How to Brainstorm Great Lead Generation Content

Last night, I dreamt I was being chased around New York by a “free e-book!”offer come to life. There it was, hovering in the air like a Thanksgiving Day balloon, threatening to retarget me to death.

This speaks to two things: my crippling inability to maintain work/life boundaries and, more importantly, the ubiquity of annoying lead generation content. Land on most tech blogs, and you’re immediately hit with a passive-aggressive prompt to download a Guide to Marketing Automation. The only way to make it go away is it is to click “I’m a weak parasite on society and don’t want to generate more leads.”

As more downloadable e-books, guides, webinars, and reports flood the web, it’s harder and harder to get people to convert. That’s because most lead gen content isn’t very good, and people are wary of falling into the marketing funnel of hell.

marketing funnel of hell

You should only gate content if there’s a real purpose behind the gate. The main use cases: webinars (because you need to send invites/reminders), educational courses (because you need to send the next series), and exclusive subscriber content.

gated content

Even more important than the format of your lead generation content is its originality and impact. Most lead generation content is generic and boring. So how do you come up with great ideas?

Our favorite lead gen exercise

To start, you need a structured brainstorm. Traditional group brainstorms where everyone sits around and throws out ideas are proven to be extremely ineffective. With my team, I love to start with a silent brainstorm, in which everyone spends the first 10 minutes writing down as many ideas as they can on Post-Its. The only prompt I give is that the idea should be original and help our target audience see the world differently or be better at their job.

Then, as a group, we map each idea onto four quadrants, with one axis representing originality and the other representing impact. We agree as a team on where each idea falls. Usually, the best ideas land in the upper right hand corner because they’re very original and likely to make an impact.

lead gen brainstorming grid

One of the ideas that came from this process is our free content strategy course. You can sign up for the lead gen module here to access free lessons and tools, including this brainstorming worksheet.

We hope it helps, and if enough people take the course, who knows—those free e-book offers might just stop haunting my dreams.

Image by Frank Vessia

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