Generating new ideas can seem like a dream job responsibility, until it's your responsibility. It's not hard to argue that we think up new ideas all day long. Everyday. Whether you have an idea for a running route that'll be slightly more challenging, maybe a better time to meet with your boss, or anything else, the point is that you can't help yourself. These thoughts are so automatic, so habitual.
So you can imagine that it might be a little difficult to if have to consistently come up with educational, and entertaining content topics for a particular audience. Chances are the faucet is going to run dry pretty fast.
For a content marketer, or really any creative, a running faucet provides the work, without it, the ideas simply wouldn't be there to execute on.
The goal, don't run out of content marketing ideas.
The solution, develop a process for generating and managing content ideas.
Developing a process helps you systemize your content idea generation
You don't ever want to run out of ideas, so make sure that you don't!
The reason the best "creatives" always seem to come up with best ideas is because they have a very specific "method to their madness".
I am going to walk you through the _ steps to developing a content idea generation process but first I want to cover why it can be so important for you.
As a content marketer your days are going to be packed with running between meetings and your work, and your ideas will become "routine". To consistently raise demand for your content you'll need to consistently produce a unique product.
"An idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements."
- James Webb Young
Content Idea Workflow
The first three items are meant to develop a habit around digesting the right information to influence your idea generation.
Digest the right news and industry specifics to keep a pulse on what's going on, whos's doing what and when things are happening in your professional world.
Digest Information [On going]
Start by thinking about your audience. After all, you want to make sure your content ideas actually appeal to the audience you're targeting. Read what they are reading (blogs, social platforms...), get news from the same place, get "notified" in the same way and so on.
- Keep pulse on your competitors
- Answer questions on places like Quora
Review Top Social Messages
Taking a look at what your audience is consuming is a great way to generate relevant ideas and what more immediate place to look than social media.
Social media allows you to take a real-time pulse of what your audience is interested in NOW.
This will give you sense of which messages your audience is in to, but more importantly, what types of communication they navigate to.
You can get a sense of personal interest and professional interests, and if you're lucky, sometimes, you can get even get a good picture of who they are as a person.
Review this information each morning to fuel your content ideas.
Look at what your audience is sharing
There a lot of different tools out there that you can use for your own research, I personally enjoy Buzzsumo.com for these types of tasks.
Head over to Buzzsumo and start searching for customers, influencers, users etc...
What type of content are your potential customers talking about.
This is a great way to get insight into what information your buyer personas are actually interested in.
Look at what your competitors are doing well
Again, using Buzzsumo, we want to see which articles/content, from our competitors is getting the most reaction.
We just type in their URL, define the range we want to search in, and filter further with more criteria.
You'll then get a list of articles coming from your competitors and how popular they are.
Sort by the number of shares and pick out a few titles that would fit well with your audience.
Adjust the titles so they become even more specific to you and your companies content.
Adjust the topic/title
Once you have a solid idea of the general concept of the post you want to write and can clearly define why it's a good topic to focus on, head on over to a blog topic generator and see what other title ideas you can come up with.
You might be surprised at how many more ideas you come up.
Score your new title/blog post idea.
Now that you've determined the title for your new blog post, head over to CoSchedule's Blog Title Grader.
This is a great tool that is filled with a ton of suggestions for great crafting the perfect title.
Write your hypothesis
Estimate effort and impact
Post to backlog (x5)
How to use a content backlog
1. Download the excel version or the sheets version.
2. The first tab is the instructions tab.
You will see a quick set of instructions and a few columns of information, let me start by explaining each column and how they are used.
Each column serves as a validation list to populate various dropdown menus throughout the workbook.
The first column your authors column. List any blog/content authors that will be contributing to your blog backlog here.
The second column is the idea's status in the backlog. We have this column pre populated with, submitted to backlog, approved for pipeline, in progress and complete.
The third column is impact. What impact do you expect this blog post to have on the focus metric you are drilled in on? This dropdown uses a Fibonacci number sequence from 0-13.
The fourth column is effort. How much effort is it going to take to produce and promote the blog post in question. Again, this column uses the Fibonacci number sequence.
The fifth column is priority. Priority is calculated out on the next sheet using the impact and effort values.
You want to always be publishing blog articles that are going to have the highest impact with the lowest amount of effort. So to effectively prioritize our backlog we want to subtract effort from impact. This score is what determines the priority of your posts. Here is how it's calculated:
- If the score is greater than 8, then high priority,
- If the score is less than or equal to 8 and greater than 5, your article submission is medium priority,
- If the score is less than or equal to 5 than the article is low priority.
Every new blog idea that is submitted is labeled, submitted to backlog.
RULE: Only edit the first 2 sheets, the rest are calculations that are determined from how things are set and added.