How to Use Email for Content Ideas

How to Use Email for Content Ideas

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Repurpose Your Email Responses

Here’s a tip if you need help with your content writing needs: Repurpose email for content ideas. A McKinsey analysis reported that the average full-time professional in the U.S. receives 120 messages and spends a staggering 2.6 hours per day (28% of the workday) on email. And that was in 2019!

Statista reported, “In 2021, users in the United States spent approximately 172 minutes daily checking their personal emails, compared to around 149 minutes daily spent checking their work emails.”

If you and your team are spending that much time on email, doesn’t it make sense to repurpose your response efforts?

Content Marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies your business could undertake. But the big challenge is often coming up with ideas – what are we going to write about? Didn’t we cover everything?

Long Form Emails vs Short Blasts

Granted, if you receive a mountain of business emails every day, most of your responses are very short. You probably aren’t thinking of using email for content ideas. In some instances, you probably don’t have the time even to answer. But within this landslide, every single day, there are vitally important emails that require thoughtful, strategic, well-researched responses.

How Do You Begin to Repurpose Email for Content Ideas?

You can’t hit what you can’t see. Look for and identify the opportunities. Which emails are the most important, require the most thought, and demand research? If you have more than one, put them in order of relevance. Prioritize customer outreaches and then work on the rest. Remember Content Marketing requires multiple sources of ideas and information.

Look to respond to your most important emails by providing responses that include one or more of the following:

  • Descriptions/instructions — the how-to emails
  • Lists of resources
  • Futurist predictions based on statistics and experience – a “look into the future”
  • Expert opinion or feedback

Sources for Email Content Ideas

Sources for content ideas land in your inbox every day. Keep an eye out for solicitation/sales pitches that can be positive or negative. Press releases and public relations outreaches are often a solid resource. Subscribe to daily media newsletters and industry-specific media outlets. Check guest blogging requests, job solicitations, and review what colleagues cc you on for possible ideas.

Multi-Tasking Fatigue, But This Works

It’s been proven in studies that people that multi-task (and love to brag about it) are producing inferior results because they are not focused on one task at a time. Tip –  When you want to repurpose email for content ideas, do this first: Write your email responses in a Word doc. Don’t compose your critically important response in the body of an email. By composing your response in Word, you now have the beginnings of a content piece already in the format most writers use to compose blog articles, reports, or site pages. Setting up your email for content ideas in a Word doc also saves editing time.

Research Then Repurpose Email for Content Ideas

An example of research is when I recently received my Search Engine Journal newsletter blasting out the news about ChatGPT – a story that blew away the news cycle going front and center worldwide. Sensing something sea change worthy, I did the following:

  • Read the article in full (yes, the entire article).
  • Vetted the ChatGPT website looking for their story.
  • Tested ChatGPT.
  • Vetted the people involved.
  • Google searched for reviews and naysayers.

How Can Breaking News Like ChatGPT Be Used?

Tip: You can use the research in two ways.

First, you can send an email notification to your clients as an information and opinion piece. This would show you are on top of technological breakthroughs. It would also be a way to stay top of mind with your clients.

A second way to use this research would be as the foundation for a blog article that will help your SEO, inform your readers, and provide content that could be indexed by Google. This will also send the search engines the signal that your website is producing new content consistently.

How Would a Sales Pitch be Used as Content?

Tip: Another example is using a sales/solicitation email from another company as a reverse solicitation. First, thank them for their information. If they provide products or services that you’re interested in investigating, set up a meeting. If what they are offering is not of interest, then do some research on their company. If you can help them, then outline a response showing your value to their business. This is a sales technique where your response to the solicitation is to sell your service(s) to them.

Note:  Remember, If the company trying to sell you services or products doesn’t have a need your firm can fill, then don’t attempt to sell them.

Case in point. We recently received an email from an IT consulting firm. The pitch included their core services as well as a case study. When I reviewed their website, I found the following:

  • No badges of certification.
  • No social media badges.
  • No calls to action.

I then became curious and decided to do a quick audit of their organic search rankings, content, and any marketing strategies I could find. This is what I discovered:

  • Not on Page 1 in Google searches.
  • No blog on the site.
  • No Google Ads.
  • Tiny online footprint.  

Sell the Seller on You

The IT firm had a legitimate site but no marketing program. They have a need, and I simply moved the conversation to their marketing needs. Our return response email to the IT firm listed our Google Partner and certifications along with our recognition for PPC services and a call to action.

Tip: What I realized was I could repurpose that response as an add-on to our About page.

Directory Emails: A Gold Mine for Content Ideas

One prominent directory we are listed in sent an email pushing for referral traffic. The offer was a contest. The more people we could send to their site to write referrals about our business, the higher our company position would show in their internal search engine. From this email, we performed research on etiquette for asking for referrals and best practices. That research could be turned into a how-to piece on recommendations as a short eBook, blog post, or slide deck. Using your email for content ideas could also be a shared process where your writing staff compares their email ideas in publication meetings.

Industry Publication Email for Content Ideas

One of our core specialties is working with law firms. To stay informed, we subscribe to The Recorder newsletter. Each edition of the newsletter addresses legal issues, current trials of note, and industry news. Within the current trial coverage are stories about law firms that have successfully represented clients. Many of these stories describe firms that are often a good fit for our business.

Tip: Whatever industry you focus on, industry publications do feature stories on businesses you are interested in working with. These stories can be used as a basis to write a profile/breaking news blog article about your targeted prospect. Once you publish your feature, you can then repurpose the article and send it to them as an introduction to you and your company.

Perception is Key: Email’s Value to Your Content Marketing

If you are able to perceive email as an opportunity to support the task of generating ideas for your content marketing, you can ditch the “it’s a necessary evil” attitude. It’s this shift in attitude that will help you see the value and take advantage of the time you spend answering important email inquiries.   

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