Weidert Group may have coined the term “brain dump"—at least it seems that way, when you listen to us!
Now there's a term that I hadn’t heard much before working here, but ever since I started, I've learned the importance of "brain dumps." They take form in whiteboard scribbles, conference room chats, and shared Google docs; they're critical for getting thoughts out of our experts' minds and put into action.
Dreaming up content ideas often isn’t the hard part of creating a content strategy. Sometimes it’s best to come up with ideas in a methodized fashion, but often we find ourselves delving in and having one concept lead to another with a result that needs organization. Brainstorming can be chaotic. We put to use the questions customers are asking and the misconceptions they may have that have been swimming around in meetings and conversations. We investigate solutions and address concerns from conversations with customers. It can be fun to do it as a team and there are tools out there to help a group collaborate on content topic ideas. I think Google docs are great for brainstorming because you can make changes in real time and it makes sharing easy. Plus, it’s free! The important part is getting ideas out there where they can eventually be polished and developed.
Turning Ideas into Content
Your brain has been dumped. Now what? Once all of these ideas are documented, how do you turn them into an editorial plan and a content strategy that delivers results?
1. Organize ideas by persona
At this stage you've established your target personas, which you may have had one in mind when developing a topic. This is where you'll be able to tweak ideas and apply them to each persona, answering questions they are likely to have.
2. Map out the buyer’s journey
By persona, put each topic into a category of the funnel using the buyer’s journey stages as a guide. Awareness stage content should help the buyer who is seeking to understand a challenge they are experiencing or an opportunity they want to pursue. They are out learning as much as possible about potential solutions. Keep in mind that blog topics should all be awareness level, which means they will provide helpful answers that build trust without being used as a sales pitch.
The consideration stage is when the buyer is evaluating solutions. Compile subjects that can be turned into middle of the funnel tip sheets or comparison guides, and address the questions they have when comparing you to a competitor.
Decision stage content will focus on the buyer’s selection now that they have made the decision to purchase. This is an opportunity to set expectations and offer value.
3. Schedule Content Sets
Now that your topics are organized you can move forward to making a publishing plan. Determine how often you want to publish blog articles and advanced content. Think strategically about how you would like your workflow to pull the reader through the buyer’s journey. As they become more informed through top of the funnel content, you’ll want to provide them with consideration stage and ultimately, decision stage content.
Refine the Process
Once you've formed a solid content strategy and are working to implement the plan, take a look back to see what worked well in your process and any sticking points that held you up. Take note of what could be improved the next time around. Monitor how your blog is performing, which topics are getting the best response, and use this information in your next brainstorming session.