Content marketing has become one of the core activities for nearly every modern company. From blog posts and tweets to YouTube videos and infographics, brands are investing a lot of time and resources into creating engaging content.
The biggest challenge for many marketing teams is coming up with a continual stream of fresh ideas and topics that will resonate with their intended audience. We posed the below question to members of Young Entrepreneur Council:
What’s one unique way you encourage your content marketing team to find inspiration for fresh ideas?
Their best answers are below:
1. Find ways to connect evergreen content with trending topics
Tie evergreen content to something current. Pick an upcoming holiday or trending topic that’s unrelated to your business and write the first 10 things that come to mind about the topic. Do the same for your evergreen topic. Then look at the two lists and find a way to connect them. This is a great way to create new content and to connect with an audience you wouldn’t normally connect with. – Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving
2. Read books
If we only ever look for inspiration online in other blogs and on social media, we’re likely to write about the same themes and information as dozens of other companies. I encourage our writers to look beyond the web to relevant books and other educational resources. It helps them to bring deeper and more original ideas to the table. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
3. Brainstorm across departments
We host brainstorming sessions that include everyone on our content team along with our account managers. This way, no good idea is wasted and we can bounce off of each other. The account managers can see how the clients’ needs are being met content-wise, and the content team can get the point of view of the account managers. – Veronica Romney, LoSoMo Inc.
4. Find out what people are asking for
Look at top forums in the industry you’re creating content for and see what type of questions people are asking. Then, take a few related questions and interlink them to create a topic. Use the forum search feature to see if the topic has been asked before, which indicates a winner. Keep doing this and your content marketing team will have fresh topics that people are genuinely searching for. – Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP
5. Take notes on everything
You never know when or where you will get an idea. Keep a pad of paper or a note-taking app, such as Evernote, on your phone so that you can write everything down. Ideas can come from anything, anywhere, at any time. At the end of the day, look over some of the things you wrote down and use it to inspire you to brainstorm new content ideas. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
6. Start with ‘Answer the Public’
Start using the free tool, Answer the Public. It identifies key questions that are being asked about a specific topic by aggregating search data from Google and Bing. To use it, punch in your subject, and then wait for it to give you a collection of related questions, terms and comparisons. The answers it provides will help you determine how you can use content to ‘answer the public.’ – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
7. Come up with catchy titles first
When you aren’t sure what to write about, write eye-catching, clickable titles. These are super easy to crank out, and you’ll find yourself starting to get inspired by a few of them. That inspiration will grow and blossom into an idea, which will eventually manifest itself in a full-blown article. Take five minutes with your team each day to brainstorm titles and you will see results. – Shingo Lavine, Ethos
8. Think emotions over tactics
These days, it seems like nearly everyone’s content marketing plan is heavy on tactics. How-to posts abound. I encourage my team to think less about tactics and more about the emotions that drive someone’s decision to want to explore the topics we cover. Doing this builds trust, creates epiphanies for your readers and sets you apart from every business trying to market the same things. – Sean Ogle, Location Rebel
9. Gather customer feedback from social media
Go to your social media channels or your competitors’ social media channels and find questions that customers have asked in the past about your product or competitors’ products or challenges that customers have expressed in relation to the topic. Create content to address those questions and challenges. – Jean Ginzburg, Jean Ginzburg.com
10. Look to another content medium for inspiration
Podcasts are great ways to inspire fresh ideas that haven’t been written about before and blogs can inspire fresh ideas for podcasts. Consume the content differently than how you’re planning on delivering it for some new, fresh inspiration that has not yet been mentioned in your chosen medium. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
11. Go behind the scenes
With so much content marketing driven strictly by keywords and SEO, it’s easy to lose sight of one of your best assets for creating content that engages and resonates with your audience: your team. Giving your customers a look behind the scenes can boost brand authenticity and strengthen your audience’s connection to your business. Video content is ever more crucial and is a great way to start. – Thomas Smale, FE International
12. Take a break
Creativity cannot be generated. Give people time off and flexible work environments and ideas will flow more freely. Get away from the brainstorm meeting; these are doomed to fail. If you want to build content people engage with, you need to have something interesting to say — or at least valuable. Finding these ideas and nuggets is hard, especially when forced to do it. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.