15 Sources of New Content for Your Social Media Strategy

20091204_Hermitage_library_002Producing content on a consistent basis seems to be one of the biggest holdups for many businesses attempting to use social media. Coming up with new ideas for content doesn’t have to be difficult, though.  Here are some sources to check out:

  1. Industry Publications – Since you probably already read industry publications to keep up with news and events, why not see if there are hot topics that you can cover on your blog or other social media platforms?
  2. Influencer Blogs – Most industries have acknowledged and respected experts. What topics are they covered and how can you add your opinion or take?
  3. Competitors – If your competitors are producing or curating content, what are they covering? Are there topics where you can add your own spin or additional insight or expertise?
  4. Sales & Marketing Training Materials – What sales and marketing materials have you prepared for your own employees? Are there topics that could be of interest to customers (removing confidential information, of course)?
  5. Case Studies – Have you had a situation where you learned something that might be useful to your customers? Write up a case study on the situation, what happened, and how it was resolved (bonus for providing data and insights with a good story).
  6. Customer Service – What questions and concerns are customers bringing to the company? Can you help ease frustration by providing additional content or information?
  7. Social Media – What topics are being discussed already on social media for your industry? Look at the conversations that competitors, industry publications, and customers are having and see how you can help.
  8. Conferences & Events – Take a look at the topics that conferences and events are covering (for your industry and for your target customers). Covering an event or conference you attend is another great source of content.
  9. Related Topics – Instead of only producing content about your products and services, think about related topics.  If you sell water bottles, think about the activities your customers like to do with the water bottle — exercising, hiking, playing sports, gardening, etc. Figure out what topics your customers are excited about and provide content about those topics.
  10. Q & A – Solicit questions from your customers and audience — what questions do they have on the topics you are covering (or on your products)? Answer the questions as content for everyone.
  11. Guest Authors – Instead of trying to come up with all the content yourself, see if there are guests who would like the opportunity to write for you (or produce a podcast or video) — it’s a win-win for everyone: you get content without having to produce it yourself, they get in front of your audience (guest authors often help promote their content too).
  12. Curation – Another content source is to curate content from other sources. It can take a bit of effort to keep up with everything going on, so people often appreciate when someone else does the hard work of putting links to what’s important in one place.
  13. Ask – Stuck trying to figure out what content to produce next? Ask your audience what topics they’d like covered.  If you don’t get a response online, ask people in person. Ask co-workers and colleagues as well.
  14. Reviews – When people go to buy a product or service, they often like to do some research first.  Are there products or services within your industry (or within the topics your audience is interested in) that you can review as posts or videos? Similarly, how about asking others to review your products? They can serve as content and as testimonials. (Make sure to disclose any relationships you have with reviewers or organizations, as well as if you received anything for free — or were paid to do the review. Disclosure is required by the FTC).
  15. Crowd Sourcing – Ask your audience to contribute content — photos, videos, stories, etc. You can even feature the best every week as a round-up post or create a contest.

What other sources of content do you use in your social media strategy?

(photo by Friar’s Balsam, on Flickr)

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  • http://bowmanmarketing.com Scott Bowman

    Ha! Now we know your sources for all your great articles :)

    Having an editorial calendar is also a good idea. While some people do work well under a deadline, knowing what needs to be written in advance can ease the pressure and simplify the process.

  • http://sazbean.com sazbean

    :) How do you use an editorial calendar as a content source? I can see it as useful for planning and lessening stress.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

    I think the best way to build your brand awareness is to continuously advertise on one place or to one group of people. Social media is a great tool to do it. Thanks for this great list and will bookmark them..
     

  • http://sazbean.com sazbean

    Except you have to be careful about advertising on social media.  I like to follow the 80-20 rule (or 90-10): 80% of your posts and informative or conversational, and only 10% are self-promotional.  If all you do is advertise on social media, people are unlikely to listen.

  • http://bowmanmarketing.com Scott Bowman

    wha? You don’t have a magical calendar? :) 

    True, you can’t use a calendar as a source for content, but knowing what you are looking for can  help narrow down where to look. You might have a “how to” on Mondays, customer testimonials or action shots on Wednesdays, or top stories on Fridays. Knowing what type of content you want to share in advance is helpful when considering where to look.

  • http://bowmanmarketing.com Scott Bowman

    While you don’t want to spread yourself too thin, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket either. It wasn’t that long ago that Myspace was at the top. You want to know who your audience is and where they like to hang out, then join in on the conversation where they are at.