11 places to find inspiration for a killer content plan
How do you know what kind of content to make for the people you serve?
The best place to start is with the questions they already ask.
Finding questions to answer
So, where can you go to find their questions? If you're working in a bigger organization:
- Look to your support team
- Ask the sales team what questions they often hear
- Talk to the partnerships team about their programs and what their contacts are saying
- Ask your partners (if you have channel partners) what they get asked
- Visit sites like Quora
- Does your product or the ecosystem you sell into have community forums? Forums are goldmines for topics because people post questions they need answers to quickly, so you know it’s urgent, top-of-mind type stuff
For one-man shops and smaller teams, there are similar opportunities to listen:
- Review support emails, chats, and tickets
- Take notes during your sales calls
- Find other companies that sell to the same customers and figure out what they're solving for (maybe you can team up on content)
- Be on Twitter and LinkedIn
These apply to big companies, too, but may feel a bit scrappier. And there's nothing wrong with being scrappy at any size.
Another way to learn what to write? Ask your customers yourself.
List customers and other people with problems you can help solve -- reach out and ask them what's bothering them right now. Write about what's bothering them or find a partner who can help you craft the right content to address those pains.
Taking a customer-centric approach to content can only help. It's how companies like Nike and Amazon come up with everything from their ads to their imagery to their content.
Types of content
Let’s look at the kinds of content, or formats, you can use. This is a non-exhaustive list:
- Social media
- Magazine articles and guest posts
- Live streams
- Slide decks (Slideshare much?)
- Standing on a street corner with a bullhorn
The format should be driven by your audience, what they consume and where they hang out. Start with the highest leverage types of content so you can reach as many of your people as possible.
That's why the next post is about video.