7 unexpected places to find content ideas in your business

Ideation is an extremely important aspect of content creation and shouldn’t be overlooked.  Content ideas can come from a multitude of sources, your analytics software, Adwords data, keyword research, current affairs etc.  But the ideation phase shouldn’t be just restricted to your digital marketing, social or SEO team, you should be gathering ideas throughout your business and placing an emphasis on creating a content culture.

Sure, your digital marketing team may be doing a great job, but it could be that they are only creating content that they deem important, working in silos within your business.  Whereas, getting other people involved can create a whole host of new ideas that may have otherwise been missed, creating content that can overlap into email marketing, PR and offline.  This is not saying that your content is bad, it could be really good, but why settle for good when you could have great or amazing!?

So where else can you go to get content ideas within your business?

lights tangled up

Flickr Photo – Joe Goldberg

1) Customer services

This team is at the forefront of your business and answer directly to your customers, they will have an intimate knowledge of what are your customer’s pet peeves as well as what they love.  These individuals have been representing your business everyday, and not always in the happiest or easiest of circumstances.

What can they bring to the table. They will have knowledge of any persistent questions that keep arising, anything that particularly confuses the customers.  If these problems and queries keep arising, why not create some content around it, customers are asking for it!  Also seasonality, are there any particular requests that come up at a particular time? If there is, why not pre-empt this and create something to answer this before the queries even start coming in, therefore making happy customers and freeing up time for the customer service agents to be utilised elsewhere.

2) Your customers

These are the people that you want to attract and hold onto, so why not listen to what they want and get them involved.  This is a great way to foster brand loyalty and make them feel like part of the business, with the view to them becoming brand ambassadors.  You can listen to what they have to say on forums, on your social media channels, in any feedback forms that you may have on your site, or run a campaign especially to encourage user generated content – like the National Geographic photo contest that is run every year.

What can they bring to the table. Your customers bring validation to your brand and a level of trust.  When people are looking to purchase from you, they will go searching around for customer reviews and recommendations. If you have built up a positive relationship with your current customers, this will filter down to your new customers and sales.

3) IT team

Where does all the information gathered in your feedback forms go?  Who handles all of your market research that you carry out?  If you have some of this, then you have got a gold mine of content right there going untouched.  Content needs to be created with the user in mind and answer what they want to hear, and with this in mind all of this content that has accumulated has come straight from the user’s mouth, perfect!

What they bring to the table. Data, lots of data! Content that has numbers and facts that can be backed up is a great start in the content creation process.

4) PR team

These should already be involved in your content ideation process, and ideally should be working in tandem with your digital team.  As well as having great contacts that you can leverage for outreach, the PR team will have their own internal goals and promotions that they are focusing on, that your content can piggyback on and support.

What they bring to the table. PRs are all about relationship building with a vast array of people; the public, partners, employees, media, industry specialists etc.  To use their skills and knowledge, they may know of an important piece of research that is due to be published that could form the basis of a whole campaign.  Most importantly, they should have a clear idea of whom the target audience is and a deep knowledge of what it is that they want and need.

5) Receptionist / shop floor

They are the first faces that your customers will see, and they are also the first point of contact that your users have with your company.  Being the first point of contact means you hear all the praise and happiness, but it also means that you are the first person that someone sees when they have a problem or are angry.

What they bring to the table. Just being able to sit down with these people to find out what it is that people are loving and hating will give you an even stronger knowledge of your customer and what it is that people are really wanting.

6) Procurement

These people make it their business to know the industry, they know what they want, and in-order to get to your company every supplier has to come through them.

What they bring to the table.  If you can get a look at the pitches that they receive, then there could be a ton of ideas sent in by agencies hoping to work with you.  Free ideas, most of them might not be right, but there could be a few golden nuggets.

7) CEO / Managing Director

Finally these are the people leading your business and your customers should feel connected to them and know who is leading the brand, they shouldn’t be someone who is hidden away at the top.  If the manager can get some visibility and offer some interviews, then your customers are getting an intimate insight into your company.

What do they bring to the table? Their knowledge of where the company is going and their job title.

This list is by no means exhaustive and not all of these roles will apply to your business, but hopefully this has helped you think of some different sources of content, and could help you if you are stuck in a content rut!

Now you know where all the potential content ideas lurk, how are you going to get them? Don’t just rely on email, go and speak to them face to face, or invite them to your next brainstorming meeting.  Perhaps you could organise a content calendar and invite them to the planning meeting? Whatever way you go about getting these ideas, make it engaging and supportive.

Where else have you found great content ideas from within your business?