Daniel Maloof

Math appeals to many people because, at the end of the day, there’s only one right answer to a given problem. There may be different ways to get there, but the idea is to always arrive at the same destination.

To me, that was always the downside. I really hated the idea of getting up in front of a class to solve an equation, knowing that I couldn’t explain myself out of a wrong answer. If I’m explaining the meaning of a poem, maybe I don’t hit the nail on the head, but at the very least I get a response of “Interesting take…” or “I never looked at it like that.

My spotty calculus record aside, I think it’s refreshing when there are multiple ways to complete a puzzle. In the world of online content creation, we’ve all encountered those extremely niche industries that can make the sourcing process a nightmare. There are only so many trade publications out there, and searching for relevant news, statistics and context can feel like a never-ending journey

According to 71 percent of surveyed B2B professionals, audience relevance is the most important element of content marketing, yet more than 26 percent say their biggest challenge is creating materials that are appropriate for customer segments.

Break away from your usual habits

If you’re in a rut with your sourcing process, don’t keep ramming your head into the wall. Instead, actually put yourself in the shoes of your target audience, and ask yourself: “What would I find interesting, and what do I need to hear about?”

Think about the overall objective of your content and explore some other avenues to come up with a unique, interesting message.

In other words, you don’t need to spend hours searching for that perfect editorial lead. Take a step back, think about the overall objective of your content and explore some other avenues to come up with a unique, interesting message. Isn’t that the essence of content marketing anyway?

One approach is to actively avoid your typical sourcing routine. If you generally look through the same industry publications each day until you find a quality starting point, try checking out the headlines of the day to glean any relevant information. Another strategy could be to scan corporate websites for industry-specific studies or announcements, which could prove instrumental in crafting your next piece of content.

Tapping healthcare sources for the staffing industry

A great example I’ve seen of this as both a writer and editor is within the staffing industry. I hate to break it to you, but as valuable a tool as LinkedIn is, job seekers and hiring managers can only read so much about how to optimize a profile or send the perfect InMail. Same goes for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Snapchat. I’m convinced someone will land a job someday by sending a Snapchat of a resume.

I’m convinced someone will land a job someday by sending a Snapchat of a resume.

Rather than beating a dead horse, look outside the box. You might not think about it at first, but something as broad in scope as healthcare reform is poised to have an enormous impact on the world of staffing. Seriously, the American Staffing Association even has a resource center dedicated to helping companies and staffing agencies adapt to the Affordable Care Act. Not only is the impending legislation changing the types of positions companies need to fill, it’s hammering home the importance of a flexible workforce, a concept that’s become recruiting firms’ bread and butter.

Whereas you could sit down and regurgitate that same old “LinkedIn is only as useful as you make it” article, you’re keeping your content fresh, relevant and ultimately useful for your target audience by exploring untapped resources. That’s what keeps them coming back for more.

Keep it in perspective

I’m not saying to take any random topic and try to apply it to the audience you’re seeking to reach. You still need a strategy behind how you source ideas, but it’s just a matter of finding that grain of information that’s relevant for your audience.

Content Marketers must expand their reach to sources that highlight pertinent subject matter.

Think of it like blowing up a small photograph into a life-size poster. At first, the piece may not seem like anything to write home about, but once you bring the important details to light and emphasize the angles that are most relevant to your audience, it becomes meaningful. It’s just up to you to turn a report about the Affordable Care Act into a story about rising staffing demands, or statistics about big data into an article about IT shortages.

Find a topic that may not seem like the perfect fit, and write about it as if your target audience is looking over your shoulder and watching every word you type. This will keep you from losing the proper focus while you write.

Your primary goal at the end of the day is to make sure your content is original and tailored to your audience so it will ultimately drive traffic and generate leads. By understanding that there may not necessarily be that one “right answer” in your sourcing efforts, your content will remain dynamic and lead the industry.