Gini Dietrich

Four Ways to Keep Content Fresh

By: Gini Dietrich | July 29, 2015 | 

Four Ways to Keep Content FreshBy Gini Dietrich

Do you know the story of how BlendTec used Will It Blend to keep content fresh about industrial-strength blenders?

While a big fan of their super smart and creative videos, I didn’t know the idea to see what their blenders could blend came about because an executive noticed sawdust on the floor.

As it turns out, employees were putting broom handles in the blenders to see if they would blend.

And they would.

And so was born the “try this at home” and “don’t try this at home” campaigns to show just how the blenders work.

One of my favorite videos is when the first generation iPad came to market and they blended one. They put a nearly $1,000 piece of technology in a blender…and blended it up!

This, of course, was part of their “don’t try this at home” series. I don’t think you really want to blend an iPad.

The point is this: They make blenders. They have lots of competition. Their blenders are not cheap. They needed a story to help build the brand and make people aware of its incredible strength, but also to set itself apart from the competition that seemingly do the same thing.

And a story they found.

Keep Content Fresh

I consider myself a pretty good storyteller. I write every, single day. Even though I didn’t start out as a great blogger (which I am reminded of every blog anniversary, when I re-publish our very first blog post), I put something on proverbial paper every day.

Now companies hire us to help them tell their stories … and guess what? Sometimes even we get stuck.

We work with manufacturing companies. We work with financial services companies. We work with software as a service companies.

None of those companies have anything in common, which requires us to be extremely creative—in different ways—multiple times a day.

To help us tell their stories, we do a few things to stay creative and keep content fresh:

  1. Subscribe to SmartBrief. I’m a big, big fan of the SmartBrief newsletters. They aggregate a bunch of content every day (at least 10 articles) around one topic (I subscribe to entrepreneurship, leadership, and social media). It’s pretty likely they have a newsletter for your industry.
  2. Subscribe to Talkwalker alerts. I love, love, love Talkwalker alerts. And I love them even more now that I can throw them into a newsfeed in Hootsuite instead of having them come into my email. Create an alert for your industry or your specialty and pay attention to the trends. There are a lot of content ideas in there.
  3. Read the comments. Maybe no one is commenting on the content you create. We certainly have clients like that. Readership and subscribers grow significantly every month, but no one comments. So read the comments on other blogs inside the industry. Read the Twitter streams. Read the comments on Facebook updates. This is what we’ll call real-time research. Find out what strikes the fancy of your audience.
  4. Pay attention to current events. Can you provide a perspective on the release of the “newly found” manuscript from Harper Lee? Or test different ways to organically grow your Facebook fans? Sometimes scanning the news is the best way to get past writer’s block.

Now it’s your turn.

What do you do to help keep your content fresh? To tell your story in a new and different way? To get past writer’s block?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • belllindsay

    Brilliant ideas Gini. I always tell people to read read read, it gives you a wealth of content ideas. I also subscribe to a ton of daily emails from industry related publications, and while they clutter up my inbox and I don’t look at them *every* day, often I see a headline or some new research that makes me go “OH! Great blog posts here!” – then I file that away for the future. I didn’t know about Smartbrief. Am signing up right now! 😀

    • @belllindsay Oh really?! I need to make it part of our new talent process – subscribe to SmartBrief!

      • belllindsay

        @ginidietrich Actually that’s a great idea – have a standard list of things people need to get set up on their first day. Including Evernote. LOL

        • @belllindsay Sigh…

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich You know you love me!  🙂

        • @belllindsay  @ginidietrich YES! Actually that would make a great post! (oh, shoot did I say that out loud?)

      • @ginidietrich  @belllindsay So what does that say about me that I’ve been subscribing to Smartbrief for the better part of a year? Hmmmm? 😉

        • belllindsay

          @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich You’re a suck-up…?? xoxox 🙂

        • @belllindsay  @ginidietrich Pot, meet Kettle. 😀

        • belllindsay

          @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich True dat, my friend. 😀

  • PattiRoseKnight1

    I would add – read the competitor’s content and the comments on their content,

  • SmartBrief’s are SO helpful! Between those, and all of my other subscriptions, alerts and memberships, it sometimes feels like I spend half my day reading, but it always helps me with content creation and pushes me to do more and do better.

    • @katskrieger I agree. I feel like the majority of my day is spent reading and the rest is spent writing …

      • belllindsay

        @kateupdates  @katskrieger I like to TRY and give myself a “read and think” day when possible. It’s so important, especially considering the pace at which new information flies by us these days!

        • @belllindsay  @katskrieger The role that I’m in now demands that I read every day. I have to TRY to have days where I don’t lol

        • belllindsay

          @kateupdates  @katskrieger Sounds like sheer HEAVEN to me. I’m a huge reader. I don’t get people who don’t read (no, not being a snob, I just don’t get it).

