As I shared in my recent post, this week I had the opportunity to sit on a panel for a marketing event HubSpot hosted.
Another question that dominated the day was how does a moderate to small sized marketing team get the ideas and find the time to create the content necessary for success in inbound marketing.
I get this question often, and I think it’s one of the (if not the) primary reasons that companies don’t implement effective lead generation strategies.
My answer to the question was actually quite simple. Content is all around you. If you (or people in your company) are talking with customers, then you’ve got plenty of content. Combine that with a few hacks and creating content, while certainly requiring commitment and discipline, doesn’t have to be that hard.
Here are my five favorites, all of which we regularly use to create content for Imagine and our clients.
- Have someone interview you or an executive and record it.
There are a variety of content types in all industries. We find that the most effective type in most industries provides a relaxed, conversational tone. So this hack brings two powerful benefits – it speeds up the process and keeps things conversational.
Simply conduct an interview on a variety of important topics. Record the interview and then have it transcribed. You’re now more than halfway to multiple blog posts, as well as white papers or even eBooks.
A common approach we use with clients is to choose a topic and develop 7 – 12 questions that will guide the interview. Each question covers a “section” of the topic. We record the interview and add slides to support the conversation. Put the two together and we’ve got a webinar on-demand. Transcribe the interview and we have a white paper and 3 – 5 blog posts to post.
- Ask your sales team to tell you the five most common objections they face.
As customers take on more of the buying journey on their own, the opportunity your sales team has to address and overcome objections diminishes. The good news is that your content marketing approach can take care of that for them. This not only serves as a great means of creating content, it also puts your sales team in the stronger position of preventing objections rather than overcoming them.
- Read (and clip) the blogs, newsletters and guides your competitors and prospects do.
You are reading what your customers and prospect read, aren’t you? This is one of the places where I love Evernote. I certainly don’t have time to read all of the blog posts that come to me each day. I skim them quickly and use Evernote’s web clipper tool to save them to a notebook.
Then, I’ll go through those notebooks when it’s time to update my editorial calendar. This not only helps to come up with ideas, it also provides some insight and structure to get started writing them.
You could also combine this hack with another one. Take several posts written by others, read them, then get interviewed on your thoughts (or do this with one of your executives or members of your sales or marketing team).
- Listen to the questions that are asked at the next industry conference you attend.
The last two weeks have been crazy. Last week I was on vacation. This week I went to opening day and the HubSpot marketing event. Needless to say, I’ve been in a time crunch, and I have to admit that when I’m time pressed my creativity drops precipitously.
Frankly, I was stuck earlier this week and didn’t know what to write about. So, what did I do? I thought about the marketing event I attended and I’ve now written two posts on topics brought up through questions there, and I’ve got three more in my ideas file.
- Look at your buyer personas and answer the most important questions that are on their minds.
This is my favorite hack, because it’s something you should be doing as a growth executive anyway. Think about your personas and consider what are the five most important questions that are on their minds.
Documenting those questions not only provides you with countless content creation opportunities, it also assures that your sales and other marketing efforts are considered relevant and meaningful by your prospects.
Content creation doesn’t have to be that hard. The next time you’re struggling to develop ideas, remember these five hacks.