurial spirit. She was highly respected within the boundaries of her profession, and when these no longer suited her she broke them and started something completely new, only to do the same several years later.

And the since I was close to her for most of this time (although too young to comprehend everything), I can use here tremendous experience and utilize this a source of inspiration for my own Owntrepreneurial journey.

Sadly, she died of cancer I’m not able to consult with her and receive her direct advice- a fact which saddens me deeply. But nonetheless I have a great example in front of me- someone I know, who’s embarked on a journey they had no idea will be successful, and manage to succeed through all the difficulties, while raising a family and being a genuine, loving and caring person.

If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is. So Jeff, Bill or Steve, please forgive me. While you are all great examples of Owntrepreneurship, I choose my mom over you any day.