Most professionals want to write more content but lack inspiration.
Experienced writers find this hard as well, often turning to other artistic mediums for a break, traveling or going to more extreme lengths to find that little nugget of inspiration for their next piece.
Fortunately for professionals looking to produce content - there are far more simple ways of finding that inspiration for your next piece. Below are three easy places to look for your inspiration. What you are looking for here is something that your readers are invested in. Something that they care about and need help with.
Where to look for professional content inspiration
The conversations of your colleagues
Your colleagues know what's important to your clients. But asking them directly is not necessarily the best way to get that information. Challenges your clients have come across in the conversations they have with your team.
Take some time to listen to these conversations - there is often something you can write to help your colleagues on a particular account. When a colleague gets off the phone the conversation that starts with "what were they asking about?" is a goldmine for content and has a ready-made audience.
You can prompt this conversation by asking a colleague if there is a consistent question that is coming up in all their meetings. It might be related to a change in the market or a recurring gap in your clients' understanding. When you find that gap - find a way to fill it.
Here's how to do it:
- Ask your colleagues what their clients are asking them for
- Write a piece of content that will help those specific people
- Make sure to notify your colleagues when your post has been published
This might be useful to send to our contacts we were discussing the other day. Hopefully, it makes a good follow up and answers some of the technical questions they were having."
Your email chains
Long, time-consuming emails are the bane of productivity. But they tell you something about your clients. If you have a long chain going back and forth - your client is invested enough in the topic and needs your advice.
If one of your clients has this problem - chances are that others do as well. Anonymise your content and make it available to the market for those that are struggling but haven't reached out to you - yet.
Here's how to do it:
- Look at your last ten emails
- See if any of your responses would be useful for any of your other clients
- Remove names, sensitive information & any client-specific advice
- Send the content around internally with a note explaining where it came from
I was talking with one of my clients last week and wrote this advice for them. This is good general information for any organisation with a similar challenge. Let me know if you have any questions or queries."
Your upcoming meetings
Meetings have an interesting quality of being too long and not long enough at the same time. People innately have a limited ability to absorb information - more time is needed with clients to fully inform them but at the same time long meetings are unproductive and test the patience of those involved.
Check your calendar for upcoming meetings. Think about what would be handy for your client to receive before or after the meeting. - maybe the basics of the topic you are discussing or possibly the top advice for people in their situation.
Sending something before or after the meeting shows that you aren't just interested in the client when you are in front of them and helps them feel prepared and confident when meeting you. It's a sound practice.
Here's how to do it:
- Scan your calendar for your next important meeting with a key client
- Take your preparation notes and focus on one important issue
- Generalise your advice for that issue to make it relevant not just for this client but for others as well
- Send the advice as a post before or after the meeting
It was good to meet you last week. I thought the information attached would be useful considering our discussions - I hope you find it useful."
What's happening in the world
In an ideal world, inspiration comes from the people that matter most - your clients. But sometimes it is necessary to look at the wider picture to get ahead of the issues that your audience needs to know about.
There are a few different places to look at for inspiration in this way:
- Respected publications like the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, The BBC, The Economist.
- News aggregators like Need2Know, TheSkimm, The Daily Beast
- Google Alerts
- Industry-specific content idea platforms such as Manzama
A current challenge your organisation has
What do you need to do now to help your firm grow? Is it building a stronger relationship with an existing client? Maybe its to nurture a current opportunity to a sale or to open a new opportunity with a key target for next quarter.
Regardless of the challenge, you have an opportunity to overcome it in some way with content. That's the real key to professional content. Not writing for content sake, but using targeted and helpful insights to build relationships that benefit your firm and its clients.