The rise of content marketing is a welcome change for many marketers. Endlessly planning campaigns with hollow taglines and shameless gimmicks was a difficult charge for many departments. For many marketers, it was as unfulfilling as it was damaging to the relationship between buyer and brand.
Content marketing has freed marketers to focus on providing real value to customers while developing real relationships with creative content solutions. Identifying your audience’s problems and points of interest, and creating content to address both can be a much more fulfilling job than creating a tagline for that same audience. However, that river of ideas can run dry on even the most skilled content creators from time to time. So how do the best content departments avoid these dry spells and keep their content coming in almost endless supplies? They know where to look for ideas.
In the social world we live in, our customers, competitors, and thought leaders are expressing their ideas and frustrations in public and accessible ways. Below are just of few of the places where you can listen to this dialogue and find your next compelling content ideas.
As I wrote in a previous post on Newsjacking, the key to developing great content is creativity. I don’t mean the type of creativity that makes a good designer or writer; I mean the type of creativity that allows you to see patterns and make connections between seemingly unrelated things. This is the type of creativity that will allow you to relate almost any interesting story back to your company or product.
The next time you are browsing through your favorite magazine or blog, take a few extra seconds after every article to see if there is an interesting connection you can make to your own product. Your audience will be thankful for the fresh perspective and your creativity will shine through in your writing.
Ask Other Departments
The irony of marketing departments has always been that although we are tasked with relating to our audience, we are often near the bottom of the list when it comes to departments that directly interact with clients. Customer research and comprehensive personas are only placeholders for the expertise departments like sales and customer service gain each day.
Try to arrange a meeting with the sales or customer service teams to pick their brains over what your current clients are most interested in and what pain points they are consistently facing. Making this an in-person meeting allows people to feed off of one another’s ideas and create lively discussions.
One of the best things about a more social audience is that they are certainly not afraid to share their opinions. That is why it is so important to closely monitor the comments your readers place on your blog posts. Often, commenters will offer keen insight or ask certain questions about a post that will point you in the direction of content your blog may be lacking.
It may also serve as a way to keep your blog up to date. A few months back, we received a comment from a customer on one of our archived posts on email timing. The customer was curious if we had any more recent data. Sure enough, the blog post was sorely out of date and in need of more current research. That customer’s comment led to an updated post, a new survey into the subject, and a comprehensive infographic.
When your content well runs dry, it can be easy to get frustrated. Just remember that we are surrounded by dozens, if not hundreds, of potential idea wells, positively overflowing with inspiration for new content.