They say variety is the spice of life, and I’d have to agree. Sometimes, though, spice can be hard to come up with when your team is running low on ideas. The good news is that you can still achieve the content variety your team is looking for using just one great topic idea.
The beauty of coming up with just one really great idea is that it can lead you down a highway of ideas that are similar and related but go more in-depth with different angles. When brainstorming topic ideas with your content marketing team, keep in mind that there is potential to extend one idea in multiple directions.
Once you start thinking this way, you’ll notice that doing so enables you to create a lot of content easily, and it will help you promote one piece of content in various ways. It also assists in building up your SEO by bumping up the landing page rank the more you link to it.
There is no limit to how many ideas you can come up with based off of one — it simply depends on your content strategy, your team, and your brainpower. Here’s how our Influence & Co. team brainstorms numerous content ideas from one overarching topic: We turn a great idea into a whitepaper (e.g., “The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for SEO”), then address more specific subtopics in blog posts (e.g., “How to Build Your Keyword List”), and dive in even deeper on specific aspects of the idea for guest-contributed articles (e.g. “3 Ways You Can Use Content Marketing to Rank Higher for Your Most Important Keywords”).
The key for SEO success using this method is to include links to the gated whitepaper in your blog posts and guest-contributed articles that use the main idea (“content marketing for SEO”) and a designated keyword (“keyword list”) as anchor text. Every piece of content created under this umbrella should include the keyword and whitepaper link. This builds up the SEO of that one page and boosts your rankings for the keyword that is chosen for that page.
The volume of topics you can pull from one idea may vary depending on the idea, and that’s fine. As long as you’re thinking about the greater topic from different angles, you’re sure to find tidbits that you can turn into new, more specific conversations. Once you have your main idea, that's when you can start thinking outside the box. Here’s how:
Once you have a topic that you know is valuable for your content marketing team to speak on, it’s time to think about what your target audience is looking to get out of that content.
Consider past content that successfully drove engagement. What does your audience absolutely eat up? If how-to blogs perform well with your audience members, think of how you can take your main topic idea and map out the steps required to make an aspect of it happen. If your readers respond positively to case studies, gather information that proves how your big idea can be successful in real life. These types of content are also very useful to sales teams. Leads are always hungry for more in-depth information with real data.
Beyond what content is the most popular among the members of your audience, consider the people who make up that target audience. If enterprise companies are the main focus of your efforts, your best move may be to focus on C-suite leaders and how the content you're creating will best address their pain points.
Avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, though. Pay attention to the people who have time throughout their day to consume content and who also have an impact on buying decisions. The end goal of content is always ROI, so make sure you’re creating content with an action-prompting mindset. Whether you want your audience members to fill out a contact form, make an online purchase, or get on a sales call, above all you want them to act.
If you’re not familiar with the stages of the buyer’s journey (Awareness, Consideration, Decision), now is the time to get clued in. These stages come in handy when creating content because they provide guidelines on how to position certain topics based on a buyer's current knowledge of your product or service. Here’s how to frame content based on the buyer’s journey.
Awareness. Think of your main idea and ask yourself how you would explain it to someone who has never heard of it. This is your chance to make a great first impression and show your audience that you’re truly an expert in your field.
Consideration. At this point, your audience members already understand what your company provides. The most valuable thing your content can do for them at the consideration stage is to explain how what you do is a solution to their problems. This is also an opportunity for you to differentiate what your company does from what your competitors do. Buyers are often weighing a few other options at this stage, so providing that information will really make your company stand out above the rest.
Decision. What the members of your audience need at this stage is content that's going to help them make a buying decision. This content needs to evaluate different solutions and explain in detail why one of them (i.e., one of yours) would be the best fit for their needs.
A campaign is an effective way to really drive a topic home to your audience using multiple mediums. Organize all your efforts based on the same goal; it will help you keep track of the various initiatives you're implementing if you tie them together. Use campaigns to meet the needs of different kinds of leads through content. Visualize the end goal that your campaign is working toward and create topics that address your audience’s current challenges.
Bring members of your sales team into the conversation to discuss common questions or concerns they are hearing from leads that can be associated with a certain campaign. Think about your overarching needs for the campaign, who it should be speaking to, and what their problems are.
Coming up with ideas for great content can become a challenge for content marketing teams at any time. It’s not always easy to think of new and exciting topics at the drop of a hat. By using this method, you can take one great idea to the next level by turning it into different types of content with a variety of angles.
Newsrooms don’t have craft beer, chalkboard walls, and ping-pong tables, so I switched from journalism to marketing. I stayed because I truly believe that every company has a unique story and that content marketing is the most authentic way to use it for good.