Weekly Wisdom with Ross Tavendale: 3 Unique Ways To Come Up with Content Ideas

Ross Tavendale

May 14, 20193 min read
3 Unique Ways To Come Up with Content Ideas
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Modified Transcript

Welcome to this week's Weekly Wisdom. I'm Ross Tavendale, I am the MD at Type A Media, and we are a digital marketing agency that helps brands find the optimal way to talk to more people online.

Today we are going to be talking about the concept of ideation. Now, if you are an agency person, and I say the ideation, you are just going to shrug your shoulders and think nothing of it. However, if you are not from agency land, you are probably just sucking your mouth right there. But ideation is when we get together to work out the ideas for our next PR campaign that we are going to run. And although sometimes it can look like sitting in a room, on bean bags, thoughtfully looking out the window, there is actually a lot more to it than that.

Firstly, we need to know who we are producing the content for. If we know the people we are trying to reach, we can start to come up with ideas that will resonate with the audience. So in order to do that, first and foremost, we are going to go to Facebook audience insights to get an idea of what our audiences like. Through all that data, essentially what we want to do is, we want to take all the outliers and start making assumptive statements about these people. For example, if you shop at Lidl, Aldi and as well have a bunch of virtual coding coupon sites, we can assume that the person is probably a value shopper. If we see an affinity to hyper-violent sports, glamor brands, and BMW 5 Series, we can probably assume that the person is a bit boring. No, I am only kidding. We would assume that they like status and competition.


When we have got all these things on the board, we can better write the headings based on identity, social information, and utility. Identity is when you a piece of content that is better at defining you than you are better at defining you. Typically identity pieces center around demographics and your affinities. So for example, a piece about men would count as identity, just the same way a piece about people with ginger hair, or Game Of Thrones fans would also be an identity piece.

Social Information

Next up is social information. Have you ever heard that we live in our own social bubble. The way the algorithms on social platforms work, they tend to feed you more of the same content. So for example, if you click on pop music, they are going to give you more pop music. If you click on Yoga videos, guess what, they are going to provide you more Yoga videos. But if we zoom out for a second to look at political and also social beliefs, the same thing is true. Click on more right-wing media, get more right-wing media, and vice versa, and so on and so forth.

So with this in mind, I want to confirm your social bias, or I want to break it. For example, a commonly held belief in the north of England is that people in London are miserable bastards. Which after commuting one hour a day on the underground, paying 50% of your net worth to share a rat infested flat with three middle-aged men, who have their girlfriends round every weekend, I think that is perfectly acceptable that London people are miserable.

But, I digress. If I confirm social information, let's say by, looking at the office for national statistics happiness index, I compare it to earnings or house prices, I can legitimately say that Londoners are either the richest and most miserable people in the UK, and with that story in the north of England, it confirms they are biased. "Oh, Londoners are miserable." However, if the opposite is true, and it actually says that Londoners are the happiest and wealthiest in the country, it breaks their social bias— both work.


Next up is utility and utility really just means something that is useful. A utility piece of content is something that typically augments the user's life for the better, as a resource they could potentially come back to over time. Examples would include things like calculators and infographics. Yes, infographics can be useful. Examples of this type of content could maybe be a mortgage calculator or a piece that says what 2000 calories looks like in fast food. Or, possibly something like the alcohol that is best for your skin. These pieces are typically something that is interactive, but you can get away with things like a basic flat table of information. It is really the story surrounding the utility piece that matters, not what your creative director tells you.

Wrapping Up

If you like this Weekly Wisdom, please do follow us on social. You can find me @rtaves. We are going to release an hour-long live ideation session over in the Type A website, so please make sure to follow us and don't miss that one. If you are a PR or a link builder, I guarantee you will get a lot of value from it.

But that's everything from this weeks Weekly Wisdom. Until next time, we will see you later.

Author Photo
Ross is the Managing Director at Type A Media, an independent search agency that work with FTSE250 companies and mid-sized brands to help them find the optimal way to talk to more people online. When not obsessing over his clients rankings, he hosts the Canonical Chronicle, a weekly web show watched by 100k people every month. If you want to ask him a direct question you can find him @rtavs on Twitter.