Ever faced writer’s block? It’s a digital marketing manager’s nightmare. But by carrying out a pre-planned content ideation session you can ensure your content flows smoothly and continuously, all year long. Read on to find out why content ideation is vital to your digital marketing plans.

Content Ideation is a way of generating content ideas by drawing on a wide range of information related to your business and the marketing environment. That includes objectives, buyer personas, competitor analysis, SEO and social media factors, to name just a few. But why should you bother?

Here are eight reasons why you need content ideation:

1. Ensure every piece of content pulls its weight

By being focused on a specific buyer persona and using the marketing funnel stage, each piece of content – whether it’s a blog, an eBook or an email – will have a clearly defined purpose. This will ensure content is only ever produced which is tightly focused on your marketing objectives.

2. Stay focused on what your customer wants from your content

You know what you want from your content. But what about what your customers want? And how do you speak to them in a meaningful way? The content ideation process maps buyer personas to each of your content ideas, helping you to ensure that the content you create is targeted to their needs, distributed where they will find it, and packaged in a way which will appeal to them.

3. Have content to nurture customers at every stage in the customer journey

A key part of any content ideation process is to map your content ideas to the stages in the customer journey. A solid content strategy will have content assets specifically designed to meet the needs of the user at each stage – an advice-based eBook at the awareness stage, a checklist at the early consideration stage, a case study at the late consideration stage, as they move towards making their purchase decision.

4. Take advantage of SEO opportunities

Hidden content is no use to anyone. An effective content ideation process helps you to identify keyword opportunities – and to brainstorm content which will help you to target these terms. The result may be a combination of fresh content creation for specific landing pages and blog posts, as well as optimisation of existing content to better target your high-priority keywords.

5. Optimise for social sharing

Contrary to popular belief, the ingredients of socially shareable content aren’t a complete mystery. Careful analysis of the top content in your industry will help you to understand which formats, topics and even tone of voice will encourage users to share your content across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Understanding social sharing opportunities is therefore an important part of the content ideation process. Used in conjunction with an SEO analysis, it will help you to ensure that your content is visible on search engines and on social platforms – meaning maximum visibility for your brand.

6. Never run out of content ideas

“I don’t know what to write,” sighed the content manager. One of the biggest barriers to a successful content strategy – aside from time – is lack of inspiration. After all, in the midst of a busy working week, how many of us have the time to brainstorm fresh, inspiring content? There’s nothing like a to-do list to sap your inspiration.

Content ideation helps you to solve this problem by generating a large bank of content ideas all at once. Done properly, you’ll convert these into an editorial calendar, so you’ll always know what content you’re producing next. No visit from the muse needed.

7. Maximise seasonal opportunities

Every industry has its peak seasons. So it makes sense to create content to target these seasonal opportunities. The key to getting the most from it is to plan seasonal content well in advance. Want to produce a How-To Guide for summer? You’ll want to be planning and preparing it in early spring. Your Christmas blog series? You’ll probably want to start writing it during October.

8. Put existing content assets to better use

Content ideation isn’t just about creating new content – it can be about making sure that your existing content works harder too.

Part of the content ideation process should be focused on identifying and analysing your existing content assets to understand whether they are being used in the right way – and whether they should be reshared, repurposed or repackaged.

For example:

  • Reshared: content can be pushed via various platforms, such as social media, or within an inbound workflow to ensure you have content at every stage in the marketing funnel
  • Repurposed: You may have great content that can be reworked into a different format, still showing the same key messages. For example, you could turn an existing slide deck into an eBook, or use data from a report to create an infographic
  • Repackaged: You probably have a wealth of internal resources, such as training material, so why not turn these into customer-facing content, such as a webinar or a ‘How To’ guide?

This approach can lead to some content creation quick wins – since you aren’t actually creating brand new content from scratch. That makes it efficient in terms of time and cost.

This post is adapted and abridged from our FREE eBook – The Best Practice Guide to Content Ideation

Download your copy now to learn best practice advice on how to take a strategic approach to content marketing.

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ClickThrough is a digital marketing agency, providing search engine optimisation, pay per click management, conversion optimisation, web development and content marketing services.