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How to Generate Unlimited Content Ideas

March 31, 202240:16

How do you go from one content idea to one hundred? How about five hundred? This week, Melanie Diezel, author of “The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas” and Director of Content at Foundation, helps us learn how to do just that. Listen as Melanie walks us through her simple, systematic process for brainstorming and creating content across multiple formats, focuses, targets, and more.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

AW:

Hi, everyone. It’s April Williams, the founder, and president of SalesAmp and your host of From Hello To Yes. Our guest for this episode is going to solve all of your content generation dry spells. If you’ve ever struggled with filling up a content calendar, and I’m raising my hand along with you, Melanie Deziel is giving us the solution that she calls the content fuel framework. This amazing framework promises at least 100 new content ideas. I know all of my content listeners’ mouths just dropped right now. You will literally walk away from this episode and into your next content meeting with a list of ideas to bring to your team because of her genius way of narrowing down content into two things, focus, and format. Get ready to elevate your marketing. And here’s my conversation with Melanie. Melanie, thank you so much for joining us today.

MD:

Thanks for having me. I’m excited to chat.

AW:

One of the ways we like to start, we wanted to be a place that admitted none of us were as smart as all of us together in this constant changing world of marketing, but we also had a vision for the next generation of marketers and sales people. So we always open with asking you, what would the Melanie of today who is clearly a leader in the content generation space, say to the 20-year-old version of yourself?

MD:

My goodness, it’s funny because I look back and I think of how different life was then, I never thought I would get into marketing. I studied journalism. So the person I’m speaking to, 20-year-old me, is in college, is in a relationship that’s not going to last much longer, is working at the college newspaper and dreaming of being a journalist. So I think I’d probably just have to let her know that things are not going to turn out how you expect, but it’s all for the best.

AW:

That’s great. And I think there’s so many of us that can relate to that for sure, but I always love to just kind of start with that. I’d like to kick-off as we dig into your expertise, you open up in your book with something I found fascinating, that you share the importance of finding our purpose in content creation when for most of us it’s a job function. So why is it so important to find our reason for content creation?

MD:

You know, I kind of went back and forth about whether to include that because it did seem kind of like a big topic to just sneak in there at the beginning. But I think it’s always good as a reminder, even when it is your job function to just come back to what is my goal here? What am I really trying to do? Because at least I know I’ve seen a lot of times on marketing teams, we get caught up in the day-to-day and we can forget to reflect on that vision and the bigger idea rather than the tactic or campaign in front of us. And so I wanted it to be a reminder that everything we do as marketers, as creators, or even just your own personal brand really comes back to understanding who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish. And I think if you can hold onto that and remind yourself of that, you’re going to have a much easier time, not only making your way through the world, but sleeping at night, knowing that you’re staying true to those values.

AW:

Yeah. I think that’s such a good reminder. At SalesAmp, we generate a lot of content and you can absolutely get it in the check it off the box mentality.

MD:

Yeah.

AW:

And really reminding yourself, why are we doing this? What are we trying to accomplish? So I thought that was just such a great way to set the tone as we step into how you’re going to talk about creating lots of content, but never losing sight of our purpose. So let’s talk about the content fuel framework. You said there’s two main components, focus, and format. And how are each of these two components critical to the framework?

MD:

Yeah. So when we think about content ideas, I think one of our challenges and the reason that coming up with content ideas can be so challenging is we don’t always know what we’re actually trying to come up with. Like what does “idea” mean? Is it fully fledged? Is it just a bullet point? Is it a full brief? So with focus, and format, it’s really trying to break an idea for content down into two meaningful, tangible things that you can wrap your head around. So the focus is the approach, how are we going to tell this story?

Are we going to talk about it through the lens of people or data or something else? And then the format is okay, well, how are we going to bring that story to life? Now that we know what we want to say, how are we going to say that in a way that people can engage with? So I think it’s a lot more manageable coming up with ideas when you realize it’s only these two things that I’m coming up with, it’s just these two steps and once I’ve got those two we’re on our way to idea town.

AW:

Well, I printed out your Content Fuel Framework that I think should go on every content creator’s walls here. And what is your promise with this? If we do this right with focuses and formats, how many ideas are we coming up with?