        • @belllindsay  @katskrieger My biggest challenge is organizing it all. I use Evernote as a catch-all database and continual bookmark in Feedly. It’s madness sometimes.

        • @kateupdates  @belllindsay My biggest challenge is that I feel like my personal reading suffers. I get home at night or on the weekends and I’m ‘read out’.

        • @kateupdates  @belllindsay  @katskrieger Ugh…me too!  Complete madness – would love to hear how others keep track of it all!

  • Subscribing to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and reading them as they arrive in my inbox is a regular part of my day. It’s a great way to get a feel for what the major media outlets are focusing on right now and it definitely sparks ideas. Of course it gives me opportunities to pitch my clients and myself, too. (P.S. Cross your fingers because I think one of my Paleo recipes will be featured on within the week! Woop!)

    • @kateupdates That’s a really, really good one. I don’t subscribe anymore because my team manages that stuff, but it’s a great point and one that shouldn’t be missed.

  • sydcon_mktg

    @ginidietrich So…were you able to get out the skis yet?? We got about 10 inches here!

    • ginidietrich

      @sydcon_mktg Uh…I broke my foot on Saturday. So no skiing even with the giant Slurpee outside.

      • sydcon_mktg

        @ginidietrich WHAT?!?! How on earth did you do that??

        • ginidietrich

          @sydcon_mktg I actually have no idea. I was walking around on it (and riding) for two weeks before I saw a doctor.

        • sydcon_mktg

          @ginidietrich That stinks, right when you finally got snow too!! Did Jack step on our foot? 🙂

        • ginidietrich

          @sydcon_mktg I think I slipped on the ice. It was such a non-event, I didn’t think anything of it. It hurt, but not that badly.

        • sydcon_mktg

          @ginidietrich Usually when I hear of something like this, its flukey things. I saw a poor mom wipeout in front of school today!

        • ginidietrich

          @sydcon_mktg Oh no! Like Jennifer Lawrence in her dress. 🙁

        • sydcon_mktg

          @ginidietrich Oh, I felt so bad for her!! Give her credit for putting on a brave face & laughing at herself. I think I wouldve died!

  • John_Trader1

    Crowdsource. Better yet, employeesource. One of the best ways I come up with new ideas for content and some of the most compelling pieces of content I have created come from asking what people want to see, particularly my colleagues. Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth but eventually they catch on that the content I am creating helps them do their job more effectively. It’s funny but when you get people to have their own skin in the game, ideas flow. Don’t feel like you have to do it all alone or be afraid to speak up and say, “Yo, need some ideas folks. Help.” Great post Gini.

    • @John_Trader1 Love that one … and I would add, ask the sales guys what questions they get in meetings with prospects. You’ll get the normal price, delivery, references, but as you dig, you’ll find more unique things that can help you create content.

  • decillis1

    This is going to sound weird, but I sometimes use my Timehop emails for content creation. Year Ago Betsy had different thoughts and feelings than Today Betsy. Some of those thoughts are bizarre, and some them can be reworked into something interesting. A year ago today, I wanted to be called Lady Betsy of the Decillis. This will not be reworked into anything.

    • @decillis1 I LOVE TIMEHOP! I shall call you Lady Betsy of the Decillis from henceforth.

  • MolyEm

    For PR newbies (like me) and pros alike: 4 Tips to help create new content via @ginidietrich” #GMacPR

    • ginidietrich

      @MolyEm I wrote that this morning because I had writer’s block. We all get it!

  • Great post, Gini. I’m going to give SmartBrief a shot.
    One of the ideas I’ve been giving some thought to (on the professional content creation side) is coming up with posts that can help our readers, rather than just talking at them about our announcement. I mean, that part will never go away. But if we can turn one or two “announcement” posts into a post that will help our readers, well, everybody wins.
    That’s one way we are trying to keep our content fresh.

    • @bradmarley I am a HUGE advocate of that. Huge, huge, huge! Please let me know how it works!

      • HowieG

        @ginidietrich  @bradmarley Brad make sure you use her coupon code so you get a free pencil set for signing up.

        • @HowieG  @ginidietrich Hold the phone. Nobody said anything about a free pencil set!

        • @bradmarley  @HowieG HOWIE! We ran out of the pencil sets. Stop giving them away!

  • prettypeacock21

    @AliahPR @ginidietrich @spinsucks great share

    • ginidietrich

      @prettypeacock21 Thanks!

  • ginidietrich

    @AliahPR Thank you!

  • annaosgoodby

    RT @jenniferwindrum Four Ways to Keep Content Fresh via @ginidietrich

  • The Smartbriefs for chefs and restaurants are incredible. I also subscribe to some aviation and health ones for my clients. All part of learning new stuff, and it gives me ideas for my blog as well.

