How to Find Great Sources of Content ... And Get Unique Content for Free

How to Find Great Sources of Content ... And Get Unique Content

If you know your subject inside-out, you may feel confident about generating enough great content.
 
If you’re worried about content, here are some great ideas for finding untapped sources.
 
You need to build a list of your content sources so that you will never have to worry about running out of interesting articles. As you read this article, jot down a list of places you could get content for your site. And don’t underestimate the importance of the content submitted by your members. It is usually free, informed and relevant... and they will love their 15 minutes of fame.
 
 
Content can be sourced by:
 
  • Creating new articles from existing material, e.g., re-write passages from a book or magazine article ... either your own or other peoples. There is an old saying that copying from one book is plagiarism, taking ideas from two is research!
 
  • Write fresh content for the website based on current events. Give your personal view on what is happening. Let your members know how it could affect them. A recent example is the threat of bird flu. A site for restaurateurs gave their clients an overview of how to minimise the impact of the bird flu on their business.
 
  • Commission articles from freelance journalists in your industry. If your subject area has a trade or consumer magazine, you maybe able to identify journalists by looking at who writes the articles.
  • Hire cheap generalist freelancers through one of the many fantastic freelancer websites. You can put up your requirements and the freelancers bid to write the article. Most of them have rating systems so you can see the quality of a journalist's work before choosing one I use and can recommend Elance (www.elance.com). Other companies include: 
  • Generate content automatically from other websites. It is possible to get news feeds integrated into your website that will continually scroll relevant news without you having to do anything. More on this later.
 
  • Ask your members to submit articles, opinions, reviews, etc. Often the most relevant and interesting content will come from members. You maybe able to find one or two enthusiastic members who will commit to write a regular article, often for free.
 
  • Invite guest writers. Industry experts and celebrities are especially valuable.
 
  • Get articles written by companies who would like to reach your target market. Most will write good quality articles for free if they are allowed to add their company name and details at the end of the article. Make sure you maintain editorial control. Your independence is very important.
 
  • Buy-in content in from other publishers (directories, dictionaries of terms, etc.). This can be especially valuable if you can acquire the exclusive internet rights.
 
  • Scour the internet for relevant information. Your competitors' sites are often valuable resources. It maybe worth becoming a member or their sites if they are subscription-based.
 
  • Publish other people’s press releases. Everyday there are thousands of press releases sent out. You can get on the list for your specific subject area. It’s easy content that can be highly relevant.
 
  • Create course materials from an existing course. This becomes a series of consecutive articles sent to a member over a period of weeks or months.
 
  • Write reviews of books, films, TV programs, products, services, etc. You can look at the reviews on Amazon and other review sites to find books and films worth considering.
 
  • Run competitions. They are simple, cheap and fun.
 
  • Visit and write commentary on events. Better still, ask other people or your members to write their opinions about events, seminars, courses, etc.
 
 
We strongly recommend that you build a rolling three-month content plan for your website and aim to always have a week’s content prepared in advance. This will give you flexibility and will cover illnesses, holidays, days off, etc.
 
The plan should list all the articles that you are going to produce, who will write them and the date that they will be put on the website.
 
Once your website is up and running, you can study the website statistics (provided by your hosting company) to see the articles that are most popular and the articles that are read the least. This will enable you to adapt your future editorial content around what your members have shown they are interested in.