By Rebecca Bull
If you’re creating a lot of content, you may find you run out of inspiration, or start to wonder if your ideas are good enough. This is perfectly natural in the world of content marketing, and if you ever feel like this, here’s how you can push past it.
What Makes a Great Content Idea?
You can’t always predict whether a piece of content will do well, but there are certain aspects that can help it to succeed. Decide if a content idea is worth pursuing by asking yourself the following questions.
1. Does it solve a problem?
One of the best ways to win an audience over is by creating content that other people find valuable. In fact, if it’s valuable enough you’ll have people coming back to read more of your content, and maybe even linking to it themselves.
If your content provides people with information they can use, they are much more likely to engage with it. Try to answer questions that your customers have and help them overcome challenges they are facing.
When creating content, you could choose to simplify a complex idea or share industry knowledge that others might find useful. For example, the DIY store B&Q has a comprehensive step-by-step guide to tiling, complete with a buyer’s guide.
2. Does it tell a story?
Stories can help bring facts to life and are a memorable way of communicating an idea. By sharing a story of an experience you’ve had with your readers, it can help to hold their attention whilst you’re informing or educating them.
The best stories evoke an emotional response and are honest – it can be good to open up occasionally. In an interview with Contently, Tom Kellner, the editor-in-chief of GE Reports, shared how storytelling helped him create one of the most successful brand magazines. He said: “I basically ignored press releases, and focused 100 percent on storytelling. My stories have real protagonists who are trying to solve real problems and reach real outcomes.”
3. Is there a human angle?
No matter what industry you’re in, if you can create content that involves real people, readers will be drawn in more than if you were to just present the facts. For example, if you’re writing about the benefits of a particular product you sell, give examples of how it has helped others. This will make it much more likely to resonate with your readers.
4. Is it presented in a compelling format?
Presenting your information in the correct way is extremely important. Done correctly, and it can grab people’s attentions and make the most complex of ideas easier to digest. Infographics for instance, are a great way to present data. However, other information is better explained in the form of images, videos or interactive content.
5. Are you focusing on the customer instead of yourselves?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the intricacies of your business and forget that your customers may not care about such details as much as you do. Their main priority is what you can do for them.
Avoid constantly sharing company updates that realistically, don’t matter to other people. Also, step away from creating content that is purely self- serving because customers will see it for what it really is. If your content is always about product promotion, it’s time to rethink your approach – people won’t want to visit your website if they’re constantly being convinced to buy stuff!
6. Is it entertaining?
You may not feel like entertaining people is your speciality, but don’t let that pigeonhole you into creating purely functional content. Inspirational, humorous or thought-provoking pieces are all worthwhile, and can be much for fun for readers to digest. As long as your content idea is relevant to your business, you can share something purely because it’s entertaining.
Don’t be shy about showing your personality – opening up about what you care about can help build a rapport with your customers because you will appear more human to them. Be sure to make a judgement about what is appropriate for your business and brand identity, and ensure you know your customers’ personas well enough not to risk alienating them.
7. Is the angle unique?
Coming up with a totally original idea is one of the hardest parts of content ideation. It’s likely your topic will have been written tonnes of times before, but it’s all about giving your own spin on things. You may have a unique take on a particular subject, or just have a better way of presenting the subject compared to everyone else.
Perhaps you could create the most comprehensive guide on a topic, or a myth busting piece of content that will stand out by offering a different point of view.
8. Is it timely or topical?
Your content calendar should include some ideas that are relevant to particular events in the year – not all content has to be evergreen. Keep up with industry trends and the wider world, so that if you see an opportunity to contribute to an ongoing conversation, you can go for it.
9. Is it similar to something that’s worked before?
You may already know what kind of content works for your business – you just need to look at how successful your previous efforts have been. Has a particular piece of content been shared widely or received lots of comments? Learn from what has already worked well for you, and then identify if there are certain elements or themes you can replicate.
10. Are you creating content for a specific customer persona?
Whatever content you are creating, it’s crucial that you have a clear idea of who you are writing for. That way you can make sure your content is pitched at the right level.
By knowing who your reader is, you will know whether or not you need to go back to basics when you’re explaining something, or if you can assume some level of knowledge. By speaking to your customers on their level, they will be more likely to take note of what you have to say.
Rebecca Bull is a Digital Copywriter at Hallam Internet, with over 10 years of experience working in content marketing and journalism. @HallamInternet