How to Fire Up Your Creativity for a World Class Content Marketing Program
6 Sparks That Will Fire Up Your Imagination
Every year, the Content Marketing Institute publishes their B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends— North America report.
In their 2016 report, they cite research findings that 88% of all B2B companies are doing content marketing. At the same time, about 60% of those companies say that producing engaging content and producing content consistently are among their top 5 challenges.
None of these stats are particularly surprising to me. It’s hard to find a B2B firm that hasn’t heard of the absolute value and necessity for content marketing, but not every firm has the creative chops to produce and publish consistently good content.
But I’m not talking about content tactics, like “Hey gang, let’s do a video!” I’m talking about the creativity and imagination for identifying a subject, and then addressing that subject in a way that’s interesting, compelling, and different from what competitors may (or may not) be doing.
It’s time to get creative.
Six Ways to Stimulate the Creative Writer Within You
If you’re in need of a way to find some inspiration for content that can build your corporate or personal brand, or generate leads, here’s a list of a half dozen “source ideas” that I use with LeadG2’s clients. A “source idea” is a catalyst for identifying a subject or topic for content. In effect, it’s the creative spark that can fire up your imagination.
1. Impactful Change
There’s an endless uplpy of source ideas that spring from changes that will have an impact on your clients and prospects. They can be changes to a product spec, a new law or regulation, research identifying new helpful insights, product recalls, and so on. But it’s not enough just to identify the change agent in order to produce great, creative content. In order to turn this type of source idea into engaging content, you need to address the how’s and why’s of that change, and ways that change can be addressed.
2. Interview Your Sales or Business Development Team
A great place for source ideas are the people in your company that are on the front lines, interfacing with your clients and prospects. Simply ask them this question: “What are the top 3 questions you’re getting about _________?” These questions are a gateway to creativity, and ultimately, a path to writing and producing engaging content. Identifying these questions, addressing solutions, or even taking another step to interview clients and prospects to uncover deeper insights about the nature of a particular pain can be a foundation for engaging content.
A while back, a fellow named David Meerman Scott wrote a book called How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage, where he introduced the idea of “newsjacking.” He calls newsjacking “the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story and generating tons of media coverage and social media engagement.” Check out this blog post (“The Inbound Marketer’s guide to Newsjacking”) from HubSpot that has more insights on how to use this source idea in your content marketing program.
Source ideas can also come from discussing trends and your perspective on those trends. You may be in a position to identify a trend that’s relevant to your clients and prospects, but there are also resources that may be able to do that heavy lift for you. A couple of great places to identify what’s trending include Quora, Google Trends, and del.icio.us.
Surveys are one of my favorite tactics for content source ideas because they’re proprietary—meaning you get a first-to-market advantage for turning data and insights into compelling content. For example, we helped one client with a survey for an industry niche practice that produced ideas for a dozen blog posts, a whitepaper, a slide show, an Executive Summary report, and press releases, all in addition to generating dozens of new business leads. Not too shabby an ROI, eh? Check out these posts about doing surveys.
6. Mine Trade Association Content
Trade association newsletters, emails, LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, topics delivered through webinars or seminars, educational opportunities, and on and on represent a goldmine of source ideas for content. Let the association do the heavy lift of being the author of a source idea, and you can then add your perspectives and insights about the subject they’ve identified as being of interest to the stakeholders they serve.
BTW, this is just a fraction of what I might bring to the table when creating the content marketing section of a client’s overall strategic marketing plan. I’ve got to keep some secrets, but I’m happy to share some thoughts about what your company can might be able to do. Connect with me at (585) 750-8258.
Turning Your Spark into a Flame and Ultimately, an Explosion of New Business
As it was written and sung, you’ve only just begun. (Musical interlude here.)
To turn that spark of creativity and imagination into content that can serve brand building and lead generation purposes, your source idea needs a subject, a writer to script or craft the content, a decision on format (i.e. blog, video, whitepaper, podcast), production, and publication. Each of these steps also requires creativity, and it’s likely that you’ll need a team to see these action items come to fruition.
But you’re not quite done.
You’ve got to get eyeballs on that content. That means having a content promotion strategy and tactics in place. This too requires creativity and a team, and most likely, an investment that can include resources ranging from people time to pay per click.
The spark, the script, the media, the promotion are critical for a content marketing program that’s inspirational and a critical part of your competitive differentiation strategy.