Feeding the content beast

Feeding the content beast

We look at different ways of generating content ideas and the best ways to use that content.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand how to generate purposeful content on an ongoing basis
  • Learn how to leverage one piece of content for various purposes
  • Learn how to generate content ideas
Generating content is not an easy task. It needs to be relevant, serve a purpose and have something new to say (or at least a new way of saying something old). Decisions need to be made on how to generate content that works for your audience, varying your output and how to change content depending on where it will be published.

Idea generation

Getting the ball rolling can be hard to do, but there are some tried and tested shortcuts to help you get going.

Examine your audience: If you have established who your ‘ideal client’ is, recap on the personas you made for your audience. This will go some way towards helping you understand what your audience’s pain points are, what problems they have and how you can help them solve these.

Involve your team: The idea generation does not just have to come from you. Involve your whole team to do regular brainstorming sessions on relevant content topics. Not only does this help spread the load for coming up with ideas and creating content, but it makes your team feel more invested in your marketing.

Inspiration: Spending time on the same media and publications of your target audience will give you relevant and timely inspiration. Save your favourite items and read them to understand why they were useful and how they engaged you or caught your eye.

Listen: If you are already established in your area with a solid list of clients who you speak to regularly, take advantage of this. Listen to your clients when they are speaking and feel free to note points of interest or issues they mention, even those beyond the financial. Understanding what makes them tick and why they are using your services is the most accurate resource you have.

Research: If you can invest in it, search terms research can be very useful to helping you understand what your audience is looking up online. Be careful, though, to limit this to your areas of expertise. There’s no use creating content for the sake of appearing in search terms – even if these do not correspond with the areas you want to be known for.  ‘Answer the public’ is an easy option to start with, to give broad ideas of what might be on your potential audience’s minds.

Leveraging content

A single piece of content can go a long way. For example, an in-depth or ‘deep-dive’ article can be published in full as you have written it, but its shelf life doesn’t have to end there. Consider where else it could be published. More importantly: see how you can break up the paper or article and use the underlying ideas on their own.

Could you take a section of the article, explain the idea in a more simplified way and shape it into something a newcomer to the topic would be interested in? This piece of content now has an afterlife in press articles, targeted emails and social media. Take a recent piece of content and consider how it could be reused if you:
  • Changed formats – long-form article, short-form blog, email, infographic.
  • Modified the angle/audience – e.g. retirement planning for a younger and older audience.
  • Had 30 seconds to summarise – infographic, social media post.
  • Audio/video version – podcast, interview, audio snippet, social video.
Some of these formats work best on different platforms so keep this in mind when it comes to publication. While a white paper isn’t great for social media, an infographic and audio snippet are perfect.

Maintaining quality at volume

Quality comes in the shape of understanding what your audience needs. Your existing content plan (link to article 8 – Content planning for generating leads) is important to form your content, maintain quality and keep you focused on your target audience.

By all means: run your ideas and content by a trusted friend or colleague. They can give you first impressions and feedback, which are vital in maintaining quality.

Also, don’t be afraid to recycle. Some topics (e.g. ISA season) happen every year. Your content can be updated and used again for the following year’s campaign. Do consider changing formats and trying different things with some of these ‘staple’ items, as it may just resonate with a different part of your target audience. Keep an easily accessible database of all your previous content to help you create or repurpose previously successful content efficiently.

Tips for feeding the content beast:

  • Start small and manageable

When you develop your content plan (link to article 8 – Content planning for lead generation) and calendar, ensure you have a steady flow of content, but do not try and do too much, especially if you’re just starting out. As you build a bank of content, you can leverage it for multiple purposes, which will help you eventually become a more prolific source of content.

  • Be nimble

There are often opportunities to comment and demonstrate your expertise following news events or announcements. This requires you to follow the news cycle, especially important announcements about the industry. For example, if a new piece of regulation is published, react quickly with an explainer to help your audience understand what it means for them.

  • Put rules in place

To streamline your content creation, have a simple, clear and firm process in place. Decide who is allowed to write content, who has to review every piece of content before it is published and who can do a ‘sense-check’. Also have a similar process for social media posts.

  • Make it easy to promote

When you and your team create content, make sure the writer adds two social media posts, as well as an email subject line and introduction to the content. This will make it easy to be promoted as part of your marketing plan.

  • Make your idea generation dynamic

You and your team can come up with content ideas at any point. Make it easy for people to share these while it’s fresh in their minds. You can dedicate a Google sheet or a board in the office where people can share ideas for content. These can be discussed at your next idea generation session.

Graham Finlay
Graham Finlay
Strategic and Technical Sales Manager

Graham works within the Strategic & Technical team at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. Graham has undertaken a variety of adviser focused roles since 2003. Over the last few years he has been responsible for developing and delivering presentations at seminars across the UK on a broad range of investment and financial planning related topics. Graham holds a number of industry qualifications, including the CFA Certificate in ESG Investing, Investment Management Certificate (IMC), Diploma in Investment Management (ESG) and has more than 20 years’ industry experience. Graham previously worked with both Edinburgh Fund Managers and Scottish Widows.

Graham Finlay
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Risk Disclaimer

This content is directed only to persons having professional experience in matters relating to personal investment (investment professionals) and should not be distributed to anybody else. It has been prepared for general information purposes only. It does not constitute advice (whether investment, legal, regulatory, tax or otherwise) provided by Columbia Threadneedle Management Limited. Certain content in this document is based on our own reading of legislation, regulation, or guidance issued by a government or regulatory authority, as at the date of publication, which is subject to ongoing change. Tax treatment is based upon individual circumstances. Columbia Threadneedle Management Limited gives no warranty or representation, whether express or implied, that such content is up to date, complete, or accurate.
Investment professionals in receipt of this document should not rely on any of its content. They remain solely responsible for advising their underlying clients in accordance with their own legal and/or regulatory obligations and for taking their own independent advice as they determine is necessary.
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