MD:

So, I mean, the ideas, there’s hundreds, is the promise. And I know it sounds like a huge promise, but in the book, I walk through 10 different focuses and 10 different formats and then some, so if you put those on a matrix and look at all the combinations, you’re left with a hundred, and then there’s some tips and tricks toward the end of the book for how to take one great idea and turn it into many. So we’re really looking at trying to make it easy for you to sit down in a session and in a relatively short span of time coming up with a hundred plus ideas. They may not all be gems, but you’ll be choosing from a much broader set and hopefully, get yourself closer to finding the one that’s going to be right for you.

AW:

So just give our listeners a couple of examples of what would land in your focus column and what would land in your format column.

MD:

Yeah. So the first focus that we talk about in the book because I think it’s one that is incredibly relayed and really important is people. So often when we want to tell a story we’re talking about a product or an event or something, it’s easy to forget that people are at the root of all of this not to do that whole trite. There is no B2B and B2C, it’s all H2H but that’s kind of what we’re getting at here. Every story has a human element that you can really focus on. So asking who are the people involved in this story and how could we tell the story through their eyes? I love that one. I mentioned data before. That’s another great one if you can look and see where the numbers are in any particular story you’re trying to tell. How can we use data or studies or surveys or any other form of information that you can really gather together.

That’s another great one. And one that I think has overlooked a lot is history. At least I know a lot of the marketing work that I’ve done, we’re very future-focused, right? We’re always about what’s coming up next and next quarter and our big goals. We’re innovating, we’re looking to the future, but there are so many really powerful brand stories that are hidden in the recent and not-so-recent past. And so having history on that list of potential focuses is that reminder to say, well, what brought us to where we are now? What are the developments or the people or the milestones that got us to this point and how could we tell that story? Because sometimes telling the backstory, the journey behind something can be just as interesting as looking at it in the present or future state.

AW:

And probably even more relatable at times.

MD:

Yeah.

AW:

We can probably see ourselves in some of that history, for sure.

MD:

Well, yeah. I mean, I think also we know that in our day-to-day lives, imagine if you never talked about the things that you did and you only talked about the things that you’re going to do, that wouldn’t be super interesting. People would be unclear on what it is and how to relate to you and what things you might have in common. It’s really important to take that from our personal life and bring it into the brand work that we do as well to know that history is where the magic happens.

AW:

Yeah. I love that. And you also subtly tell us too, that many of us are approaching this all wrong is that we start with the actual format.

MD:

Yeah.

AW:

Guilty as charged. Right? We think about, we have to create this piece of form. So talk to us about some of that thought process where we start thinking it’s got to be an article or an infographic and we’re moving down that path. Kind of connect those for us.

MD:

For sure. Yeah. That’s something that a lot of us do so don’t feel bad if that’s you as well. Right? The reason we do that is because we have a shared language around content formats. We can say I’m going to make an infographic and everyone in the room knows what you mean, or I’m going to make a video, whereas throwing out I’m going to do some history-focused content, not everybody may be able to parse through and understand what you mean by that. So it is definitely our instinct to go to the thing that’s tangible that we all can see and understand. But a lot of times and the best analogy I can come up with is we’ve all ordered something in the mail and when you get that package in the mail, the object inside the box is nowhere near proportional to the gigantic box that you got.

And it’s sort of like did the person really think this through about what would be best to deliver this item or did they just grab whatever was convenient? And now I’ve got a lot of fillers, a lot of waste, and I’m not entirely sure that they know what the heck they’re doing. We don’t want to give that same experience to our audience where it’s like this would’ve been an amazing video, but instead, it’s a really boring white paper or this would’ve been an amazing white paper, but instead, it’s just a tiny little social graphic and we leave people wanting more. So when you start with that focus, when you’re really clear this is what we’re trying to say, it’s so much easier to reverse engineer then and say okay, now what’s the best way to bring that story to life? Now that I know what I’m going to say, how should I go about saying it the best?

AW:

Yeah. I saw that as a Twitter quote from you and I was going to pull that in because I thought that is such a tremendous visual that every one of us can relate to.

MD:

Oh, yeah.

AW:

Great packaging that’s just right. They nailed it versus what the heck were they thinking? On so many different fronts. So I really love that analogy. Which focus in format combination do you tend to see the most used? And then I’m going to ask you where the hidden gems might be.