    • HowieG

      @KenMueller and you get the Green Dragon Brief?

      • @HowieG I’ve actually only been to the Green Dragon once…a long time ago…

        • HowieG

          @KenMueller you can still get their Smart Brief! My last visit was 1979 LOL

    • @KenMueller Would those be good for me as food is a passion? Or is it more business-related?

      • @ginidietrich Well, it’s not all business. And much of it is food related, including recipes and articles about nutrition and health, so it might be worth a try.

  • SmartBrief has saved me many times when I’m struggling to find a topic to write about. It’s hard to come up with fresh content though…I’ve attempted to tie current events or holidays into posts, and have had some good ones and some REALLY bad ones! I like @PattiRoseKnight1 idea of taking a look at competitors too.

    • @yvettepistorio  Hey @belllindsay ! Look who DOES know about SmartBrief. I guess I failed you, but not Yvette. I’m sorry.

  • HowieG

    I love Will It Blend. You are right Gini I do all 4 of those things thought I could read more comments. I am shocked how many people I meet don’t get blogs. You can get an MBA or become an expert in anything from reading and participating on blogs. Bloggers tend to be accessible. And so many really smart people blog (ok me and @bdorman264 are exceptions…plus a few social rockstars lol)
    Every career and industry has trade publications and usually the content is free via email. For me Smartbrief, Mediapost, MediaBistro, Ad Week, Ad Age…all free!

    • @HowieG  @bdorman264 You and Dorman are definitely not smart.

    • Yes  @HowieG  I am always amazed as well when I talk to people who not only don’t read blogs but never look past the industry they are in for ideas. I love not only learning new things but then also incorporating those ideas into something that will also benefit my clients. (I love Will It Blend as well my son is addicted to the videos)

      • @aimeelwest  @HowieG One of the questions we ask when we interview is, “What are you reading right now?” You’d be shocked at how many say, “I don’t have time to read.” Next!

  • May I respectfully draw to your attention – back when TV was done live Timex  decided to show the market the strength of their product by throwing a watch into a blender before a live audience. They did this very successfully until they actually blended one. The pregnant pause developed by Timex parts flying all over the studio broke up the audience and the perpetrators to the extent the incident was picked up by the national media and ran for days and days. Timex got tickled with it and ran it every once in a while claiming “nobody is perfect.”  Have a good day!

    • @jdrobertson HA! I’d never heard that story. It’s great!

  • The Magic 8 ball works wonders for me. It is a writing talisman.

    • @TheJackB I use the Magic 8 ball at Starbucks. Is my latte free? It is decidedly so. For some reason, it never works.

  • Daveisbell1

    I’ll weigh in here as perhaps the only non “communications” professionals. First thanks for the tip on smartbrief, I’ve never heard of it before. Second, as a life/career coach I rarely read anything in my own profession anymore. I find it’s all the same stuff I’ve heard a million times. I learn so much more by stepping outside of my own industry. I’m constantly borrowing from you Gini, so thanks for being my muse when other people need me to be theirs!

    • @Daveisbell1 You’re actually not the only non-PR pro! Lots of them here. But I LOVE your comment and love we can be a muse for you. Thank you!

  • I’m sharing this with my colleagues right now! I find the more you practice looking for ideas to write about or that inspire you the better. Remembering to think this way and then writing down an idea when it comes to you (even if it’s very premature) is very helpful and it’s something I’m constantly trying to practice. Thanks for the tips Gini!

    • @rachaelseda You know what else works? Going to dinner with friends from work. Some of my best blog posts come after dinner with @jeanniecw @crestodina and seanmcginnis

      • @ginidietrich  @rachaelseda  @jeanniecw  @crestodina  seanmcginnis Still waiting for the blog post titled “PUSH MY FOOT”

    • @rachaelseda Hey you. Aunt Terrye just turned 80!

  • NancyCawleyJean

    As always, wonderful tips, Gini! I am ALWAYS stuck for topics for personal blog posts, and these tips are fabulous. I’d also add that reading other blogs (like this one!!) is always great too.

    • @NancyCawleyJean Whoa! I was just hanging out on your site … then here you are!

  • I’ve definitely generated posts off of ideas sponsored from other blog posts or comments (especially if I have a contrarian opinion – hey, it happens). Being a “sports guy”, I also get plenty of fodder almost every day – recent post was about Brady taking much less money than he could have demanded.

  • dbvickery

    @MatthewLiberty @ginidietrich Follow sports, and you will always have good fodder for blog posts. Get on SpinSucks for more ideas…

    • MatthewLiberty

      @dbvickery I agree Brian, sadly I grew tired of sports years ago due to their childish behavior @ginidietrich

  • Is the March event about my comment? (It’s all about me.) What was this post about again?

    • @jeanniecw No, Jeannie. We are not having a wedding for yours and Andy’s blogs.

