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Anyone who has or contributes to a blog can relate to this confession:

Creating engaging content is really hard work.  

Businesses who do content marketing certainly understand this. They know successful content marketing requires a long-term, dedicated team effort. And loads of creative ideas.

Some days your thoughts and ideas come pouring out of you. Other days you just need a place to start. To help you through days like that (we’ve all had them), I’ve compiled 10 resources to inspire you in your content creation endeavors.

1. Trending News – Google, YouTube, Twitter, Yahoo, and Bing all have trends dashboards that will give you insight into what type of information people are searching for and talking about. Here’s a list of Trending News Sources:

2. Customer Service feedback – Find out what customers are saying to your call center employees or service technicians. When you notice items that get said or asked about repeatedly, develop a piece of content around them (like a blog post). This can serve as front-end online answers to questions customers would otherwise have to call in or email to ask, which saves both your customers and your staff time. Be sure to check out my colleague Zina Harrington’s post to learn how to use FAQs to kickstart a blog.

3. Guest Blogging – Solicit guest blogging opportunities from subject matter experts (SMEs) within your partner/vendor ecosystem, or even from guest blogging community sites like MyBlogGuest or BloggerLinkUp.

4. Sales Presentations – Convert your sales team’s killer PowerPoint presentation into sharable content (like a SlideShare slide deck) that can be posted on your company LinkedIn page and syndicated across your social media channels.

5. Paid Content – If you’re serious about content marketing but don’t have the resources to keep your blogging engine fueled, you may want to direct some of your marketing budget toward paid blog content. There are quick-solution sites like WaterMyBlog or BlogMutt, who offer over-the-web writing. With WaterMyBlog, you must handle your own SEO keywords for each post, and there are posting minimums and caps. Also note that if you want your distinctive personality to come through on your blog, BlogMutt states that they’re probably not right for you.

More full-service content marketing specialists (like Cultivate), offer a variety of customizable services for every industry, niche, and budget. Through personal interviews, engaging content is tailored to fit within a strategic marketing PLAN — developed just for you — to both grow your business AND project your professional image. A team of experts in search engine optimization, content marketing development, social media, graphic design, and marketing analytics ensure each message connects with your target audience and truly reflects your business’s unique vision, brand, and voice.

6. Crowsourced Content – When in doubt, ask! Leverage your social media audiences to fish for content ideas by posting compelling, open-ended questions that will garner a response in the Comments. If your social audience isn’t very engaged, try including an online survey in one of your eNewsletters and incentivize your list to provide feedback.

7. Other Staff Members — Content marketing is a team effort, not to be handled by the marketing department in isolation. Tap subject matter experts in other departments and levels in your organization. There are many prospect “personas” that all have different content needs. For example, a Vice President has a different vantage point than a Line-of-Business Manager.

8. Freelancers – “Trade instead of paid.” Many folks in the blogging community are very willing to work for trade instead of getting paid. Consider offering up a means to trade content for your product or service.

9. Social Media – Set up search streams for your keywords or other industry-related terms using tools like HootSuite or TweetDeck. At its heart, Twitter is a search engine. Play around with these advanced Twitter search operators to drill down to reach real-time information streams.

10. Comment Section of Your Blog – If you regularly produce engaging how-to and list style blog posts, chances are your audience has left comments offering a different vantage point from your original post that may inspire you to write something new.

So there you have it. 10 ways to get you back on track and generating killer content.

Got other ways you keep your content engine fueled? Sound off in the Comments section below, and let us know what tricks are up your sleeve.
Mike Kissel

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