For some organizations, continually generating killer ideas for content creation can be a challenge.
I think it’s probably safe to say that at some point or another we’ve all run into the issue of having a difficult time thinking of great ideas for future content.
Have you ever encountered this block?
Fortunately, if you know where to look and who to talk to, there is a great deal of inspiration to be found for content creation, and it’s probably sitting right in front of you.
Here are 5 places to find inspiration for content ideas to keep things fresh and valuable for your targeted audience:
Have a chat with customer service to see if you can find some inspiration from them. Ask if there are any particular questions that are frequently asked, or common concerns that your customers have. If there are, you’re in luck. Create content to answer these questions or concerns, and as a side benefit, you might even save your customer service team some future calls.
By the nature of their job, your sales team likely spends a significant amount of time speaking with current and prospective customers. Perhaps there is interesting insight or stories that you can glean from them that will inspire your content. Alternatively, think about opportunities to capitalize on their frequent interfacing with customers to learn more about how they use your product, their favourite features, or pain points. All of these things can be crafted into meaningful content.
You’re probably already tightly connected to your marketing team, but do your best to stay as connected as possible. Find opportunities for content creation through the integration of social media and content in your marketing team’s broader communication platforms and the various initiatives that they pursue.
In most organizations, senior leadership serves as the compass of your organization. They have a unique perspective on your business, where it is going, and many other facets that a typical employee won’t have visibility to. Also, they frequently serve as the figureheads of your organization and carry some clout with admiring consumers. Sit them down for an interview, or ask them for some insight that will be of interest to your audience.
This one is simple; speak with your customers. And ask them about what content they’d like to see from your organization. The best part is that you can do this right on your various social media channels.
These are of course just a few ideas for where to find inspiration for original content, and depending on the structure of your organization, there are likely to be many more.
As a content creator, spend some time away from your desk talking to the people around you in search of content ideas and think about what will be meaningful to your audience. Even if these people don’t give you ideas directly, spend some time speaking with them anyway and try to extrapolate ideas from their daily experiences.
How do you tap your organization for content inspiration?
Where do you find the most ideas for original content?
Do you have any additional suggestions to share?
It would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
For some businesses on social media, being proactively social can be fraught with organizational challenges.
In more traditional communication channels, business and brand messages are virtually always meticulously thought through.
When it comes to interacting and engaging with your audience on social media, this ability to be meticulous disappears to some extent. In most cases, you need to be fluid in your approach to interactions, jumping into conversations in real time, and responding to your consumers in short order.
There simply isn’t time to sweat every detail.
This makes some marketers uneasy.
What if something isn’t conveyed correctly? How will I know what’s going on in the social space? What is the legal department going to think about speaking to consumers without their blessing on what’s being said?
These are just a few of the realities that need to be faced when becoming increasingly social on social media, but like any barriers, they can be overcome;
Plan an approach
Planning your approach to being social is key. Set some ground rules, think of every possible disaster scenario and have a plan for how to address it (you’ll probably find that there aren’t many scenarios in which the world is going to end for your brand or business), determine who is going to be responsible for interacting with people, who is going to respond to certain types of questions, and when you need to hit pause and run comments by your legal team for approval.
These are just a few thought-starters, but the point is that the more planned out your approach to being social is, the more comfortable your organization will be with proactively initiating a dialogue with consumers. People tend to be nervous of the unknown; so the more you can do to shed light on what your plans are, the better.
Keep everyone informed
While having every comment, interaction, and response approved up and down the ladder will kill your ability to truly be social, you can keep your team and management in the know with regular interaction reports.
Choose a schedule that works for your organization (maybe weekly or monthly?) to report on your brand’s interactions. In your report, track good and the bad. If someone in your audience had something negative to say, report it, indicate how you managed to shift the negativity toward positivity, and plot out how you can work to avoid similar future negativity (view these moments of negativity as opportunities to make your business better).
Also, don’t forget to report on positivity as well. These are the success stories that will continue to earn you support of management and any naysayers about the power of social media. Reporting on positive interactions will also be helpful for determining who your key influencers are, and determining what it is about your business or brand that gets people geared up.
Ensure that management in on board
Get your management or senior leadership team on board. Simple as that (haha). If you have the consent and support of senior leadership, your ability to be social will be much more smoothly enacted.
Demonstrate to them the opportunity of being a truly social brand and help to make them see the light. If they’re on board, this will make your life one thousand percent easier. Barriers that used to be crippling will crumble, and you will have the support that you need to be successful.
If you gain the support of senior leadership, ensure that you don’t abuse it or take it for granted. Keep demonstrating the power of being social, and show them the positive effect it is having on their business. The more you can demonstrate the effect your interactions are having on their business, the more support they’ll give.
