101 Content Ideas to Grow Your Audience
You want content ideas
I get it.
I’ve put together 101 for you.
Here’s the back story…
I dropped Seth Godin an email last week. At first, I was disappointed he didn’t have time for an interview, but after exchanging a few emails, what I got was gold.
I was hoping to get his input on something I’ve struggled with since reading his latest book ‘What to do when it’s your turn’ which urges us all to put our best work out into the world.
When it comes to content marketing, consistency is key to visibility and therefore often we have to live by the principle “better done than perfect” in order to execute our strategies within a reasonable time.
Any piece of work can be improved over and over again. The process could go on forever. However in an oversaturated market, quality matters more than ever, being average is a sure recipe for failure.
Seth asked us all to step up our game in his new book. This opens up the difficult choice of good enough versus putting your best work out there. How do we bring our best self to be at peace with not being our best all the time so we can still achieve our true potential? I asked him.
(a mouthful of a question I know – nothing Seth can’t handle gracefully)
Seth’s reply went … I quote.. “there’s no conflict here. “important” and “perfect” are in totally different spaces, like walking to school and taking your lunch. Sure, it’s nice for it to be more polished, but better still to be important, to be missed if it doesn’t happen”
There is no contradiction in his words. You will be missed if you give value and are consistent with it. I can never get enough of Seth’s simple yet smart approach. In our quest for consistently putting value out there, we want to make sure that we vary our content and find efficient ways of producing good quality interesting stuff in less time.
Here are 101 content ideas that will help you show up consistently as your best self and grow your audience.
Content Idea 1: Shoot a 1-minute video
Not good at writing? Switch on your camera and get talking. You can talk directly into the camera if you’re comfortable or use slides if you’re just starting out. Share 1 tip in 1 minute or answer a question your clients often ask you. You can use canva.com for the slides and include a professional ident to open and close the video from fiverr.com. Your video may need a little editing. If you’re just starting out try to record in one shot and then just edit out the mistakes using iMovie on a mac or Movavi on a PC, both are very simple to use and under $50. When it’s ready export as a .mov or .avi and upload your video to youtube. Make sure you insert keyword tags on your video. Leave a comment using keywords linking back to your site and also embed the video on your blog, this creates keyword relevance for Google. Take it one step further by creating a Playlist. Add videos you want your content to be associated with, to the playlist, and make sure you name it and add a keyword rich description, it will help your video get found. Use the sub-title option and make sure it contains your keywords too. Youtube checks your sub-titles for relevance.
Content Idea 2: Get a Transcript.
Transcribe your videos and turn them into articles. Writing may not come naturally to all, but talking does. We all talk. With some practice, you can record yourself explaining something your audience values and then turn it into an article. There are many options to transcribe your audio or video depending on your budget. If you own a mac you may try to use the dictation tool this works surprisingly well but performance will vary depending on your accent. When using a PC you can use the Windows Speech recognition Tool to transcribe directly while you speak. You can also transcribe after you have recorded the video or sound file you can either use the Youtube sub-title feature and download the .srt file after youtube creates it. (you will need to correct this, in fact, you may want to upload the corrected version for improved sub-titles).
However, it is not recommended to use the transcript as a blog post. You will need to insert keywords and format it in a way that your audience can read. So you’ll need to make it more easily legible by adding ‘speed-bumps’ or sub-titles and breaking it up into logical chunks or lists to make it easier to read through. You may also opt to add a famous quote, an introduction with a short story, and a call to action to format it all into a blog post that works.
Content Idea 3: Call to Action Buttons
You always need a call to action. Attracting an audience to your content takes hard work, you don’t want to waste the opportunity to ask them to take action. If you don’t have one then it means the people who engage with your content will not know what to do next. It’s also a good indicator that your strategy is missing some key elements.
You need to make sure you reverse engineer it all. First, decide what you want your content to achieve, then create the content that the right audience wants to read and at the end add the call-to-action to ask them to take the next step.
For example: My target is to build my list -> My target audience consists of webpreneurs who are already blogging -> I want them to download my free eBook and register for my mailing list -> I create a blog post called “How to Improve your Blog’s reach using these 3 WordPress Plugins” at the end I provide a link to my eBook “100 WordPress plug-ins that will help you make money from your blog”. Notice how everything is connected and I have started from my goal which easily provides me with a clear decision on the Call-to-Action to use.
Content Idea 4: Square Imagery with and without text
Produce a set of square images for every piece of content you create. Your imagery may contain blog titles, quotes, numerical information, important lines from your post and metaphorical images.
