In today’s world, ongoing content creation is key to attracting and retaining customers. But coming up with ideas that support your business goals can be tough.
Content ideation provides a framework to help you generate and evaluate new content marketing ideas.
Understanding Content Ideation
So what exactly is content ideation, and why is it so important? Let’s take a look:
Content ideation is pretty straightforward. It’s the process of generating content ideas. Ideas that are both data-driven and audience-centered. Ideas that will also help you meet your business objectives.
It’s the last part that can be confusing.
You could base an idea on a high-volume keyword and target it toward your ideal customer, but it might not convert. That’s why content ideation is essential It provides a process for identifying and refining those ideas that will truly resonate with your target market and drive conversions.
Benefits of Content Ideation for Businesses
The content ideation process can help your company save money, drive new business, increase customer engagement, and boost customer loyalty.
Top-line benefits include:
- Aligning content with business goals
- Streamlining the content process by only producing content that meets those goals
- Engaging the customer by speaking to their needs and wants
- Producing shareable content that can bring in new customers
How to Implement a Content Ideation Strategy
Implementing a new content ideation strategy requires an initial investment of time and labor. But once your strategy is in place, you will find that the content creation process largely runs itself.
With ongoing ideation, your writers can easily produce high-quality, expert-level content that aligns with your business objectives.
Assembling Your Content Team
Your content team is the heart and soul of your entire content marketing effort, so putting the right people in the correct positions is vital.
At a minimum, you will need:
- Content strategist. This is the managing editor of the content team. Your content strategist is responsible for developing content strategies, controlling the editorial calendar, and managing content workflows. The strategist is typically also in charge of content ideation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t involve the rest of the team!
- Content creators. These are the writers, designers, photographers, and videographers who produce content for your business.
- Content editors. From fact-checking to proofreading to polishing, content editors ensure that each piece is at its best.
- Other professionals. Depending on the specifics of your marketing campaign, other team members might include influencers, content promoters, and even analysts.
When choosing the members of your team, you have several options.
You could assemble a full-time in-house team. You might employ one or two full-time professionals, such as a strategist and an analyst, and then bring on freelancers as needed. You could work exclusively with freelancers on long-term or short-term contracts.
Or you might choose managed content creation with a partner. In this case, you’ll remain in charge of your marketing strategy, and your partner will handle all the day-to-day tasks. This can include assigning the right freelance professionals to each part of your team.
Cultivating a Culture of Creativity
Content ideation is both an art and a science.
For the best ideas to surface, team members must be able to speak freely and without judgment. Provide them with the tools they need for collaboration, keyword research, and data analytics. Then, let them start generating ideas for content.
Your content strategist should be able to manage this process. They can identify which ideas are right for a particular campaign. A good strategist also knows how to reject ideas in a way that doesn’t make team members feel shut down.
Regular Brainstorming Sessions
Brainstorming sessions are essential to a culture of creativity.
These “blue sky” sessions should encourage everyone to throw out ideas in a completely judgment-free zone. Treat all ideas equally valid, and don’t start editing until the very end of the session.
People tend to build on each other’s thoughts, and often the very best creative ideas emerge during brainstorming sessions.
Encouraging Individual Ideation
Of course, the power of individual ideation is equally important.
Your content producers are in the trenches daily, working to create the best possible content. It’s only natural that something they read in their research might spark some ideas for future pieces.
Develop a way for them to submit those ideas to your content strategist for consideration.
Creating a Content Calendar
Every project needs a roadmap. For content marketing, the content calendar serves as that guide.
It allows you to organize your refined ideas into cohesive themes and schedule publication dates. It also lets you know when to assign each piece of content. Plus, it helps you determine which content creators have the bandwidth for particular assignments.
Setting Themes and Topics
In most cases, organizing each month’s content around a specific theme makes sense. This thematic approach helps tie everything together and can even increase engagement.
Some themes, such as a major holiday or a time-sensitive fundraising campaign, might be obvious. For other months, you might need to dig a little deeper.
For example, if you run a construction company, things like National Safety Month or the start of the summer heat might be good places to start. If yours is a healthcare organization, you could tie content to Breast Cancer Awareness Month or even winter sports safety.
Assigning Roles and Responsibilities
Your content calendar makes it easy to see exactly what content needs to enter the creative production process and when. You can then start assigning professionals to each task.
But before assigning you need to address some personnel and asset-related questions such as:
- Will one of your regular content producers be on vacation next month? If so, you may need to bring in a freelancer to cover.
- Do you want to create a video? If so, you’ll need someone to write the script, someone to shoot it, and possibly on-air talent to star in it.
- Will you require additional content to support various platforms and means of distribution? You’ll need to assign the proper individuals for each piece of content and platform based on preference, expertise, and bandwidth.
Best Practices for Effective Content Ideation and Development
Every business and every content marketing campaign is unique. But these best practices can serve you well no matter what the specifics of your project might be.
Content marketers tend to be a creative bunch. They bring different perspectives and can quickly build on each other’s ideas. Collaboration should be the cornerstone of your content ideation and development practice.
Keep Track of Ideas
When done well and regularly, content ideation frequently generates far more ideas than you could use at any given time. Create a place to keep track of those ideas.
Go ahead and sort them by theme, and make sure they are as refined as possible. Return to that list whenever you need new content to see which ideas suit your current theme.
Regularly Review and Update Your Strategy
Like any other business strategy, a content strategy needs reviewing and updating over time. Your business will continue to grow and evolve, and your audience’s tastes will change.
At least twice a year, revisit your strategy to see what’s still working well and what might be due for an update.
The Role of Content Ideation in Increasing Engagement and Conversion
So how exactly does content ideation translate into real-world improvements in engagement and conversion?
It’s all about thinking through what your audience wants. Too often, content strategists start with a high-volume keyword, then cast around for ways to connect that keyword to a topic the audience cares about.
But what if you worked backward?
You could focus on the pain points that your readers face and then find high-volume keywords that support your chosen content ideas.
Creating Relevant and Relatable Content
Even the best content marketing ideas won’t go very far if the actual content isn’t relevant and relatable to the target audience.
Start with a strong headline that grabs attention. Offer real-world examples of how to put the information you provide to use. Remember that the entire piece should make readers sit up and say, “Yes! This is exactly what I need!”
Encouraging Audience Interaction
Each piece of content should encourage the audience to interact with it somehow. This includes liking and sharing, but there should also be a solid call to action (CTA).
Do you want people to watch a video, download an e-book, or sign up for a subscription? You should encourage them to do so in your CTA.
Putting It All Together
Great content creation starts with strong content ideation. Following these tips will help lead you to a more successful content campaign.
Do you want to take your content marketing to the next level? Learn how ClearVoice can help you meet your content goals!