MD:

So the combination I think a lot of us default to, at least in the marketing sphere, is writing as our format with product as the focus. And I did that reverse but I did it on purpose. I think oftentimes what we do decide is what’s the cheapest, fastest, easiest thing we can produce and writing tends to be that answer. And what’s going to help us in our marketing plan the most and it seems on its face that product-focus content is what we need. So I think that’s where people end up by default and there’s nothing wrong with that. We, of course, need written content. I’m a writer by trade. So I mean, no offense to those who choose writing first, I’m one of them. But I think that is the safe zone.

It’s the zone that feels comfortable. I think where we can get a lot more fun action is when we start to mix up even familiar focuses with formats that we don’t typically use. So even if you want to talk about your product, well, how could you do that through a timeline? How much more interesting would that be? Or what if we talk about our product and we share something in the form of a map or a quiz? Like how do we really bring this to life in an unexpected way and make it something that stands out to people? So you don’t even have to get too creative with both the focus and the format, I think just going unexpected or not your usual on one route or the other can really help you tap into a new audience or catch their attention.

AW:

Such great advice. It will be a must-read for everyone doing content for us on the SalesAmp team, as I’ve already bought your book. But what I loved on the bottom of your sheet, the content fuel framework that we can download on your site, then you throw in a little amplifier called a multiplier, talk to us about the multipliers.

MD:

Yeah. So the multiplier is a tool that you can use to really take any idea that is successful, or maybe that you have a good feeling about and turn it into many ideas. So this is how we turn the hundred ideas into two, three, 500. And the idea here is I give four in the book, I’m sure there are more, and I leave room for folks to come up with their own that may apply to their specific business. But a multiplier, as an example, would be like demographic. So maybe we create an awesome piece of content, and then we realize, wow, we could do this same approach for a different subset of our audience and a segment C and segment D and E. Now the content will be adapted slightly. The goal here is not to copy, paste and just put a new headline on it or something, but it’s sort of taking, okay, we had this good idea and it worked really well, so how can we adapt it for a new audience? For example.

Another one would be location. So the idea is can this go somewhere else? This works really well if you’re in a sales or a tourism space, for example, or if you have a lot of retail locations, maybe they’re different responses depending on the different locations that you’re in. I just moved to Raleigh fairly recently so we did a lot of looking for day trips, family-friendly day trips around Raleigh. So you might do family-friendly day trips in Raleigh, downtown in Raleigh, in the surrounding area, maybe within the county, maybe within the whole state. Same general concept, but we’re adapting the location where it applies to shift it slightly. So with a multiplier, you’re really just trying to take what you already have and just get as much mileage as you can out of something that seems to be working for your audience.

AW:

That’s great, really, really good advice. And to think you could get 300, 400, 500 ideas, I think anyone who’s listening, who is on the content team, I think you just brought everyone’s blood pressure down on the points. So I’m loving that.

MD:

Well, and the good thing too, and this is what I always tell people, you don’t ever have to choose one of these things, you can use more than one focus. You can use more than one format. You can use more than one multiplier. So I gave the example of family-friendly day trips in these few areas surrounding me, but you could also do date ideas in the same few areas. Now it’s a different demographic and we’re multiplying by different locations. You could do, accessible. Maybe we need accessible day trips that’s based on different resources available. So now we’re combining all of these different multipliers and bringing the same idea to life in so many different ways in a way that allows us to really come up with so many more ideas in such a small amount of time.

Speaker 3:

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AW:

I think it would be great to spend a couple of minutes going through your 10 focuses because I think as our listeners are listening they’re thinking what else could possibly make up this list and then looking at the 10 formats in a quick way. So we can start getting an essence of what this matrix could feel like.

MD:

Sure. Yeah. So I know we’ve touched on a couple. Let’s see, we’ve touched on people. We touched on data and history, which others from the list should we spend a little bit of time on?

AW:

Talk about basics and details where you’re next to in the focus area.

MD:

Yeah. So basics and details are good because they’re kind of like sisters, cousins. I don’t know how we want to throw it, but they work really well together. And the idea with basics and details content is sort of like the intro and the advance of a particular topic. So if you’re creating basic content about your product and how it works you’re also probably going to want some advanced content for people who already know how it works and maybe they’re pushing the limits of what they can do with it. If you do basic content for your industry, you work in a complicated or heavily regulated or highly technical industry, you probably need some basic content because the people you’re selling to may not fully understand all of the different technicalities of what it is that you do.

