There is a huge demand and hunger for new GIS content. I see job advert after job advert with core requirements which include:

  • Create content that is innovative and original
  • Generate new content
  • Create quality content (in multiple formats)

“How do you generate so much GIS content?” is a question I am often asked. That is the topic of this blog post.

5 Secrets of GIS Content Generation

When it comes to GIS content generation, there is no magic formula. So where do new content ideas come from? Below are 5 secrets of GIS content generation:

  1. Keep your mind constantly open for ideas

I keep note of any reference to maps in what I read. This can be the kernel of an idea for an article. For example I read Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, made his first million dollars by starting and selling a mapping company. While Warren Buffet made his first major company investment in 1958 by buying a controlling interest in Sanborn Maps. These are great starting points for content. The fact Tesla are now helping to drive (pun intended) the self-driving car revolution, which is under-pinned by geospatial, could form the base for some interesting content.  Constantly stay on the look out for good material.

2. Know your industry, but keep a healthy distance

It can be tough writing about something new. That is particularly true in the technology world. Some knowledge is a requirement. On the flip side too much knowledge can be a disadvantage. That sounds counter-intuitive, but its true. A fresh new perspective is hugely advantageous. Those embedded too deeply in an industry lose sight of topics of interest. They also tend to use jargon and language understood by few. You need a healthy balance of understanding your audience and industry. Putting yourself in the place of your audience is important at all times. Challenges, problems, frustrations and paths to solutions will always be a winner.

3. Ask yourself “What interests my audience?”

We have just mentioned your audience. Remember you are always writing for them. To educate, entertain, discuss problem to solution paths. Staying close to your audience is crucial. Test topics, ask for feedback, track analytics, elicit responses, review comments. One topic can naturally lead to another. As an example we wrote an article entitled Has GIS Hit a Wall? From Google analytics we noted the high traffic. This told us we had here a topic of interest. From the many comments we received, we generated new content covering related topics.

4. Think Story

We all love a story. Some might say we are pre-programmed to enjoy stories. When it comes to content marketing whenever possible tell a story. Keep the attention of your audience. You can weave your message into the story. Take our GIS Failure. What Next? blog post. A simple story about the rise and fall of a start-up. Easy to write. Easy to read.

5. Be Punchy. Be Enthusiastic.

I dislike long and wordy. And so do most of your readers. I’m not of the ‘target 300 words for a blog post’ school. But I do love brevity. That’s both in how you write and the length of your article or post. Write with energy. Finish a paragraph leading your reader enthusiastically into the next. Lean towards conversational writing. Use bullet points. Ask the reader questions: “What do you think?”, “Did this help?”

Your content goal is always to keep your audience interested and engaged.

For more articles on generating and distributing GIS content visit GISContently.

Author: Matt Sheehan

Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and location intelligence around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter:

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