With 3 out of 4 marketers across the globe prioritizing inbound marketing as their primary approach to marketing these days, more than ever your marketing success relies greatly on the development of high quality content—and lots of it. Whether it’s in written form, audio (podcasts), video, or a combination of all three, without a ready and consistent supply of content, your inbound marketing strategy is D.O.A.

With so many of your marketing eggs in the content basket (or to use a Monkeyz euphemism, so many bananas in the content barrel), what do you do when the creative ideas from your in-house or external team just start to dry up? How do you overcome content block?

Ask Your Audience

The idea here is simple. Who better to ask what kind of content they’d like to see than your target audience. Think it’s impossible to get an accurate read? Try this: post a request on your social media platforms and see the flow of information that comes in. Sure, some won’t be fit to print, but if you’ve got a healthy and vibrant community built around your brand, you’ll most likely be amazed by the quantity and quality of suggestions. If you’d prefer something a little more private, send out a survey by email. Services such as surveymonkey are a great way to stay connected with customers and get feedback in a more anonymous, less public way than social media.

Ask Your Employees

If you don’t feel comfortable going public and asking you target audience, look in-house and ask yourstaff. From the front-lines to the C-suite, everyone likes to be asked his or her opinion—plus it gets employees engaged, which is always a boost. Use company email or discussion forums (or if you’re not quite that high-tech, the old-fashioned suggestion box) to elicit ideas. You might even consider rewarding employees (in small ways) who submit ideas that get used.

Scour Customer Inquiries/FAQs  

Chances are someone/somewhere is keeping track of customer inquiries, complaints, and frequently asked questions (and if they’re not, they should be!). Scour customer feedback reports, emails, and interview your customer service staff to find out what they get asked about most and what they think is topmost in the minds of your customers. When you develop content to address customer concerns or questions, you’ll not only be boosting the relevance of your content, but you’ll be helping your customer service staff too by educating customers, which will presumably cut down on the repetitive calls they get on certain issues.

Check Out Industry News

There is no absence for outlets of free online news for practically every industry, niche, or topic of interest you can imagine. Either make regular time to browse the web for relevant and timely news or set up Google alerts to have material delivered to your inbox daily. Setting up and monitoring a Twitter account is also another way to keep tabs on your industry. Not a Google or Twitter fan? Check out these alerts alternatives from Business News Daily.

Peek At (But Don’t Copy) Your Competitors

There’s no harm in peeking at what your competitors are generating for content and using what you glean there to generate your own ideas. In fact, if you’re not on your competitor’s content distribution list in some form or another (either following on social media, subscribed to their email list, or regularly reading their blogs), then you should be. Of course, you don’t want to copy what they are doing because, let’s face it, if you’re monitoring them, they’re monitoring you, and you, they, and your respective target audiences will be more than savvy enough to sniff out copycat content and react accordingly. As is the case with keeping tabs on industry news, you can also use Google alerts, Twitter, and alternatives (see above) to keep an eye on your competition.

Hold a Contest

Everyone likes contests and an opportunity to win something, plus they’re a great way to generate publicity and buzz for your brand. Think about it: with a contest comes the need for pre-publicity leading up to the contest, publicity during the contest period, and then of course, post-contest publicity to announce winners and results . . . and the next contest! As such, contests are virtual content generators and you don’t have to give away a $100K prize to create a flurry of activity and related content. Instead of “big,” think small and frequent.

Turn to Holidays/Events/Commemorations

Developing content around holidays, special events, and commemorations/awareness days may be an old standby, but it’s clearly an approach that’s proven the test of time. There’s a national awareness day, week, month, or some other observance for practically anything you can imagine. Determine what’s relevant to your brand and your audience and let the ideas (and the content) flow.

Seek Out Guest Blogs

Getting someone to weigh in on your brand, topic of interest, or industry is a great way to not only stretch your content and get some fresh insight/ideas, but an effective way to gain endorsements (whether tacit or explicit) from outside experts. Invite guest experts to write a blog or article for your website, or to contribute material for consumption on social media.

How do you generate content that’s fresh, relevant, and effective? What’s worked (or not worked) for you?

Share your ideas here.

Take the Next Step

Let Barrel O’ Monkeyz provide a free assessment of your current website and/or inbound marketing strategy to help you answer the question, “Am I set-up for success?”

You can also check out Barrel O’Monkeyz white papers on a range of topics, from inbound marketing and website development, to digital marketing, brand development, and design. Each white paper is full of ideas and steps you need to take to turn your ideas into reality.