So that basic content, just giving them an introduction, key terms, important players, things to know, questions to ask, something like that really introductory level stuff would be incredibly useful, especially as a sales tool. And then you create the more advanced stuff for, okay, we’ve sold to our decision-maker now day-to-day, we’re coordinating with someone who is a little more advanced, who’s more into the technical side of things. Now we can use the jargon, we can throw in the formulas. We can make it a little bit more advanced. So the reason I pair them side by side, the basics and advance is because almost always when you’re creating one, you can create the other. And so it’s a good reminder to say, okay, this is a pretty basic piece. Do we need a partner piece for the folks who are further along in their customer journey?

AW:

Yeah. And the answer is, yes, it always happens. When you think about the pipeline and you’re getting some of those who might just be out doing the original search and need some basic understanding, but as they get down the pipeline. So I just love that tag-team approach, sisters are cousins.

MD:

Yeah.

AW:

With basics and detail coming together. Talk to us, the next two on your list are process and curation.

MD:

Oh, my gosh. Process is one the most fun I think. I’m a big learner. So when it comes to a process, the idea is what are we teaching someone how to do? So this is things like recipes, tutorials, step-by-step guides, instructions for just about anything. If you can think of a verb, and this is probably a place where you can create some instructional content on whatever it is that you do. So this is really high-value stuff. It’s really ever-green. The value is there for a long, long time and curation is equally valuable in a different way. So with curation, you are gathering multiple different resources or multiple different anything; like a museum curator would and bringing them together under a commonality.

So this would be all of the rounds-ups that you see where it says 17 books x people have to read. Or 17 marketers you must follow who are experts on this particular topic, those kind of rounds-ups fall into that category. But so does creating rounds-ups of your own content. Our five best blog posts or 12 best blog posts of 2021. That’s one way you can do it, wrap up your previous year to make sure you’re resurfacing your best stuff. Just basically anytime you see an opportunity to add value by collecting items together, that’s a curation opportunity.

AW:

So good. And then your last two on the list that we haven’t spoken about is example and opinion.

MD:

Okay. So I’m going to do opinion first. Opinion, I think it comes really naturally to a lot of us. For brands, it sometimes feels intimidating because we think okay, opinion, that means I have to endorse a political candidate or something controversial. That’s not at all what we’re getting at here. Opinion content is when you walk into your local bookstore and they may have a whole best seller’s rack, but they also have our employees recommendations. That’s a personal opinion, right? It’s still a recommendation, but it’s a recommendation from a person, right? It’s slightly more human. And so we can sort of sprinkle opinion into our content, our favorites, our employee picks, things like that allow you to sprinkle opinion in there, make it a little bit more human. But if you do have thought leaders who are open to speaking for your organization, this is where that thought leadership content comes in.

You know my background, my experience, why I won’t do this, why I always do this, opinion falls into that category. Now, for example, content is typically combined for another focus. But when I say example content, what I mean is we are often trying to tell really, really big stories. Stories about innovation or disruption, or these buzzwords that we get caught into. And so often that story would be better told by picking one specific example of that thing and using that to tell the larger story. So that example might be a person, instead of talking about how amazing your employees are, talk about one employee and tell their story and how amazing they are and all they do for their community, and then say they’re just one of the 20 people on our team who volunteer every single week. You know, you’re using that one example to open up that larger story rather than trying to eat the elephant in one bite.

AW:

Yeah. That is 10 focuses you just gave us and my mind is going in a million directions of the different opportunities. We shift over to formats, you spoke about a couple of the easier ones we think of right off the bat.

MD:

Yeah.

AW:

You talked about writing, we mentioned infographics. We missed an opportunity when, maybe we don’t do a video, but talk to us even about live video.

MD:

Yeah. That live video and regular video are separate because I think we use them interchangeably and it’s often something that we want to be really mindful about selecting. So that’s separate to remind you that there are risks associated with live content. There are benefits as well, but there are risks. And so you want to be mindful that the benefits of, for example, live interaction or live commentary, live response, is worth that added risk of potential technical failures or someone streaking in the background. I mean, who knows what could go wrong? Live is its own game. So it’s a reminder there to say like does this need to be live or would this be better served as a regular video or vice versa?

AW:

And what about audio? When does audio jump in?

