How To Generate Social Content That Gets Clicked

Brainstorming For New Ideas

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Over the last two years, I’ve had the amazing fortune to work with more than 20 different organizations in helping them either develop their social media strategy, help them get smarter about online marketing or assisting them in developing social content.

That last one’s the tough one. As I’ve discovered, it’s not so easy to come up with content that piques customers’ discerning interests day after day. You can theorize all you want–when you’re on the hook to get it done, it’s hard. Anyone who says otherwise is flat out lying to your face.

But, there is somewhat of a method to this “madness”, as it were. At least when it comes to brainstorming and identifying those topics and issues that your customers care about.

So, today I wanted to share a list of approaches I’ve taken to brainstorming and generating social content with my clients and partners. Take a look at the list below and let me know what you think.

* Scan hash tags and search terms within your industry regularly on Twitter. See what issues are bubbling to the top and write about those.

* Scan Twitter lists within your industry. Find out what these key influencers and folks are talking about and consider weighing in with your two cents on those topics–and don’t forget to feature their tweets prominently in your post.

* Develop a list of 10-20 key blogs in your industry, put them in a blog reader and sift through them once a week. Find out what these people are discussing and take a contrarian viewpoint. Again, make sure you link back to the original post for which you’re taking a contrarian viewpoint.

* Scan LinkedIn Answers for common questions that are popping up on the platform. Better yet, take one of those questions that’s generating a decent amount of responses and build a blog post around it using the question and answers in your post (with links back to anyone who might have a blog)

* Search Quora for key questions that are emerging in your industry. Take a look at the answers to see if you agree. If not, build a post around what your answer might be.

* Aggregate and curate. Go back and review the blogs you follow. Find 5-10 posts around one key topic and create your own post with links back to those original articles.

* Review session topics at upcoming industry events and conferences. Or, monitor Twitter and other social networks for people who are talking about these sessions after the event. That will give you a pretty good indication which topics are hotter than others.

* Read articles in industry publications and news sites. See if there’s any bigger picture issues you could comment on in a blog post or video post. You’re just looking for a topic you feel strongly about–something you can opine about.

Others to add?

Check out Communications Conversations for more articles by Arik Hanson

How To Generate Social Content That Gets Clicked
About Arik Hanson
Arik Hanson, is the principal of ACH Communications, a digital communications consultancy focused on fostering meaningful online interactions, driving digital relevance and building measurable growth through social channels. Arik's blog, Communications Conversations (www.arikhanson.com), has received numerous industry accolades including being named “Required Reading” by PRWeek and one of “The Top 25 Blogs to Follow” by PRWeb. He’s also a regular contributor to the PR Breakfast Club, Ragan.com, PR Daily and MinnPost. WebProNews Writer
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  • Gary

    Good stuff, but why doesn’t the page have a print button on it?

  • http://www.goodmillwork.com William C. Sutton

    awesome overview of what’s needed. can you recommend any tools that allow small business to easily monitor 80% of the channels mentioned? thanks!

    • http://www.adsales.citadelmedia.com E.B.Moss

      Have you read about American Express and YourBuzz which helps small biz monitoring/responding? http://www.yourbuzz.com/

  • http://www.workingwebsolutions.com Jennifer Bolger

    Great tips, thanks! Uploading photos with every post seems to generate more clicks as well. Microsoft Office has free clip art, http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/. Or I’ve scanned and uploaded antique post cards. Anything that will make a fan stop and consider clicking.

  • Amanda Batson

    logical, practical and “doable!”

  • http://www.artehierro.com pedro

    Esta bien, algo complejo, pero es una buena idea para seguier tendencias, gracias por la oportacion

  • http://robinbertelsen.com Robin Bertelsen

    One other idea to add to your list is subscribing to press releases for your industry. I find good topics for my clients’ blogs this way. Often ours is one of the first non-news sites to pick up on a story. Which can put us at the top of search engine results for the topic quick.

  • Guy Kawasaki


    Here are three more ways:

    – StumbleUpon. Select the topic you’re interested in and stumble. http://www.stumbleupon.com/home/

    – SmartBrief. This company curates news for 90 topic areas. You can piggyback their efforts because they create summaries that are available through its website or email. http://www.smartbrief.com/index.jsp

    – Alltop. Pick a topic, Alltop curates news for it. Eg, http://socialmedia.alltop.com/

    Disclosure: I advise StumbleUpon and co-founded Alltop.


  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    These are some decent suggestions on how to create good content. The press release idea in the comment below is also a good idea.

  • http://www.financemagazineonline.com/ Rajiv

    What I felt now is that social media and getting success in the field of web world is very challenging, hard work and a lot of creativity. At times it may also require a lot of investment. Lot of people think that it is easy and requires some amount of effort, but after reading the artcile here, i feel it is very tough, if one intends to earn a lot.

  • http://www.nutshellmail.com Josh Mendelsohn

    You make a great point about scanning your social networks to help generate social content and write about things people are interested in. And I couldn’t agree more that content is the key to any successful social strategy.

    In addition to the things you list, we have a free tool called NutshellMail that essentially streamlines some of that searching. It takes all of your latest social media updates, places them in a snapshot email and delivers them to your inbox on your schedule. With NutshellMail, you don’t need to login to each of your social media channels to see what people are saying. It’s a simple booster than can have a big impact, especially for those who are short on time, and it is an easy way to keep track of industry conversations after the newsfeed has moved on.

  • http://www.whoseview.ie Mick

    Great post thank you. Yahoo answers is one we use quiet alot.

  • http://blog.newvitalitynews.com Jayna Locke

    Excellent list, Arik. Thank you! It’s so easy to do the haphazard thing with blogging and social media. Your list makes a great playbook for anyone involved in content marketing.


  • http://lhoussaine2009@hotmail.fr hossine

    Im so very happy to join your groupe to share with you my opinion

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