As a content marketer, one of the biggest challenges you probably face is generating a constant stream of interesting material that engages people. You want your audience to look forward to reading or watching whatever you produce. You want them to be excited about your blog posts, videos, special reports, and eBooks to the point that they can't help but tell their friends about them.
But it's not enough to just engage your audience. You need to move them closer to taking the action you want them to take. And that means creating content that is persuasive while being unique, informative, and even entertaining.
It begins with coming up with great ideas. Not one or two, but an endless stream of them. While some folks might leave the task to their muses, I'll show you a better, more reliable method. Actually, I'll show you 5 of them. They'll “fill the tank” and ensure you never run empty.
5 Ways to Brainstorm Great Content Marketing Ideas
#1 – Conduct An Interview
Interviews are great for a few reasons, especially if the person you're interviewing is well-known in your niche. First, they make for an interesting read. Second, the interview can be transcribed and offered as a free PDF download. Third, it can be recycled as a podcast, allowing you to upload it to the iTunes store.
But most importantly, people tend to be interested in what thought leaders have to say. That means they'll tune in or visit your blog to check out the interview.
#2 – Focus On Your Feed Reader
You've probably reading several blogs in your niche (if not, you should be). And you're probably making life easy for yourself by sending their feeds to your feed reader. This “bucket” is a treasure trove of great ideas for future content!
You'll see the topics that are being covered by others in your niche. That could mean the topics are getting traction in your market. Check out the posts and look for signs of reader engagement.
Side note: if you're unfamiliar with feed readers, check out The Old Reader and Feedly.
#3 – Profile A List Of Thought Leaders
There are probably several people in your niche who are considered thought leaders. When these people talk, others tend to listen. Why not leverage that interest? Here's how…
Create a post that focuses on 6 or 7 of these leaders. List each one, and explain why people like them. Be thorough and give details. Your audience will love to read about their favorite personalities.
As a bonus, you can reach out to the people you profile, and let them know about your post. A few of them might be so flattered that they'll link to it from their sites.
#4 – Bring Together Your Niche's Leaders
Here's an idea that takes a bit of organization and time. But the payoff can be huge, especially if you get ranked high in Google.
Ask 10 or 12 experts in your field to respond to a few questions involving a particular aspect of your niche. Pose the same questions to each person.
For example, suppose you're writing about SEO. You could pull together several search experts and ask them to respond to the following questions…
– Where is link-building headed in 2014?
– How big a deal are social signals in the current Google algorithm?
– What are the 3 most important tools every SEO expert needs for the coming year?
Then, sit back and watch what happens. You'll inevitably receive conflicting – and even outright contradictory – opinions. That's okay. In fact, it adds to the excitement created by having so many experts chiming in.
#5 – Create A “Monthly Favorites” Blog Post
This may be the easiest and simplest idea of the bunch. Once a month, pull together your favorite posts written about your niche. Then, create a blog post that includes links to those pieces along with a quick explanation regarding why each one is worth reading.
This idea is easy because it only requires you to do what you're already doing: reading other blogs in your space. The idea is simple because you don't need to be intensely creative to produce something your audience will enjoy. You're just posting links to content you like.
You could even give your “monthly favorites” post a name, so readers will look forward to it. For example, if you're a social media expert, you could call it “Social Media Shots Heard Around The World.”
Keep your “favorites” posts on a monthly or biweekly schedule. If you publish them more frequently, you'll overwhelm people.
Generating a constant stream of ideas that support your content marketing strategy doesn't have to be a hair-pulling experience. There are tons of great ideas everywhere. It's just a matter of having several to pull from. Use the 5 ways to brainstorm great content marketing ideas that we covered above as a place to start. I'll go into several more in a future post.
How do you brainstorm ideas for your content? What tactics do you use to keep the pipeline filled with interesting, engaging material? Let us in on a couple of your secrets by leaving a comment below!
About the Author: Tara Geissinger is an SEO and content marketing expert by day and triplet mom by night. As Co-Owner of the online visibility firm, SEO Content Solutions, and online press release distribution firm, Online PR Media, Tara has helped thousands of businesses get more visibility online. From helping Macy’s optimize their product descriptions to working behind-the-scenes with some of the largest SEO and marketing firms in the world, she is one of the best kept secrets in the online marketing niche.