Running low on ideas? 6 ways to mine for content internally
Content -- everyone is looking for it. All companies have it, yet some don’t know how to unearth it.
For PR and communications pros, storytelling is a big part of our roles.
We’re ALWAYS on the lookout for good story ideas to spur content creation or media pitches. But, while this content is there, it’s not always so easy to pull it out of your company or your client.
What’s a communicator to do?
1. Look to your sales team
The sales team can be a great asset to your PR initiatives. Salespeople are the boots on the ground, out in the field talking with customers on a day-to-day basis. They hear stories about how customers are using products, how they’re finding new ways to leverage solutions and how they feel about a brand’s offerings.
One of my best sources of stories to fuel PR has always been my allies in sales. Get to know them. Check in with them regularly to see what tales they might be able to tell. Many times, salespeople are more than happy to share. Use that to your advantage to come up with fresh material.
If you run into challenges getting the sales team to share, I’ve worked with clients who offer incentives for submitting ideas. Some type of bonus can be just the ticket to getting busy salespeople to contribute.
2. Call customer service
While I was in college, one of my part-time jobs was working in customer service. I learned firsthand how, when talking with customers, you can hear some interesting tales that may make great material for content or pitches.
Check in with your CX team and again, as with your sales team, perhaps you could offer some small incentive to motivate them to share stories from the front lines.
3. Talk with engineers
The folks behind the product may provide another source of story ideas. The tales about how the product came to be can be fascinating. Engineers love to talk shop, so why not call on them to share some of their stories?
Don’t sell this department short by dismissing it as boring. Even stories considered “nerdy” can be told in an entertaining way with a little creativity.
4. Share what already exists
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Many brands have material just waiting to be shared. If you produce a product, there are probably photos of it in action. Why not use those to help bring a story to life? A photo is worth a thousand words, so start there. Use the image to inspire the story.
Journalists are fans of intriguing visuals because they know they draw more eyeballs. For example, Tweets with images receive more retweets than tweets without images. Provide them with a compelling visual and you may just win their attention.
5. Make sure you have top-down support
Your communications team should be fed material that can be used to promote the company, so make sure to get support from the top to encourage departments to send material to their way.
You need your C-suite to believe in content marketing and lead the charge in order for it to be truly successful. “Leaders can inspire participation and help align people around a common goal,” says MarketingLand.
6. Make it easy for everyone to contribute
Try setting up an email like firstname.lastname@example.org where employees can send ideas for stories. Not only does this help you gather nuggets of information—it also makes everyone feel as though they can contribute.
And imagine how they’ll feel when they see one of their ideas featured in a news story, an employee newsletter or another piece of content. The high of seeing one of their ideas brought to life will encourage them to send in even more ideas.
Here’s hoping these ideas will bring new life to your efforts to tell your client’s or company’s stories! By thinking outside the box and enlisting the help of departments outside marketing, you may be well on your way to unearthing some fresh ideas.
You'll find Michelle Messenger Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. As a public relations consultant, content creator, blogger, speaker and award-winning writer, Michelle’s articles and advice have been featured in Entrepreneur, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, Meltwater, Spin Sucks, CIO, Upwork, Freelancers Union, SheKnows, CommProBiz and others. She was named a Top 100 PR Influencer by Onalytica. Michelle was also recently appointed to the board of Women in PR USA.
Photo via Pixabay