We all struggle for content ideas from time to time, where a blank page and a deadline combine to give you a big headache.

If you’re wondering what you should, or could be writing to fuel your content marketing machine here are a few simple sources of great content.

Email responses

There’s a pretty good chance you’re writing at least one email a week that could be edited into a blog or form part of a guide. If you’ve written more than two paragraphs in reply to an email question you’ve probably got a pretty good start for your next piece of content marketing.

Phone calls

Just like the above, if you’ve been talking to someone for more than a few minutes, you’re probably covering a subject that would make an interesting blog or guide for your customers and prospects. Get a whiteboard for your sales and support teams and ask them to write down all the questions they get asked. Something as simple as “why are you so expensive?” can turn into a great post about why quality matters in your industry (or why buying in the UK is more expensive but means the customer receives a better quality product).

The party introduction

You do this all the time. You’re at a party or networking meeting and you’re speaking to someone new. How do you introduce yourself? What questions does the person ask you? How do you respond? This conversation is probably full of relevant content ideas you could use.
Your in-house training

Most businesses have some form of staff training. If you cover a range of topics relating to your specific segment, you could easily adapt these into content for your clients and prospects. I’m always stunned by how many businesses have internal training, which includes all the juicy interesting bits, but they never share that knowledge with clients and prospects.

Think about those tricks and short cuts you train your staff on. This type of content can be very successful indeed, just look at all the ‘insider secrets’ blogs out there.

A working example — the opportunity missed

I’m off on holiday this week and it’s my first time travelling long-haul with my 19 month-old son. We decided to travel Virgin Airways as we believe they offer the best customer service and we really want this to be a hassle free trip. Credit to the Virgin team, they have offered us great customer service but it could have been amazing. I had three specific problems I’m sure many parents have the first time they travel. Firstly, what to do about taking a pushchair and a car seat, second, what sort of meal to book for my little man, and finally, what on earth to do with him on the seven hour flight.

The first two were sorted by the customer service team during a courtesy call; however I had to probe for these, the last one I’ve been asking everyone I know ever since we booked the flights. This was the perfect chance for Virgin to wow me, to get me to talk to everyone about them. A simple guide to travelling with toddlers would have hit the mark. It could cover the main FAQs and maybe some inspiration for in-flight entertainment. Virgin, if you’re reading this, I’ll happily write a blog for you on my return!
Keep your eyes peeled

So you can see, there is inspiration all around us. If you want to create great content that works for your target audience just start listening and looking out for those FAQs — they are everywhere.