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  • MatthewLiberty

    @ChazNKellogg Thanks for that RT!! #Content #Tips

  • One of the best ways to generate new content (or ideas for content) is to stay active, meet new people, do new things, solve difficult problems — thereby giving yourself new material. 
    Did I just describe Charles Arment? That guy is EVERYWHERE!

    • CharlesArment

      Thanks @barrettrossie — I appreciate your enthusiasm!

    • @barrettrossie He is everywhere. He goes out so I can keep my foot up and be waited on hand and foot.

      • @ginidietrich I gotta find someone like @CharlesArment

        • @barrettrossie  I know where you might be able to find one.@CharlesArment

  • seanmcginnis

    @ginidietrich Uh oh. That can’t be good. Better go check it out….

  • Hi there!
    I love talking about content. It’s all-encompassing, after all 🙂 As an extension of #3, I would say: find out what your audience struggles with, or think about your own struggles.
    A good example is Mark Schaefer who recently wrote a blog post about not being able to think of a topic for a blog post [].
    Brilliant, right? 🙂 Not only did he write about that topic, he offered the solution he came up with for this problem and asked readers how they generate blog ideas.
    A few more tidbits:
    – Someone just recently sent me a Will It Blend video. Hilarious.
    – Random but what is the FADS logo that pops up in my tab when I open SpinSucks? I’ve always wondered! Possible blog post? JK 🙂
    Have a nice evening!Lisa

    • @Cision NA You were here late last night! Oh you know…I totally forgot about the FADS logo. Our tagline used to be: Fight Against Destructive Spin. Making a note to change that. Thank you for the reminder!

  • geoffreiner

    RT “@barrettrossie: Keeping content fresh: by @ginidietrich

  • PhillipCovell

    @bowden2bowden @ginidietrich I like the article and approach!

  • CraigMcBreen

    @RealSheree Thanks again, Sheree

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  • ginidietrich

    @AmyHesser Hi Amy!

    • AmyHesser

      @ginidietrich Hi Gini! Keep the great thoughts rolling;)

  • PhillipCovell

    @kathysteele @ginidietrich It is a great piece!

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  • I keep my content in a ziplock bag…

  • Life itself does a pretty good job of feeding us continuous content ideas. I had planned to be the umpteenth person to write about the toddler/diner/pancake situation this past Sunday until my daughter and I found ourselves locked into her room as we tried to install a doorknob. DIY is just *full* of bloggable opportunities! // I also love writing prompts. Perhaps that’s more germane to a personal blogger than a business blogger but the principle still applies that sometimes it’s helpful to have just one or two sentences worth of “starter” inspiration than an utterly blank page. // AND FunFact – I am responsible for submitting Lead Change’s submissions to the Leadership Smart Brief twice a month so I have seen firsthand their process and how much attention they pay to the quality of the pieces they feature, so I concur that SmartBrief deserves the thumbs up!

  • PaulKelly

    Very helpful piece. Thank you!

  • PaulKelly You bet!

  • Todd Lyden That’s a really good idea. That way, it never goes stale.

  • biggreenpen I saw you blog post about the doorknob. You make me laugh!

  • Today, you win. I just signed up for SmartBrief.  

    I remember seeing the Will It Blend guy blend a broom in real life. Another example of why you must be ingrained in your company/clients to see those sneaky stories.

  • HeatherTweedy They really are the gold standard when it comes to storytelling. AND I WIN!!!

  • While my blog is suspended for now I still have small twitter campaigns where I randomly react to something in my feed or I use a Topic Du Jour. But most of my blog posts are from the same source. My last one you can’t pay for influence was the fight I am still fighting on this.

  • ginidietrich HeatherTweedy I love me the smart brief. I hope you got the free T-Shirt, Coffee mug, and Beer Koozie they sent me for signing up.

  • danielschiller

    First of all, I think *everyone* should comment on the release of Harper Lee’s manuscript. That is any one who is a human and is planning on getting old one day. But that’s just my two bits.
    A great way to keep content fresh—imho—is learn how customers/clients/people who pay you money for what you do for them talk about you. Use the same language and answer them back. Stay at least one step ahead of them. If that sounds too nebulous, let me know. It’s my answer and I’m sticking to it.

  • Howie Goldfarb Oh yes. I am very aware of this. 🙂

  • danielschiller I want to say it sounds too nebulous, just to see what you’ll respond with.

  • Nice tools… I’ll be the first to say I dont know who Harper Lee is. But its possible I have heard of him and just dont recognize the name.

  • danielschiller

    ginidietrich danielschiller – I mean just make it bloody interesting!

  • seowestcp She wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. You learned something new today so you can go home!

  • MZazeela

    Number one best tip is to pay attention to everything around you. I had not thought to use industry news/comments/questions as food for thought.

    Thank you for your insight!