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Gini Dietrich

Four Ways to Keep Content Fresh

By: Gini Dietrich | February 27, 2013 | 
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Keep Content Fresh with these Four TipsDo 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 “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 was reminded of this past weekend when I was going through some old blog posts – oh my!), 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 Google alerts. You’ve heard me say this before, but Google alerts are an amazing tool. We work with a company that takes donated breast milk and uses it in fortified milk for premature babies. I have alerts set up for “breastfeeding,” “donate breast milk,” and “breast milk donations” (as well as the company name and their affiliated milk banks). We get lots and lots of story ideas from just scanning those every day.
  3. Read the comments. Maybe no one is commenting on the content you create – we have two clients like that. Their 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. In fact, our March Spin Sucks Pro webinar is being created around a comment someone made during the February event. Not only does it give you ideas for content, it makes people feel part of the process, which creates loyal brand ambassadors of them.
  4. Pay attention to current events. Can you tie into what’s happening at Yahoo! and offer a different perspective? Is there a tie-in to the Oscars or the Grammys or the Super Bowl (like Oreo so brilliantly did)? 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.

91 comments
PhillipCovell
PhillipCovell

@kathysteele @ginidietrich It is a great piece!

PhillipCovell
PhillipCovell

@bowden2bowden @ginidietrich I like the article and approach!

Cision NA
Cision NA

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 [http://www.businessesgrow.com/2013/01/09/how-i-totally-screwed-up-my-blogging-strategy/].

 

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 

seanmcginnis
seanmcginnis

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

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

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! 

MatthewLiberty
MatthewLiberty

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

dbvickery
dbvickery

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

dbvickery
dbvickery

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.

NancyCawleyJean
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.

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

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!

Daveisbell1
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!

jdrobertson
jdrobertson

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!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

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!

yvettepistorio
yvettepistorio

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.

KenMueller
KenMueller

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.

bradmarley
bradmarley

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.

AmyHesser
AmyHesser

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

MatthewLiberty
MatthewLiberty

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

aimeelwest
aimeelwest

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)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

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

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

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

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