The Best Ideas Take Work

A lot of people ask me what’s the shortcut when it comes to content marketing. And the truth is that there is no shortcut, but I try to offer them what I think is the one thing they need to get down pat in order to excel at content marketing.

I always recommend “Ideation” or brainstorming. Basically having the ability to come up with the right ideas for your audience. In my opinion, it’s the biggest key to success or failure.

The random content ideas that pop into your head in the shower usually aren’t the big winners. It’s actually the well-researched, planned out pieces that drive the most growth.
 
Large corporations have the benefit of throwing millions of dollars at all their content ideas, literally forcing them to produce a return at some level. As a small business, we don’t have that luxury.

We can’t keep guessing until we get something right and go viral.

Instead, I’ve developed a methodical approach to ideation and creating content ideas that will get you producing quality desirable content without the guesswork.


My method is fairly simple, but it does take time to see results.

You have to be willing to give it six months to a year before you come back here and tell me you’ve tried it and it’s a load of hooey.

With my own clients who follow this advice, on average, in 12 months they experience a growth in traffic by 66%. If they continue on for a second year our average is 167%. So there’s a track record behind what I’m about to tell you.
 

Step One

The first step is to ask all of your employees what questions they’re getting from customers routinely. It’s that simple, but it takes effort. It doesn’t matter what department these employees are from. It can be accounting, or a delivery person, it doesn’t matter.

It’s anyone who’s interacting with the customer, but especially your salespeople.
 

Step Two

Start jotting down all the questions and answers.

You can keep them in a big excel sheet if you like. When we do this for clients we usually end up with hundreds of questions.

All these questions are the seeds of pieces of content. Content that has already been vetted by your customers as being of interest.
 

Step Three

Audit your site, and check to see if you’re addressing any of these questions in the content on your website. If you’re not, then that’s the content you need to start creating! Ideally one page of content per answer.
 

Step Four

Now head over to Google and start typing your questions into the search box and see what autocompletes pop up. This is free research! Anything that pops up means enough people have been searching for the exact same terms. Add these ideas to your list.
 

Step Five

Before you start creating any pieces of content on your own, check the title with a Google search result.

If there’s already five or more answers out there with the exact same title I would skip it and move on to the next one on the list. It’s not a big deal because at this point you should have a huge list.

There you go, a nearly endless resource to develop content that’s relevant to your business and in demand from your customers.

 

Action Steps

  1. Ask your staff what questions they receive most frequently.
  2. Write down all the questions and answers into a list.
  3. Audit your website for what content is already available on it.
  4. Find th search terms by entering your list into Google.
  5. Check to make sure they aren’t already five or more answers with the same search terms.

 

Result You Will Achieve

Content ideas sourced from your staff that’s already vetted by customers and the wider online marketplace.

Mentor: Arnie Kuenn

CEO of Vertical Measures. Arnie is a world-renowned speaker and award-winning author who generously shares his 30+ years of entrepreneurial and digital marketing expertise.

 
This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.