With semantic SEO gradually replacing the old keyword/link building SEO strategy businesses are now mostly concerned with generating unique content (at least they should be). MOZ in their blog from 25 June 2013 refer to the definition of semantic search provided by Tamas Doszkocs of WebLib: “Semantic search is a search or a question or an action that produces meaningful results, even when the retrieved items contain none of the query terms, or the search involves no query text at all.”
But what exactly does it mean for a business trying to create brand awareness through its website and maybe a blog? One piece of advice that keeps popping up is creating content that is relevant to your customers. But trying to guess what your customers may find meaningful or relevant is a thankless task. Sure, a query submitted by a customer can and should be turned into a blog post, but in order to stay relevant a business has to create a wide variety of content on a broad enough range of topics. That is one way your brand can stay interesting and engaging. But where do you get ideas for fresh content?
1. Stories from your life. This is an obvious one – anyone who has lived has stories to tell But remember that your customer is not interested in you or your life – personal stories can be used to make a generalization that could help your customer solve a problem.
2. Inspirational stories from others. Use examples from other people’s lives, read biographies of great people and history books, they are full of inspirational content. While you shouldn’t tell embarrassing stories from your own life to your customers (unless you have a very good reason to), cringe-worthy moments from the lives of people who lived centuries ago can be instructive and entertaining.
3. News stories. Things that fires you up make great material for blogs. When we are passionate about something we suddenly become very articulate. Even if an article or a news item isn’t directly connected with your industry showing that you care about other things, that your business has a human side could help build a closer relationship with customers.
4. Video content – dreams and visualizations. Video content is all the rage these days, but videos do not have to be dry and boring – use your imagination to visualize your brand story, mine your dreams for images and associations that could help create unexpected creative connections and even new products.
5. ‘What if’ scenarios. That is one of the most common story generation tactics amongst writers. Ask yourself what would have happened if all the big players in your industry disappeared overnight or what would have become of the world if the Internet ceased to exist. All sorts of scenarios, from the amusing to the disastrous can be used to create content that shows the creativity and ingenuity of the people behind your brand.
6. Mind mapping and brainstorming. Create a mind map instead of editorial calendar: place a word or phrase at the centre of you ‘map’ and try to come up with as many ideas, words and concepts connected to the central idea. Mind mapping is best done on your own, while brainstorming can be done in a group: ask your team to contribute as many ideas as possible, it’s quantity that matters in a brainstorming session, the quality of ideas does not have to be assessed till later.
7. Telling stories with data. If your business engages in data analysis (and these days it probably should) you can present the driest stats in an engaging visual way with the help of data visualization and infographics generation tools like Dygraphs, ZingChart, Visual.ly and many others. Some of these tools are free, some aren’t – before investing in a data visualization tool think whether it’s going to benefit the business.
The above list is not exhaustive by any means and just shows that coming up with ideas for new content doesn’t have to be a stressful or tedious task. Have fun and go wild: people fall for exciting people and brands.