6 Brainstorming Prompts for Small Business Content Marketing

We help clients brainstorm specific topics for their blogs, videos, social media, and e-mail marketing. As you might expect, the advice we give clients is typically advice we follow ourselves, which is one way you know that we’re being authentic. Here are our “big six” for content topic ideas that routinely infuse our marketing and that we encourage with clients:

Step into the Shoes of Industry Leadership.

These are things we see not being done well in our industry or where we see an opportunity for leadership. Areas where we want to set the bar and lead from out front, not always fixing the mistakes of competitors or junior practitioners.

Assist with Client Informed Blind Spots.

In other words: things that arise through direct and routine interaction with clients, where we see opportunities to help people grow, extend, or be free from a barrier, burden, or myth. Anything that seems to be holding people back from doing as well for themselves as they can. Anything that looks like an area where a change is needed in people’s perception, habits, or behavior relative to their own interests and our expertise.

Inspire with Ideas that Cross Contexts.

In other words: things we learn or participate in that are not directly from our own profession, and that seem to have application to our client base in their professions, For instance, insights we get from personal and professional development courses, challenging intellectual and emotional conversations, and ongoing optimization of our own lives. These have included my own participation in Landmark Education, insights from business colleagues, and my role in developing businesses besides this one.

Address Frequent Questions as Opportunities.

These are questions we get asked all the time, where we want to offload our thoughts, insights, and advice so we clarify and tighten what we’re saying in response, and so we have a go-to document to save time for everyone. Here the frequency of hearing the same question tells us our expertise is wanted and needed. [pullquote position=”left”]This underscores the need for authenticity in selecting topics. We’re not thinking “what will get people?” as much as “what’s on our mind?”, and it is part of our deliberate and routine practice to write about those things, it is also widely understood as natural and authentic. In fact, anything “top of mind” is likely to come out more impassioned and compelling, less boring and contrived. Before you write, ask yourself, “What’s really on my mind? What am I really feeling and thinking about right now?”

Carve Out Ownership of a Topic.

Choose specific topics where we want to say what we think definitively about them, what matters, what is important, what inspires, and what works, in an authoritative way. Topics we want our voice heard on very loudly, because we think they’re highly relevant but don’t get enough focus or attention, or because what we have to say is just that significant. This is natural too, but is very deliberate. We don’t “want” to be thought leaders in our field so much as we’re engaged in the *act* of thought leadership. We don’t even question it – we just do it. Your differentiators are a superb place to begin, if you’ve gotten some help crafting them to be tangible, specific, and client-centered. If they’re common (not competitive), fluffy or salesy (non-specific), or really more about you, they need work to become clear as opportunities for content.

Focus on a Local Area.

This is important even for nationwide or global businesses like MadPipe that want more local reach. We’re actually working on an off-site initiative in this area, because of our unique situation (strategy is always customized to the client), but we coach most clients on doing it in their blog, video, and social media directly associated with their brand.

These are the “MadPipe Content Direction Big 6”, as you can see throughout our blog. While our output might not be as frequent as the content strategy we craft with clients, it’s because our content creation includes helping our clients grow their own online content, relying on clients to extend our reach by becoming successful in marketing themselves. In that sense, our volume of web content is actually much *higher* than we advise any one business to produce. To us that’s a healthy exchange. “We keep you in business, so you’ll keep us in business.” That’s not just our mantra – it’s something we trust and rely on. Where we are also aligned with what we’re saying is in the content types we put out. If you’re interested in drawing inspiration from our own digital content examples, follow us on Twitter for original content fed by several of our digital marketing channels. If you’d like help creating content like ours that will help your business out contact MadPipe today.

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership in marketing, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.
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