Isobel Witts
Isobel Witts 15 February 2017

How To Get Content Ideas From The Rest of Your Team

I know that it can be difficult to find inspiration for new blogs or downloadable offers, or to think of ways to promote your content on social media...but the solution, in my experience, is to find ways to leverage the insight and creativity of your entire business.

Are you implementing an inbound marketing strategy, but struggling to come up with sufficient content ideas?

I’ve divided this blog into two sections - how to get ideas from your sales team, and how to get ideas from the rest of your business.

Part 1: How to get content ideas out of your sales team

Your first port of call should always be your sales team, but I’m not going to lie to you -  getting them to engage with you on this is likely to be a challenge. You need to let them know that you won’t take up too much of their precious selling time. Whether you end up speaking to sales people individually or in a group meeting, here’s how you can collect their thoughts and ideas, quickly and effectively:

1. Ask them what content they want.

Just be blunt. It’s likely that they’re struggling to fit the content you’re producing into their introductory and follow-up emails - or they might not even be aware of the content you’ve created.

Run through the content already available to them and ask if there’s anything missing, or if there’s something in particular that could really help them close a deal faster. I can guarantee there will have been times when a member of the sales team has said ‘I really wish I had xyz to send to this prospect!’, so get them to share these insights with you.

2. Get them to share customer and prospect questions

A salesperson’s inbox will be an absolute goldmine for content ideas. Ask them to bcc you into their email correspondence so you have a constant stream of ideas for blog titles. This is also a great way to find out which questions keep coming up. When you find one, craft an article to answer it and encourage your sales team to link to it in their emails.

It’s likely that they’ll have a few different ways to answer the question, and you can improve your article based on their feedback. Doing this will also save them time, and they’ll be able to see the benefits as soon as they’ve used your article in their emails.

There’s every chance however that they might not be too comfortable sharing their emails with you - so an alternative could be ask them to send you a list of all the questions they were asked that day, week or month. This is time consuming though, so point out that bcc’ing you is the quicker option.

3. Schedule meetings for sales and marketing alignment

This is another one that is dependent on time, but if both sales and marketing teams are able to schedule a meeting once a week (or even once a month) it will help to keep everyone up-to-date and provide another opportunity to surface new content ideas.

Sales and marketing alignment meetings are also a great place for both teams to discuss:

  • The efficiency of the sales process
  • Lead scoring and sales qualification
  • Mapping your existing content to the different stages of the buyer’s journey
  • How well specific pieces of content are performing
  • If any improvements can be made

Sales and marketing teams should aim to be in constant communication with each other. That way, you can always ensure you’re all working together towards the same goal.

Part 2: How to get content ideas out of the rest of the business

Once you’re making the most of your sales resource, you can move on to the other departments in your business. Support and customer service departments will always have a wealth of questions and expertise to tap into. They know your customers better than anyone, and they’ll be aware of any issues your prospects may face when they begin their onboarding process with you.

Leveraging these departments will also allow you to be transparent about your business in the content you produce, and in turn will help you to build trust. If you can answer a prospect’s concerns about your products or services in an open and honest way, before they connect with a member of your sales team, they’ll be much more likely to become a customer.

Getting buy-in for content and inbound marketing is often a challenge for many businesses. One part of the solution is to see if you can get everyone to come up with new content ideas and get them involved in the writing process.

We believe that the best way to do this is to organise a company-wide content workshop. Here are a few frequently asked questions and tips for putting together a successful content workshop, and ensuring that you come away with lots of great ideas.

How long does a content workshop take?

In our experience, a small company of 10-20 employees can usually get through everything in half a day, but for larger organisations, you may need to book out one to two days to keep team sizes manageable. Schedule enough time to run through everything you need to and answer any questions your colleagues may have.

What do you need to run the workshop?

For a workshop to be successful, you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you want to cover, so it helps to create a presentation to keep you on track. At a minimum you should include:

  • An explanation of how the power has now shifted to the buyer
  • An introduction to inbound
  • A short explanation of how Google and other search engines work
  • A brief overview of the buyer’s journey with examples of content for each stage
  • A list of the benefits for both the business and the staff
  • An explanation of what you are looking for and what you hope to achieve
  • Your SMART goals

On the day, you’ll need to have:

  • A laptop and projector screen
  • Separate areas for small teams to work (if relevant)
  • A whiteboard or flipchart and different coloured markers to write down ideas
  • Healthy (or unhealthy!) snacks

In our experience, starting a workshop over the lunch period is a great way to get the team together. Order in some pizza or ask your colleagues to contribute to a buffet as this will help to get people engaged and excited about your workshop. It’s also a good way to fit in some team bonding!

If your workshop is going to run over one or two days, make sure that you have scheduled time for coffee breaks too, so that you can all stay focused on the task at hand.

What outcomes will you get from a content workshop?

This depends on what you, as a marketer, are looking to achieve. If you are simply looking for a way to get questions and ideas out of your colleagues, then this will really help, but you’ll be missing out on some serious opportunities for success.

During the session, try to get your colleagues to put themselves in your buyer's shoes. What would they be likely to search on Google? Which social media sites would they be most likely to use? By considering these details as well as pulling out common pain points and questions, you will be better positioned to join the buyer's journey at an earlier stage.

You should also get everyone to create a list of all the questions they can think of surrounding your products and services. Every single one of these is a potential blog article and will help you to think from a different perspective which will be more useful to your prospects than specifications.

But why stop there? If you’re lucky enough to have a team who are really enthusiastic about what you’ve just taught them, why not ask them to draft the articles themselves? That way you’ll have a steady stream of content waiting to be edited and then published.

If you think this could work for your business, make sure you set out some clear guidelines first, so that the articles are consistent. Here’s a great article explaining the things you should be looking for.

If you’re thinking, ‘This sounds great! But I’m not sure it’ll work for us’ - tell us why, and we’ll do our very best to help you make it a success.

Marcus at The Sales Lion has found that ‘On average, a company that starts their content marketing campaign off with a workshop achieves over 300% more growth in traffic, leads, and new customers than a company that does not.’

So what are you waiting for?

Start preparing for your very first content workshop today.

If you’ve already done something similar, how did it go? What did you find easy, and what were your biggest challenges? Post your answers in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.

This article was originally posted on the BabelQuest blog on 16th November 2016.

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