Throw an unusual image into the mix. A joke, different colours, a pun, a famous book or film title change it to fit your content. Take a risk. Add one image that stands out and monitor its performance.
Vary the image types using illustrations and photography to find out which ones appeal to your audience most. You can create these yourself using canva.com or resize/crop existing imagery using pixlr.com’s free tool Pixlr Express.
Content Idea 5: Book Reviews
Read any good books lately? Make sure it’s relevant for your audience and share the best lessons you learnt in your book review. Make sure you connect it to what you do.
Here’s an example of one I wrote some time ago:
In this post, I do 3 things. I review the book by starting with what the Author wanted to achieve with this book, I then delve into the bits that delivered a strong message and finally I connect his message to what I do – which is content marketing.
Content Idea 6: Rectangular imagery with and without text
Always create a set of rectangular imagery for the headers of your social media account profiles. These images can help more people get interested in your content and help you market it. Ideally, make them different and more subtle than the square ones to be shed on social platforms. Avoid image repetition – people get very bored of this. You can, however, stick to style and colour scheme that people recognize. It will also help you speed things up when you are creating the images.
So create a set of templates for the various types of headers scubas Blog Posts, Webinar Launch, Course Launch, Quote, Event etc and just update the imagery and copy every time leaving the main layout and colours intact.
Here’s a good layout for a header image that will allow you to change the content whilst keeping the same colour and layout easily:
Content Idea 7. Work on your subtitles.
No matter what type of content you’re creating, never underestimate the value of subtitles. These are great to tell your audience exactly whether they are a good fit for your content. In other words whether they are part of your target audience. Use it in social posts too not only articles!
Title: Love What You Do!
Subtitle: Actionable tips for passionate women looking for a new job. [notice the Ideal Client description here – underlined]
Content Idea 8. ‘How To’ Article
Write an instructional article. Teach something simple and, why not, accompany it with a video as part of a content set. Even if your article contains video, use screenshots to explain the process.
A How-To article should contain a step by step process that teaches the reader to achieve a desired outcome. It is not advisable to use paragraphs to explain a process as it often does not really convey the process properly.
Content Idea 9. Bullet List Post
Create a bullet list article. List useful items for your audience. Whether its websites where they can find resources. Online tools they can use etc, anything that saves your readers time makes a good list.
A good example is the post you’re reading right now.
Content Idea 10. Online Calculator
Create an online calculator or share how to calculate something. Find the numbers in your game and help your audience get insight using a simple calculation.
For Example: If you’re a business consultant you could ask people to enter some stats like:
Number of Employees
Profits and calculate their profitability per employee.
You could indicate which brackets are low/high or in serious need of improvement.
This can be a good tool to introduce a service like Creating Lean Processes, Training or Induction Systems for Small Business the outcome of which is to help each employee become more profitable.
Content Idea 11. Email Mini course
An Email Mini-Course makes the perfect freebie especially for coaches, speakers and consultants. It gives you the opportunity to share your knowledge and establish yourself as knowledgeable in your subject of choice, it helps you develop a relationship with your readers by popping into their inbox daily for a number of days, it gives you the opportunity to invite them to engage with you more effectively or get them interested in something you sell.
Use automated drip email software like Convertkit or Drip to create the course. Both tools give you the option to send the mini-course automatically when someone opts-in by filling a form collecting name and email address. The course can be placed under related posts on your blog or proposed as a freebie on your website.
Content Idea 12. Pdf Cheatsheet
Create a Downloadable Pdf Cheatsheet as a follow-up to a blog post. For example: if your post is about Facebook marketing then your cheatsheet could be about setting up Facebook ads. It’s a natural next step that your reader will want to learn about. Once you have created the Cheatsheet you will want to turn it into a freebie and make it downloadable from your website or blog.
The easiest way to set-up the download process and email harvesting form is by using Mailchimp (for the free option) or Convertkit if you need drip email. A WordPress plug-in exists for both. The plug-ins enable you to create forms and use them across your WordPress site or blog easily. When people register the details will be inserted directly into Mailchimp or Convertkit and the download link delivered to them according to your settings, the most common one being through a welcome email.
WordPress Freebie Download Plugin for Mailchimp:
WordPress Freebie Download for Convertkit:
If you did not have your site developed in WordPress, there’s a solution for you too. You can use either Leadpages or Convertkit. Both allow you to create a lading page with a form and features to deliver the downloadable freebie with the welcome email. However Leadpages is approximately $300 per year and Convertkit starts at $49 per month.