MD:

I mean audio and it’s funny because it was a very intentional choice. I always remind people of this. I didn’t say podcast. I said audio. Podcasts are wonderful. I mean, no offense to podcasts, podcasts are a great tool for us, but I don’t want us to undersell the value of audio content. So sometimes you can add so much value just by sharing the ambient sounds. I for one, missed during quarantine, I really missed the coffee shop environment. That’s like where I get my best work done. Now lucky for me, there’s a tool called Coffitivity that is actually just ambient background noise from a cafe that you can play at home. Right.

AW:

That’s fabulous.

MD:

Right. Ambient sound. And I’ve been recommending this idea for like three years. No one’s taken me up on it as far as I know, I am waiting for an auto body shop or a mechanic shop to create a playable library of sounds so that I could call them and say my car is making sound seven right now versus trying to.

AW:

That’ll be great.

MD:

It’s a little bit like you’re beatboxing on the phone. It would be so much better to just play from a library of sounds. So just reminding people that audio is a lot more than podcasts, there’s other opportunities out there.

AW:

Yeah. That’s going to be one of my favorites, Melanie. I love that. And someone should take you up on that for sure.

MD:

I’m waiting.

AW:

Talk to us about image gallery.

MD:

So image gallery is I think oftentimes we use an image in our content as a checkbox, like, okay, we need some sort of visual in here, let’s throw a stock photo in. And sometimes you have to do that to please the algorithmic overlords. But most of the time, what we want to think about is could this content be made stronger and better, and more engaging by adding several images? So you think about like our process focused content that we talked about, teaching process. Well, what if we had an image for every step of the process, right? You often see this with recipes, for example, they show you now we’ve chopped this item, now we’ve mixed them together. So that’s your reminder that sometimes it’s not just one image, sometimes adding a whole collection of imagery is actually the best way to go and illustrate that story.

AW:

Yeah. I think especially with us being so visual, it’s a really great reminder that we kind of default to just the word. Sometimes it’s content developers. So I really like that. Talk to us about the importance of quizzes.

MD:

Quizzes are so fun. I think quizzes got a bit of a bad rap because of sort of the like cosmos and buzzfeed to fix of quizzes. But when we talk about a quiz, what we mean is that there’s a limited set of outcomes that are based on consumer input. So if you are asking them to share some information about what their needs are for their particular product and then based on those needs, it’s going to recommend for you, this is the right tier for you, the right tier of our service, or this is the right product, or this is one of a few products that we think might be best for you. Or this is the accessory you should get to solve that problem. I mean, that’s just product-focused examples, right? You can test people’s knowledge of how prepared they are for a particular step. You can test your leads to see how qualified they are. There’s a lot of ways that you can use a quiz to gather information about your audience and then serve up really relevant information based on their responses.

AW:

That’s great. And you have two more on your format list. I’m intrigued about both of them, tool and map.

MD:

Yeah. So tool is similar to a quiz. This is probably one of the closest confusions that can come up. So again, with a quiz, we know what all the possible outcomes are. We’re controlling that environment, right? You’re going to get a particular score within a defined range based on your inputs. A tool is a little bit different in that, there’s an almost unlimited number of outcomes because it’s based on completely unique inputs that are doing some sort of calculation. So as an example, ladies, you’ll feel me on this, you pick a favorite color of makeup or hair dye or nail polish, and then it gets discontinued. And we all wish that there was a converter of some kind where you could say I’ve been using Maybelline 0417 for years, like what’s the Neutrogena equivalent? Or whatever the case may be.

So a converter counts. A calculator. We see this a lot in the finance space interest rate calculator or loan payback calculator how something might impact your credit score. All of those things, I very recently was looking at peel and stick removable wallpaper, and they had a really cool feature on the website that you would enter in the dimensions of your room. And based on that, it would tell you how many packages you needed to get so that you didn’t come up short halfway up your final wall or something. So tools can be a really powerful tool to help grow engagement with your audience, but also to provide them with a ton of value

AW:

And map was your last one.

MD:

Oh, map. I feel like we use maps all the time and we forget that maps are really, really useful. So this is when you’re going down that list of formats, just your reminder that a lot of things would benefit from having a map added or from being brought to life in a map. So often we see a roundup of things even like the example from before, things to do in the Raleigh area, I can tell you, none of them have had a map. So every time I’m looking up these things to do in the Raleigh area, I’ve got to open a new tab and get the address and see how far it is from my house, right? How far it is from all the other things in case we’re doing multiple stops. Right? So a map would’ve been such an incredibly useful addition to a piece of content like that.

