Good content is created by asking a simple question, ‘how do I add value?’ That’s a big question – one that requires considered thought and the involvement of a strong team with different skills, perspectives and ideas.
Getting all your ideas out there and mapping the how, when and why can only be done through brainstorming. This is how you’ll create content that engages, inspires, motivates and sells.
Here’s how to get the best from any content brainstorming session.
How to Brainstorm
Coming up with ideas isn’t the hard part of brainstorming. The hard part is weeding out the good ideas from the bad. All too often ideas snowball, with one epiphany leading to another. The danger of this process is that it can lead to a loss of focus. The trick is to pinpoint and refine your ideas.
Set Goals/Define Problems
The best way to pinpoint your ideas and give your session focus is by setting clear goals or locating a problem that needs to be solved. Have them in clear view so everyone can see them. If you start to deviate away from your main goal/problem, you can re-focus and get back on track.
Do you want to stamp your authority with shrewd, yet impactful brand awareness? Do you want to reach more buyer personas? Is your revenue waning? All this begins with content brainstorming.
Pick People To Attend
If you're brainstorming about how to improve your supply chains you wouldn't need to invite your social media apprentice.
Pick people that are going to be able to help you solve a problem or add something useful to your session.
Send Out An Agenda
Once you know what you would like to achieve from the session, brief everyone. Give them time to do some research so they can formulate their ideas.
There will always be the buccaneer who doesn't do any research and comes in all guns blazing, so watch out for them! But if you give people the chance to get a head-start, they'll come in better educated.
Stick To A Time Limit
Everyone wants to get their idea heard; some people won't shut up and let other people speak! There are many reasons your content brainstorming session could last forever.
If these brainstorms do last longer than they should you can lose sight of your goals and it can become a free-for-all ideas party.
To prevent that from happening you can put a time limit on the session. It doesn't mean you can't go over a bit, but it does mean that participants will bring their best ideas to the table.
Pick A Platform to Collaborate On
Getting all your ideas out there for your colleagues to consider is crucial. Google docs are very handy for collaboration. Documents can be shared with ease and real-time changes made, allowing for multiple opinions.
If you're brainstorming on a chart, give someone the job of putting all the relevant information into a document, the last thing you want is everyone going away and typing up their own version.
Think about your experience and the experiences of your colleagues. With your collective knowledge, how can you collaborate to ensure the very best customer experience?
Don’t make the mistake of not contributing to a session because you think your idea unfeasible. It may just be workable and become integral to your strategy.
How to Turn Ideas into Content
With your ideas refined, the next stage is to collaborate on an action plan and strategy. Here’s how you turn ideas into a content strategy that delivers results.
Target Your Buyer Personas
When developing content, you should always have your buyer personas at the front of your mind. This will allow you to tailor your content to each persona, addressing their individual needs.
You can work out which buyer personas you want to target at the start of the process, it'll help you determine whether your ideas are relevant.
Mapping the Buyer's Journey
All the content you create needs to show you’re aware of the challenges faced by each of your personas at each stage of the buyer's journey.
For example, at the awareness stage your content should be informative and helpful. This means that you need to build trust by providing helpful resources that answer any questions your buyer personas may have.
A series of informative blog topics is a great way to build awareness. Once that trust has been established, your buyer's will start to trust your content and actively seek it out.
Lastly, you’ll need to provide value and manage expectations. This is your opportunity to show each of your personas why they should choose you, above your competitors. This is the decision stage.
Consider Content Format
Your content should address the key decision-making factors of buyers. Infographics are a simple way to demonstrate your knowledge at the awareness and consideration stage, whereas a free trial would be a better offer at the decision stage.
All content created should focus on each buyer persona and how you intend to meet their individual expectations and fulfil your promises.
Executing the Strategy
Once you’ve addressed your personas and decided upon the content you wish to create, you’ll need to decide how you intend to publish your content.
The goal is to guide each buyer persona along a journey that engages them at every stage and compels them to act at the decision stage. Always employ strategic thinking. What type of content have you decided on? How and when do you intend to publish your content? These are questions your brainstorming session should answer.
The best content strategies are those that reflect each stage of the buyer journey. You should hook buyers, then demonstrate you understand their needs before finally demonstrating how you meet those needs.
Refine the Process
Even the best content strategy can be refined to achieve a greater ROI. Analysing its success rate is paramount to enjoying ongoing success. You should always monitor how your content is performing. How many comments do certain blog posts have? How often has your content led to an enquiry? Of those enquiries, how many have turned into sales?
Once you have compiled all the data, use this in your next content brainstorming session. This will allow you to make improvements and create better and better content!