Lost in the rush for pageviews is the importance of creating content that is useful and provides a logical segue to your product or service.
Investing time in great blog topic ideas is the key to getting more from your content marketing efforts. Overlook this and you risk investing resources in well-written articles that don’t resonate with anyone in particular.
Plenty has been written about coming up with blog post ideas, but I’ve always found that unconventional ideation strategies generate unconventional topic ideas. And given how much noise is out there, this is a great way to stand out.
Here are a few unconventional ways to come up with great ideas for your editorial calendar.
1. The [Persona] + [Use Case] Formula
Most SaaS products are highly flexible. Take Evernote, for example, which can be used for everything from doing your taxes to writing a thesis. Every customer starts with a blank slate, so Evernote uses content to give people ideas for how to use the product. I call this the [Persona] + [Use Case] Formula—any blog can borrow it to come up with more content ideas.
First, list all the personas that would be a good fit for your product. For Evernote that might be:
Then, list a bunch of use cases:
Now, start pairing them together. You’ll have a near-infinite number of pairings to write about.
Student + Note Taking = Timeless Note-Taking Systems for Students
Freelancer + Scanning Documents = Getting Organized for Taxes with Evernote
Parent + Organization = A Parents’ Guide To Back-to-School Madness
As you launch new features or complementary products, you can use this formula all over again to keep your content fresh.
2. Write for an audience of exactly one
“Write for your target audience” is some of the best—and least used— advice in content marketing. And while it may seem too constraining to write for an audience of literally just one person, creating a resource for a specific person is one of the best ways to create something that will end up on your target reader’s radar.
The easiest way to go about this is using Clearbit’s Connect Gmail extension. This tool sits inside your Gmail account and lets you search for people within any company. So let’s say you want to write for designers and you know from experience that designers at Mailchimp would be your perfect reader.
In Connect, just do a search for Mailchimp, then narrow it down to designers.