The best part about sourcing content ideas from your web chat logs is knowing those topics are valuable to your customers. After all, these are the questions and comments your customers submit to you via their preferred medium: web chat.
Every conversation is logged — but don't let those transcripts just sit there. Your chat logs can supercharge your growth marketing efforts. By repurposing customer queries into quality content, your business is better equipped to solve problems and engage your audience.
Whether you're working solo or you've got a small marketing team behind you, repurposing your chat logs is a great way to reach your customers. We've broken down this process step-by-step.
Step 1: Create a framework.
Consider how long you've used web chat.
If you've only used web chat for a short time, you probably won't have vast amounts of data to analyze. That's okay. You may decide to wait until you've amassed more transcripts. Alternatively, you might like to save time by evaluating what you already have.
Know what you're looking for.
Frequently asked questions, technical problems, general information, or even customer complaints — determining what you're searching for will expedite the review process.
Here's an example. Let's say you're a marketing specialist for an HVAC company using automated web chat for small business. While reviewing the chat logs, you read a query from a customer who needed to repair a leaky air conditioner. The chatbot walked them through the process of booking an appointment with one of your technicians. But beyond that, the conversation didn't provide any additional value.
Here are a few content ideas you could extract from that conversation:
- Why is my A/C leaking? 5 answers from a certified technician
- 3 simple ways to tell if your A/C unit needs repair
- How to prepare for your HVAC maintenance appointment
Identify your goals.
Now that you have a clear direction, consider the end goal of your content. Narrow it down from “generating more leads” or “converting readers into prospects".
What step(s) do you want the reader take after consuming your content? Do you want them to subscribe to a newsletter? Make an appointment? Download a content offer? Sign up for a free trial? A combination of all of the above?
All you need to do here is identify your goals. Creating an action plan comes later.
Determine your timeframe.
Before you dive into the transcript trenches, set distinct start and end dates for your review. Filter your chats by these dates. It doesn't matter whether your chats are automated, live, or a mix of the two. Analyze everything.
Step 2: Review your chat logs.
Divide review tasks and set deadlines.
If you employ an in-house marketing team, assign tasks to each team member to streamline and accelerate the review process. One team member might tackle chats from the month of June, another might review transcripts from July, and so forth.
If you're going solo, break out review tasks in manageable chunks. Keep your framework handy during your review. If your bandwidth is low, you might like to schedule 30 minutes to an hour on certain days to review.
Depending on how much data you're working with, the initial review process could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Set deadlines and clear expectations to keep your team (or yourself) on track.
Using your preferred note-taking method, jot down valuable queries and pain points. You don't need to make things pretty or organized at this stage. Speed is key here. If you're working in a team, you might like to collaborate in a document or spreadsheet to keep everything in one place.
Review analytics last.
Before you start extracting content ideas from your chat logs, briefly evaluate your live chat analytics. This includes chats started and completed, the ratio of automated to live chats, clicks-to-call, etc. Don't stumble into the analytics trap — stick to your KPIs. Pay attention to UTM tracking data — this shows you which search results pages, ad campaigns, and external links drive people to your site.
Step 3: Regroup and brainstorm.
By now, you should have a long list of potential content ideas extracted from rich customer data. Now it's time to get creative. Here's how to continue building on to your list of content ideas.
Host a brainstorm session.
Brainstorming shortly after your review keeps your ideas fresh in your mind. Here's how to host a productive brainstorm session. Our example focuses on teams, but you can also host a solo session if you're a team of one.
Step 1: Set up your space and gather your team.
Your session should be fun and comfortable. Whether it's a conference room or even an outdoor venue, cultivate a space where your team members feel at ease. Set out coffee, drinks, and snacks if that's your style.
Choose a moderator to lead the session and set time limits. Be sure to have plenty of visual aids on hand. Whiteboards, colorful pens, highlighters, notebooks, sticky notes, index cards — pull out whatever tools will help inspire creative thinking.
If you prefer to brainstorm on a laptop or smart device, that's okay, too. Just be aware that these may cause distractions and hinder your creativity. Pen and paper also allows you to see your thought processes more clearly.
Step 2: Awaken your creativity.
