It's time to change that.
Content is important for marketing your business. It can help ensure online traffic flows to your website, connections get made, products and services get promoted, good public relations is maintained, and clients/customers are landed, (among other things.)
But first, you need to come up with stuff to write about.
The exercise below will help jumpstart this process. All you need to do is grab a whiteboard or a big sheet of paper and find a quiet place to think.
1. Warm Up.
To get the highest return on the time you’re about to spend, begin by clarifying what you intend to use your content for…
- Build brand awareness?
- Increase lead generation?
- Increase brand reach?
- All of the above?
Also, clarify the different audience segments/personas your business serves and what your objectives are for each of those audiences.
Now, it's time to drop and give me 60.
Draw a circle in the center of your whiteboard/paper with your business’ name in it. Then, surround that circle with bubbles describing the different products or services you offer.
For instance, if you own a full-service salon, your drawing might look like this…
Now, subdivide each program/service bubble by audience focus. For example, starting with the green hair care bubble, our audiences could be…
Once that is completed, spiral off with any sub-divisions for those various audiences, like I’ve done below for the purple hair care for women bubble…
Next, start to add some topic themes to these smaller bubbles, like I’ve done for the hair care for women with long hair bubble…
Finally, look at each of your topic theme bubbles and brainstorm as many different content ideas/titles for each as possible.
Don’t over think this. Just start writing.
For example, let’s take the challenges with hair care for women who have long hair, bubble. A list of topics/titles marketing to people interested in that topic could include:
- Top products for caring for long hair.
- Profiles of hair care binders/clips that won’t damage long hair.
- How to identify split ends (slide show.)
- Locks of love and other suggestions for when you’re ready for the big chop.
- Common mistakes people make in caring for long hair.
- How to be workout-ready with long hair (e.g. profile Olympians with long hair.)
Repeat this fleshing out process for all of your products/service bubbles and audience segments.
Feel free to reuse some of your ideas in another form on a different branch of your brainstorming tree (e.g. Many of your tips for women with long hair could also go on a branch for men with long hair, etc.)
3. Cross train.
Next, for every bubble, in every cluster, for each product or service offering, make sure you have some of the following content types represented…
- How to/Educational: giving your audience tools to troubleshoot or understand topics on their own.
- Manifesto/Thought Leadership: exciting ideas on your product/service offering(s) that no one else is talking about.
- Engagement/Call to Action: asking your audience to do something specific for or with you.
- Entertainment: eye candy to attract traffic/attention and build word of mouth.
- Big Ideas/Radical Thoughts: turning conventional wisdom in your industry upside down or challenging norms.
- Competitive: exploring how you stack up against a competitor or the industry standard, etc.
- Search Bait: playing off of your industry’s highly searched keywords or connecting your brand to influencers (e.g. “10 Hair Care Tips from America’s Top Salons.”)
Then, for every bubble, in every cluster, for each product or service offering, make sure you have content that represents the following perspectives…
- For every piece about your brand, make sure you’re creating one from your audiences’ perspective, too.
- For every piece that offers the pros of something, also consider a companion piece that plays the devil’s advocate.
- For every piece that explores your strategy or thinking behind something, make sure there is a case study showing how that thinking paid off, previously.
- For every logical, strategic piece, also develop at least one, wacky out of the box piece, (e.g. “Hair care tips for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.”)
4. Cool down.
Congratulations! You should now have at least 60 content ideas in front of you (If not, explore different types of content for each of your topic bubbles – such as video, audio, e-book, image slide show etc.)
It’s okay if things look like a mess right now. You can refine, polish and sort these ideas later. The point of this exercise was simply to get them out of your head.
Now, take a break and hit the showers. You earned it.