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A common and convenient excuse for people who aren’t getting the traction they want with content marketing and SEO is that their industry is too boring and too specific, and as a result they can’t create interesting content. This is something that’s been talked about frequently by marketing blogs, and there are a lot of great resources available for coming up with shareable content ideas for boring niches. That said, it’s still definitely a pain point and something many people point to as a barrier to entry for content creation, so I want to share one specific tactic you can use to start to come up with content ideas that folks will share and link to.
Model Ideas After Content That’s Already Been Shared
It sounds pretty simple but one of the best ways to create content people will share is to look at other content that they’ve already shared, and model your topics and the content of your blog posts, articles, infographics, and free tools after that content. If you had an online marketing software company this would be pretty easy: you’d look at popular publishing sites like Search Engine Journal, communities like SEO Book or Inbound.org, and see what online marketing related stories made it into larger publications and start to develop some ideas with a new slant but similar “hooks” to what’s already being shared around what tends to do well.
But what if you’re in a niche where there aren’t obvious central, “community” oriented sites to mine for topic ideas?
One tactic that tends to work well is to look at what some of the savvier communities on the Web are sharing, and create something similar for your niche.
Developers and people in the “tech space” are typically folks who spend a significant amount of time on social networks and are subsequently plugged into memes and frequently a few steps ahead of other parts of the Web in finding interesting content with share-worthy hooks and angles. One advantage to working in what’s considered a “boring” niche is that the niches that are more boring tend to also be behind the curve on content marketing ideas and different memes, so something that’s already become somewhat trite to an audience of software engineers and online marketers can be a brand new, totally unqiue angle when applied to a different niche.
Your niche may be more or less boring than these, but if we look at a single tech aggregator we can start to see some ideas for content that we know folks are interested in reading about and sharing:
So obviously a lot of the things that get shared will just be “news” items, which is likely not something your manufacturing or call center company has the resources to crank out consistently. We also see some fairly obvious ideas you may have already thought of, like product reviews, but if we look closer we see some pretty interesting content ideas that we could apply to any of the industries above:
- Making Cents – This article goes into why bands are getting a raw deal on royalties from streaming music services, which is obviously a very interesting topic. What if you took that same topic and applied it to your niche? Let’s say you sell investment castings. An in-depth article on the real economics of manufacturing which looked at who is getting a relatively raw deal in the manufacturing business and even expanded to talk about topics like how manufacturing has changed over time, how the health of the manufacturing industry impacts larger economic trends, what factors lead to a healthy or not-so-healthy manufacturing ecosystem? This could be a pretty intriguing content piece that would give you an asset on your otherwise boring investment castings site that a number of blogs and Websites might be interested in linking to, sharing and visiting.
- As Boom Lures App Creators, Tough Part is Making a Living – This post looks at a specific couple who lost a significant amount of money trying to develop mobile apps. Let’s imagine you’re trying to see what content ideas you can get from this for your farm equipment site. What if you did one (or a series) of really in-depth portraits of folks within your industry who had hit rough times? Maybe for your tractor and farm equipment site you could go out and find some family farmers having a rough time of it and profile them. Maybe you’d also focus the articles on a specific issue that you see as problematic and would like to see changed (a specific policy or trend). This would give you something that other folks who are going through similarly difficult times would empathize with and likely share, and by addressing a specific issue you’ll also have the support of people who feel the same way you do, and the attention of people on both sides of the issue.
- When the Nerds Go Marching In – This article looks at the role technology had in Obama’s presidential campaign victory. Let’s say we run a call center service and are looking for content marketing ideas. What if we created an infographic or in-depth article on the role that call centers play in political campaigns? Maybe we could highlight specific popular issues and/or movements that were propelled to victory with the help of really strong outbound calling strategies, and really detail how those strategies worked. Then we’d have a piece of broad interest that could also serve to humanize what many people consider a net negative in society.
Now that’s just three examples from this page – but now imagine if we do this process every day or every few days and keep a running list of all of the ideas we come up with. Then imagine if in addition to TechMeme we look at other aggregators like Hacker News, the Launch Ticker, or even broader sites like Reddit to find great content ideas and save anything that seems like something we could apply to our niche? We’ll have a nice, long list of ideas that we can consistently refresh over time.
And there are a lot of areas outside of tech aggregators that you can apply this methodology to: in going outside your niche and identifying the really remarkable, most-often shared content in other niches you’ll almost always come back with some awesome ideas for content, regardless of how “boring” your topic may be.