Your Guide to Creating Fresh Content Ideas that Inspire
In today’s digital-first world, consumers are inundated with marketing messages on a diverse array of channels (social media platforms, email, voice and touch technologies, virtual assistants, etc.) from the moment they wake up until the moment they lay down their head at night. These incessant notifications and influencer persuasions – prompting users to sign up for a free trial, update their account information, take advantage of a limited time discount code, customize their order, and ultimately try and buy – are constantly vying for our attention. As these messages proliferate with increased velocity, brands in nearly every industry are scrambling to create fresh, relevant and consistent content strategies that spark intrigue, inspire allegiance and incite action.
In the PR profession, we’re passionate about the power of storytelling and the written word, yet the volume of content required – from messaging frameworks, master narratives, emails, newsletters, blog posts, social media updates, contributed articles, whitepapers, case studies, video scripts, press releases, web copy, etc. – can be unrelenting at times. This can leave even the savviest communications pros asking themselves: what can I possibly say that hasn’t been said a million times before? How can I add new, divergent value?
If you’re struggling for content ideas, try this five-step strategy (created by one of my favorite inspirational marketing gurus, Marie Forleo) on for size:
Solve a Problem.
What problem is your audience trying to solve? What questions commonly arise? Comb through comments on blog posts, reviews, social media accounts, Quora or Reddit forums, etc. to pinpoint consumer pain points – the things that keep them up at night – and take bold action to lend your expertise, and ultimately be the hero in their story.
Explain Your Industry.
When you allow people to look under the hood and behind the scenes on the inner workings of your business, it builds credibility, distinction and trust. Your industry is often a mystery to people on the outside, which makes for intriguing, memorable content. With this strategy, you have a unique opportunity to position your brand as a trusted expert and visionary authority, leading your industry by example.
Reveal Your Secrets.
Humans are hardwired for connection. And the secret to connection is through powerful storytelling. Share the moments, the events, the challenges, and the thinking behind what you do, and people will feel more inclined to do business with you.
Similar to creating a vision board to design a life you love, reflection and introspection via visualization can put your dreams into high gear. Forleo asserts that this strategy helps your audience visualize their future, fire up their imagination, elevate their ambition and define their core values with creative content pieces.
And finally, Embrace your quirks.
We all have character defining moments, life lessons and nostalgic memories that shape how we view the world. To get your creative juices flowing, what song can you recite by heart? What is the wildest story you always tell at parties? If you could invent anything, what would it be? Do you remember a commercial from your childhood? What was it for, and why did it stick with you? How does that translate to a unique value only you, and your business, have to offer?
According to Forleo, “the secret to long-term success is focusing on what you can give, not what you can get. Make your business about being of service; about contributing beyond yourself; about making a difference to others. There’s always a way to serve. There’s always someone who could use a helping hand, a reminder, a kind word, or encouragement along their journey.”
Equipped with this intelligence, you can isolate, craft and customize a content strategy that surprises and delights your audience, and keeps them coming back for more.