Anyone who works on the content side of marketing knows how difficult it is to constantly come up with new content ideas.
In inbound marketing, content is king.
Marketers and content writers alike churn out blogs packed with top-performing keywords and landing pages for their new content offers on a monthly basis. Keeping up that kind of pace can be exhausting, especially creatively.
In this content-saturated era, users are now looking for less quantity and more quality. They want good, solid content, not just a bunch of broad-based blog posts that sound eerily similar to each other. It’s becoming harder for marketers to get clicks because people are becoming less susceptible to content, especially blogs with ‘clickbait’ titles.
It’s more important than ever for marketers to create unique, valuable content for their audience.
But how can you do that on a monthly basis?
Below you’ll find several brainstorming exercises for both you and your team to help you come up a ton of brilliant content ideas.
The Worst Idea On The Planet
What’s the absolute worst idea you come up with? What would your audience absolutely hate to see from you? Coming up with the worst content idea possible is a fun way to get the creative process going. By defining the worst idea, it becomes easier to find the path to the best idea. It also tests you on how well you know your audience. If you can’t come up with a worst idea, it might be worth reacquainting yourself with your audience and their pain points.
Figure storming is when you ask yourself, “If I were a different person, what would I come up with?” For example, you could ask yourself, “If I were Elon Musk, what would I do?” or “If I were Kanye West, what would I write about?” These brainstorming exercises are meant to awaken your creativity so you can have a new or alternative perspective on a particular topic, usually one that you’ve already written about extensively.
One of my favorite brainstorming techniques, word association, is when you write down all the words you can think of that relate to your topic. This technique can also assist you from a SEO-perspective because it can help locate keywords that you hadn’t necessarily thought of before and may want to research. Word association can also help you generate overarching campaign themes to focus on for the month, quarter or even year.
Ever wondered what it’d be like to travel back in time? Or maybe to the future? Now’s the time to stretch your imagination and ask yourself, what would I do if it were 50 years ago? Or what would I do if it were 10 years in the future? 100? This brainstorming exercise can be a time where you look back on what’s been written about your topic in the past, how its changed and what industry thought leaders are saying about the future of your particular topic.
Similar to figure storming and time travel, teleportation is when you think about what you would do if you were somewhere else. It’s important to note that this place doesn’t have to be real. You could imagine what you would do if you were at Hogwarts or on the Death Star in Star Wars. Alternatively, it could be helpful to think globally if you plan to have people from all over the world reading and downloading your content. What would you write about if you were in another country? This will help you think outside of what’s going on in your own environment.
Starbursting is a rapid fire brainstorming technique where you write down every question someone could possible ask about your topic. After you’re done, you can cross-check it with questions you’ve already answered on your topic. This technique will help you fill in the gaps on what questions you haven’t answered on any given topic.
Brainwriting- Team Exercise
Any of these exercises can be done alone or with a team except for this one. Brainwriting is an exercise for a team and is designed to help you come up with 108 ideas in 30 minutes. For this exercise you’ll want to invite more than just your content writers and marketers. Invite your sales person, developer, intern -- anyone who would have a different perspective than you on the topic of choice. By inviting people from various backgrounds, you’ll cover your bases on the many different takes people could have on your topic. You’ll want about 6 people to participate in the exercise.
To get started on brainwriting, give everyone a worksheet like the one below:
Topic - (Example: vacation)
- Everyone has to write 3 ideas in 5 minutes.
- You do 6 rounds and boom -- you have 108 content ideas to work with. Obviously, not all of these content ideas will be pure brilliance, but there will be enough to get you started.
- After you’ve come up with all your content ideas and exhausted your creativity, it’s time to sort through them all and pick which content ideas are worth pursuing. This is a time to think about what content would resonate most with your audience.
- Did you or your team come up with any quick wins? Implement those first.
If you need some more help with your content, download our Introduction to Content Marketing. It’ll help you create a strong content marketing strategy and show you how to best approach to implementing your new content ideas. You can download the guide by clicking the button below: