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By BusinessCollective
March 26, 2015

Question: What’s one way I can generate valuable ideas for my company blog or social media?

Follow the Energy

“We do not assign content creation, and yet, we create pages every day. It all begins with where the energy flows. We send out a daily email to our staff with inspiring quotes our clients have shared that day. If one resonates with a staff member, they get to claim it and create something around it. I won’t let them write until the fire in the belly is there, so I inspire them.” — Corey Blake, Round Table Companies

Look at the Questions Your Audience Is Asking

“Look at the questions your audience is asking. There are a number of resources that your audience is already using to find out more about services like yours (e.g., Q&A sites, your social media pages, industry-related FAQ pages, etc.). Scanning through these will give you a wealth of information about what topics your potential customers want to know more about.” — Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

Listen to Your Clients

“Client feedback is a great tool for improving your business. It’s also a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what matters to your clients, what they are interested in and what they want to know more about. By listening to your clients’ concerns and responding, you can generate a whole host of valuable topics to explore via your company blog or social media.” — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

Survey Your Email List

“If you want to produce valuable content for your audience, surveys can help you discover what information would be valuable to them. For example, we host webinars every month. A couple weeks before the webinar, we survey our email database asking what specific topics people would like us to cover and what questions they have. This helps us provide content that our audience will value.” — Pete Kennedy, Main Street ROI

Find the Best Sources and Disconnect

“Ironically, blogging and social media inspiration doesn’t happen behind a computer, phone, tablet or any other device. Get out there, talk to the smartest people you know in your industry, have face-to-face conversations, create space to think critically (away from your daily routine) and find time to disconnect. Reading is also invaluable — but pick only the best 10 sources.” — Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR

Don’t Just Write About Yourself

“All too often, a company’s blog and its social media accounts are devoted to pushing products and services. It’s fine to share successes, but nobody is going to become a regular reader if that’s all you do. It’s good to read widely about the topics you’re interested in, and then re-pot and riff off of these. This approach provides value rather than making readers feel like they’re reading ads.” — Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group

Visit Google Trends

Google Trends is an amazing tool that allows you to create relevant content. Simply go to Google Trends, look at what the world is talking about and see how your company could potentially contribute to the conversation. Not only will your content be relevant on social media channels, but you may be able to capture search traffic to your site as well.” — Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Read Trade Publications

“A simple way to stay on top of your industry is to read as many relevant trade publications as possible. Identify industry trends, and relate them to your business and your products. Educate yourself first, then educate and engage your readers.” — Elliot Fabri, EcoCraft Homes

Borrow Ideas From Other Sites

“The great thing about being a small business is that there are a lot of bigger businesses in the world that you can emulate. Look for companies that are doing a great job with their company blogs or social media, and figure out how to replicate those ideas on your own properties. Make sure your search is broad enough to include industries other than your own.” — Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

Use Google

“One of the easiest ways to find new content is to Google around and see what your competitors are writing about. I’m not suggesting you copy their content, but usually what’s relevant to them is relevant to you too — just put your own unique spin on it.” — Emerson Spartz, Spartz

Ask the People Around You

“Look to your friends, mentors and people in your industry, and ask what content they are looking for. Take those ideas to help create great content that people can read and share.” — Amanda L., shatterbox

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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