And beyond that, just noting that map doesn’t just have to be for navigation. So, a good example here is Gillette has, one of their resources includes a shaving map. So it’s showing a map of the face based on which way the hairs grow for men and showing them which direction to shave depending on which part of the face to reduce the irritation or something. So you can do a map of the home, of the face. We see the bottom of the foot are all the acupressure points, right? Maps can be of lots of different things, but if you’re talking about multiple locations, there’s a good chance you can bring a map in there.

AW:

Such a great connection to the other ways to use map, and I just love all this content. And as we neared the end of your book, you put words in my mouth. It was almost like, okay, Melanie, I’m excited, I’ve got the 10 focuses. I’ve got the 10 formats, now what? And you say, so if you’re wondering what next, and you end your book with two things that you talk about the hundred idea challenge and the content fuel game. So you also can get those on your site. You can download them because I have those, but talk to us about the Hundred Idea Challenge and the Content Fuel Game.

MD:

Yeah. So the hundred idea challenges, think of it sort of like an exercise for your brain, right? As you are learning how to flex that creative muscle and make coming up with content ideas so much faster, the challenge would be to create a grid for yourself or use print one, whatever the case may be. The 10 by 10 grid that has all 10 focuses, all 10 formats decide what are you creating content for an upcoming product or event or campaign, and then try to come up with an idea for every possible intersection as a way to test yourself. To me, I think it’s fun. I don’t know. Maybe I’m crazy. I shouldn’t admit that, but we’ve had a lot of fun with that kind of activity and workshops and things.

AW:

And at one point, and I think it was on the game instructions, you actually talk about using a 10-sided dye.

MD:

Yeah. So the hundred idea challenges, think of it sort of like an exercise for your brain, right? As you are learning how to flex that creative muscle and make coming up with content ideas so much faster, the challenge would be to create a grid for yourself or use print one, whatever the case may be. The 10 by 10 grid that has all 10 focuses, all 10 formats decide what are you creating content for an upcoming product or event or campaign, and then try to come up with an idea for every possible intersection as a way to test yourself. To me, I think it’s fun. I don’t know. Maybe I’m crazy. I shouldn’t admit that, but we’ve had a lot of fun with that kind of activity and workshops and things.

AW:

And at one point, and I think it was on the game instructions, you actually talk about using a 10-sided die.

MD:

Yes. So if you are not a tabletop gamer and you’ve not been exposed to the sort of Dungeons and Dragons and those sorts of things, they do make 10 sided dye. So it’s called a D10. So if you are looking for it, I’ve got links to all this stuff on the site. If you want to go check it out, storyfuel.co, but you can get 10 sided dye and so that way, if you don’t want to pick, you can just roll and say, oh, okay, focus number four and format number eight. Okay. What’s that combination? Let me try that. So these are just good exercises for you to keep that content idea muscle nice and firm and ready to go.

AW:

Yeah. And I even love thinking about… Like at SalesAmp, we’re often working with the marketing teams and the sales teams, and then we bring our content team and our design team, getting those folks around a table and rolling the dice, and okay, Melanie, you’re up, here’s the formula you tell me and then going around, I just thought we find our best content is always developed when you bring the marketing and the sales teams into the conversation.

MD:

Yeah.

AW:

So it was just such a great tool. We do that in our creative process, but we’ve never done it in our content process. So I just thought it was brilliant, really brilliant.

MD:

And it’s one of those things that’s really flexible. You can use it. We do this a lot of times I run a lot of corporate workshops teaching this methodology and we’ve done it as individuals where everyone’s working by themselves and they’re all working on one combination to see how many different ideas we could come up with and then mushing them together to come up with the best one. We’ve done teams where we’ve got sort of sales versus engineering versus product and they all want to compete. We’ve done mixed groups where we’ve got someone from each team and they’re sort of in all these different mixed groups coming up with ideas. It can be a lot of fun, which is not typically something you think of in the content planning process, but I tell you, it can be fun.

AW:

Yeah. I think you’re going to be a game-changer to everyone that listens to this because I don’t know if anyone enters the content planning session using the word fun, but I think you’re about to change that for sure. So that was very exciting for me to hear. At SalesAmp, one of our constant challenges is getting salespeople to see the importance of stopping and spending time generating great content. So how do you get salespeople to see the importance of the content fuel framework?

