As a writer, I sometimes feel like there are countless topic ideas I could cover. I find myself feverishly jotting down idea after idea after idea. Sadly, that doesn’t happen everyday. There are plenty of times I sit in front of that dreaded blank screen and think to myself, “I swear, I’ve already covered everything I can possible cover. And then some.” I know it isn’t true, but let’s face it, sometimes you just need a little extra help conjuring up your next article, blog post, case study… whatever you’re working on.
That’s where this brilliant (and simple) trick comes into play. If you feel like you’ve written everything but the dictionary, that probably means you’ve written a lot of material over the years. Here’s the good news — that content is a goldmine! It’s packed full of information, spontaneous ideas, hard-hitting news — and it’s about to become the source of your next piece.
Go back and sift through your treasure trove of articles. Look at your blog categories and take note of some of the older posts. See a theme? Not yet? Look more closely — it’s there. There’s always something there, I promise. If you’re looking for ways to breathe new life into your old, tired content, here are four of my personal faves.
Sally, our fictitious content marketer and fur-baby fanatic, sells pet supplies on her website. She’s been at it a little over a year now. In her blog, she has a category called “Pet Boarding.” Inside that category she finds six articles that all fall into one more specific theme — they all talk about the basic need-to-know information for first-time pet owners. And there’s the lightbulb moment … she’s going to write a new Beginner’s Guide to Boarding Your Beloved Pets.
Why do Beginner Guides make great content?
No matter what you’re doing or selling online, there will always be newcomers — first-time visitors to your site, users who are new to your brand, industry, products and services. When you generate content geared toward beginners, it will always offer value to newcomers. And since there will always be newcomers, beginner guides are a great source of evergreen content.
Next, Larry, our fictitious garden landscaper, has decided it’s time to expand into new cities. As part of his over all digital marketing strategy, he’s going to use all those dozens of blog posts he’s been hammering out for the past three years to create a new, up-to-date How-to Guide for the DIY Gardner.
Why do How-to Guides make great content?
Similar to beginner guides, how-to guides are also great pieces of information that will keep users coming back for more. Newbies will need to learn how to use your product or service, and so will ongoing customers. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have an eidetic memory. I for one find myself frequently consulting how-to guides to jog my memory.
Arlene is our made-up friend from Colorado. She’s been working at a dentist’s office for six months and is eager to ask for a raise. Over the past few months she’s been taking initiative and ramping up the doc’s Twitter & Facebook feeds. Now she has a great idea that will not only help generate useful fresh content, but it will prove her worth to the boss, too.
She’s decided to collect all the various questions and answers from all those conversations she’s been having on social networks. Then she’s going to categorize them all and start creating a series of FAQ pages for the website.
Why do FAQs make great content?
Not only are question and answer pages helpful to users, but they make your customer service team more efficient, too, by eliminating the need to respond to frequently asked questions — hence FAQ pages. It’s easy to build out categorical FAQ pages as well that focus on one particular topic. Cull through your common questions that come from your prospects and customers, then separate them into categories. For example, you may have own a software company where you get all kinds of questions around installation, updates, compatibility, technical support, and so on.
The great thing about this type of content is that you’re frequently updating the pages, adding new information and updating old information, which provides ongoing value to your readers and feeds Google’s panda the bamboo shoots it needs to rank your fresh new content.
Checklists & Templates
Sam is a graphic designer. He knows he needs fresh new content for his website, but he’s a designer, not a “writer.” And he’s on a tight budget. Fortunately, he’s accumulated a ton of checklists and templates he uses everyday to create client websites. In a moment of brilliance, Sam decides to pretty them up — he is a designer after all — and post them on his website for others to use as references.
Why do checklists and templates make great content?
Checklists and templates are quick and easy to create, and they offer instant gratification to users. They’re also easy to update and refresh (feed that panda). Keeping up with industry best practices and making small adjustments are a quick and easy way to generate evergreen content.
So the next time you’re convinced you have nothing to write about, take a look back. Review pages from the past and find a way to breath new life into that otherwise old and tired content.