Finding Freebies on the Web to Supplement Your Content: For Beginners

Anyone that has blogged or written for a long time on a particular industry (or business) eventually comes to this point where they hit a wall. It is like the mind goes blank and you can’t think of anything to write about. First I am going to show you some ways to find ideas for creating content and then I am going to show you 3 options you can use to get items that will add to your content strategy.

Luckily there are several ways you can use “freebies” that are available on the web to supplement your content. Let me also say, since this is for beginners, DO NOT take another writer’s content and use it on your site. Do not take their images and use them. Don’t take ANYTHING that is not made to share, and even with the sharable items you must do it right. I will explain this later.

Finding Material – Where to Go and What to Use

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free service where you can enter keywords and phrases and Google will send you an alert every time they find a new published page with the keywords/phrases you entered.

Examples– “Copywriting Infographic”, “build a table video”, “learn to drive”.

You can use Google Alerts to see what others are doing in your niche. The alerts will give you content ideas and often provide some freebies you can use, such as infographics, videos, slideshares, etc. (You can keep an eye on competitors with this option also)

Twitter

Use the Twitter search button to search for items you are looking for. You can search for words and small phrases, but more importantly look for hashtags. One word hashtags that are broad are usually best: Here is an example:

By searching Twitter you are finding, most of the time, very recent information and resources that have just featured the subject you are looking for.

Google / Bing / Yahoo News

To find the most recent items you can search the search engines news and often find what you are looking for. Google and Bing offer me the best results and they are often different.

Google Blog Search

On the left hand side of Google you see options to search Web, Images, News etc. Click on “More” and you can search more areas of Google. Click on “Blogs”. If you search here, you can see the latest things written about a topic / word in blogs.

You can use this search option to come up with content ideas and keep an eye on competition.

3 Free Items You Can Use to Supplement Content

Each of these offer educational/ helpful information you can provide to your readers. You should not just add a video, infographic or Slideshare and publish. You need to write about why the item you are adding is good for the reader. Write 2-4 sentences for the reader to quickly read and understand why the information is useful to them. Also, giving credit to the creator for items you use is the right thing to do, a name and link.

YouTube Videos – Do it Right!

We all know there are unlimited videos on YouTube and people have made videos on really anything I have ever searched for. If you see a video you like or you think is educational, you could use it on your site or blog.

However, it is really important, if your goal is to be educational or to supply a need or your readers, you need to take the time to write up a summary of why the video is good and why people should bother watching it. You don’t want to just stick in a video and say nothing.

Embedding

Not all videos are embeddable, but most are. Here is how you do it:

  1. Click on “share”
  2. Click on “embed”

A box with code will appear. Copy the iframe code and paste it into the HTML editor for a particular page or postin your content management system (CMS).

You can also edit the size of the video to match the width of the content area of your website.

Remember, if you use a video it is best to write something about the video, not just place a video in and walk away.

Infographics

Infographics (IG) are often made for people to share because at the bottom of these IGs there is often a reference to a company. To use an infographic someone else made you to look at their instructions.

Some people say you can use their infographic  only if you use their embed code (just like YouTube above, copy and paste into HTML). Some people say you can use it as long as you link back to their website and give them credit. So you can save the image and upload from your computer, but you must say the name of the company and link back to the page you got the IG from (you could also link back to their home page).

Some blogs/websites will say that the infographic is not for sharing. Please pay close attention and don’t use IGs that businesses don’t want shared.

SlideShares   

SlideShare is used by businesses to share their presentations that were often used at conferences, trainings or workshops. Slideshare offers a lot of free information and there is much to learn in the presentations made available to you.

To start just do a search for a term you are interested in.

Read through them carefully and make sure the information they provide is correct for your industry/business. Once you find a Slideshare you like you can embed it into a blog post. Click embed:

Once you click “embed” you will see the embed code and options:

Just copy the iframe code and paste it into the HTML editor on the page/post in your CMS. You can also customize the size of the Slideshare so it will look nice on your site.  It is pretty simple.

Remember

There are 4 great ways to find ideas for content, get ideas from competitors and to find shareable freebies – Google Alerts, Twitter search, Google / Bing / Yahoo News and Google Blog Search. Use these 4 options to help you research for all forms of marketing, not just content.

Use YouTube, infographics and Slideshares to supplement your content and educate your audience, but always provide a summary of why it is important and give credit to the creators of the free items you use.