3 sources for content ideas. Content marketing part 4

3 sources for content ideas. A well planned content generation process as described in the previous post definitely helps in the creation of great content but coming up with the ideas still represents the biggest roadblock for many companies.  So what can we do to address that?

Remember that this is about creating content that is going to answer a question or resolve an issue for your prospects or customers.  It’s about engagement not about broadcast.  Let’s start by trying to understand the audience‘s interests.  Here’s 3 sources for content ideas:

  1. Engage the organisation. Typically an organisation will have multiple touch points with their customers over the sales cycle e.g. marketing pre-sale, the sales team during the sale, accounts for payment, customer service post sale etc.  Each of these touch points can provide valuable insight about the customer. So the objective therefore is to engage the whole organisation in the content generation process. Make sure that there is a process that people can submit ideas for content that addresses the issues customers are facing.  And don’t just leave it there, make sure you provide feedback to them.  If it’s rejected, tell them and why.  If accepted, work with them to get more information from them and include them in the process.  This approach will obviously encourage greater participation in the future.
  2. Social Listening. Out with the business you can listen to the buzz of what is being said about your brand/ product/ service or more importantly the topics that are being discussed by your target audience.  While there are specific free monitoring tools out there, you can get lots of useful feedback by monitoring Facebook, Google +, Twitter and LinkedIn. You could start with seeing if there are any relevant groups on LinkedIn that your target audience/customers have joined. Sign up yourself and start listening to what’s being said.  What are the frequent topics that are being raised as issues? If you need to drill a bit deeper, start a discussion yourself and see what feedback you get.  Quickly you will have plenty of topics that will be the source of content.
  3. Buyer Interviews.  You can of course go straight to the source and ask potential buyers or existing customers about the issues they face.  If you have already done the persona work you’ll probably have much of this done already.  Typically it’s best to use a third party to undertake this research to avoid any company or brand bias.  The objective is not to sell to them but to learn about them and their concerns.

By using these 3 sources for content ideas you’ll quickly find that you have more topics for content than you know what to do with and that’s a good problem to have because you can then start to filter out what is mundane and focus on what is great.

Next week I’ll look at how you turn these great ideas into great content and how to distribute it.

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts you can always catch up: Content marketing – What is it ? Part 1,  Why Now? Part 2,  10 steps to creating great content. Part 3.

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