When you are staring at a blank screen and the blinking cursor appears to be mocking you, I want you to remember this truism from Mark Twain.
1. Get inspiration from other reputable sources
Stealing is a crime. So, please, I’m not suggesting that you do that but there is nothing wrong with finding inspiration from reputable sources. “Steal like an artist” recommends Austin Kleon in his viral Ted Talk on the topic of finding great content.
The caveat, Kleon adds, is that stealing is okay as long as you make it your own. In other words, put your own spin on it.
And with social media, as long as you ask permission and give credit, you can often get away with a simple repost.
2. Books & Podcasts
Gone are the days when I would just read for reading’s sake. Now I’m always thinking…could I use this passage? Would someone else find this useful? Could I save someone $30 from buying the hardcover and just share this nugget of wisdom?
Same with podcasts, there is literally no topic that is off-limits. Sometimes, I just need an idea or a direction…then I head over to Listennotes.com and type my subject matter in the search field and Voila! I have a bunch of podcasts I can review to get new material or interesting angles on concepts I already have pinging around in my head.
3. Past posts
Don’t forget your old material. Just because you’ve already said something before, does not mean you can’t say it again. Just ask my mother. I swear…that woman has 90 different ways to bring up the same stories!
Only partially kidding but the truth is, only 10% of our followers will ever see our stuff. That means 90% haven’t seen it. And the 10% who have…meh…is it really going to kill them to hear it again. Even if they did see it…according to Edgar Dale’s famous Cone of Learning, people only retain 10% of what they read.
4. Imgur, Reddit, Slideshare, Flipboard, Scoop.it, Quora and BuzzSumo
Imgur, Reddit, Slideshare, Flipboard, Scoop.it, Quora and of course, BuzzSumo are all great aggregators of information and topics. I’d be remiss not to mention a user beware disclaimer. I find it almost impossible to browse these sites and not get caught up in a vortex of information that lands you fifteen pages away from your original destination.
5. Google Alerts
You may already have Google Alerts set up, but it’s worth a mention in case you don’t. You can set alerts up by:
- Going to Google Alerts.
- In the box at the top, enter a topic you want to follow.
- To change your settings, click Show options. You can choose how often you get notifications and the types of sites you’ll see.
- Click Create Alert. You’ll get email notifications whenever there is a match to your criteria.
Always think of where, or with whom, you can share the information you come across. If you see a breaking news article relevant to a client’s interest, send them the article with a note that says something like…
“I saw your recent Facebook post about the Galapagos Islands being top of your bucket list. This article made me think of you.”
6. Conversations with friends
You aren’t alone if you think you have nothing new to talk about. We all feel like that. If someone asks us…hey…what’s new with you these days. Nine times out of ten, we’ll say…oh nothing much. Yet get on a phone call with your bestie…and the two of you chat for hours about nothing.
THAT’s my favourite topic. Nothing.
So if I’m ever struggling to come up with content ideas…no joke…I’ll scroll through past text messages and look for the gold hiding inside the text bubbles. How many times did you type #ROTHFLMAO in a convo with a friend last week? And sure…some things are not for public consumption…but a lot can be.
7. Facebook groups
It’s no secret that I think Facebook groups provide a wealth of content ideas. Have a look at the types of questions people are asking around your area of expertise. Sometimes I think one of our biggest inhibitors is that we undervalue what we know and take it for granted that others have the same knowledge.
When you spend so much time writing about your area of expertise…it can begin to feel like you are in an echo chamber of ideas and concepts.
8. Poll your audience
Don’t forget that your past clients can provide great fodder as topics for content, too. What are their most frequently asked questions? And if you can’t remember or nothing is jumping out at you, why not reach out to your audience and ask them their burning questions? (be sure you specify…ABOUT TRAVEL or you might find yourself lost in questionable topics.)
Use Google Forms or Survey Monkey.
9. Use a social media calendar with theme days
Finally, while it may seem lame to lean on a social media holiday calendar for content prompts…I say put your ego aside and jump in. Often, social media holidays are trending topics and as a result, you can find new followers by including relevant hashtags to support the day.
I created a Google calendar (subscribe here) so you never miss National Pancake Day ever again. I’ve also included many of the world’s most famous festivals – It’s great info to have. For example…let’s say you have clients hoping to visit China in early October…a festival calendar will remind you to avoid Golden Week unless crowds are their thing.
I also recommend setting yourself up with a content calendar based on themes that make sense for the destinations you offer. Maybe you could have a “Flavours of Fridays” theme where you showcase recipes from a region in your niche or “Travel Tips Tuesdays.”
If I leave you only one takeaway from this article, it’s this…keep your eyes peeled. There are juicy nuggets of content everywhere you look. You just have to change your perspective on how you view the most mundane of tasks. That’s where all the ‘real’ good stuff is hiding.
On that note…Happy Gorgonzola Day to you!