[This post is an excerpt from Bob Baker’s book, The Five-Minute Music Marketer: 151 Easy Music Promotion Activities That Take 5 Minutes or Less.]
If you’ve spent any amount of time researching online promotion strategies, you’ve certainly come across the term “content marketing.” This is the act of strategically creating cool stuff to share with your audience online.
The content you create can come in many forms: the written word, the spoken word, music, images, and video. This content can be delivered via your website, email, social media sites, YouTube, SoundCloud, smartphones, tablets, computer screens, the telephone, and more.
This post features a list of quick ways to generate ideas for the online content you create. Use them to promote your music and transform yourself into a content creation machine!
1. Capture content ideas as they come to you
You know how this works with songs, right? You start humming a great new melody while you’re driving or in the shower. You vow that you won’t forget it. Then, a couple of hours later, you can’t remember how it goes, no matter how hard you try.
The same goes for content marketing ideas. When an idea strikes you, capture it. Preferably in a solid, dependable form. Scribbled notes on napkins can get lost. These days it’s easier than ever to store these ideas in a safe digital format. And you can do this easily in 30 seconds or less.
One great idea capture option is Evernote. Sign up for a free account at www.evernote.com and create a “Content Ideas” folder. Access it any time from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Other options include any reliable “notes” app on your phone, Google Drive, voice memos, email, etc. I prefer a capture system that can be accessed from multiple devices and always serves up the most current list – as opposed to having separate lists in various places. That’s one reason I’m a big fan of Evernote.
2. Get content inspiration from the pros
Sure, you could generate all of your content ideas on your own. Or you could allow yourself to be influenced by people who have proven themselves to be at the top of the content marketing game.
Where are these sources? Well, going the old school route, I’ve always found magazine covers to be a fountain of inspiration. These publishers spend a lot of money to test headlines and discover what motivates people to pick up and buy issues. You can profit from all the research they’ve done.
The next time you’re in a bookstore or library, spend a few minutes looking over the headlines on popular magazine covers. I especially like Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health. See if there’s a way to tweak one of their article ideas. How could you apply the general attention-getting quality of the headline to your music and perspective?
Don’t have time to visit a store or library? You can also search online for current issues of these magazines. In addition, check out websites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and the Huffington Post. They all do a good job of drawing people in.
Note: You don’t have to use the same sensational tactics as they do, if that doesn’t resonate with you. But you can be inspired to craft a more enticing angle to the content you create and share online.
3. Make search suggestions your friend
When you come up with content ideas, often you have a specific topic and angle in mind. That’s fantastic. But there’s another approach you can take. You can start with a general subject (such as guitar maintenance) and then narrow it down to a specific aspect of it (caring for your tuning keys).
Wouldn’t you like to have an easy way to generate specific content ideas that will attract attention? Well, thanks to a nifty feature called “search suggestions,” you can.
You may have noticed that when you start entering search terms into Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon and more, a short list of search suggestions come up. These suggestions aren’t random. They are based on the most common search terms related to the first word you enter.
These search engines are trying to make life easier for you. If you see the phrase you were planning to type, you can simply click the phrase and save time.
But there’s another way you can use this cool feature beyond mere convenience. These sites have done all the work for you to determine the most searched for terms related to your topic.
Let’s say you wanted to write a blog post about vocal warm-ups. There are a number of different angles you could take. But a quick look at Google’s search suggestions would reveal that the most popular searches dealt with …
vocal warm ups for kids
vocal warm ups for actors
vocal warm ups for choirs
Could you write about any of these topics with some authority?
The next time you are brainstorming content marketing ideas, take a few minutes to put search suggestions to work for you.
4. Spend a few minutes answering this question
If you’d like a really good way to generate content ideas, answer this simple question:
What are my fans really aching to know?
Picture your ideal fan in your mind. See the person sitting across the table from you, leaning in to tell you something important. He or she is about to reveal to you one thing they have been incredibly eager to learn.
It can be related to your music. But it could also be related to a personal interest – like the environment, politics, the key to happiness, or how you do a certain thing that you do.
What is that one thing (or multiple things) that your fans and potential fans would really love to know? Write down your answers and consider using them the next time you’re ready to create new online content.
5. Curate instead of create
Most of this post has focused on activities that generate content ideas you will create yourself. That means you’ll write it, record it, or design it yourself. And that’s the most powerful type of content you can share online – your voice, your attitude, your point of view.
But there’s another good way to communicate with your fans online that doesn’t involve you creating stuff from scratch. It’s called “content curation.”
Think of the role that curators play at museums and art galleries. They determine what items and themes will be displayed at the venues. They decide what art or artifacts will best serve their patrons. That’s very similar to the role of a content curator.
Whenever you find a great video, blog post, or image that you think your fans would also appreciate, share it with them. Add a quick comment about it and why you think they would like it. Doing this positions you as a resource on your musical genre and the ideals you stand for.
There you go. That’s what content curation is. Easy-peasy.
To learn more about the The Five-Minute Music Marketer, visit http://bob-baker.com/buzz/five-minute-music-marketer/ .
Author bio: Bob Baker is the author of three books in the “Guerrilla Music Marketing” series, along with many other books and promotion resources for DIY artists, managers and music biz pros.
You’ll find Bob’s free blog, podcast, video clips and articles at www.TheBuzzFactor.com.
[Lightbulb picture from Shutterstock.]