One of the biggest challenges for any brand involved in content marketing is to produce enough ideas to keep the content flow going and maintain your customers’ attention and interest. You may think your brand has a limited stock of content, but there are a host of hidden sources just waiting to be discovered. You just need to know where to look.

1. People power
Any management consultant will tell you that your most important asset is your staff. This also applies to your content. One of the oldest maxims in media is that people like reading about people, so look around for the characters in your organisation, the people with the engaging personalities that have a story to tell. They may be charity fundraisers, keen globetrotters, children’s entertainers, photographers, even part-time poets or comedians. Whatever their talents or interests, use it in your content and their stories could add depth and personality to your brand.

2. An expert eye
You and your staff do your jobs day in, day out. You’re used to it and think there’s nothing unusual or content-worthy about it. But to someone outside of your organisation, your role and the impact you have on the customer could be fascinating, especially if you allow them access to the tricks of your trade. Bring in an experienced journalist to interview your experts and you’ll be staggered at the results (and you might learn a thing or two yourself).

3. Location report
Does your company have offices in other countries or do your staff frequently travel abroad for work? If so, there’s a rich seam of content waiting to be mined. Whether it’s an account of unusual working practices in South America or the fantastic cuisine in Tibet, travel pieces are always appealing to the reader – no matter what your area of business – and offer a great opportunity to include some stunning photography.

4. Read all about it
It should come as no surprise that great content should always have one eye on the news, both global and industry specific. But while most content doesn’t include direct reporting on the latest news (there tends to be enough newspapers, websites and TV bulletins for that), there’s always the opportunity for you to add your opinion to any relevant issue.
If you disagree with certain developments in your industry then use your content streams to get your opinion across. Put well, that opinion should spark debate amongst your readership or followers, which can then be used for future content. Whether or not you actually succeed in altering your industry with your comments, you’ll still emerge as a key opinion-former within it.

5. Customer stories
Since word of mouth is still one of the most powerful forces in marketing, your customers should be a rich source of content, either through their experience of using your product or service, or answering their questions and solving their problems. Social media has made opinion-sharing simple, so make sure you keep an eye on all your social media streams, identifying the potential case studies within your customer base (while following up on the less satisfied ones, of course). Then contact them, interview them, get their opinion, and allow them to share their story. There’s no end of content (and lessons learnt) that can be spun out from a good interview.

6. Get your kit on
Whatever your line of business, it’s likely you will have pieces of equipment, processes or software that’s unique to your brand or industry. While you may not want to give away any valued secrets to your competitors, a lot of those tools can be fascinating to your readers, explaining exactly what it takes to get your product into their houses or technology working in their hands. Since illustration is the best medium to communicate more complex information, this provides a great opportunity to commission images that can be used across a range of platforms.

7. Maximise the content you produce
Whenever you or your agency plan or commission new pieces of content, ensure that you’ll be able to use it across all your platforms, in a range of media. So if you’re conducting an interview for a magazine, consider recording it on video to distribute online. If you’re commissioning a photoshoot for a brochure, think about where else you could use the images and brief accordingly. And if you find yourself with an abundance of content from a single source, don’t distribute it all at once – split it up and tease the story out.

Sam Upton