The Sneaky, Little Known Secret I Use for Generating Content and Why it Works

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The Sneaky, Little Known Secret I Use for Generating Content and Why it Works
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Guest Writer
Founder of Nuts and Bolts of PR
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The news of the day is my catalyst for content and idea generation. Without it, I would be stuck in the past, using old techniques to acquire attention for myself and my clients. The news is my ally, and a strong ally it is -- to quote Yoda.

In my experience working with numerous founders and CEOs, a healthy majority do not stay up to speed with what’s taking place in the real world. In other words, they do not consume the news of the day. And that makes all the difference.

Related: 7 Ways to Generate Publicity Without Spending a Cent

Many of my clients live in their own little podcast bubble, constantly trying to get others to listen to the latest podcast they heard. Most of the time, it’s about some life hack to increase brain function or an awesome business technique that would make them super successful. Hold on. Before the podcast loyalists get their pitchforks out, let me explain. I am not anti-podcast. I think podcasts are great. Admittedly, like any lukewarm believer, I haven’t gotten into them as much as I should. And there’s a guilt that comes with that.

There’s great substance in podcasts that I’m letting pass me by that I could be learning from and building on. But, for some reason, the more I try, the less enthusiastic I become.

And I think I know why. It’s the “Fear of Missing Out On Opportunities” (FOMOOO). Time uninvested in following the news means a missed opportunity to create content and generate attention. The ability to create positive attention and shine a light on your business is what you need to grow. So why would I sacrifice something that works for something that has yet to create value?

I came from the the world of politics. My first job was for a member of Congress. Part of what made me especially good at my job was keeping up with current events. I had the news on in the office and listened to talk radio in the car -- incessantly. I listened to programs with a variety of political leanings.

Related: The 3 Biggest Mistakes CEOs Make With Their Personal Brand (and How to Turn Those Mistakes Around)

Being informed helped me communicate better with constituents and understand their points of view. Because of this, I became really good at identifying opportunities that would help the congressman gain support from both sides of the aisle.

After my days in public service ended, I entered the private sector, specifically, startup life.

Listening to the news allows me to be a better marketer and a better communicator. It helps me brand people better. It helps me brand clients better. By feeding my addiction to knowing what’s going on in the world, I acquire positive attention based on what I hear on the news that day. It helps me to tell people’s stories better.

The people that are the best at positive publicity -- publicity in general, really -- and brand development are those who know what’s going on politically and socially. The ideas from the news can spur ideas to reinforce your personal and company brand.

Local news is incredibly important for small businesses and startups. Because I watched the local morning news, I was able to land deals, establish business relationships and come up with ideas I never would have known about. The national news created a wealth of publicity and story ideas that I could leverage for pitching content and getting a company’s name out there. Paying attention to the news allowed me, and, in turn, the companies I work with, to capitalize on an opportunity we would have otherwise missed.

You, as a personal brand or business, need to have your finger on the pulse of society. Listen to the news of the day. If you have a limited idea of what’s going on in society, then you are not giving yourself every opportunity to succeed. In fact, you are letting opportunities slide by that you could be piggybacking on.

Related: Listen Up! 4 Reasons Why Podcasts are One of the Best Lifehacks Around

By sitting on the sidelines, you could miss a conversation when networking because you don’t have anything to add to a conversation or because you aren’t privy to what happened that day. Narrow topics of conversation, while interesting, make for very basic conversations.

A conversation becomes more interesting when you can contribute and bounce ideas of each other, both in your field and beyond. The more you know, the more aware you can make your company seem to the public, the more aware you are of tone and national sentiment. These are incredibly important in marketing and publicity efforts.

Now, this doesn’t have to be a trade. This is no indictment on the institution of podcasting. It’s very trendy these days and there are some very good creators out there.

You can have a healthy mix. Don’t let your favorite podcast continue to reinforce an idea you already know; stay away from repetition. Instead, use those ideas and that inspiration as another tool to go with your daily news know-how. Even just watching the news ticker at the bottom of a screen for 30 seconds could enlighten you on a national study or major current event that can help you write the thought leadership piece that people remember.

Now, any podcasts you recommend?

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