We’ve all been there before, pen and paper at the ready and then we hit the brick wall. I’m talking about generating content ideas, whether it is for your blog or social media channels. Content is quickly becoming the air that your customers breath when they land on your website, and whether it is in the form of product descriptions, about us pages, blogs, videos or podcasts, content plays a vital role in the world of digital marketing today. In fact, some experts would argue that content marketing has now become the most important aspect of digital marketing strategies.
While many of us can recognise the importance of content for a website, generating ideas and creating something that your customers will actually want to digest can often be an entirely different story. Today in The Tomorrow Lab blog, I am going to look at a way in which you can generate 100 content ideas in 30 minutes, and really kick start your own digital marketing strategy.
The growing importance of content in SEO:
Last week I attended Brighton SEO with the rest of The Tomorrow Lab digital marketing team. Brighton SEO is seen by many as the premier UK search conference, and this was my first time attending. A big focus of many talks was the changing landscape of SEO, with a particular focus on the role content now plays.
There were so many great talks from the industry professionals speaking at the conference, but one talk in particular caught my attention and that was a talk by Stacey Cavanagh who is head of search at Manchester based agency Tecmark. Stacey talked about techniques and tools in getting more from your content marketing approaches, and so much of it struck a chord with me. One such technique was the concept of collective idea generation, and I got stuck into this concept and tried it out with some of The Tomorrow Lab team.
As previously mentioned, content isn’t simply about generating blog articles; it’s so much more. When it comes to creating content for clients, I often find that the most difficult part is actually creating the ideas in the first place. You want to create content that visitors to a website not only want to read, but content that can also help them make decisions during the purchasing cycle.
Get your idea generation team gathered up:
We recognise the importance of content, and now it’s time to start putting some ideas down in front of you so you can start to implement your content strategy. There are many ways of generating ideas, but one technique we have tried recently at The Tomorrow Lab is a collaborative approach to generating ideas. Rather than simply trying to create content ideas that will get you through the next month, get a small team together and plan content that will give you a great foundation for the next 6 – 12 months.
Where do you start, I hear you asking? Well, you start by getting a team of 5 or 6 people together. This group doesn’t have to be full of sales and marketing personnel. You want a wide range of ideas so gather a variety of people from within your business. Get a 30 minute slot that suits everyone and tell them to bring a pen. With this technique, you will quickly create over 100 content ideas for your company! If you’re a really small company and don’t have the resources for 5 – 6 members of staff, simply ask your friends and family to help out.
Steps to creating 100 content ideas in 30 minutes:
Once you have your team gathered, it’s time to start creating your content ideas. Using Excel, create a table with 18 rows; this is where the content ideas will go. Print 6 of these sheets and seat your team at a table. Ask each group member to put down 3 content ideas on their sheet, and give them 5 minutes to do this. Once 5 minutes has passed, give the sheet to the person beside you, and proceed to create 3 more content ideas in the next 5 minutes. Repeat this until all 6 sheets have been used.
You will find out that each member has contributed 18 ideas in 30 minutes, meaning you will have the potential of 108 content ideas in 30 minutes. With these ideas in hand, it is now the task of the marketing team to take this information and create blog posts, newsletters, podcasts, videos, infographics or any form of content that will best suit the promotion of these ideas.
Turn your weak ideas into great content:
Let’s face it, not all 100+ content ideas are going to be fantastic, but what they should do is plant a seed or spark some creative thought process among your marketing and digital marketing teams. Use these ideas to plan out a content calendar for the next 6 – 12 months. Using a scoring system, rank the content ideas as those which you can work on immediately, and those that can be improved in the future. Consider how the ideas fit with your audience, the keywords and phrases you are looking to rank for, how catchy the headline or concept is, and how long each piece of content will take to create.
Implementing your content calendar:
Now that you have your content ideas, the next step is to put these into a manageable content calendar. Decide which content ideas will become blog posts and which may be the basis for something else like a podcast, infographic, video or white paper. Create a 6 month calendar with the content ideas that you have and include these in your social media plans. Thanks to this quick 30 minute brainstorming session, you can now look forward to a vast amount of content ideas for the coming months. You may even find that some of these ideas spark even more ideas, keeping you and your content team extremely busy for the foreseeable future.
Content is playing an increasingly important role in the digital marketing world, both in terms of increasing visibility of your website in search engines, but also providing information that your customers will find useful. This information will inform your customers about your product and services, and if your piece grabs their attention, you may even benefit from some viral exposure of your content through social media channels.
So if you’ve been scratching your head trying to think of interesting blog ideas or video concepts, why not grab some of your colleagues and sit down for 30 minutes; there’s over 100 reasons why you won’t regret it.
If you would like to find out more about the benefits of an effective content marketing strategy for your website, be sure to check out our previous blog post here, or get in touch with our team today to see how we can help you out.