Content Strategies for When the Well Runs Dry
Updated: Jul 13, 2022
Great content marketers make their jobs look easy.
From understanding their target audience’s content needs to creating content strategies and the actual content to getting it in front of customers in the right way at the right time, these talented individuals deserve all the praise.
But they’ll be the first to tell you of the many obstacles they face in the process.
One of those major obstacles is constantly fighting through creative blocks that make them feel like they’ve written everything out there that would interest their target audience.
So, what do you do when you’re struggling to produce new, meaningful content?
Whether you’re working alone or with a team, here are five tips for coming up with new content strategies and ideas when it feels like you’ve covered every angle.
Lean into Analytics
It’s difficult running the content marketing show. But you can do it with the help of specific tools that streamline the creation process.
Analytics tools can be beneficial when trying to come up with new content ideas. For example, Google Analytics can help you find content gaps by showing you which pieces aren’t performing well, allowing you to rework this content so it begins to do well.
Another way to lean into analytics to help you develop new content ideas is to gather data on keywords and find out what terms your customers are searching for when it comes to your industry. Then, create content strategies around popular search terms you’ve neglected so far.
All in all, analytics tools do a considerable portion of the work for you by collecting loads of data on your current content, your competitors, and your customers. You can then spend the rest of the time analyzing the content opportunities presented in that data.
Further Your Education
Highly skilled content marketers didn’t get there by accident. Instead, they invested time, money, and effort into becoming exceptionally knowledgeable in all things content marketing.
As adept as you may be in analytics and other components of content marketing, there is always more to master. So, it may be a good idea to further your education in content marketing.
The education you get when becoming a Content Marketing Specialist, for example, includes ideation and brainstorming.
The Collat School of Business tells us that “Content marketing, while certainly rooted in marketing practices and processes, also demands creativity and the ability to plan and create written and sometimes visual content according to the overarching marketing strategy.”
In other words, you must have the creative chops to not only come up with the latest and greatest content ideas but to also see them to fruition.
Host a Brainstorming Session
The content team you create must also have the chops to come up with new ideas when the well is dry. The more diverse your team, the more diverse the ideas it will produce. Use multiple brainstorming sessions to leverage your teams and their diverse viewpoints.
Hosting a brainstorming session with your team can help you gather various content ideas in a short amount of time. Although it seems like brainstorming sessions never have the level of focus they need to be as effective as they can be, there are ways to make brainstorming sessions exceptionally productive.
First, assign a facilitator to keep track of time, ensure everyone gets a chance to participate, and keep the session focused on the purpose. Facilitators also have a hand in keeping track of the best ideas, drafting a plan for moving forward, and sharing that plan with everyone involved.
Next, put together an agenda for your meeting to keep everyone accountable for coming up with fresh, relevant content ideas. After this, get everyone’s creative juices flowing with an icebreaker to encourage everyone to participate in the session. Then, transition into the actual brainstorming session.
As the session gets underway, ensure someone is responsible for documenting everything. This can fall to the facilitator.
You can and should also give your team members time to brainstorm individually. They can bring this information to the group brainstorming session, or you can set aside time in the actual meeting. No matter when you do it, give team members space to brainstorm where they feel comfortable, whether that’s back at their desks or with their video cameras turned off.
And lastly, organize and categorize content ideas with similarities. This gives you a powerful roadmap for which ideas are worth moving forward with.
Add Fresh Perspectives with New Team Members
When you aren’t getting what you need in your current content development team, add new members to it. As simple as this sounds, bringing new team members on board should be done carefully.
You should first do an audit of your current team. Pinpoint which skills each person has, what they’ve brought to the table so far, and how you see their roles in your content marketing team evolving in the future.
Next, identify what’s missing for your team in the way of skill sets, knowledge, and personality. Ask yourself questions like:
Who dominates brainstorming sessions? Which personalities do we need to balance our sessions?
What additional specialization could benefit our content marketing strategies and goals?
Could we use someone adept at organizing content ideas?
Who can help us come up with content ideas?
What do we need more knowledge in to help us in the ideation stage?
After identifying what’s missing in your team, you can begin looking for a new team member or members with what you need.
Outsourcing your content development is one of the easiest ways to get a fresh perspective on content ideas and tap into the expertise you’re lacking.
This last tip will help you explore a road that content marketers don’t take enough when they need original content ideas.
Ask Your Audience What They Want Directly
Enlisting your audience’s help to come up with brand new content ideas isn’t talked about enough. When the content idea well runs dry, ask your audience what they want directly.
Many content marketers fall into the trap of creating content they like or content they think their audience would appreciate. Instead, ask your audience directly what they’re interested in learning more about to ensure you’re giving them the content they need.
Social media is a great place to start when you want to find out exactly what your audience wants in terms of content. Create written posts, go live, or do polls on your story with questions like:
What would you be more interested in reading about, “this” or “that?”
Which is a better topic for an eBook?
Which subject is better for our next blog post?
Would you be interested in an infographic that addresses “this?”
Also, pay attention to the questions asked in the comment sections of your posts and your competitors. You can note these questions and comments and begin compiling a list of content ideas.
It’s essential to have a strategy in place for when your content well runs dry. Leaning into analytics and furthering your education are great tips for individuals to implement. When you’re running a content marketing team, host brainstorming sessions and explore bringing new people on board. And don’t be afraid to ask your audience directly about their content needs and wants.