Consistently coming up with ideas for content that sells, especially when you’re not a trained content marketer or copywriter, is…
Well, let’s just say there are more pleasant ways to spend your time.
And you would love to do just that, but content creation isn’t something you can leave on the backburner. Compelling, high-performing content is the lynchpin of your marketing. It’s the magnet that pulls potential customers into your brand’s orbit, and down your sales funnel.
So it had better be good!
As in, relevant, valuable, and perfectly suited to convert random strangers into qualified leads.
And because your content is only as compelling as the ideas behind it… we’re back to square one. You need a way to create tons of irresistible content ideas, quickly and consistently. So let’s see how you can do just that!
In this week’s article, I’m going to show you a simple 3-step process you can use to create dozens upon dozens of ready-to-use content ideas and topics — on demand.
Sound good? Then let’s jump right into it with Step One.
Step 1. Brainstorm your customers’ pain points & problems
You may be wondering, “Hold on, Summer — aren’t we doing… you know, content topics?”
Why, yes! Yes, we are. But before you can formulate compelling topics for your audience, there are two more pieces of the puzzle you need to establish.
And the first one on the list is the biggest pain points and problems your customers are facing. If your content topics don’t acknowledge and address those, then you won’t be able to earn your ideal prospect’s attention and build trust. Simple as that.
So for starters, you want to write down as many customer problems and pain points as you can.
Things that keep them up at night; things that cause them discomfort and misery in their everyday lives; things that hold them back from fulfilling their ultimate goals; and crucially — things that your brand and your offers can help solve.
And that means… it’s time for an old-school brainstorming session! Do this:
- Grab a pen and paper, or open your note taking app, and set a timer for ~30 minutes
- Without stopping or self-censoring, braindump at least 30 pain points and problems your customers are facing right now.
- If you can’t crack 30 problems in the allotted time, do another 10-15 minute sprint.
You did it! Now you have a list of 30+ pain points your customers are struggling with. Not all of them are going to be solid gold, and that’s a-OK. What matters is, you have half of what you need to develop top-notch content ideas.
For the other half, let’s do this…
Step 2. Pair each problem with 1-3 potential solutions
Unsurprisingly, you can’t really craft sellable content based on pain points and problems alone. That would be the marketing equivalent of going, “Aw shucks, buddy, what you’re going through is so rough!” — a.k.a. beyond insensitive and annoying.
No, to be compelling to your audience, your content must provide actual solutions to their struggles. And that’s the second half of our content ideation puzzle that we’re going to tackle.
This time, there’s no need for timers or entering into a flow state of brainstorming. All you need to do is…
- Go through the 30+ problems and pain points you’ve written down, one by one.
- For each pain point, write down 1-3 actionable solutions you could teach.
That’s it! Let me illustrate how it might look with an example…
Let’s say that you sell online courses about career advancement: finding a dream job, negotiating raises, etc. And one of your ideal customers’ biggest problems is this:
They send out 100s of resumes but can rarely, if ever, get a job interview for a position they want. So, with this in mind — what potential solutions could you offer?
Next to this problem, you could write down…
Solution #1. Learn how to craft killer resumes that get noticed by recruiters.
Solution #2. Write better job application emails that stand out in a crowded inbox
Solution #3. Ditch resumes altogether and use advanced strategies (e.g. networking)
See? That’s 3 potential topics right there! Repeat this process for each pain point / problem you have, and you’ll get 30-90 compelling solutions that can be converted into content.
Step 3. Create topics for the best “problem-solution” combos
Finally, it’s time for you to:
- Examine the abundance of problems and solutions you’ve come up with, and choose the most promising ones. If you’ve been following the action steps diligently, I would expect you to have at least 20 clear winners!
- For each winning combo you have, formulate one preliminary headline, just to have something to work with later, when you’re developing your content plan. You can do more than one headline if you want, but it’s not necessary at this early stage.
I’m going to give you another example, just to show you what this step could look like.
This time, let’s go with something different, like an IT consultancy firm. Maybe one of the problems you’ve landed on is that your potential clients feel extremely confused and overwhelmed about cybersecurity, and don’t really know how to keep their small business safe.
So you offer them a solution — if they just focus on password security + 2-factor authentication, backing up their critical data, and sensible anti-phishing precautions, they will be protected against 99% of threats out there.
And what kind of headline would capture this? Well, how about…
- These 3 Strategies Will Keep You Safe From 99% of Cyber Threats
- Protect Your Business from Hackers with 3 Simple Strategies
- Safeguard Your Business Online with 3 Strategies and 30 Minutes
Once you have solid headlines for your content topics, you can put them directly in your content plan, or your “idea vault” of killer topics — and marvel at how much you got done in such a short time.
Now, the next time you need to come up with content that sells, you won’t have to look very far. And if you ever run out of compelling topics to use, just rinse and repeat this process to create even more.
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