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Phil Ringguth
Phil Ringguth 10 May 2016

Creating Engaging Content For Your SME – Part Two

Last week we gave the first in our five-part series on creating engaging content for SMEs. The second part of this series looks at the process for content ideas selection & development.

Selecting your ideas can be a surprisingly arduous task, especially if you have never created content this way before. Ideally before going through to the selection of your topic you should have twenty good ideas (at least) if you have too few a number then you aren’t picking form a big enough pool and may miss an opportunity to create a unique piece of content.

Take a step back if this applies for you and run another workshop, however avoid doing this with the same people instead try to mix up your selection. If your choice of talent is limited try a more structured approach to idea generation with ides that link to upcoming days of the year and events, while these may not always be appropriate for the day in question it does allow you and your team to begin thinking outside the box again. 
So you’ve got your ideas, now it’s time to make some decisions and begin choosing a path for your latest piece of content. Let’s begin part two of our guide which covers:

Idea Selection & Development

Once you’ve got your preliminary ideas you need to select the best ideas, you can continue working in a group setting or do this alone if you prefer. Select your top ideas and check to ensure your content idea hasn’t been already been created recently, if it was don’t panic just hold on to that idea for now. Ideas that have been done can always be taken further than rival pieces of content or become a small part of a bigger idea. If you have any way to test these ideas on a section of your target audience then that is one method that is highly beneficial.
As mentioned before the key to creating good content is value to the consumer, your next step is to assess the value of your ideas. Check your content ideas against the following points:

• Social – Showing the reader a new idea/concept that they feel they want to share
• Trigger – Contains a memorable element that prompts people to think of you 
• Emotion – Make use of emotional needs and feelings of the reader 
• Public – Instantly recognisable 
• Practical – Teaches the reader a new skill
• Story – Gives an account/example to emphasise a piece

Your winning content idea should meet three of these targets; this is a simple and methodical way to ensure you’re creating content that has value. Once you’ve got your idea you can begin to develop it, firstly you need to decide what format your content will take. This sounds a simple thing to do but once you take a look at this Content Quadrant you’ll change your mind, there are so many different options depending on how your target audience consumes their content.  You’ll want to reference your previous content research before deciding on what you create from your idea.

If you really love your final idea you may want to keep on developing it further, by creating companion pieces and building on the ideas laid by your main piece of content (which in this case is called the ‘Hero Idea’). As mentioned previously, whilst creating and developing ideas you will want to to keep an open mind in terms of its format even if it was originally pitched in a specific way. 

For example if you created a large opinion piece using news/developments in your industry you could follow that up with a quiz designed to gauge how your readers feel about these new developments. From the quiz you can create a roundup; this could be a simple article however you should also consider mediums like video and audio podcasts if you have the necessary resources and time. News sites often use this technique by having a poll at the bottom of a piece where readers click to vote on their opinion on the published article.  

This concludes part two of toinfinity’s series on creating engaging content; we hope you found this helpful. Next week we take a look at how to create the perfect headline draw for potential readers using a few simple techniques. 

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