Publishing articles, especially via an e-zine, is the ideal opportunity to showcase your business. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you build credibility as an expert, while spreading the word about your services and products.
While I'm sure that sometimes you have dozens of content ideas, I bet other times you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, grumbling that it's publishing time again. Well, have no fear! Here are 11 quick (and good) content ideas for when you're in a pinch.
1. Give real-life success stories.
Describe a problem you've solved for a client/customer, and use that as a springboard to offer more general advice. Show your readers how you've helped customers address challenges -- "case studies" if you will. This positions you as the expert in your readers' minds more than your coming out and saying so.
2. Think of three areas in which you'd like your clients to think of you as a resource.
Now develop content in those areas. For example, in my past life as a professional copywriter, I really enjoyed writing for Web sites. To help encourage my clients and prospects to hire me for these projects, I published several articles on how to write Web copy that sells.
3. Read industry publications for ideas.
Are there any hot issues in your field right now? The more controversial, the better. Don't be afraid to offer your own opinion -- your readers want to know it. After all, YOU are the expert in their eyes.
4. Jot down 8 questions your clients have asked you in the past.
You know, the ones they ask you over and over. Answer each in a short article. If you publish weekly, that's two months' worth of content, right off the bat! And if you can't think of any questions, send all your current clients/customers a quick e-mail, asking them what topics they're most interested in learning more about.
5. Learn anything neat lately from an industry conference, workshop, seminar, or insightful article?
No one says you have to reinvent the wheel of information! Pass on any gems of advice you've learned elsewhere -- just give them full attribution. Or give your opinion of the event or article itself. Your readers will appreciate your frankness.
6. Offer a list of your top 5 or 10 tips on a certain subject.
It's much easier to bang out a list of tips than to put together a real article. Of course, the tips can evolve into an article if you wish! Be sure to list your best tip first, or at least close to the top. (If you "fire your biggest gun" last, you risk losing your audience before they get to the good stuff.)
7. Interview associates whose expertise would interest your readers(while not competing with yours).
E-mail interviews are incredibly easy to do. Just send your interviewee 3 to 5 questions via e-mail, edit their answers, and have them approve the final version. Be sure to give them a short plug in your e-zine as a thank you. (A one- or two-sentence description of their business and their Web address should be fine.)
8. Recommend books and resources that you use, and offer full reviews on them.
In one issue of my old e-zine advertising, "AKB MarCom Tips," I featured reviews of my favorite four copywriting resource books. I'm glad I also gave my Amazon.com associate links, because I ended up making some nice commission, to boot!
9. Invite clients or readers to write you with their own questions, and answer one in each issue.
Right after their question, publish the person's name, business, and Web address, with their permission. They'll enjoy the attention and free publicity!
10. Invite readers to send in profiles.
Ask them to tell you about themselves -- their names, businesses, locations, and how they use the information gained in your e-zine. Feature one profile in each issue or one every few issues.
11. When all else fails, borrow an article!
There are dozens of Web sites offering hundreds of articles that you can use in your e-zine. The articles are free and available for you to use immediately. The only catch is you're required to leave the entire article intact, including the author's promotional information.
One last note: Keep in mind that if your e-zine's main objective is to get you more clients and customers, you should NOT feature other writers' articles more than once in a blue moon. Remember our main goal is to continually showcase YOU.
Yes, having a corporate website might not be as glamorous as having a hard-hitting sales letter type site, or an online shop where customer conversions can be measured through direct sales, but can your company really afford to be without one?
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