Where to Find Content When Starved for Ideas.

44% of marketers say that producing consistent content is one of their biggest challenges. When looking for content sometimes the answer might be right under your nose. 

When considering your options it pays to look within. When I say look within, I mean literally. At your people. If ideas can come from anywhere then why not look to your own people for inspiration and content?

Sure your people can be producers of content but they can also be the subject of the content too.

If they are subject matter experts can you get them to open up about what they offer and draw out some key points that can be linked back to your areas of business? Do they have a unique view you can draw out? Or what stories can you tell around them, about them? What do they do outside of work that might provide rich content stories that link to your business? What content ideas could they come up with if asked?

There are many questions to ask when you want to mine the rich content resource that is your people.

Think about all content types and how they can get involved

When you consider content you have to do so in the context of the many forms it can take. Content can range from long written pieces, short blogs, visuals, podcasts to videos. Maybe someone in your company is handy with a camera and can capture short video blogs. Use the skills you have or get others in – you don’t have to create content from start to finish internally when you have external options. It’s fine to use your people when you can but not to the point of stretching them and the relationship. Or maybe someone else has skills in Photoshop that you aren’t using. Use them to edit images beautifully. There’s a lot of free software out there to help such as Canva.com which makes image editing a breeze to master.

Ask your people for their ideas

Use your people to brainstorm ideas. Set up a regular lunchtime brainstorming session and make it open to all comers. Suggest you might want to limit the number in each session, just hold a few more sessions if you have that many interested parties. Use the people in this session to brainstorm content ideas. They can help you to look at things from a new angle when you’re stuck. Offer lunch for their participation and perhaps even a prize for a top idea that ends up being turned into something amazing.

People as the content for the content

As mentioned, your people are not only subject matter experts, they are the subject sometimes too. Ask the right questions of them and you might unearth some insight that was previously untold. I did this for a client who got me to interview one of their people out in the field for their internal newsletter. I surprised the client with the detail I managed to capture in the short piece, something about the employee that was a bit revealing and a little unexpected. I was asked “how did you find out that?” I simply asked a series of questions and the insight came out. The result was a little more colour on the individual than we otherwise would have discovered unless we knew them personally. It’s the small things that count.

Think differently and work differently for results

Maybe it’s time to change what you’re doing to make the most of your internal resources. Maybe you need to make a cultural or operational change for your content production to really take off. Just because you never outsource all or part of your content previously doesn’t mean it’s not an option available to you, even if you have a team in-house. Be open minded to the avenues you have at your disposal to get more done and be creative in using external support to complement your internal team to maximise what they can do for you.

Use diversity to your advantage

Use the diversity in your workforce to your advantage. That’s assuming your workplace is diverse of course! There’s value in having views from a diverse bunch of people when it comes to content production. It keeps it interesting and the content is more likely to be engaging because it represents different points of view. It’s interesting to hear from millennials and their view of the world just as much it is to channel the wisdom of the white hair brigade. No one is superior - it’s simply important to recognise everyone can bring something special to the content mix.

The challenge of a rogue element

When you use your people for your content production you might face the situation where some of them want to go rogue. That is, they want to create content around their interests or make statements your company doesn’t support. That’s a tricky situation. It’s best tackled upfront by setting guidelines and a establishing a governance process around the content that’s produced. Also having a solid editorial process in place and communicating this well is critical to keep the message top of mind with your people that any views they express under the company content banner are subject to the governance rules and any deviation from these is frowned upon. A better process is to have your people create the initial draft and then consult with an external provider to finesse it to whatever degree is required. Everyone has different talents where some people can provide a near to ready content piece, others might need a bit more coaxing and polishing to bring out their gem. You don’t want an onerous process that kills creativity. You have to figure out the balance that’s right for your business.

Empowerment is key

The key to getting the most out of your people is to empower them in the content production process. That doesn’t mean you need them to do it all by themselves but it does involve involving them more so and allowing them to be central players in the content that’s produced. Your people have more contact with your customers so you want to maximise their unique view of the world and use your content mediums to your advantage.


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