It’s always much easier to begin a process than it is to maintain one over time. Just ask the millions of people who fail to follow through with their New Years’ resolutions, or the thousands of brands that fail to uphold a content strategy for more than a few months.
Over 50% of small businesses state that they have a content marketing strategy in place, but one that is entirely undocumented too. That means over half of the small businesses in America follow a start-stop system of content marketing. As you can imagine, this does not lend itself well to success.
One of the greatest barriers to successful content marketing is maintaining adequate documentation, especially with idea generation. Writing a blog article or a single social media post is not terribly time consuming, but generating enough ideas to keep the posting consistent certainly is.
Let’s explore some of the best ways to generate content ideas for your business.
Types Of Content
There are quite literally thousands of different types of content you can create, and equally thousands of ideas or topics that could be generated from said content. A few different types of ideas with varying degrees of commonality are listed here below.
If you’re looking to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible, these content items provide the easiest and most hands-off approach to idea generation by far.
- Blogs: Use FAQs and the Google search bar to help you find topics for each of your blogs. AnswerThePublic is a great resource for this.
- Videos: Recycle previous content ideas from other areas that culminate in a video production. Focus on content that has received significant attention in the past, then create videos centered around them.
- Podcasts: Leverage the long form style of audio podcasts to cover broad subjects in depth. What industry is your company in, and what big ideas does it center around? Look for guest speakers or collaborators that boost watch time and interaction.
While not quite as easy to produce, these unique content formats lend themselves well to consistent idea generation.
- Infographics: Similar to podcasts, infographics are great ways to transmit broad ideas in small, palatable formats. Remember: only focus on content that your company has authority over.
- Case Studies: Case studies are more unusual for smaller businesses, but the truth is that every business should rely on case studies for steady content ideas. Simply script up your brand’s successful experience with a client of your choice.
- White Papers: Best for B2B businesses, these information-dense and data-driven write ups should be used to gather brand authority around a certain subject. This are excellent lead magnets, and can be easily generated with an analysis of your brand’s leading services.
You hardly ever see these forms of content in action, but they are no less effective than any of the other categories. When used correctly, these rarer forms of content generate awesome ideas with a snap. Here’s how to come up with good ideas for rare mediums:
- eBooks: They certainly take more time to write than your average blog post, but eBooks possess a virtually limitless amount of idea generation capability. Analyze successful blog posts or other highly sought pages on your website and see if these could be formatted into long-form, dense content.
- Checklists: Not quite the time sink that eBooks are, checklists are great ways to help push consumers along their buyer’s journey. What sort of things should leads know before they purchase from your brand? What pain points could you cover? Be sure to present your generated ideas in an attractive format.
- Apps: For companies with a little more capital, creating an application that continuously pushes new content is a great way to capture customer thoughts, needs, and opinions. Integrate guest postings or forums on your app, gaining insights about what it is they want to see next. While you’re at it, the user generated content (UGC) will be a passive content marketing facet that works while you sleep.
Content Generation Stories – Success And Failure
There are many people who hit the proverbial nail on the content marketing head when it comes to generating engaging, fresh ideas. But not every strategy will get it right every time, not even big brands. Let’s explore two of those stories here.
River Pools Strikes Gold
One of the most notable examples of successful idea generation stems from the marketing masterminds behind River Pools, a fiberglass swimming pool company. During the recession of 2008, CMO Marcus Sheridan knew that things would have to change if he wanted to see his brand survive another year. Over time, he invented a content marketing strategy widely known as ‘They Ask, You Answer.’ By collecting a list of his customer’s most frequently asked questions, Marcus successfully generated content that addressed each and every level of his sales funnel. Blog posts and articles were written specifically to answer any and all questions, and do so honestly. Today, River Pools is still the number one most trafficked pool website in the world.
Nesquik Nosedives To Oblivion
Nesquik’s idea of content generation was great — at first. The company sunk millions of dollars into an ad campaign, followed by articles, videos, and a specialized app. The premise was excellent: have consumers create user generated content in the form of bunny ear filters on various pictures and videos. Participants were to download the Nesquik app, take pictures using the camera function, then upload the images to Facebook or Instagram with the tag #NationalBunnyEarsDay. Everything went perfectly until the day of launch, where so few people interacted with the content that the campaign was scrapped and shut down. This is an excellent reminder that not all generated content ideas are good content subjects, and should carefully be evaluated. After all, if you customers aren’t interested in the content you are producing, you can be sure it will flop before it ever gets off the ground.
Generate Content With Professionals
The content you produce speaks volumes about the type of company you represent, and the visions of success you hold for the future. Generating content ideas over and over can be an obstacle to this success, especially in smaller businesses. That’s why it is absolutely essential to rely on a system of digital marketing that is organized, prioritized, and customized for your needs.
To generate winning ideas at a pace that matches your goals, look for content solutions that prioritize your brand above all else. In the end, you’ll be so glad you did.