You’ve probably noticed this by now, but I’ll spell it out anyway; the real key here is actually being social yourself. Keeping lines of communication open is of paramount importance to keeping stakeholders in your organization comfortable with your grand plans of sociability. It’s what people don’t understand that makes them feel uncomfortable, and when things are happening that they don’t know about, it’s easy to understand why they’d be disapproving.
Have you ever encountered friction to being social on social media?
How did you overcome that?
Do you have a process in place for your social interactions?
Let’s chat about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
This post builds upon content published previously. For related reading, please check out, Is Your Business Forgetting to be Social on Social Media?, and, Building Relationships by Proactively Initiating a Dialogue on Social Media.
I’m noticing a bit of a trend;
What I’m noticing is that with an increasing number of business owners and marketers buying into the power of social media, that there is also a bit of a trend away from traditional media.
And by traditional media, I’m including online ads, mobile ads, and other similar media options, not necessarily just newspaper, print or other such archaic media.
Are you noticing this as well?
Clearly, there are some really simple explanations for this occurrence. Budgets are budgets, so if you increase your spend toward your social media efforts, you’re going to have fewer dollars for traditional media. Also, you have limited capacity to think about and focus on your business – there are, after all, only 24 hours in a day – so if you’re focusing your attention on social media, you have less attention to give to media and advertising. I’m sure there are more, but I’ll stop there.
This said, planning and investing in social media and traditional media shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. In fact, there can be huge benefits to planning the two in tandem. Even if your focus has dramatically shifted toward your social media and content marketing efforts, I urge you to consider how traditional media and advertising can help you achieve your social media goals, which remember, should be linked to real business goals.
Promote your content
You can be producing the best, most relevant and meaningful content imaginable, but if nobody consumes it, it will have literally zero impact. Promoting your content with traditional media can drive incredible traffic to your content, and can probably be more targeted and efficient than you might think.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: When developing creative to fill your media placements, be sure to showcase or clearly indicate the value that you are offering in the specific piece of content you are hoping to promote. Pair this with a compelling call to action and you’ll be well on your way to generating a huge influx of traffic to your content.
Establish your business’ positioning and grow your communities
Advertising through traditional media can be an amazing way to establish your business’ positioning. If your positioning is meaningful to your targeted consumers, this can increase the conversion of your media impressions to social media community growth.
Additionally, a result of the investment required to purchase media space, for many businesses a proportionate investment in advertising creative is also justifiable. The benefit of this is that with a few dollars at your disposal, you might find that you’ve got production options available that will help you further solidify your business’ positioning, thus increasing the aforementioned conversion even further.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: Try to think of your business’ advertising in the same way you think about social media content. Make sure it adds value to your consumers by making them feel something, think something, or learn something. If you can accomplish this with your ads, you are again going to be able to increase your conversion of media impressions to social media community growth and exposure.
Increase the ROI of your social media efforts
Social media marketing is an investment. For many businesses, they are lured to social media with dreams of overnight international fame and wild success. The reality, as you know, is that it takes an incredible investment of time and resources to build and sustain meaningful activity on social media.
Driving traffic to your social media properties with traditional media can be a great way to put the growth of your audience into overdrive, which will give you more people to engage with, to share your content, to provide their input and feedback, and generally it will make it easier to accomplish your goals. Yes, you will be making an investment in traditional media, but your existing investment in social media will yield greater returns.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: Ensure that your traditional media dollars are being spent wisely by creating a media plan that is laser focused on your target demographic. You can broaden the reach of your media, but if the audience you are advertising to falls outside of your target demo, overall efficiency will be low and returns on the influx of traffic to your social media properties will be hurt.
So, don’t discount the value of traditional media and advertising just because you’re having a bit of success with your social media marketing. As discussed, traditional media can contribute significantly to your social media efforts by promoting content to broader audiences, establishing your business’ positioning, and can increase the ROI of your social media marketing efforts.
Don’t think of social and traditional media as being mutually exclusive. They are, in fact, incredibly complimentary, and when used together properly, can yield results greater than what will be possible independently.
How do you use traditional media and advertising to enhance your social media marketing efforts?
It would be amazing to discuss this with you further in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
For any business that is knowledge-based, ideas are typically thought of as being the currency of their organization. Ideas are the basis of their product, the centre of their value proposition, and their competitive advantage. For these reasons – which are entirely valid – ideas are typically held close to the chest and are protected as carefully as a newborn child.
While being protective of ideas seems to make a huge amount of sense, there are a number of incredible opportunities you could be missing out on as a result.
The amazing thing about ideas is that there are always better ones. Always. By giving away your ideas, you are forcing yourself to be innovative, to think of new ideas, and to think of better ideas. Holding your ideas close will keep you from being innovative and propelling your business forward. While your business holds ideas close to its chest, others are pushing the envelope, developing thoughts that are truly unique, and creating huge value for their clients in ways they never thought possible. Sounds exciting, right?
