I'm working with a brick and mortar business that wants to remodel their website and one of their stumbling blocks is the idea of the need for fresh content and that they could come up with it. "We don't know what to say!" said with a bit of genuine fear in the voice.
Mind you, these are retail sales pros who have run a successful business for thirty years. In other words, they know how to talk to people and that's what great content is... talking to people.
This was my response...
Every sale is a story.
You talk to your customers, right? Every one of them is buying for a reason and if you give them half a chance to talk about themselves they usually will. You're pros and you know the best way to sell is to let people talk about themselves. You know that 90% of the time if you simply listen, they will they tell you what they want and they will tell you what is important to them. And then you give them what they want, right?
"I saw one of these at the widget show." "Oh, so you've seen the new titanium model before. What do you think about it?"
(Trust me, talking to people is like breathing for these guys.)
Sell a widget in the morning, turn it into a story in the afternoon. It's what you do and what you're good at. Send me an email about it and copy your blog. But talk to me, not your "audience." I want you to entertain me, regale me with tales from the sales floor. I want the triumphs and the let downs. Every reason that someone had to buy something from you can inspire lots of other people to do the same thing. Every lost sale is a reason to wonder out loud.
The next day I sent an email. "Have you sold anything today? I want the whole story, just for fun, I won't publish it."
"Well I did sell a widget to a girl who said she was going to give it to her mother because she needed one and just wouldn't buy it for herself."
"So can you tell me about that? Why would she need a widget? Why, maybe, would someone not just buy it for themselves? Tell me about that. At the very least it's a tweet. 'Have you ever needed a widget and been reluctant to buy one?' If you've heard similar things before and know the whole story, give it to me in 350 words. Don't "write an article" just talk to me. Talk to Me.
Now we're past the "we have nothing to say hurdle."
Anyone can do the same exact thing by using the whole internet as your brick and mortar store and source for inspiration. Listen to everyone who is talking about your niche. They're telling you what they want and what's important to them. Give it to them. Talk about your solution in a way that addresses those issues.
The only thing anyone is ever willing to pay money for is a solution to a problem.
So talk to me about that. Don't "write an article" about it. Send me an email. Talk to Me.
I just got back from playing pool at my local dive bar. My problem was not having a cold draft beer and a pool table. They solved my problem and the nice smile I got from the pretty girl behind the bar was a free bonus. The stories are everywhere.