Feb 10

How to research and design content ideas to attract new customers

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Killer Content is, quite simply, the single most important thing you can do for your business. As I wrote in last week’s post content is king, and we are all in an excellent position to take full advantage of that fact.

But winning content doesn’t just happen – the best content is structured and well-written from solid ideas. While writing from the heart is important, writing what is definitively needed by your customers, without fail week-on-week is what’s needed. But let’s be totally truthful here, as passionate as you may be about your product or business, and as much as you’re committed to your mission, that continuous flow of ideas required for great content can sometimes be hard to achieve. Here’s my guide to putting out great content consistently, and keeping the ideas flowing.

Here’s how to Research and Design Winning Content Ideas to Attract

There are three stages:

  1. Creative brainstorming
  2. Customer focused idea generation
  3. Research and bringing to fruition

Good Old Fashioned Brainstorming + Creative Visualisation.

ID-10086612The first port of call for all internet marketers should be a good old fashioned brainstorm session. I like to do this on paper as I find the ideas flow better, but there are many many excellent apps and programs that can help you do it.

Some Favourites:

MindGenius 

Ithoughts HD iPhone App

iBlueSky

Popplet 

Whatever your method for collecting ideas make sure you keep a record of all of them, even if it’s as basic as an ideas folder, or bookmarks folder on your computer, or even totally old-school a scrapbook (!) You never know when an idea you’ve had suddenly might become totally relevant and the ideal post. Also if you do ever get stuck, you’ll have a backlog of ideas waiting for you that’s sure to spark inspiration and get your creative process flowing again.

I like to combine this brainstorming exercise with a creative visualisation technique as I feel this gets me out of my day to day business thinking capacity, and into the creative zone where ideas come thick and fast. In this process don’t engage your thought process too much, just write everything down as it comes to you without judgement or analysis. Let everything emerge onto the paper, or screen and just roll with it. At the end of the session you should have lots of ideas, and then you’re able to really get started figuring out which ones are sure fire winners, and take the next steps in bringing them into reality as content.

This great video runs through a few good brainstorming techniques. Or you could employ a great technique called EFT such as in this video.

Customer Focused Content Idea Generation

Once you’re done with the totally free-flow part of content generation, it’s time to apply a more analytical and customer-centric way of generating ideas. This requires that you get really clear on your ideal customers and target market. In order to attract them and create content which draws them in you need to know who they are!

I use a technique called buyer personas to get really focused on my ideal customers. I outline who they are, what they do for a living, their lifestyles. I may even create names and identities for them so I can try and think the way they’d think, and really brainstorm in the best possible way, to fulfil a need they have. I also make sure I’m clear on the core values of my ideal customers…what do they want in life? What makes them tick? What gets them excited?

Once you know the answers to these questions it’s much easier to start designing content, or choosing ideas from your creative list that will really serve your target audience in the best possible way. You can identify what problems they may have that you have the answer to, and really start to figure out how you can help them get to where they want to be.

Talk the Talk

In addition to this virtual persona creation, I also like to talk to existing customers and get their ideas for what questions they want answered and what it is they’re struggling with. Facebook is obviously an excellent place to do this – asking your fans what they’d like to see, and what they need answers to, is a good way to start. You’ll find that the same answers and themes come up again and again, which is an excellent way of deciding the direction of your content, and making sure it’s tailored exactly to the needs of your customers and audience.

I then like to have a chat with friends and family who are not necessarily in my core audience demographic – but it’s useful to get their perspectives on my business and product. They can tell me what they would want to know if they were a newbie to the site, and they may have things they’re curious about or that they don’t understand about the business model.

This is really useful because if you can answer these common questions with your content then you’ll have a really good chance of turning new visitors, who may not yet be your core customers, into fresh audience members who may later become core customers.

It’s also worth identifying what best types of content will attract your customers, as this useful infographic from Tone.co.uk lays out. Different products will require different content. It’s worth checking out the article to see how.

http://www.tone.co.uk/content-marketing-content-types-that-attract-relevant-leads/

Image Credit: Tone.co.uk

Then it’s Research Time

Take your brainstorm ideas, your customer ideas, and your newbie questions, and figure out if there are any overlaps, or clear areas it would make sense to write about from all angles.

Hit the net and figure out who are the thought leaders in the topics you want to address? Get familiar with the biggies, and their ideas, and figure out how to position yourself. Are you an avid follower and agree with everything they say? Do you have certain reservations? Do you totally disagree with their position on the topic? Get really clear and then create content that answers these questions and positions your brand in relation to the rest of the market.

This is also a useful process as you can quickly work out which of your ideas have kinda been done before, in which case you need to put a totally unique spin on them – or which ideas are really totally original and exciting. Then it’s time to make a plan of which medium you feel called to create each idea in. Try and think outside the box when it comes to this stage. There are so many incredibly creative ways to deliver content nowadays. It’s worth doing a little meditation if possible in order to visualise the way you best see each idea delivered.

Once you’ve got all your ideas brainstormed, tightened up and researched, it’s time to create a content schedule and then get going on putting some fantastic content out there.

 

QUESTION: Who is your ideal client and what are their biggest questions? Answer in the comments…