Five Sources for Great Newsletter and Blog Content

I’ve blogged before about how generating good content comes from knowing the questions that your customers are asking. But what if they aren’t your customers yet? What if you need to seek some inspiration outside of your company team or ecosystem? Here are five great sources which can help you generate excellent content for your blog and your newsletter.

 

1. Twitter

A search from your Twitter page for a key word of interest can bring you a slew of new ideas and insight. People curate a lot of excellent content via Twitter.

Twitter chats are another great resource for any number of topics. You’ll find people asking and answering a lot of good questions here. The easiest way I’ve found to look for lists of Twitter chats is to do a Google search for “subject” Twitter chat. So, for marketing you would search for: “Marketing twitter chats.”

 

2. Pinterest

A picture really is worth a thousand words! A brief search for your topic of interest should pull up some great data such as survey charts and infographics – for example, try searching for the word “email” and you’ll get a stack of good info in visual form.

 

3. User reviews

Often people will point out features or services they think a product is lacking when commenting/reviewing products on a website. They also ask questions and answering good questions makes for great content.

 

4. Google search

The oracle of the internet. One good search leads to another and before you know it, voila — you have inspiration on your hands! Start at the higher abstracts and then use the search returns to narrow things down.

 

5. Other people’s newsletters

You don’t know everything. What’s worse is you won’t even know what you don’t know if you don’t try to know what other people are thinking – this gives perspective. Subscribing to newsletters and following industry blogs such as the GetResponse blog are excellent sources for new ideas when it comes to content and presentation.

 

What about you? What online tools have you found useful for helping you generate great content?

  • brittmalka

    I’ve found several online tools helpful, but these two have probably been the best for me:

    - Email.
    - Blogs.

    Emails, because I get a lot of questions through emails, and I can often use them either for blog posts or for mails to my list.

    Blogs, because people leave comments on my and my colleagues blogs, and I can use those comments and questions as inspiration for blog posts – or mails :D

  • Martin Lieberman

    Great post, Jim! To add to your Twitter comment, taking advantage of hashtags can be very helpful too. Search for the appropriate tags and monitor those conversations. When you know what people are discussing and how they’re discussing those topics, you can tailor your content to their needs — and find yourself inserted into the discussion via your content. Now that Facebook allows for the use of hashtags, this applies to that social network too.

    But I’d say the best place to get content ideas is the one you mention in your introduction: Actual people (i.e., your customers, fans, followers, and prospects)! Keep a running list by your cash register and jot down what questions you’re being asked. Take note of the comments people make on your Facebook Page, or elsewhere on social media. Solicit from customers the things they’d like to read about in your newsletter and on your blog.

    Content ideas are everywhere! You just have to look for them. :-)

  • Jim_Ducharme

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for mentioning hash tags and searches. I definitely agree people should use apps such as HootSuite and TweekDeck that allow you to easily monitor conversations on specific topics.

    Regards,
    jim

  • Jim_Ducharme

    Hi Britt,

    It’s interesting how there is a “content cycle.” Do you use the questions alone or do you feature the questioners as well? In other words, do you spotlight the conversation from email on your blog or vice versa?

    Regards,
    jim

  • brittmalka

    That depends on where I got or saw the question.

    If it’s somebody who commented on my blog, I’ll mention the name, because that person already made it public.

    If the person asked me privately in a mail, I will not mention the name, but only that somebody asked me about it.

    And if it’s somebody who asked the question on another person’s blog, I might mention the blog’s name.

  • http://www.WebsitePlanet.com/ Idan Cohen

    Nice post Jim,

    Although it might sound a bit old fashioned going through forums and checking out what people are asking about is also a great way to generate ideas for your next blog post

    Cheers,

  • Jim_Ducharme

    Hi Idan,

    Glad you enjoyed the post! I agree that forums are also a good source of content because as you say, there are always good questions being asked on them. As well, just about every niche/interest has a forum dedicated to it where enthusiasts hang out.

    Regards,
    jim

  • http://profittrek.blogspot.com/2013/05/build-your-downlines.html paulgermana

    These are great resources

  • Jim_Ducharme

    Hi Paul!

    Glad you found the post worthwhile! Check the comments for more tips from the community which are really good!

    Regards,
    jim