Content Idea 13. eBook
Write an eBook about your area of expertise. An eBook is usually around 20 to 50 pages long (even longer if you want) it can touch on any topic of expertise and can be sold or given away as a freebie. Here’s a good template to use: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/free-ebook-templates
The great thing about free eBooks is that they can also be sold for free on Amazon and get plenty of exposure for you. Make sure you enter your details at the beginning and back of the book and send your readers to your site to download a reader-only Freebie so you can collect leads from your free Amazon downloads.
Content Idea 14. White Paper
A white paper is a document which is usually of a technical nature and contains specific information based on actual research. It can help position your expertise in any given topic and is often considered a high value downloadable for which you can a use longer opt-in form.
You will very likely require third party information from research and surveys to create a strong Whitepaper. Make sure all your sources are credited but not back-linked.
Here’s a good article about how to write one:
Content Idea 15. Free Chapter (even someone else’s)
If you have written an ebook or a book you can offer the first chapter for free and then sell the full book.
Giving a way a free Chapter is a win-win situation. You’re collecting emails of people who are interested in the topic you sell and you’re tempting readers into buying your new book. You’re also positioning yourself as an expert because you’re a published author.
Content Idea 16. Interview
Interview an influencer or rising-influencer who has a similar target market to yours but is not a competitor. Turn it into an article or video content and accompany it with an article for SEO optimization. Interviews make great podcasts too so repurpose it by all means.
Content Idea 17. Ask Experts a Question
Find a relevant question. You can use Quora.com to find a good question related to your industry. Choose a question that has generated a lot of engagement on quota to make sure you’re making the right choice. Ask that question to a number of influencers. Then create a post quoting their answers.
Accompany it with plenty of imagery carrying mugshots of their popular faces and share to your heart’s delight.
Make sure you get permission to their images and why not make this an opportunity to get to know them better.
Content Idea 18. Podcast
Create a podcast. Get your best interviews, articles, challenges, video blogs, talks or any other content and repurpose into a podcast. Many influencers started off this way. Make sure you have a tight plan to keep the content regular. Lack of consistency means podcasts don’t get followed and get the proverbial crickets instead. Consistency is important for everything but even more so for podcasts.
Content Idea 19. Sound Files
Not comfortable with webinars or video just yet? Record your thoughts as a sound file and make them available on your website, product or a mini audio book. You can also couple them with slides for extra impact especially if your topic is complex.
Content Idea 20. Templates.
No matter what your expertise is, you can create a Template or Checklist to help others do something more quickly. Everyone want to save time and pick an expert’s brain. Share your templates to build your list.
I’ve created a set of checklists to accompany this article to help my readers action what they read and create consistent systems for creating content. Download it below…
Content Idea 21. Step by Step Process pdf
Teach them how to do something. Pick something like a small tip you’d like to share or something your clients ask about often. Break it down into simple steps and turning it into a 5 step process. Couple it with an infographic for more impact and share profusely.
This kind of document would look more like a detailed manual. It makes a good follow-up freebie to a step-by-step blog post y going into more detail.
Content Idea 22. Blueprints
Analyse what you do best. Break it down into a process and create a blueprint. Do not give it all away to your competitors but give away enough for your audience to see the value and try some of it for themselves. This will help people understand your strengths and how you work. A Blueprint is a process that has the same )or very similar) outcome for everyone.
This is great for coaches or trainers. You can turn your coaching programmes or processes into a blueprint. As long as it’s unique to you and it’s simple enough to understand and DIY, it will have the impact desired as long as you make sure that your readers can achieve a small tangible outcome in each phase of the Blueprint.
Content Idea 23. Slideshare
Have a good post or brochure? Turn it into a presentation and upload it to slideshare. You can also repurpose video and sound files this way with a bit of creativity.
Since Slideshare was bought by LinkedIn it also added some new features like links. Make sure you also add a call-to-action and links to your website.
Content Idea 24. Animation
Create a simple animation of a step by step process instead of a blog post, or even better couple it with a blog post and extract screenshots for an eye-catching content set.
Animation is very simple to achieve in Powerpoint and Keynote. You can export as a move in both. Alternatively you can sure an animator from a website like eLance.com , upwork.com or peopleperhour.com. For simple jobs fiverr.com will do. Make sure you start off with little jobs so that you can test how timely the service is and the level of skill you’re sourcing.
You can also use a simple new tool that hit the market recently called Animoto.
Content Idea 25. Webinar replay
Do you run webinars? Share a replay as a content throwback. It can help you gauge interest on the topic at hand. You could even ask your audience questions to understand what content they want following this webinar.
You can share your webinar replay on Facebook Pages and Group and also using simple landing page in LeadPages.
