How To Flip ‘Meh’ Concepts Into Marvelous Content material


This publish was co-written by Monica Norton.

A not-so-inspiring concept someway finds its method onto your content material calendar. It would come from a well-intentioned however misguided colleague or political maneuvering inside the workplace. Maybe its placement occurred as a result of it felt like the one choice. It looks as if a bit that doesn’t match into the jigsaw puzzle.

However what in case you may flip probably the most underwhelming concept into fascinating, audience-engaging content material that leaves a long-lasting impression? It’s not a pipe dream – it’s a skillset and framework anybody can study.

We break the method into two components – gathering data and growing a communication roadmap. Let’s start so that you don’t waste extra time fretting over less-than-thrilling concepts.

Half 1: Lay the groundwork with data gathering

Content material entrepreneurs possess a standard trait – curiosity. To show that dangerous concept into one thing marvelous or achieve alignment to kill it, let curiosity lead the journey. This framework will assist make each step on the transformation journey purposeful and impactful.

Step 1: Perceive the ask

“Let’s do a podcast,” says the CMO.

“Let’s create a microsite that talks all about our new buyer,” says the CEO.

“Let’s do a weblog publish about all of our up to date product options,” says the vice chairman of product advertising and marketing.

Even with probably the most developed content material transient, requests like these elevate one query: “However why?” When an ask is available in, attempt to get to the basis of the request. Is the CMO asking for a podcast as a result of they like listening to them? Does the CEO need to rejoice the brand new buyer in a giant method? Does the product advertising and marketing staff assume a weblog publish is the one solution to let prospects find out about a product’s new options?

To achieve extra perception, ask the requester why this concept is high of thoughts. Or see what they like most about their concept. You additionally need to study the place the concept originated. For instance, have they accomplished it or seen one other firm do it?

Lastly, perceive what the success of the request seems wish to them. Generally, your companions, even with the very best intentions, suggest deliverables which may be higher achieved otherwise. For instance, that weblog publish may work higher as a publication. That microsite could be extra profitable as a case examine on the principle website. And that podcast may by no means ship the anticipated end result.

Step 2: Align on the objectives

Profitable organizations have acknowledged objectives from an organization stage all the best way right down to particular person staff KPIs. Dive deeper into the “meh” concept by specializing in the intent of the concept.

Subsequent, take a look at how that goal aligns together with your already agreed-upon objectives. Do the objectives align? The place are they off, and why? By discovering the overlap and even misalignment of what request views as profitable and what your staff is specializing in, you can begin to evolve the concept into one thing new.

For instance, when our CMO needed a podcast, the objectives and the metrics of the podcast have been misaligned. The content material KPIs associated to driving visitors to the web site and main individuals down the funnel to amass leads. Nevertheless, the third-party platform the place the podcast was hosted solely tracked subscribers to the podcast. We couldn’t monitor any listeners who got here to our web site or transformed to a lead. Finally, this misalignment contributed to the CMO’s acceptance of not doing the podcast in favor of actions that aligned higher with the objectives.

Step 3: Deal with the audience’s wants

The very best place to start out a content material initiative is by understanding the wants of your model’s audience. Nevertheless, it’s the third step on this framework as a result of a content material marketer’s first viewers is the requester of the dangerous concept. By understanding the ask and the anticipated outcomes, you possibly can redirect the dialog to the client.

Search for alternatives to rework the “meh” concept to assist fulfill the client’s desires. Use the “sure and” technique with the unique requester, comparable to: “Sure, I like your concept of a weblog publish concerning the product options, and let’s begin the article by explaining how our buyer can clear up their ache level.”

Step 4: Decide the place the request matches into the client journey

Now, you will need to establish how the ask matches into the deliberate editorial calendar. Do you’ve got content material gaps alongside the journey that might be full of this concept? Are you able to optimize different property to assist meet this request?

It’s possible you’ll have to audit your printed content material to know what is actually working on your viewers and why. That information may help you progress the dialog to a greater concept.

Step 5: Take a look at your sources

When every thing is a precedence, you don’t have any priorities.

Plenty of time, these not-so-great concepts include a ton of enthusiasm and urgency – main you to delay different actions or stress about easy methods to execute them. As an alternative of succumbing to that disruption, assess what your staff wants to assist facilitate the dialog on what to do subsequent:

  • Do you want extra finances or sources?
  • Do you’ve got the correct instruments to measure the affect of the request?
  • Do you’ve got the time to do it appropriately?

After strolling by means of the primary 5 steps, you’ve got gathered ample data for the transformation framework to construct a greater concept.

Half 2: Make a communication roadmap to a greater concept

Now, you might be prepared for the communication and collaboration a part of the framework, so that you and the requester can transfer ahead collectively.

The strategy or channel of this communication can occur through electronic mail, a proposal or technique doc, a artistic transient, a dialog, or a gathering. You’ll probably want written communication and face-to-face conversations to achieve a closing settlement.

Step 1: State the widespread floor

Begin with a acknowledged settlement with the place you align, comparable to: “I’ve talked to everybody concerned on this undertaking, and all of us agree on who the viewers is and that we don’t need this undertaking to hijack the work this quarter.”

An announcement like that builds a powerful basis for what’s forward.

Step 2: Acknowledge obstacles

Be open about what could get in the best way of success. Be upfront concerning the uncovered challenges, anticipated issues, and areas of disagreement. Is the finances satisfactory? Is the staff that will execute this undertaking already overloaded, forcing a reprioritization? You don’t want to spend so much of time on this step. Merely naming the challenges makes it simpler for everybody to debate them and work collectively to beat them.

Step 3: Restate the identified objectives

Subsequent, construct the enterprise case for the revised concept. Lay out the objectives recognized within the information-gathering steps. You don’t want an exhaustive listing, however you’ll want to seize crucial top-line objectives from the main stakeholders and objectives much like a couple of individual or staff.

Step 4: Discover a widespread purpose

In case you’re fortunate, step three will reveal a standard purpose or a minimum of establish overlap to create one or two shared objectives.

Extra generally, although, shared goal-setting requires in-person dialog or debate. To make this dialogue productive, use every thing you discovered in step three to slim the listing. Kick off the talk by suggesting three to 4 probably objectives.

Let the unique requester and different stakeholders have interaction in narrowing the listing to a single, shared purpose to safe a larger stage of buy-in and settlement. (If one purpose isn’t doable, establish a main and secondary purpose.)

Setting the widespread purpose(s) is essential earlier than transferring to the subsequent step. It anchors the brainstorming to make sure the brand new concepts may obtain that purpose.

Step 5: Let the concepts roll

Now comes the half that may be the toughest but in addition probably the most enjoyable. Your method to exploring new concepts will differ to fit your scenario, the tradition of the group, and the character of the unique request.

For a lot of, a brainstorming session involving most or all of the gamers will probably be a fruitful train more likely to generate a number of choices. If that quantity is simply too unwieldy, brainstorming with a smaller subset could also be extra productive. In any brainstorming group, embody an outsider – somebody in your group who isn’t a stakeholder or immediately concerned within the undertaking. This recent, baggage-free perspective will be simply what’s wanted to get that aha second that usually precedes the emergence of the profitable concept.

An alternative choice is to kickstart the ideation course of by placing forth a brief listing of other concepts that you simply created or cultivated from others. To get buy-in, current extra than simply your “nice concept.” Even when the decision-making course of isn’t democratic, think about a couple of choice to get all people to help the chosen concept and do their greatest work on the undertaking.

As you’re employed by means of the concepts generated from the brainstorming train or the shortlist of choices you ready, orient all people across the widespread purpose recognized within the earlier step. Put aside actually cool concepts that gained’t obtain that purpose for dialogue at one other time. Pointing your colleagues again to the purpose can be a useful solution to cease new “dangerous concepts” from rising.

Step 6: Repeat as wanted

It’s time to confess a tough reality: This course of will not be linear. It’s completely regular to take two steps ahead and one step again. It’s possible you’ll have to revisit earlier steps and even begin over. However even that alerts progress – your earlier studying will make it simpler and quicker the second (or third) time round.

Step 7: Get a closing settlement

Whereas everybody’s path by means of these steps could also be distinctive, the sensation of triumph in transferring in a greater route is common. At this stage, it’s useful to summarize the journey and thank everybody for his or her involvement. Keep in mind, you need them to really feel invested within the course of and the end result since you’ll probably want their assist and help within the execution mode.

Work collectively to get to a greater concept

Even when the information-gathering and transformation framework course of isn’t easy, turning these “meh” concepts into one thing fantastic is extremely satisfying. You’re employed collectively to contemplate extra choices and get all people on board for a clean transition from concepts to motion.

So say to all these “meh” concepts: “Come at us. Give us all you’ve bought. Let’s rework the horrible into terrific to uncover the actual magic of innovation with top-notch content material.”

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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute



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