Ideas for your Own Business
As marketers, we always have content on our minds: social media content, web content, video content, written content. We say the word “content” so often, we sometimes feel like we’ve got it all figured out… until we find ourselves running out of ideas. I know that I need to be creating and sharing high-quality and engaging content, but it’s not always easy.
We’ve learned over the years that when we encounter a challenge, there’s a pretty good chance you have too. (That’s the luxury of marketing to marketers.) So we tasked ourselves with creating concrete examples of content marketing ideas that work. In the past, we have discussed the advantages of collecting stories from your customers, as well as letting the customers themselves tell the story; this time, we’ll go over ways you can draw inspiration for content marketing from within the company, whether it’s taking a look at your product from the user’s perspective or repurposing an internal presentation.
Twitter chats and insight summaries
Twitter chats are a marketer’s hidden treasure. Without any complex maneuvering, hosting a Twitter chat can help you accomplish several goals. First, hosting a Twitter chat allows your brand to demonstrate expertise in your field by sharing advice with your followers and exchanging ideas with fellow professionals. These chats also increase your social reach, and help find new audience for your social channels.
Finally, valuable 140-character advice from the chat can be expounded on in a blog post to suit your content marketing needs. With this, once again you have two options: you can compile all Tweets from the chat into a Storify story; alternatively, you can pick the best questions or answers from the discussion, and use them as inspiration for a blog post.
Storify allows you to present a best-of summary of the chat. You can organize the Twitter chat in chronological order, and match the questions with the appropriate answers. However, try not to edit so much that you remove the tone or character from the discussion: if there were any funny or unexpected moments that contributed to the overall conversations, leave them in. For example, when our community team hosted a Social60 event with Tessa Barrera, they skipped question #8 and went straight to #9. One of the chat participants noticed the missing question, which prompted some friendly banter:
These kinds of remarks are normal in conversations mediated by computer (or smartphone) screens, so don’t leave them out of your Storify summary. Storify helps your readers feel like they were a part of the conversation, and the best way to achieve that is ensuring that the human element of the discussion is still present.
If you want to give more context for the Twitter chat discussion, you can use the expertise of your guests as inspiration for a blog post on the same topic. Pick your favourite advice or remark made in the course of the chat, and use it to frame a strategy post.
For example, one of our past Social60 video panels was based around the topic of social media for non profits. Our host of the panel Kristina then picked the most helpful tips, and compiled them into one blog post aimed to help marketing professionals in non profits optimize social media use to fit their unique goals. With a Twitter conversation, even less work is required on the part of the writer, since all the content is contained on the social network and can be freely embedded into most content management systems.
If you’re struggling to find external sources of inspiration, why not look in your own backyard? Within your own company, there are experts on a variety of subjects that can help you understand a topic better. Chances are, you already know those experts: they are the people organizing “lunch and learn” sessions, going over public-facing agendas for your product or service, or those rightfully chosen to be the go-to spokesperson for a certain team or department.
See if any of the internal presentations or learning materials can be adjusted and shared with the public. For example, a while back we had a training session on the basics of social business: what it is, how to include social media in your marketing strategy, and how a company can benefit from being a social business. Then, we had an idea: if we need to have this kind of presentation at our own company, which is all about social media, then perhaps other businesses can benefit from this brief summary as well. This insight lead us to publish a blog post on introducing your boss to social business, where we flesh out some of the ideas mentioned above, as well as provide a Slideshare file of the actual presentation.
Another content marketing idea that can be drawn from your own daily work life is innovative improvement. Businesses of any size try out different ideas on how to make their processes more efficient, and keep the employee morale high. If something proved to be effective for your workplace in the past, why not write about it? This motivated Noel Pullen, our senior director of product and engineering development, to share his impressions and advice on putting together an unconference. This article was first posted on Hootsuite’s engineering blog, and we liked it so much that we syndicated it to our main channel.
Lists, charts and templates
A surefire way to find content that resonates is asking yourself, “What makes my (work) life easier?” Once you find a few tools or processes that you think may help others to their job, too—write about it! This is the concept behind “lifehacking, ” something that started out as just people sharing their personal tips and tricks on being smart—with time, with money, you name it—and grew into an entire career field.