How to Brainstorm Content Ideas that Engage your Customers

February 28, 2017

How to Brainstorm Content Ideas that Engage your Customers

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In today’s world, we’ve got an endless stream of news at our fingertips. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of useless content to sift through before we get to the good stuff. So, when a company makes reliable and high-quality content, it’s bound to get an audience.

How do you make content that stands out? It starts with good ideas, and good ideas start with a solid brainstorming session. By asking yourself the following questions, you can create ideas that demand attention and keep your customers clicking.

  1. What do you want?

Before you start creating, think about what kind of content you’d like to see. If you don’t care for the content you create, then your audience probably won’t either. Have you ever had a teacher that was so boring and dispassionate that you couldn’t help but fall asleep in class? Your content is similar, except now you’re in the teacher’s shoes. Think about why you’re passionate about your product or service, and try to convey that as you draft content—readers will recognize the authenticity of your words.

Ask yourself the following questions, and then relate your answers to your Facebook, blog, or whatever platform you’re creating content for.

  • What gets you excited when you see content on your own social media feeds?
  • What kind of images do you like to see?
  • How can you make content yours?
  • What do your favorite accounts do that make them so appealing?
  • Why do you care about the content you’re looking at?
  1. What does your audience want?

Now it’s time to apply what you value as you identify what kind of content your customers want to see. Consider their needs. Are they looking for entertainment? Instruction? Inspiration? Use content that illustrates the need your product or service satisfies while addressing the kind of content they’re looking for. For example, Michelin Tires designed a brochure to raise awareness for its brand. Instead of saying “Here’s our product! You should buy it,” they created a following by distributing content that was helpful to the real needs of its customers.

How do you make sure you’re addressing the needs of your customers? Ask them! Use social media to ask open-ended questions about what their wants and expectations are. Luckily, the Internet is full of people dying to give their opinions. Once you get their responses, you can come up with truly relevant content.

  1. How do you make content that responds to your audience?

Now that you’re done with the preparation, it’s time to brainstorm. You might have come up with some ideas on your own, but what fun is brainstorming by yourself? Assuming you’ve assembled a team of eager content gurus, you can gather them to pump out some strategic ideas. Try using Coschedule as an outline for when your team brainstorms.

Another place to get inspiration is from—shh!—your competitors. As the great Picasso once stated, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” We’re not suggesting you plagiarize competitors’ content, but take a good look at what they’re posting. Do they have any content that hits home with customers? Spend some time doing analytics and a content inventory to identify how they’re connecting with customers.

  1. Where will this content go?

Once you’ve cherry picked the best ideas and know the basics of your content, you can pick how you want to publish it. Hubspot gives a few excellent examples on what medium to put your content in and how to do it. Do you want it in a blog? An eBook maybe? Or even infographics? It’s important to figure out a medium beforehand, because this will determine how you format your content.

For this step, you’ll want to follow a similar creative process as we mentioned above. Think of some ideas on your own, ask your customers what their vision is, and then go over it with your team. Do they want something that they can just skim and get the basic idea? Then go for a blog. Do you need heavy visual aids to get your point across? Then maybe a video or infographic is best. Is it something that requires heavy explanation or sparks a lot of conversation? Then a podcast would be best for you.

The Internet is bursting at the seams with content, but the messages receiving the most attention are well thought out, and the result of a lot of collaboration. That’s where brainstorming comes in. Remember that brainstorming is a creative process, and there’s never one right answer. Use these suggestions to create the best content for your brand.

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