MD:

Our sales teams, I think they do understand the value of content. I think their definition of content may not be as big as it could be. I think for a lot of folks who don’t work in content, they think, oh, okay, we’re talking about designing an infographic or building a white paper, but they may not realize that process focus content that shows how to set up their product, that sales enablement content that would actually help them a lot. A blog post about all the myths or common misconceptions about your industry or your service type, that would help all your prospects overcome obstacles. There’s a lot of ways that content actually plays a vital role in the sales process and bringing people down the funnel. And if you’re collaborating with your content team sales folks, you can help guide that, you can get the content that helps your sales process, right?

You can be a partner and help make sure you’re both working on stuff that’s going to move the needle for you. So I think hopefully if you need a little something just to get them through, I find that testimonials or customer success stories are a good place to start because most sales teams value those. They understand what a good testimonial or social proof piece of content can do. So starting there and making those just a little bit sparklier, a little sizzlier, maybe you can sort of win them over on that slow journey over to being thinking content is fun. Maybe not all the way there, but at least a little bit.

AW:

Great advice. I love the intro. And even some of the other things you were talking about how to get them involved. I also think the game is a game-changer to get people around the table and really have those conversations.

MD:

Sure.

AW:

So our From Hello to Yes final question we ask everyone. What has you stumped today? And who, what, or where are you going for answers?

MD:

Oh, that is so good. Since we’re in the spirit of being fully transparent, one thing that I’ve really been trying to do is make sure that I’m making time for myself and for the things that do give me inspiration. So I’m someone who likes alone time. I like to walk outside in nature, it’s part of one of the wonderful things about living down here in Raleigh. And so I’m struggling with balance. I’m trying to figure out how do I make sure I’m giving my brain and my heart and all these things space to think and feel and make sure I’m not just a machine over here. So that’s what I’m struggling with.

But honestly, I’m looking to other people. I think a lot of folks have figured that balance out or seem to, I don’t know, they seem to from the outside. And so I’ve just been asking folks for their advice on how they make time for themselves. I’ve got a toddler at home and I run my own business. My husband runs his own business. I get to talk to fun people like you, so it’s hard to fit in some me-time, some mental break time. So I’m always looking for advice on mindfulness and how to get that mental break-in.

AW:

Yeah. I sit on the other side with adult children. And so my one piece of advice is there’s nothing more valuable than scheduling it.

MD:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

AW:

Because we think it’s just going to happen and it does not. When you say toddler, run your own business, husband runs his own business, I’m like, this is not just going to happen.

MD:

Sure. Yeah. I got to plan a quarter ahead or something.

AW:

Yes. For sure. Well, Melanie, thank you so much. I hope you’ll come back and chat with us again one day, just a wealth of information. Where can our listeners follow you?

MD:

Yeah. So if you look for me on your social network of choice, you’ll find me Melanie Deziel, D-E-Z-I-E-L. I’m sure we’ll share some links with you all as well. I spend the most time on Twitter. So if you’re a Twitter person, you’re in luck, but my website is storyfuel.co. So storyfuel.co. And there you can find information about me, you can find all my social links, information about the book, all the different principal resources that we’ve been talking about here today. All of that is at storyfuel.co.

AW:

Yeah. Your site is great. It was a great tool. And I was out there. I was smiling thinking I don’t know who gets all the information, but I was downloading everything and filling everything out because they were just powerful. So on behalf of From Hello to Yes, Melanie, thank you again for joining us today.

MD:

Thanks for having me and letting me share my story.

AW:

Wasn’t that mind-blowing? And did you think, duh, this is so good and so simple. Melanie Deziel is brilliant. One of the hardest parts of generating content is coming up with the ideas and boom, you now have a framework to go from one content idea to a hundred or even 500 by using Melanie’s simple systematic process for brainstorming and creating content across multiple formats, focuses, targets and more. It’s no wonder that after reading Melanie’s book, many of us at SalesAmp have her framework posted on our wall. So if you’re the one at your company responsible for generating the editorial calendar for the year, you’re welcome. And don’t forget, all the resources mentioned today can be found in our show notes on the salesamp.com podcast, along with other episodes. So that’s a wrap. Remember in this fast-paced world of marketing and sales, we are better together. Thanks for joining us on the From Hello to Yes podcast. And we hope you’ll join us again soon. Bye for now.

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