Proves Your Value
Knowledge and idea-based businesses continually face the challenge of having to prove their value to prospective clients. Giving prospects your ideas for free will prove what your business is capable of, mitigate the risk involved with choosing to work with you, and establish your organization as a trusted source of value.
Acknowledging that the purpose of case studies is to demonstrate the proven effectiveness of your idea-based solutions, there is still an inherent risk that prospective clients must take to work with you – no matter how relevant and impressive your case studies. At the end of the day, they don’t know whether you’ll be able to replicate the value your business provided other clients. Additionally, there will always be an inherent skepticism about case studies because by their nature, they are designed to show-off your organization’s highlights, and ignore all of the failed ideas that were sold to other clients.
Increases the Chance of Making Your Business, and Your Clients, Famous
How many incredible, award-winning ideas do you need to pitch for one of them to see the light of day? Chances are that this happens so infrequently that you don’t have an answer to that question. Increase your chances of selling an incredible idea by pitching more of them. Don’t wait to be paid to pitch an idea. Don’t wait for a client to ask for an idea. Simply put, don’t wait. Just share your ideas, stand behind them, sell the hell out of them and demonstrate why they’re game-changers, and I’m sure you’ll have greater success actually bringing ideas to life.
What benefits have you experienced by giving away your ideas?
What do you see as being the pitfalls of giving away ideas?
As always, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credit: Veer
More and more, people are using multiple devices simultaneously or sequentially. In fact, a recent Google study showed that 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially, moving between devices to accomplish their goal. While the study didn’t provide an equally all-encompassing stat for simultaneous device use, they did state that 77% of people who watch TV do so with another device (49% with a smartphone, and 34% with a PC/laptop), so it’s safe to say that a huge percentage of people are using multiple devices simultaneously.
A challenge for marketers is how to tap into this behaviour in a way that will amplify your brand’s message, provide value to your targeted consumers, and provide a seamless experience from device to device.
Following are three tips for how to tap the power of consumers’ simultaneous or sequential multi-device use:
OPTIMIZE YOUR CONTENT FOR EACH PLATFORM
Your content needs to be optimized with each device’s strengths and weaknesses accounted for. Your 40 page downloadable .pdf probably provides a huge amount of valuable content to consumers using a PC, but on a mobile device, it’ll take forever to download, might require a separate app to open, and involves a time commitment to read that is probably longer than the average person’s session time on a mobile device. In this case, keep your points short and concise for people on mobile devices and forego the option to download your .pdf as it will provide a poor experience and might frustrate your consumers.
ENSURE CONTEXTUAL RELEVANCE
It is critical to have a firm understanding of how your targeted consumers use various devices. When you get to know how they use their smartphones, tablets, PCs, televisions, e-readers, and mp3 players, you’ll be better equipped to provide a seamless experience for your consumers on the devices they naturally use for various tasks. Further to this, try to avoid forcing your consumers to use a device in a way that isn’t contextually natural to them. They won’t change their usage behaviour just because you want them to, so don’t waste your time trying. To gain a better understanding of how people use various devices, I encourage you to read Brian Solis’ article, We are now a society of multi-taskers and multi-screeners. To quickly highlight a few key observations, people tend to use PCs to be productive and keep informed, smartphones to stay connected, and tablets for entertainment.
TAP SIMULTANEOUS DEVICE USE TO ENRICH EXPERIENCES
I’m willing to bet that you can’t think of the last time you watched television without your smartphone, tablet or laptop at least partially dividing your attention. Think of ways to create meaningful brand experiences on these devices that are relevant to the content your consumers are watching on television to provide truly immersive brand experiences. An example of a brand that hit an absolute home run providing an immersive multi-screen experience is Heineken’s Star Player football app that allowed fans to apply their intuition and knowledge of football to a competitive real-time smartphone game when watching Champion’s League matches on television.
Simpler, more cost effective ways to tap the power of a simultaneous multi-screen experience include augmenting your content calendar to generate relevant discussion during programming you know your consumers will be watching, or creating contests or promotions that require viewing relevant content (think digital scavenger hunts or trivia questions).
Consumers’ attention is becoming increasingly fragmented across devices, which means you need to figure out how to engage with them in ways that use this fragmentation to your benefit. Finding ways to streamline consumers’ experiences when transitioning from one device to the next, or enhancing experiences with simultaneous device use, is key for engaging consumers in a multi-screen, multi-device world.
What considerations do you take into account when creating content or brand experiences for your consumers?
Do you have any case studies you’d like to share of who has done this particularly well?
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please do so in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial