How to Uncover Fresh Content Ideas with This 30-Minute Brainstorming Process

February 13, 2018
emily amos

Creating fresh, new content ideas isn’t easy, but it’s becoming more and more necessary to get noticed in such a noisy marketplace. With everyone vying for attention online, we need to make sure our content ideas are strong and unique so people sit up and pay attention to the great content you are producing.

So just how do you come up with new content ideas that will resonate with your audience, especially if you’re too stressed to feel creative or think outside the box? Take a deep breath. We’ve got you covered. With this 30-minute brainstorming process, you’ll go from uninspired to overflowing with great content ideas.


Step 1: Do a 10-minute brain dump

At your next content marketing meeting, give everyone 10 minutes to write down as many content ideas as possible on a notepad or in a Word document. At this point, you’re not allowed to judge which content ideas are good or bad—just write them all down. You’re aiming for quantity over quality at this stage.


Step 2: Rank content ideas using a predefined scale

After your brain dump, spend 10 minutes working your way down the list to identify the most promising content ideas. You can do this in several ways. Here are a few examples:

  • write each content idea on a sticky note, and sort the ideas into columns on a wall or white board based on whether they’re well-received or not
  • highlight each content idea in a colour that represents how effective the idea could be (for example: great ideas get green, the maybes get orange, and the poor ideas get blue)
  • read each content idea aloud and score them from 1-3, (1 = a poor idea, 2 = an okay idea, 3 = a great idea)

Whichever method you decide to use, the purpose of this step is to eliminate the noise of lesser quality ideas so that you can hone-in on the ones that are most worthy of your content marketing efforts.


Step 3: Narrow down the best ideas even further

At this point, your team is getting closer to a list of winning content ideas. To narrow down your list of ideas even further, consider these questions for each idea:

  • Does the content idea address our readers’ common questions or pain points?
  • Does the idea fall within our offerings and expertise, as per the themes in our content marketing strategy?
  • Is the content idea unique?
  • Can we deliver the idea better than our competitors?

Ideally, your team would want to be able to say a resounding “Yes!” to as many of these questions as possible. The more criteria a topic hits, the higher it should rank in terms of a priority to produce and distribute.


Step 4: Make the process as smooth as possible

It can sometimes be difficult to get every member of your team on the same page for one defined process—especially when you’ve had no set process before. Consider these tactics below to ensure your 30-minute brainstorming meeting goes smoothly:

  • Create an environment that is safe and supportive—one that encourages everyone to contribute any content idea with no personal judgement or criticism.
  • Prioritize quantity of content ideas first so that your team has the headspace available to objectively filter out the best ideas later in the meeting.
  • Keep an eye on the data to understand which topics are most successful. Take this data back to your brainstorming meetings to better identify the topics that are likely to be better received by your readers
  • Let the ideas flow freely and don’t get too stuck in your own head. Overthinking is a sure way to derail your brainstorming sessions.


The 30-minute brainstorm isn’t just a one-time process

For some content marketers, brainstorming is a frustrating and tedious process. That said, to stay ahead of your competition, brainstorming with your team needs to be a frequent, continual process. The magic of the 30-minute brainstorming process is that it keeps these meetings short and to the point so that you and your team don’t have to lose half a workday trying to pry golden content ideas out of thin air.

What are some of the tactics you’ve used with your team to have successful and effective brainstorming meetings? Let me know in the comments below.


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