Content marketing is easy to say. Hard to do. Even harder to do well. Having run hundreds of content brainstorms over the years for ourselves and our clients, we’ve developed a formula to deliver the best results most consistently:
1. Establish guide rails
It’s important that you keep everyone’s creative energy focused in the right direction. We do that by establishing guide rails (ok, rules) before each brainstorm. e.g. Only ideas that can be executed by X deadline, Content for corporate CMOs, etc.
2. Turn off the machines
We find our sessions work best using a whiteboard and some big post-its. No laptop needed.
3. Quantity over quality.
In a brainstorm, more is better. Set a goal for X number of ideas and don’t stop until you’ve hit it. That keeps the brainstorm from getting too focused on any singular idea.
4. In your back pocket
It’s inevitable that you’ll hit a creativity wall along the way. Have a few ideas to keep things moving along when the block arises. A few we use:
- A Thesaurus search on words that are being used in lots of the ideas
- Envision a specific persona, e.g. What ideas would work great for Carl in IT?
- Build off the opposite of good ideas. e.g. Turn 10 great content brainstorm tips into 10 mistakes made during content brainstorms.
5. Build on successful ideas
Have a list of your team’s best content from the last year handy. Prompt for any common traits of those ideas that have resonated with your audience previously.
6. Yes, and…
Encourage team members to build off of each others’ ideas, rather than downplaying their value. There are no bad ideas.