The content ideation sweet spot – a beginner's guide

22/06/17

It hurts sometimes doesn’t it?

Trying to think up new ideas can be a real pain: new ways to tell your story, new ways to attract a market or new ways to differentiate yourself from the ceaseless clamour of other voices out there. We all know the benefits of content marketing, but finding the ideas that stick, engage and convert our target audience can be nothing more than a headache. Which is to say, content may be king yet producing it can be a royal pain in the…

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s show you how ideation can lead to content marketing gain rather than content marketing pain. Let’s help you find that elusive sweet spot.

The sweet spot is the holy grail of content creators. Yet you don’t need to battle dragons or submit to painful trials of strength to find it. You just have to know where to look. What is this hallowed ground and where can it be found? Over to you, Joe.

“Your sweet spot is the intersection between your customers’ pain points and where you have the most authority with your stories.”
Joe Pulizzi, Epic Content Marketing

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Image from: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/03/extreme-content-focus/

Crucially, the sweet spot will be found not by ideation as navel gazing: you need to be looking out there for inspiration, not deep within. Looking inward at your own products or services must be combined with finding out what’s going on out there with your audience.

No pain, no gain?

The classic definition of a sweet spot still involves quite a lot of pain. It’s all about finding your customer’s pain – yet the best ideation must also identify and engage with your customer’s pleasure. Brands don’t always want to be doctors – sometimes they want to be friends or colleagues. Finding what interests your audience – and by extension what they will share, engage with, link to and use – is as much about their pleasure as their pain.

Here are a few ways to find and define your audience so you can map your content to it.

1. Picture your audience

Tools like YouGov Profiles or Facebook Audience Insights offer rich ways to start picturing what your target audience reads, enjoys and does. Pick through it all to find ideas of how you can create content and a tone of voice that will truly resonate.

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2. Be your audience

Google Display Planner, part of its AdWords suite of tools, offers another way to start exploring other websites that carry content about topics you are considering. Explore these sites for topics that are hot.

3. Resonate with your audience

The best content in the world is nothing if it is not read. The very best content, though, is content that is used and shared as well as read. To find out what sort of content gets shared (picture posts, articles, lists, videos, etc.) try a quick search on BuzzSumo.

4. Find a new angle for your audience

Putting all this together for you, Oz Content offers a refreshingly simple-to-use content ideation software that searches out related online articles to help you come up with great, new ideas quickly. Better still, it picks out keywords from each article and gives remarkably accurate predictive SEO scores for them. By discovering links between what you want to say and what your audience wants to hear about easily you can start hitting that sweet spot. (For more on Oz Content, see our previous blog.)

Painless content marketing

So there you have it. Content marketing without pain – and that includes the sadistic obsession with those customer pain points too.

This is sweetness and light ideation. Thinking up ideas is only really hard if you’re just looking inwards. As soon as you start to look outwards, that sweet spot will come slowly but surely into focus.

Speaking of focus, don’t forget that your content ideas must have plenty of it. Focus, that is. The truth is, you probably don’t have just one sweet spot – just as you don’t have just one product, one service or one audience. The more general your aim is, the more you’ll miss the targets altogether. Hone in on one thing, bring that sweet spot into focus and create that content.

It’ll be a hit.