Tuesday, October 9, 2012
How to Source Content Ideas from your Customers and Prospects
Content creation that jumps from topic to topic without a focus or sense of direction can make the creation process really hard. That is why theming your content production can be so helpful. At a high level, content theming is the process of deciding on a broad topic for your content creators to use when coming up with new content. Content theming has loads of benefits from an efficiency and speed perspective, but its important that you pick a theme that will resonate with your customers and prospects. How do you figure out a topic that will resonate? Here are some ideas on places to look:
Online Data: Looking at your company's website analytics or at broader keyword research for your industry can help you determine what type of content has done well in the past for your company, as well as what general terms people are searching for. This data shows you the popularity of topics, and can guide you to your next content theme.
Social Data: If you think you have a good idea for a theme and are looking for some validation, or just want to get new ideas, twitter searches and LinkedIn groups can be a great source of data. For twitter, popular hashtags and watching what people are talking about that are in your industry can help validate or invalidate ideas that you have about a theme. If you're out of ideas and looking for some new ones, LinkedIn groups related to your industry can be a good source of themes as well because you can see what people are talking about and sharing.
Conferences: Looking at the agenda for industry conferences can be a great place to find some new content themes. If you are attending the conference, see which sessions are attracting the biggest buzz and audiences. If you aren't able to attend, follow along with the conference hashtag on twitter to see what people are talking about most.
Internal Narratives: This is an often overlooked but potentially great source of ideas for new content themes. Sales reps, account managers, and support staff all deal with your customers and prospects on a daily basis and here their thoughts and concerns. Talking to these people might give you an idea for a who new theme for you content efforts.
You may think that if you create all that content at once, your readers will become tired about hearing the same thing and will stop listening. This is where planning and a good editorial calendar will come into play (if you don't know what an editorial calendar is, check out this guide). If you plan well, you can schedule that content out over 2 or more months that will ensure that it doesn't feel like you're on a theme, but because you wrote all the content at once it will have a more consistent message and will be produced faster. An editorial calendar can help you slot that content in gaps in your existing content production so that it is a smooth flow of content.
Wondering what theme this post came from? It was a theme called content repurposing, which helped us to produce this webinar, this guide, this slideshare presentation, several posts, and many social media messages.