The content requirements for successful marketing campaigns continue to grow. Forrester research shows that today’s “B2B buyer will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece that marketing can publish or sales can deliver”. Not only are consumers looking for a high volume of content, but they’re also reaching out on multiple channels to learn more about vendors. So here comes the need for content quantity but what about quality?
According to Hubspot, 54 percent of marketers report that their biggest challenge is creating engaging content. Respecting a tight editorial calendar sometimes makes us overlook content quality and impels to reduce our creativity. And when inspiration is missing, it is harder to keep productivity up.
Therefore, how can you ease idea-generation and give consumers the variety of insightful content they want in the channels they prefer?
Getting New Insights
Brainstorming each piece of content is, of course, the most obvious way but it is sometimes time-consuming and limits your perspective. Look outside the box for influences. The Content Marketing Institute’s Anna Ritchie says “In the moments where I feel most overwhelmed…sometimes it helps to take a step back and just browse my favorite sites for inspiration.” David Erickson of Karwoski & Courage Creative PR shares his content inspiration. “My number one inspiration for creating content for marketing is the audience itself that I’m trying to reach.” Other inspiration sources for varied content include the following inspiration sources:
Use social listening tools such as Topsy for Twitter, BrandMention or Google Alert to scope out trending keywords, hashtags and influential accounts to follow. These conversations will tell you what’s important to your readership. It also provides you with different spins on topics you may already cover and let your audience know you’re paying attention to what’s important to them.
If your company frequently answers the same questions in pre- and post-sales support, create content based around these frequent questions to address consumer anxiety. Not only does this answer your current customers’ questions, it also creates an informative content base for others.
Read and participate in industry-relevant forums to discover what your peers are talking about. You might learn easily about industry’s issues or new opportunities. Also, you can create your own forums for this purpose, or explore established forums. Ideally, a mix of both provides you with a consistent source of inspiration.
Within Your Industry
Read industry blogs from influential companies and individuals for content ideas, market trends and a broader audience perspective. Blogs are usually related in some ways (quotes from other blogs, tags…), once you find a relevant one, it is easier to spot the others.
You can identify trends on the latest important topics, learn about new innovations, and identify influencers within your industry.
What’s going on in the world outside your industry? Consider the implications of national or regional events and phenomena on your industry, your company or your customers. Tie current events in with your products, services, or general industry to give a pop culture spin on topics that may be dry.
Typically, each industry has at least one dedicated trade magazine, covering everything from news to product information. These can provide in-depth stories that reveal more than companies typically offer on their blogs. You can keep on top of the latest industry developments and news.
What is your competition discussing? Take a look at their content for a new perspective and additional content ideas, and to expand your knowledge on competitor tactics.
Industry Studies and Statistics
Keep up with the latest studies and statistics and put your own analytical spin on them. You can also use your own first party data as the foundation for new content pieces.
Ask for Help
You don’t have to go at it alone. Instead of handling creation yourself, reach out to others in your industry. Guest blogging is a great way to bring in fresh perspectives and form relationships. These bloggers bring new ideas to the table, due to varied experiences, familiarity with different audiences, and subject matter knowledge on topics you may not yet address. If your chosen guest writer doesn’t have time for a full blog post, see if they’ll answer a few questions about industry news and insights for an interview piece.
Staying interesting and relevant are the biggest challenges in large-scale content production. When you’re creating an editorial calendar and plotting your content production for a particular channel or campaign, ask yourself two questions for each piece of content:
- Is this content useful for my audience (or a specific segment of my audience)?
- Is this consistent with my brand’s voice?
Generate a wide range of ideas, so you don’t lose your audience’s interest with content that’s too close in scope. Create an editorial calendar to help you organize content and deliver it in timely pieces. Be sure also to make detailed documentation for your brand’s voice to address potential consistency issues, with guidelines for terminology, writing style and other key points.
Keeping content fresh, interesting and varied is a difficult task for content marketers, especially as consumers continue to demand more content from more channels. Using multiple sources as inspiration, reaching out to external influencers for assistance and mitigating your primary challenges with tools keeps your editorial calendar full, and your audience engaged.
If you need tips for managing your content strategy, we’d be glad to help! Upfluence will help you gain access to a huge network of influencers and provide the tools you need to manage a stellar content strategy.