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Generating Ideas for Content Marketing by @staceycav


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My presentation from Learn Inbound in October 2016 on generating ideas for content marketing projects and campaigns. We've invested a whole lot of time and resource into putting some process into ideation. Here's how we're approaching coming up with ideas for content marketing projects with tactics, tips and tools.

Published in: Marketing

Generating Ideas for Content Marketing by @staceycav

  1. 1. How to Come up with Cracking Content Ideas Stacey MacNaught Tecmark @staceycav #learninbound
  2. 2. The world is full of products that started with a shit idea. @staceycav #learninbound
  3. 3. @staceycav #learninbound Via h<p://
  4. 4. And the internet is full of content that started the same way… @staceycav #learninbound @staceycav #learninbound
  5. 5. And the internet is full of content that started the same way… @staceycav #learninbound @staceycav #learninbound
  6. 6. And the internet is full of content that started the same way… @staceycav #learninbound @staceycav #learninbound
  7. 7. I’m not saying bad ideas are the only reason that content fails @staceycav #learninbound
  8. 8. @staceycav #learninbound But starOng with a shit idea makes the journey much tougher
  9. 9. And not everyone always agrees on what consOtutes a good idea @staceycav #learninbound
  10. 10. @staceycav #learninbound I’ve got an idea…
  11. 11. @staceycav #learninbound Great! Let’s hear it…
  12. 12. @staceycav #learninbound Flamingos!
  13. 13. @staceycav #learninbound Flamingos?
  14. 14. @staceycav #learninbound Yes, you know those “spot the hidden thing” images?
  15. 15. @staceycav #learninbound Yes… aren’t they a bit done to death?
  16. 16. @staceycav #learninbound Maybe. But right now the media is eaOng them up. Here’s my research.
  17. 17. @staceycav #learninbound InteresOng. And the flamingos?
  18. 18. @staceycav #learninbound A hidden ballerina in a sea of flamingos.
  19. 19. @staceycav #learninbound Ok…. I sOll worry this is a li<le unoriginal, not necessarily worthy of top Oer publicaOon and possibly tough to pitch to the client. Costs?
  20. 20. @staceycav #learninbound Two hours design Ome and half a day in promoOon Ome
  21. 21. @staceycav #learninbound Ok. Let’s go for it.
  22. 22. @staceycav #learninbound 3 days later….
  23. 23. @staceycav #learninbound
  24. 24. @staceycav #learninbound
  25. 25. @staceycav #learninbound
  26. 26. @staceycav #learninbound
  27. 27. @staceycav #learninbound
  28. 28. @staceycav #learninbound Plus 30 other pieces of global coverage/links
  29. 29. @staceycav #learninbound Drinks on you, Stace?
  30. 30. @staceycav #learninbound So, why do we bother with ideaEon process at all if we can just distribute flamingos?
  31. 31. @staceycav #learninbound Because most projects are more costly than this. And for every flamingo there are several failed experiments.
  32. 32. @staceycav #learninbound Failure is devastaEng. And it pisses clients off.
  33. 33. @staceycav #learninbound We’ve invested a heavily into the ideaEon aspect of content markeEng
  34. 34. @staceycav #learninbound
  35. 35. @staceycav #learninbound But it’s perhaps not as simple as that looks….
  36. 36. @staceycav #learninbound IdeaEon is challenging
  37. 37. @staceycav #learninbound Challenge 1: The Brief
  38. 38. @staceycav #learninbound Challenge 2: ParEcipaEon
  39. 39. @staceycav #learninbound Challenge 3: QuanEty
  40. 40. @staceycav #learninbound “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it's the only one we have.” (Émile CharOer)
  41. 41. @staceycav #learninbound Challenge 4: Assessing Quality
  42. 42. 1 WriEng a Solid Brief @staceycav #learninbound
  43. 43. @staceycav #learninbound The brief is all too oTen ignored.
  44. 44. @staceycav #learninbound The brief isn’t that brief!
  45. 45. @staceycav #learninbound It should contain: 1.  ObjecEves 2.  Audience Info 3.  Examples of successful pieces you’d like to emulate 4.  Key limitaEons (compliance, Emescale, budget)
  46. 46. 2 Overcoming ParEcipaEon Issues @staceycav #learninbound
  47. 47. @staceycav #learninbound Not everybody feels comfortable pung their ideas out there for the criEque of colleagues
  48. 48. @staceycav #learninbound How many amazing ideas do you miss because your ideaEon sessions alienate them?
  49. 49. @staceycav #learninbound For quick ideas gathering, we allow people to choose anonymity
  50. 50. @staceycav #learninbound Try
  51. 51. #ttlpresents @staceycav h<ps://
  52. 52. #ttlpresents @staceycav h<ps://
  53. 53. @staceycav #learninbound For tougher verbal brainstorms, we use the ‘Worst Ideas Method’
  54. 54. @staceycav #learninbound “You want my shiest ideas?”
  55. 55. @staceycav #learninbound We give people preparaEon Eme.
  56. 56. 3 Overcoming QuanEty Issues @staceycav #learninbound
  57. 57. @staceycav #learninbound Confession: I hate (most) brainstorms
  58. 58. @staceycav #learninbound How we hope brainstorming will be
  59. 59. @staceycav #learninbound The reality.
  60. 60. h<p:// @staceycav #learninbound 635 Method of BrainwriEng
  61. 61. h<p:// @staceycav #learninbound
  62. 62. 4 Assessing Quality @staceycav #learninbound
  63. 63. @staceycav #learninbound What makes an idea “good?”
  64. 64. @staceycav #learninbound It isn’t simply the fact that you like it.
  65. 65. #learninbound We are oTen not the target audience for our content.
  66. 66. @staceycav #learninbound Instead, the quality of an idea should be determined by the likelihood of it achieving its objecEves.
  67. 67. @staceycav #learninbound NUF TesEng to cut a long list to 10 – 20 ideas h<p://
  68. 68. @staceycav #learninbound Verbal shortlisEng and development sessions to get to a top 5 using “Succes” Principles
  69. 69. @staceycav #learninbound Simple Unexpected Credible Concrete EmoEonal Stories
  70. 70. @staceycav #learninbound For press targeEng content we use our “is it a story?” criteria
  71. 71. @staceycav #learninbound Timely Relevant Unexpected New Close to Home Human Interest
  72. 72. @staceycav #learninbound Before going into producEon…
  73. 73. @staceycav #learninbound Get external opinions
  74. 74. @staceycav #learninbound Ask your key influencers (journalists, bloggers) for their opinion
  75. 75. @staceycav #learninbound
  76. 76. @staceycav #learninbound Warning: It’s tough having everyone in your team believe in an idea for it to be shot down at this stage.
  77. 77. @staceycav #learninbound But it could save you a pricey error
  78. 78. @staceycav #learninbound But what did Google Consumer Surveys think of the Flamingos?
  79. 79. @staceycav
  80. 80. @staceycav #learninbound Why did it work?
  81. 81. @staceycav #learninbound Not parEcularly original. But…
  82. 82. @staceycav #learninbound Simple. Unexpected. Annoying.
  83. 83. @staceycav #learninbound Lesson 1: SomeEmes you should skip process in the name of experimentaEon
  84. 84. @staceycav #learninbound Lesson 2: It doesn’t maler if you believe in an idea as long as the key people in the project do and can back up why.
  85. 85. @staceycav #learninbound Lesson 3: There are excepEons to every rule. SomeEmes, things “just work”.
  86. 86. @staceycav #learninbound Lesson 3: There are excepEons to every rule. SomeEmes, things “just work”.
  87. 87. #ttlpresents