Content may be king, but it’s a cruel, merciless despot. Having a blog, a Facebook page or a YouTube channel for your business is like making a promise to your customers that you can never permanently fill. No matter how great that last post was, you need to keep feeding the beast. How can you possibly keep up? Here are five (and a half) easy way to keep your fans satisfied without letting social media take up too much of your time.

Fix a problem.
All businesses are in the business of problem solving. No matter what your good or service is, you solve a problem for your customers every day. Your social media presence can be an extension of that role. Think about what your customers are worried about or interested in and then share your expertise on that subject. That might mean doing unusual product demos, answering user questions, providing advice or sharing a white paper. These kinds of posts don’t require a lot of preparation or research because they’re ideally the same questions your company is answering for customers every day — it’s stuff you already know! Some people like to call this thought leadership, but I like to think of it as proving that you know what you’re talking about. When you can show people that your company can help them solve little problems, they’re more likely to come to you for the big ones.

Share a secret. Secrets have a bad rap. The word conjures up images of secret formulas in vaults and baby-daddy reveals on daytime talk shows. But they don’t have to be big, they don’t have to be important and they certainly don’t have to be damaging. A secret is just a piece of information that’s in short supply. If you treat information as special, it becomes special. And when you share special information with people, they feel special too. By sharing a look behind the scenes at your organization, giving early access to a new product or putting old information in an interesting context, you can make your fans feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.

Ask the audacious question.
Questions are a fun and easy way to knock out a blog post or a Facebook update. But unless you’re asking a bold one, you may be let down by the response. Ask big questions — preferably ones without easy answers. Give people a chance to get fired up about something and they’ll not only post, but they’ll come back to see what other people are saying. Knowing what to ask (and what to avoid) is something that comes from knowing your audience. What are they passionate about? What are their sacred cows? What are their big fears? For some people, asking about the best brand of luxury sunglasses is a non sequitur and for others it’s a street fight.

Tell a story.
If you’re always relatable, you’ll always be relevant. Telling your fans a funny, strange or engaging story is one of the most powerful tools you have. The topic doesn’t have to be strongly related to your company — one of the most popular things I’ve written for this blog was about my favorite pickup line — it just needs to connect with the audience your company is trying to reach. Stories are a gateway drug: Once you’ve roped people in, you can work on solidifying that connection and sharing more information about your business.

Bring in another voice.
No one says you have to do this all on your own. Interviews with experts, customers sharing their stories and even the occasional guest post are all great ways to keep your blog fresh. Getting people to give you a little bit of their time is easier than you might think, particularly if you’re willing to lend them a little bit of cross-promotion as part of the bargain. The trick is asking focused questions that will resonate with your audience — vague post topics and wishy-washy questions are stressful for your guest voice and tend not to perform well with audiences either.

Hit them with the remix.
Did you shoot a video? Turn a summary of that video into a blog post. If you took a poll, turn the results into an infographic and share it on Facebook. Make a popular series of blog posts into an e-book. Never discard a piece of content after one use.

How are you creating content that speaks to your fans?

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10 responses to “5 and a half ways to ensure you never run out of content”

  1. @hanelly says:

    Thanks for following your own advice (#2) and sharing this with us. It's causing one of those "oh yeah, I can do *that*" moments for me.

    Any time I'm running in to a wall creatively, I put my nose to the grindstone in more mundane work and hope to catch some inspiration. It's a wise move to take note of said work at the grindstone to see if it merits a post.

    Going to share this one for sure. Great stuff, Jesse!
    My recent post You’re a Human, Act Like It. Unless You’re OK with Being a Digital Marketing Failure

  2. @ScottAPetty says:

    The remix idea was one I hadn't really thought of before. I especially found the line about taking poll results and turning them into Infographics interesting, hadn't crossed my mind before. "Never discard a piece of content…" so simple but very insightful. I think those of us in social marketing forget that it can be that simple! Thanks for sharing!

  3. @JTabachnick says:

    Great post Jesse. I find that using a content curation/aggregation tool can be very helpful, for ideas as well as for bringing in another voice.

    for that I am partial to Moozly, my own tool.

  4. @PivotGroup says:

    Our marketing agency has actually started a service that offers three social media-appropriate posts (for a general audience) each day. The point is to address this very issue: sometimes it is difficult to come up with engaging content!

    Ian Doescher
    Pivot Group

  5. AiDBusiness says:

    Jesse, you have put together a list of suggestions that should keep any blogger busy for some time to come. Your suggestion to bring in another voice is especially useful, but it can be expanded. Interviewing others and the occasional guest blog are good methods to consider. Another that I would add is using the network that you have established.

    Get together on a regular basis with a mentor (everyone should have one). The discussions that you have will spark new insights and provide new slants on topics that will all give rise to new articles that would never have been generated in isolation.
    My recent post How to Identify a Reputable SEO Expert to Optimize Your Website

  6. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful ideas. I especially liked the remix concept.
    I also learned a great deal from some of your excellent comments. Well done – you just made my day and gave me so many ideas to work on. Best wishes from Thailand
    My recent post Tips for a Stress Free Wedding Dress