What is the best way to gather and generate new content for white papers, blogs, videos, presentations or other marketing collateral and tactics? We got inside the heads of two leading content generators – Hugh Macfarlane, Founder and CEO of align.me and author of The Leaky Funnel and Adam Posner, Founder and CEO of Directivity – to find out how they come up with new, exciting, and relevant content.

If you’ve ever attempted to start a blog, prepare collateral, or build a presentation, you’d know that generating content is not always easy. There are obstacles and challenges that you may come across, and it can often feel like there’s always something more important to do! Adam finds prioritising time to develop content between business activities one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when developing new content.

Hugh finds that spontaneity can be an issue; you’re not always in the right place or time to capture ideas when they pop up. Setting aside time to sit down and come up with new ideas is not always a remedy though, too often it’s easy to get distracted by more pressing matters. Also, you can’t schedule time for creativity!

What about sharing the load? While there is some value in having help from your team to generate new content for you, Hugh argues that the least-effective tactic is recruiting guest bloggers. Guest bloggers tend to reuse their old blogs, which may have already been posted and promoted before. Your material will lack originality and if it’s been promoted already, Google has probably captured this text and will do you no favors from an SEO perspective.

Ensuring content is relevant is a problem that plagues many writers – it’s hard to get your hands on fresh data that’s not been used before. So, what do Hugh and Adam recommend?

1. Set an objective. What do you want to achieve with this content?

2. Find the right audience. When writing content for different businesses, personalities, or industries, it can be difficult to manage everyone’s varying expectations and interests. Who are your readers, and your buyers? Where are they on their buyer’s journey? What is troubling them? What issues are they facing? To deal with this, Hugh recommends writing with one specific audience in mind.

3. Find relevant material. Generate new material by:

  • Setting up surveys and conducting formal research focused on the problems facing your buyers
  • Hosting informal workshop sessions with your team and community for ideas
  • Reading other people’s digital assets, blogs, and journals for inspiration
  • Brainstorming. Have conversations with your team members and light the creativity fire!
  • Being spontaneous – write down any ideas you have straight away or record them if you are auditory inclined
  • Being passionate. Nothing else will shine through your writing as brightly as your passionate opinions on topics

4. Develop content. Who’s the best person in your organisation to finesse the material you’ve generated? While the ideas might come from you, are you the best person to write the whole blog/white paper/presentation?

5. Distribute content. Once it’s finished, how will you take it to your market? What channels will you use to promote it?

6. Measure your success. What worked? What didn’t? Learn from your mistakes and get a little better each time.

As we stated at the start, generating content is not easy, but it can be done. Try, fail, measure, talk, and read to kick off your journey to finding the best way that suits you. Everyone will be different, but if you set yourself the challenge, you might surprise yourself with what you can do. And, if you’re interested, we interviewed Hugh and Adam to get this content!


Gabriella Karge is a Marketing Associate at align.me. For more information or to contact her, click here.

Camilla Burden is the newest member of the align.me Marketing Services team.