The Forgotten Strategies for Developing Content Ideas
Content marketing professionals understand that the process of producing content – whether preparing for a full-fledged campaign or a one-off blog post – isn’t as easy as sitting down and writing. Ideas require content development, and content development requires ideas. Whether you’re having trouble fleshing out your ideas or finding the ideas to flesh out your content calendar, try switching up your approach.
Developing content ideas is an important pre-writing task – but it’s not the first step. The primary stage in the content development process is to brainstorm and piece together the ideas that you’ll be developing later on.
When your brain freezes up on you, here are some places you can go to for content idea inspiration:
- Competitor Sites – What are your competitors up to? What subjects and trends have they found to be important lately? What is their core messaging? What can you do better?
- Customer/Audience Sites – It’s important for content marketers to always remain on the pulse of your audience. If you’re developing content for a B2B company or product, speaking to your audience is often as simple as paying attention to that organization’s narrative and penning your own response.
- Social Media – Are you following industry publications and thought leaders on social media? If so, your Twitter feed can serve as a great source of recent, pulsating idea inspiration. Similarly, LinkedIn Groups provide a valuable forum for referencing the state of the industry. Speaking of network-crowdsourcing for ideas, be sure to consider looking…
- Internally – Look within yourself… just kidding. Look up from your desk and gauge what’s going on around you. Acknowledge what issues your own company has been dealing with and attempt to understand how these same pain points may apply to your audience.
With some good brainstorming and preparation, your goal should be to develop a detailed plan of attack for how you’ll dictate your brand’s messaging amongst and across campaigns.
Creating a content calendar can offer you a simple, yet useful approach for laying out your roadmap in an organized manner. Content calendars represent a great way to strategize and schedule content from the start of the process, as well as a means for ensuring that you’re keeping the train on the tracks as your campaign progresses.
However, outlining a content calendar with perpetually novel material can be its own significant undertaking, especially after cycling through the same themes so many times that you start to feel your ideas have been exhausted. Instead, try viewing the familiar matter through a new lens:
- Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose – Repurpose previous content in new ways, like adapting blog posts into infographics, infographics into blog posts, or graphics and written content into audio and video content. You can even repurpose the exchange that takes place in the comments section of your blog into new posts with further topic exploration or an informative look at an opposing viewpoint.
- Review your own analytics – What subjects or keywords are best driving traffic to your website? Maybe, instead of worrying about which of these themes appears overly recycled or downright played-out, you should be finding new ways to thread them into the conversation.
- Re-launch whitepaper promotion – Hopefully, the opportune whitepaper your organization put forth a while back has been able to withstand the test of time. You probably put a lot of work into the development and design of this offering, so why not find new ways to promote it? Discuss relevant new use-cases and current industry happenings that help draw attention back to the whitepaper topic.
- Develop a guide or tutorial – Discuss how it is you do an aspect of the job you do. See what I did there?
Do you have any great ideas for generating new content? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!