“Write when you’re inspired,” I always suggest. But sometimes deadlines loom, we need content, and inspiration is nowhere to be found. Here is a checklist you can use to come up with quick content when you’re out of bright ideas:
Fix a problem.
You solve problems for your customers all the time. What are they interested in or anxious about? This won’t require much prep because these will be the same problems you solve every day - the stuff you know like the back of your hand. Answer a question, provide advice, or share a resource.
Express an opinion.
If you're good at what you do, you will have lots of opinions. Share your opinion about someone else's article or on a hot topic under debate in your industry.
Tell a story.
Telling a funny, strange or engaging anecdote is a great way to deepen relationships. The topic doesn’t have to be strongly related to your subject matter but it does need to resonate with your readers. You can share a success story, a customer service experience, or a lesson learned the hard way.
Share a secret.
It doesn’t have to be a big secret. A piece of information that’s in short supply can be a secret. If you treat information as special, it becomes special. Share a ‘look behind the scenes’, give early access to something new or put old information in a new context.
Use another voice.
Other opinions and perspectives add depth to your subject matter. Other styles will add variety. Use guest articles, book reviews and interviews with experts. Invite customers to share their stories.
Create a remix.
Never discard a piece of content after only one use. Repurpose old content in new ways. If you took a poll, turn the results into an info-graphic. Make a series of blog posts into an e-book.
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on April 11, 2012