Running out of content ideas happens to every brand from time to time. When this happens, coming up with new content that fits your brand or hasn’t already been done before can be like pulling teeth.
Fortunately, having your content run dry is completely preventable. With an effective content ideation and development plan, you can keep your social media feeds active, engaging, and exciting.
The Content Ideation Stage
In the marketing industry, content ideation refers to the process of producing or sourcing topics to be used for marketing content. The topics must be relevant to your business and engage your consumers in some way in order to become an effective part of your overall marketing strategy.
Tip: Designate a place where your ideas will be collected and documented throughout this process, like a notepad or a digital document.
Identify Content Gaps
Take a broader look at your current social media page. Write down any products or services that are missing or appear scarcely throughout your page. Identifying gaps is a simple, yet effective way to come up with new content ideas.
Solve Your Consumers’ Current Issues
As a business, it’s in your best interest to frequently check whether or not you’re solving consumer issues. You likely started your business with the purpose of solving an issue, so why not continue to do so? Think outside the box; what are your consumers struggling with right now, and what solution can your business offer? The issue doesn’t have to be relevant to your industry, but the solution should be.
Beautyblender did a wonderful job of this.
Beautyblender is known for their makeup blending sponges, so naturally they offered a solution to the issue of wearing a facemask while wearing makeup. A current issue with a solution relevant to their business. Check out Beautyblender’s full blog post on facemask makeup.
Connect With Other Departments
The customer service and sales departments interact with your consumers directly and frequently. They’ll likely have suggestions for new content based on what your consumers are looking for or asking about.
To set this up, we suggest:
- Scheduling recurring meetings with department heads to discuss their observations and how those observations can be translated into new content.
- Select a department representative who is responsible for generating new content ideas, then schedule recurring meetings with the representative to collect those ideas.
- Create a digital form or email address designated for new content ideas. Inform department heads that it is available to fill out or send ideas to.
Pay Attention to Current Social Trends
Similar to paying attention to current social issues, paying attention to trends often sparks new content ideas. Do your research to figure out what’s currently trending on among your target consumers, and identify ways your business can use that trend to its advantage. Again, this trend doesn’t necessarily have to be relevant to your industry, but the way your business uses that trend should be.
Pay Attention to Your Competitors
What content are your competitors generating? What aspect of their content seemed to be most successful/effective? What aspect of their content didn’t do well? How can you improve upon the content they’re generating?
Although your business should avoid copying or ‘knocking off’ your competitors’ content, turning to their pages for inspiration often leads to new ideas of your own. Plus, identifying your competitors’ ineffective content helps you avoid making similar mistakes.
Host Team Brainstorming Sessions
Two mindshare better than one, and the more minds, the merrier! Schedule recurring brainstorming sessions with multiple members of your team to keep content ideas fresh and up to date. To host the most effective brainstorm as possible, lay out some loose ground rules at the beginning of the session. Identify a member who will be the scribe for the duration of the meeting, jotting down all ideas and topics that arise. To avoid talking over one another, establish a hand raising or round-robin rule, in which each member must be called on by the meeting’s moderator before contributing. Set a time limit for the meeting and focus on only a few topics per meeting; this prevents steering too far off topic and losing sight of what your team is brainstorming.
As the moderator, maintain an open mind and reassure your team that no idea is a bad idea. You’d be surprised at how creative your team can be when given free rein.
The Content Development Stage
Now that you’ve gathered lots of new ideas, it’s time to sort through them and identify the ones that work best for your marketing strategy. Look open mindedly at the ideas and think creatively about how they could translate into content. Set aside all ideas that aren’t relevant or don’t align with your business, and focus on the ideas with obvious potential.
Here are a few ways to effectively navigate the content development stage.
Identify a Theme
What ideas have come up multiple times? Chances are, there is a recurring topic that deserves attention.
Identify a Campaign Opportunity
Content ideas that have the potential to be an ongoing campaign are worth looking into. A company that has taken advantage of this method is Artifact Uprising. They’ve come up with the hashtag #TellOn that they use when sharing user generated content. As long as they have customers, they have content.
Hyperfocus On a Topic
Content that is too generalized or too broad can easily be overdone. Avoid topic burnout by focusing on a very specific detail within a topic. For example, if your business sells tea, create content focusing on one specific ingredient in your tea. Highlight a specific benefit of the chosen ingredient and go into depth about that benefit. Make it compelling to your consumers by circling back to how the benefit of the ingredient makes your consumer’s life better. Hyperfocusing on a topic also allows for more effective SEO.
Consider the Execution Process
Unlike the brainstorming session, this process would be done only by those involved in content development and marketing. For each idea, discuss what that idea would look like as content, what it would take to create it (budget, timeframe, outsourcing, etc.), and how to make it unique to your business.
Some content types are tied to a date or time frame, like holidays or seasons. These types of content should be given ample time for development, to ensure an on-time launch. Each type of content could have different time frames depending on what it takes to execute them. Take this into consideration when deciding which ideas to develop.
Try not to get discouraged when content is running dry. It happens to every business at one point or another. With an established content ideation and development plan, your team can avoid the stress of scrambling for new ideas. Refer back to this guide as often as needed, and implement the tactics listed throughout to ensure a continuous flow of fresh new content ideas.