Content Idea 26. 3 second video
If you’ve created video before, all you need to do is edit out a good line into a free standing 3 – 10 second video. Make sure you pick a goo aline that keep your audience wanting more. You can create it by simply recording it through your phone or editing it in iMovie or Movavi for PC.
Create a 3-second video to share on Instagram, Facebook and any platform that will take it.
Content Idea 27. Quotes
Find a great quote and turn it into an image with your url at the bottom. Of course give credit to whoever the credit is due, but own the design and the url. A good source for quotes is brainyquote.com.
You can create quote imagery in seconds using this simple free tool: http://recite.com/
Content Idea 28. Go Live!
Go live on Facebook, Instagram or Periscope. It may seem like you need a lot of practice to get good and in fact, you do. That is why you need to start today. Your race to online video confidence starts today. Go live. Cringe. Practice. Improve. Go Live again and Repeat often.
Content Idea 29. Title-Ride
Use article names that evoke famous book titles or films. For example, I wrote an article once called 50 shades of blue (referring to the blue skies and seas of Malta) it got lots of hits although the content was pretty average and corporate.
Good titles work. Use them. People seek familiarity and they can’t help clicking.
Content Idea 30. Crack a Joke, Play a Little
Everyone likes a laugh. Cheer up your audience with some humour and watch them come back for more. Keep it light and Playful. Use puns and play on words. Make it short and easily repeatable and let the smiles spread.
Content Idea 31. Live event
Create a live event. Run a webinar with various experts that target the same audience and watch your list grow. Your influence grows by association, be seen with the best people you can collaborate with. Organise a short chat about a topic, an interview. Whatever you have time for make it work by choosing the right topic.
You will have plenty of video snippets and transcription material to create content.
Run a challenge. Create a challenge whether it’s a 4, 5,10 or 30 day challenge what matters is that your audience has daily wins to keep them coming back. Challenges can be a lot of work so start small and build-in a strong outcome. This will make sure people attend your next challenge.
You should not attempt a challenge until you have a strong understanding of your Ideal Client. So if you’re not totally old on your ICA analysis check out this article: http://www.stephaniefiteni.com/blog/index.php/how-to-clearly-identify-your-ideal-client-for-online-success-in-2017/
Content Idea 33. Free training
Offer free training. Create a video tutorial or a step by step article. People love to learn new stuff.
If you wan to list-build con;t give it all away. Turn the introduction into a blog post and the meaty step by step part of your webinar into a downloadable video so you can harvest people’s emails.
If you have a budget you can use Wistia Turnstile which is a tool that harvests email directly from your video. Learn more here https://wistia.com/doc/turnstile
Content Idea 34. Twitter images
Create easily shareable twitter images. Text doesn’t always cut it. Make sure your scheduling software doesn’t only post links to your twitter feed but the actual images themselves.
Hootsuite, MeetEdgar, and Postplanner all have the option of loading an image specifically for Twitter.
Content Idea 35. Pinterest board
Create a Pinterest board that provides inspiration or value to your audience and share to your heart’s content and theirs. Use the same principle as the Youtube Playlist mentioned earlier.
Use keywords when naming and entering description in the boards. Choose relevant and consistent keywords and add pins from influencers and content you want to be associated with.
Content Idea 36. Allow them to download articles as a pdf
Create a printable version of your article and make it downloadable as a pdf. You can use a longer more detailed version or if your article is very long simply the same version because its easier to read when printed.
Content Idea 37. Infographics
The human brain is wired to love data. Dig for interesting data in your niche, and turn it into a beautiful visual. You can use static or animated infographics. What matters is that the data is of value and easy to understand. You can get the visuals created by a freelancer on fiverr.com or peopleperhour.com. It’s pretty easy but what matters is that the data is of real value. Infographics get more shares when they’re actionable.
There are also some good tools you can use to create your own infographics:
If you want to push the envelope and really impress try an animated infographic using Biteable. A little bit of a steeper learning curve but worth the results. https://biteable.com/
Content Idea 38. Timeline
Create a historical timeline of something interesting that happened in your industry. For example: if you’re a health coach you could create a timeline of the use of Ginger over the ages.
Content Idea 39. Website Copy
Don’t forget your web copy. When SEO-ed this can become a window into your website. If you base your website structure on keyword research then you’re much more likely to be found. Research keywords that already have traffic in your industry, then make sure you create pages (and blog content too) that target the keywords that have traffic.
Do not forget to check your keywords’ difficult score. You can do this using Hubspot, SEO MOZ or SEM Rush. There’s also a free tool but I cannot assure you this is effective as I’ve always used paid tools for this. http://www.webseoanalytics.com/free/seo-tools/keyword-difficulty.php