Spring is in the air, which means it’s time to spring clean your dusty, old content calendar and start reevaluating your editorial themes. If you’re like most busy marketers, once you’ve created your themes, you let them ferment for a couple years and get stuck in “Content Autopilot.” Think of this articles as your reminder to 1) evaluate your strategy on existing content and 2) brainstorm fresh themes to optimize your content.
As a reminder, content should support your goals and strategy. The great thing about content marketing is that you can test your content, and if it doesn’t work, you can create something new! To help you brainstorm more creative content and get out of that content autopilot, I created a few prompts for you to think about. (These prompts are more useful for written content but can be translated into other content forms.)
1) What are your clients’ common questions? What is the origin of their question?
Finding out client pain points will help you create content that support lead generation. Be sure to understand the next anticipated question. If a client asks, “How can my brand get better SEO”, you know they need SEO tactics, but they may also need information about developing keywords or listing themselves on Google Business.
2) If you were a competitor, how would you put your client’s company out of business?
Industries are constantly disrupted and being the influencer at the forefront of that change is important. Assuming you understand and are adapting to the changes, you should share your thoughts with the industry and your clients.
3) How does your brand define innovation? What technologies or practices in your industry are creating waves?
Everyone wants to talk about innovation, but all brands define it differently. Share your definition of innovation and how you’re using that to evolve your business.
4) Can you make a unique commentary on an ironic situation or an industry paradox?
Social commentary is always welcomed, especially when it’s thought provoking and encourages change. For an example of this, see my medium article The Paradox of the Emotional Customer Experience and the Bottom Line.
5) Is there an industry norm that should be challenged?
This one is similar to #4. It’s important to look at your industry and identify kinks in the chain. This is easier to write about if you work at a company that encourages you to challenge the status quo.
6) How has your brand/industry evolved since last year? What’s different?
A great thought starter if you’re slow on content. You can do a review piece that talks about all the previous changes, and you can share your thoughts on where today’s trends will take you.
7) Do you have any unique employee or leadership opinions? How do those viewpoints affect your business?
This prompt will get some unique responses. I once worked with a CEO who valued emotional leadership, which was uncommon for our industry. We promoted this viewpoint, and we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our audience.
8) How is our business impacting/changing other industries? How is it affecting the general population?
Another way to approach new content is to analyze how your company is affecting other industries or the world. Hopefully it is for the better, but it could be a unique brand perspective (and might open some new content development strategies).
9) Imagine you’re talking to a new hire. What advice would you give him or her about succeeding in your industry? What challenges, changes, opportunities, or expectations should they have?
Or, you could actually talk to a new hire. But, the exercise here is to step back from the day to day and evaluate what’s truly novel about your space. You can generate more creative solutions if you break your everyday patterns to admire or challenge what you know.
10) What holidays affect your business? Which days can you capitalize on?
Holidays are great—like National Donut Day. Find a national “holiday” and figure out how you can capitalize. For example, if you’re a healthcare company, you can have promotions in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or any other disease state.