In this detailed guide, you’ll learn tips and tricks for brainstorming content like a pro.
However, if you want to skip the headache of organizing it yourself and go straight to having three months of content planned in advance, please book a Content Strategy Brainstorming Session here.
Now…back to the juicy stuff!
Inspiration can hit you in the most unexpected ways. But as a business owner, you can’t always wait around for your muse – especially if you have business goals and deadlines to meet.
Additionally, putting in time and effort into a bad idea will waste precious company resources. It can also drive customers away or conflict with your company branding and message.
Fortunately, all this can be avoided once you master the art of brainstorming content. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Initiating a great session brainstorming content
Encourage everyone to participate
If your teammates are unusually silent, try an icebreaker and get them talking. Be the first to share your ideas to get everybody in the brainstorming spirit.
Be open to trying something new
In the initial brainstorming session, it’s important to maintain a positive environment to get members to share feedback.
Remember, don’t immediately strike out bad ideas – save that for the objective vetting process.
Work to incorporate all the ideas into your strategy if it can help your business.
To ensure you don’t miss out any important details, record everything and take notes.
Create a formal process for brainstorming content
Here’s the thing – you can’t wing it.
To have an effective session brainstorming content you need order and purpose. Sit down with your team and explain the formal brainstorming process.
Setting ground rules will ensure you don’t run out of ideas and are always on top of your game when it comes to creating an editorial calendar.
Creating a proper plan will force your team to consider what the audience really wants from you. You’ll also be able to generate more ideas in a shorter team meeting. This will free up time and energy to other aspects of your business.
Here’s a short content brainstorming exercise you can practice with your team members.
STEP 1 – Write down all your ideas
Set a timer for 10 minutes and have all team members jot down as many ideas as they can. Use markers or post-it notes – anything that you can pin on your wall later on.
Encourage team members to think outside the box. Your main goal should be to extract as many ideas from as many people as possible.
Aim to collect somewhere between 30-50 ideas in this part of the session. The larger your team the faster this part will go. If you’re a small team, or a solopreneur, you may want to allow extra time to generate more ideas.
STEP 2 – Rank your ideas
The next part of the brainstorming exercise involves asking your team to rank each of the ideas you’ve gathered.
Use a three point-scale: 3 for great, 2 for okay, and 1 for poor. Have each team member assign a score to each idea.
Once you’ve totaled all the scores, it will be much easier to highlight which ideas are worth developing.
STEP 3 – Involve your team
Remember to involve your team in the shortlisting process.
You can start by reading each of the post-its out loud and asking everybody to score the idea.
Keep count of the rankings and encourage discussions and deliberation. Take notes and actively listen to your team’s feedback on all ideas – you may find additional diamonds in the rough!
STEP 4 – Narrow down your best options
Once you’ve generated and ranked a few dozen ideas, it’s time to shortlist them even more.
Narrow down the best ideas using the additional strategic methods below.
Note down your best of the best ideas on a separate sheet of paper, take a picture, or group all the post-it notes together so that you can find them later!
How to distinguish a great idea from a bad one
You’ve learned a few tips for brainstorming content like a pro. Now, here are some characteristics to look for that will help you separate a great idea from a mediocre one.
Ideally, the content you add to your calendar to create first will meet all of these additional expectations.
Is the idea or topics well-aligned with your expertise?
Don’t surprise your audience with wacky topics that have nothing to do with your business, products, or services. You wouldn’t expect a record label company to post recipes on their business website, right?
Make sure you are talking about a subject you’re already an expert in. Offer your readers valuable advice that will benefit them in the long run.
Strike off any topic that you have already created content about.
If you want to cover a broad topic from multiple angles, consider creating a series you can post in parts. That way, your audience will be able to absorb smaller doses of information over a long period of time.
Browse through the comment section of your blog or social media posts. Search for topics that your audience wants to learn more about.
Evaluate your brainstormed and ranked ideas. Do they answer important questions and queries or address key topics your audience is interested in? Will they spark the interest of your audience?
If yes, and you’ve met the other two qualifications above – you’re ready to get that idea for content on your editorial calendar!
Conduct competitive research
If you don’t have time for inspiration to strike, or don’t know which direction to move your brainstorming session, you can also have a look at what others are doing.
Almost everybody keeps an eye their competitors, but not all are able to devise a strategy and make use of competitive research.
Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself when scoping out the competition.
- What’s trending?
- Who are their followers?
- What type of content are the top brands in the industry writing?
- What keywords are getting the most attention and are the top traffic earners?
- What’s getting links?
Take inspiration from current events
In addition to creating evergreen content, you can also take inspiration from current events!
Newsjacking is a practice that involves responding to the latest news either directly or indirectly to amplify your sales and marketing success.
However, you have to be quick for this to work. Usually the content needs to be created within 12-24 hours to ride the wave of interest effectively.
If you’re a newbie, it is crucial you look for ways to generate timely ideas and keep an eye out for what’s trending.
This guide gives you many of the tools and processes you need to start brainstorming content like a pro.
However, if you need additional help with planning, goal-setting, and setting up an editorial calendar, book a free initial consultation to discuss your long-term content strategy.
Copywriter for JanetKozak.com
Marvi Masud is a professional copywriter for JanetKozak.com. She’s currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi. Her work is featured in Express Tribune’s Ms. T Magazine. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.