Content marketing: What's the big idea?
Generate ideas that resonate.
By Kurt Kreiger, Creative Director
OK, let’s say you want to run an effective content marketing campaign. You’re likely putting a lot of thought and research into your content strategy, focusing on planning, creation, delivery, and governance of your content. Of those pieces, we’ll spend this post zeroing in on a crucial part of creating that content: ideation.
An exceptional idea is the heart of any content campaign or project. But how do you come up with a fantastic idea, and what makes it great? From mind mapping to SWOT analysis, there’s no shortage of brainstorming techniques out there. Regardless of what method is employed to generate ideas, it’s imperative to have definitive answers to these questions before starting:
What’s the assignment?
Who are we talking to?
What do we want them to do?
The clearer our understanding of our clients’ business objectives, our target audiences, and the desired outcomes, the more likely we are to zero in on how best to engage, surprise, delight, and persuade the humans we’re interacting with. Thoroughly researching the most salient insights upfront is what fuels a successful ideation process. This is because great idea generation is about finding the missing puzzle piece between insights.
Connect insights to generate ideas
Steve Jobs summed this concept up perfectly in an old Wired Magazine interview: “Creativity is just connecting things.”
Each of our ideas comes from connecting relevant insights. As we immerse ourselves in the subject matter, we begin to identify where the bridges between specific business problems and creative solutions exist. Ideas that connect those dots become an expression of tangible, germane reasoning rather than gratuitous subjectivity. And they usually end up being the ideas that best resonate with our audiences.
One simple but effective four-step methodology Indigo Slate uses to connect insights and arrive at solutions is the Disruption Triangle. This tool helps us blend our understanding of current in-market reality with audience sentiment in order to discern how best to differentiate ourselves from the competition or even our own standard approach. The combination of these elements is the expression of the idea. For instance:
Convention – What is currently being done by us or the competition?
Audience sentiment – How does the consumer currently feel?
Disruption – How do we counter the convention?
Expression – The idea itself.
Here’s a very simple example of how this works:
One of the benefits of using a method like this for idea generation is that it creates a compelling narrative for communicating the rationale behind each idea. When we present the relevant insights behind our ideas, it pivots the decision-making process from being merely subjective preference to an approach that’s clearly aligned with our clients’ goals.
Our ideas are always an opportunity to demonstrate our thought leadership and creativity and so is the way we present them. We don’t want to make the mistake of letting our amazing ideas die on the vine because of a confusing, sloppy—or worst of all—boring presentation. Here are some overarching principles we like to follow when presenting our ideas:
We’re telling a story, not pouring over a spreadsheet or copy deck.
It’s a story of thoughtful exploration and discovery.
Let the flow of the story unfold logically and turn our solutions into heroes.
Minimize content, clutter, and complexity on each slide to improve focus and intensify surprise and delight.
The big idea
The process of creating compelling, hard-working ideas for your content marketing efforts is all about discovering how to connect the insights that resonate best with your audience and align most closely to your clients’ objectives. Investing the time and effort to do this right pays huge dividends at the end of the day. Engaged customers = happy clients!