The Content Creation Process: Ideation

Content creation process ideationNow that you’ve kicked off the content creation process by doing your research, how do you turn this information into a conversation starter?  This is where ideation comes into play.

I’ve borrowed the “ideation” term from my friends in the user experience (UX) industry for a very specific reason.

I’ve always found that content marketing and UX work tend to run parallel to each other, both with a core focus on the audience.  It only seemed logical to borrow their term for forming ideas or concepts from data.

In content marketing, research requires time and continued dedication.  On the flip side, ideation can happen in a flash when you get inspiration while walking the dog or standing in line at the grocery store.  Other times, you may hit a creative wall, with no ideas in sight.

In order to keep our ideation as consistent as our research work, we’ve created the following strategy.

1. Let the research speak.

You’ve got your RSS feed of news your audience is reading – put it to use.  Write down the following things:

  • Keywords – What words are repeated throughout articles and headlines?  Write these down as they are part of the language of your audience and you should learn them and incorporate them into your content marketing strategy.
  • Questions – What questions arise when you read these articles?  Write them down, your audience may have the same questions and these can be great topics for blogs.
  • Experts – Who are the experts quoted in these articles?  What are their roles?  These people are the experts your audience trusts.   Interview people in these roles and turn those interviews into blog posts, podcasts, and webinars that will provide real value to your audience.

2. Make the keywords work for you.

Now that you have a list of keywords you created as part of Step 1, put those words to work!  Don’t just think of them as part of an SEO strategy but as your inspiration center.

This is one of my favorite exercises for coming up with interesting new topics.

  • Take a look at your RSS feeds, your favorite blogs, and even news sites.  What titles grab your attention? Write down a list of headlines that jump out at you.
  • Go back through the list and replace the industry specific words with (Keyword) or (Common problem).
  • Replace the placeholders with your keywords & industry problems.

Example: 10 Great Local Business Ads.

(Number) great (keyword).

Example: Why Your Brand Marketing Needs A Chief Marketing Technologist

Why Your (Industry) Needs A (New Industry Role).

Give this exercise a try and your wheels will start turning in a whole new way.

3. Step away from the content.

One of the hardest things to admit for a creative person is that you’ve hit a wall and you just aren’t inspired.  The ideas aren’t flowing.

This happens.  It is OK.  Don’t beat yourself up, rather step away from your work.

Earlier this summer, Concentric Content Marketing went a full month without posting any content on our blog.  Our team had been going strong for months, writing multiple posts a week and building great traffic and engagement.  Then they hit a creative wall.

Rather than forcing them to sit in front of their computer until inspiration struck, we put them to work on other projects for clients.  The team was able to focus on a new content subject and stop stressing about our company content.

After 3 weeks they came back refreshed and full of new ideas.  In the meantime we were able to tap into some of our evergreen content to share with our audience and continue engagement.

We did see a 25% dip in visits during that time but we actually saw higher engagement with an increase in pages per visit, visit duration and a decrease in our bounce rate.  Plus, the posts that our team wrote when they came back saw incredible engagement and 78% of visits to the site during that time were new visitors who were reached by our content.

The bottom line is, I made the call that giving our team time to step away from their content work may have created a temporary dip in our traffic, but the long-term positive return is worth it.

That my friends, is a very quick look at how we execute the ideation stage of the content creation process.

Don’t worry if this all still seems a little overwhelming, we’re hosting events to walk you through this process.

Join us for our next session where we will teach you to build your own strategy and attendees will gain access to our research toolkit. Sign up below and use promo code STOPFAILS for 30% off your ticket price.


  1. says

    Very interesting post! You bring up a point that I very much agree with- that Content and UX go hand in hand. This is very true, the content is what people are looking for these and you should trust that to speak for itself.


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