Once you've settled in, consider playing a warm-up game to get your creative juices flowing. The word association game is a popular choice. In this game, the host calls out the first word that comes to mind. Moving clockwise, the next team member quickly calls out a related word, and so forth. Do this for a few rotations, or set a timer for a couple of minutes.
Step 3: Start brainstorming.
When you're warmed up, dig in. Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes and start dumping ideas onto the page. And we do mean “dumping” — you're going for quantity, not quality.
While brainstorming, keep your review findings top-of-mind, but don't limit yourself. Even if you have an idea that's not related to your chat data, jot it down. There's no such thing as a bad idea during your brainstorm.
Don't try to box in your ideas, either. For example, you're not brainstorming article titles or SEO keywords. Doing so will only frustrate you and hold you back. Just come up with broad topics, in whatever format they occur to you.
Most importantly, stick to the time limits you set. When the timer goes off, put down your pens or close your laptop. Take a breather, chat about something unrelated for a few minutes, then reset the timer and start again. Repeat this process a few times before moving on to step 4.
Step 4: Take a longer break and let your ideas sit.
Vacate your brainstorm space for at least 15 minutes. Let those ideas marinate for a bit. Have a snack, take lunch, or go for a short walk. Putting some time and space between your brainstorm session will give you more clarity when you return.
Step 5: Regroup and refine.
Now that your team is feeling refreshed, return to the drawing board. Compile all your ideas and start evaluating.
This list will probably be pretty long. That's okay. In fact, it's exactly what you want. From here, you can start weeding out ideas that don't quite fit your goals.
How you choose to approach this refinement process is up to you. It could be as simple as drawing a line down your whiteboard, with “good” ideas in one column and “not so good” ideas in the other. We say “not so good” instead of “bad” or “awful” — remember, there's no such thing as a bad idea in a brainstorm session.
At the end of your session, you should have a list of workable, relevant ideas.
Step 4: Plan and schedule your content.
Now that you've got a robust list of content ideas, it's time to get organized.
Add your ideas to your existing content framework.
Flesh out your ideas into working titles. Decide the best medium for each idea — blog post, infographic, video, etc. It's okay to have more than one medium for a topic. After all, repurposing content into different formats is a great way to extend its lifespan and provide the best value to your audience.
Do your SEO homework.
Type some of your customers' queries into Google and see what pops up. The “People also ask” section mid-page and “Related searches” at the end of the page will come in handy. Use Google Keyword Planner or a similar service to discover search volume and average page bids.
Schedule your content.
Now that you've distilled your rough ideas into content topics, set tentative deadlines for each piece. The more ideas you have, the more agility you'll enjoy. In other words, if something comes up, you can adjust your content calendar accordingly.
Step 5: Create, publish, and promote your content.
You've planned and scheduled your content. Now all that's left to do is get to work! Follow best content creation practices. Craft catchy headlines, provide actionable advice, and make your content engaging and accessible.
Step 6: Rinse and repeat.
This review and repurpose process doesn't need to be a one-off. Consider reviewing your chat logs every so often, perhaps once every 6 months or a year. Subsequent reviews will likely be less intensive than the first. You might not generate as many ideas your second or third time around, but that's okay. You'll always find valuable data to inform your marketing campaigns.
One more thing about HIPAA compliance
If you're in the medical or finance fields and subject to HIPAA regulations, it's best to avoid the sensitive chat data logs altogether during your review. While you might like to create content around general, frequently asked health questions, these shouldn't come from your sensitive logs.
Creating content from customer chat log data: wrapping up
Blog post generators, downloadable lists of social media content ideas — these can certainly fill gaps in your content calendar and help you formulate fresh ideas. But active listening is the best way to discover and learn more about the challenges your customers face.
It can be tempting to set up a chatbot and let it run on autopilot. Apart from saving your team a bit of time answering customer questions, that approach isn't helpful in the long run. To ensure maximum ROI on your webchat software, review your chat logs regularly and repurpose that data to craft content that attracts, engages, and delights.
How do you use customer data in your content marketing strategy? We want to hear from you! Click the chat window on the righthand side of your screen, or connect with us on LinkedIn.