Hmm. It seems that for many B2B content marketers, one of the hardest parts of the job is creating the actual content. No surprise here. One of the most common questions we get at The Content Factor is, “How do you come up with the ideas?” And, the answer is…well, there is not just one answer.
If there were a magic button to press for great ideas, believe me – I would be pressing it! There are some shortcuts that claim to be that magic button, like the aptly named site, ContentIdeaGenerator.com. But you will notice after using it a couple times that it’s basically the same ideas over and over again, just using the different input you provided. It’s an O.K. place to start, but you won’t get truly compelling and original ideas.
For coming up with original ideas, there is no substitute for 1) knowing your audience, and 2) using proven brainstorming processes and techniques. When you combine the two, the ideas and creativity really start to flow.
I can hear the groans now. Brainstorming? You mean a bunch a people in a room, all trying to make themselves heard, and all pooh-poohing everyone else’s ideas? Or a bunch of people in a room, agreeing to everything the boss says, even though the ideas aren’t on strategy? Or a bunch of people in a room all staring at each other with blank looks, waiting for someone to make the first move?
Believe it or not, there is a science to effective brainstorming, and there are proven processes and techniques you can employ to help the great ideas bubble up out of the recesses of your brain. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Change in Perspective
You can break through the clutter when you start to think about the problem from a different point of view. For example, what if a chef were writing about your product/service? You now have a whole new set of vocabulary to use – ingredients, recipes, seasoning, boil, bake, etc. What would a cowboy say? Or a kindergartner? One way to use this technique is to give each member of the team a different “persona” and see what they come up with.
The Y Factor
This is also known as the Three-Year-Old technique, and it’s harder than it might seem. You just have to keeping asking “why?”
- Why do small businesses owners need accounting software? To manage their money. KEEP GOING!
- Why do they need to manage their money? So they don’t go out of business.
- Why don’t they want to go out of business? Because that’s how they support their families.
OK, now you are getting somewhere, and you are getting to the emotional side of the issue, which is really where you want to be.
The Content Factor has great workshops that can help your team come up with creative and effective ideas for content. And, we can help you produce it, too. Want to learn more about our workshops? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.