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Through the years I’ve worked developing Raine Digital (and freelancing even before that) I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what exactly content marketing is and how business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers can develop meaningful business relationships online with the audiences that matter most to them through good content.  This strategy is actually what’s generated consistent growth on our current preferred social media platform, Instagram, and now is gaining traction here on our fairly new blog.

Ultimately, content marketing is about generating content that adds value to your customers, or potential customers.  It should play an effective role in your overall marketing strategy to keep your brand in front of consumers more often.

We’ve all heard that “if you’re passionate about what you do, it shouldn’t be hard to generate marketing content.” While there’s a level of truth to this, we all hit brick walls sometimes when it comes to what to share next.  This is especially true for the small business owner, entrepreneur, or individual who doesn’t have a marketing department helping brainstorm where to go next.  Sometimes it may be a creativity block, perhaps it’s the overwhelm of everything else that comes with running a business.  For me, early on, it wasn’t so much about what to write, but about putting it out there for the world to see.

Whatever the struggle is for you when it comes to generating content for your consumer niche, I’m sure you’ve experienced a struggle at one point or another.  To help, I’ve put together a list of sources that help me break through to help you shift your mindset from stressing to find that next content opportunity to seeing opportunity everywhere.

Content generating opportunities through those you work with.

Whether you work in a large office or from a home office remotely, you still collaborate with people somewhere.  Consider your interactions with those you collaborate with on a regular basis.  What topics do you find yourself discussing?  Are these topics your consumers might wonder about?  Can you add value to your current and potential consumers by writing about it?

Pro-Tip: When you have one of these “Ah-ha” moments, make a note of it.  Whether it’s on your phone, in your planner, or a quick email to yourself or your team, make sure you capture the topic so you don’t forget.

Content generating opportunities through your customer base.

For me, this is where the majority of my ideas for topics come from.  At Raine Digital, we’ve aimed for a culture of transparency in our client relationships.  By that, I mean we want to make sure our clients understand what we’re doing for them, why we’re doing it, and we are willing to translate any technical jargon into terms they understand.  Afterall, they hired us because they needed expertise in a particular area to help their business thrive. I wouldn’t trade this stance for the world, because it builds trust, and helps our clients understand more about what we’re doing for them and why.  That said, this means I answer a lot of questions… I mean, a lot.  Whenever I find myself explaining something to a client that I believe could benefit my other clients, I turn it into a piece of educational content.

Pro-Tip: Whenever you find yourself answering one of these questions via email, BCC yourself and file it in a “content-marketing ideas” email folder to revisit it later when you’re ready to repurpose it into a video, blog post, social post, etc.

 

Content generating opportunities through your field.

Whatever business you’re in, you likely keep a pretty good pulse on what’s going on in the industry in order to stay ahead of the curve.  As changes occur within your field, use them as opportunities to educate your consumer.

Pro-Tip: Set up Google Alerts for mentions of your industry-specific key phrases to stay in the know with what’s happening.  You never know, one of these alerts could spark your next content-generating ideas.

 

Content generating opportunities in your everyday life.

For most entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially those passionate about what they’re doing, work-life balance isn’t always so cut and dry.  That said, our personal conversations and experiences can sometimes crossover into content-generating ideas.  For example, I see marketing everywhere I go, and my friends often get the pleasure (or maybe not so much pleasure) of hearing me comment on various pieces of marketing I see in the real world every day.  Sometimes, especially when I see something innovative and inspiring, it sparks me to write about it.

Pro-Tip: Ideas for content don’t always have to be literal.  Don’t be afraid to keep a running list or document with inspirational or creative ideas.  Sometimes I just start writing and see where it goes.  Sometimes it’s worth sharing, and sometimes it’s not.

You never know when or where inspiration will strike.  They key is to train yourself to see it when opportunities present themselves.  Then, when those moments of inspiration hit, take a moment to capture it so you don’t forget.  By doing so, you’ll find yourself with a pretty consistent arsenal of possible content that adds value to your reader, builds trust among consumers, and helps keep your brand top of mind for your followers – which ultimately sets your brand up to be the no-brainer option when a potential customer is ready to make the leap from potential, to actual customer.

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