8 Content Marketing Brainstorming Exercises Anyone Can Use
You’re a smart marketer….you know you need a content marketing strategy. But developing a strategy is one thing— having content to write about is another. If you’re feeling stuck or in a creative slump, try some of these exercises to get the creative juices flowing!
An important note: before you even start brainstorming, make sure to review your Customer Personas. Pretend like the personas are in the room, and judge all your ideas based on the bias of the persona, not your own. Remember, your content should be helpful and informative for your audience, not overly promotional, and focused on providing value!
1. Post-it note “customer questions”
Use a timer and determine an allotted amount of time for the activity (10 minutes is usually good). Give each team member a stack of post-it notes. Pick a topic that your organization is associated with and a persona to focus on. Have members write down any questions the customer persona may have about that topic—as many as they can in the allotted time.
- Have all the team members put their post-it notes up on a whiteboard or wall, grouping similar questions together.
- Use the questions to help formulate content title ideas.
- Repeat for different customer personas and topics your organization focuses on.
2. Mind Mapping
Identify the problems your organization solve at a high level. Create a mind map by adding subtopics underneath, then continue to separate those further into more focused subtopics. This activity can be helpful when developing a new content strategy for identifying “content wells” or tags for blog topics.
3. Content Analysis
Look at your current content and identify what the best-performing pieces are. How can these pieces be reused in another content form? Maybe a webinar? Or a video? An eBook?
4. Ask the audience
Send your current audience a questionnaire or survey to gauge their understanding of the topics your organization addresses. Leave space for open-ended responses from the audience to gather their questions, thoughts, or ideas.
5. Interview Sales Reps or Customer Service team members
Another great way to collect questions from the customers themselves is to interview team members who are interacting with the audience on a regular basis. Have reps keep track of questions in a Slack channel or a Google Spreadsheet, and periodically categorize the questions by topic.
6. Competitor Analysis
Review content from competitors (both direct and indirect) and see what kind of content they are producing. Identify which content could be “copied” or enhanced?
7. Join Facebook Groups
Find Facebook Groups that have your target audience in them and make note of the questions that are being asked. You often won’t be able to promote your own content in the groups, but you can use customer questions to influence your content strategy.
8. Look at your successes
Identify some of your “raving fan” customers. Interview them and try to understand why they are raving fans. Why did they choose you? What would have made their conversion easier? This interview can also be used to write a case study (a great lead carrot!).
On average, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times as many leads…..you simply can’t afford to NOT have good content!
What’s great about these exercises is they have the potential to generate hundreds of great ideas. Keep a record of your brainstorming activities in a spreadsheet or ideas folder and come back to your idea arsenal as you’re planning your content calendar for the future.