We have a confession…
Whipping up fresh, new content marketing ideas? Sometimes it’s HARD.
(Yes, even for us super-duper creative types!)
It’s true. We’ve been in the content marketing biz for years, yet there are still times when we get stuck coming up with new ideas. It’s one thing to write a blog post title, but coming up with great content marketing that sells? That’s a whole other ballgame.
Every piece of content must be created with purpose and meaning—so coming up with the best content marketing ideas is KEY.
We’re going to let you in on our content marketing topic creation secrets—just some of the creative tactics we use to consistently win over the competition. Let’s get started.
#1. We Join Conversations
If you’re not using social media to build community and learn more about your target audience, you’re underutilizing it. Here’s how to use social to find great content marketing ideas:
Participate in Twitter Chats
You’ll meet a lot of people, and trust us, they ALL have something to say. Listen and engage accordingly. Oftentimes, after just a little social listening, content marketing ideas will furiously flow. Learn these Twitter Chat basics to make the most of your Twitter time.
Join Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn
Facebook Groups tend to be more personable than LinkedIn Groups, which naturally lean toward business. Try both to learn more about where your target audience hangs out most. (Hint: It really depends on your market.) Observe conversations in these groups for trends and build relationships with members. You’ll gain tons of great content marketing ideas and insights.
Follow Influencers in your Target Industry
Who are the influencers in your target market? They’re the people who (in some shape or form) have power (and thus, influence) over others. When they talk, people listen. Identify who the top influencers are in your industry and observe what they’re posting about on social media. See: Post Planner’s Quick Ways to Find Top Influencers on Twitter.
#2. We Slow Down & Look Around
Great content marketing ideas are everywhere! …but we often get too caught up in our busy lives to open our eyes and see what’s right in front of us. When you actually sit down, breathe, and take a moment to see and feel what’s around you, you just might find that inspiration has been sitting near your coffee or by that photo of your children the whole time. Take a look around you and try to see everyday objects in a new light. You’ll be surprised what sparks a fire inside the content marketing machine within you.
#3. We Read, the Old Fashioned Way
We love reading articles online just as much as the next guy, but nothing beats reading ‘the old fashioned way’ to drum up more content marketing ideas. Make it your mission to pop open a new book at least once a month. If you don’t have time to read the entire thing, skip through and take notes on what you like. Choose popular books that resonate with your industry and audience. These books don’t even need to be new. Check out Amazon or eBay for deals on dated reading materials and see what older content marketing ideas you put a modern spin on.
#4. We Keep Scrapbooks, Idea Boxes and Image Stashes
Since you’re now in the habit of being more observant (after reading secret #2 and secret #3), we encourage you invest in a scrapbook or grab an old shoebox to use as an ‘idea’ box. Fill your book or box with anything you find interesting that you pick up along the way. It might be an intricately designed brochure, a paper coaster from your favorite local pub, or even an old movie ticket. When you’re feeling ‘stuck,’ pull out your box or book.
- Bonus: As noted here on Rewire Me, collecting things we love is good for our brains and our lives. Doing so can help “build observational skills, improve organizational thinking, awaken a desire for knowledge, inspire creativity” and more. Neat.
#5. We Use Awesome Tools for Guidance
We also rely on a bunch of great tools when we’re brainstorming up our next great content marketing ideas. A few we use include:
- BuzzSumo – Quickly and easily research and monitor trending topics.
- Google Trends – Find out how often a search term is entered in relation to total search volume.
- Quora – Search questions to find your target audience’s specific problems. How can your products, services, or company provide the answers they seek?
You don’t need to go crazy racking your brain for fresh content marketing ideas. Inspiration is right around you (and often free of charge). Coming up with great content marketing ideas on the fly starts with being more observant. You might just be amazed at what you’ll discover!
Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.
You’ll learn how to:
- Increase Your Referral Rate
- Increase Your Social Media Reach
- Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
- Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
- Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
The internet is a continuously evolving, independent marketplace. This seems to overwhelm most small- to medium-sized companies who wish to leverage digital tools to increase their bottom line.
What is a business to do with continuously decreasing profit margins cutting into their shoestring marketing budgets?
The prices of traditional mass marketing avenues — such as display advertising, cost per action (CPA) marketing, behavioral targeting, search engine optimization (SEO), and even online pay per click (PPC) marketing — are increasing, with limited resources available to track the effectiveness of such campaigns.
So how can you continue to blindly devote your hard-earned dollars toward these approaches?
Do you even know if the marketing dollars you spent funneled back to you to contribute to your bottom line? Or did they merely evaporate into the marketing abyss of Unknown Results?
The problem that many small and midsize businesses are facing is the inability (or I should say “lack of resources”) to manage all of the new, fragmented online marketing avenues that historically bring in limited target data — or no data at all, other than mere “exposure.” Businesses need more data to competitively leverage their product or service in today’s online marketplace.
With rising costs and limited resources to “experiment” with new online marketing channels individually, how does a small to medium-sized business even think about competing online today?
Many C-level business owners are hanging their heads low and sweeping their internet marketing pipe dreams under the rug, feeling unable to successfully coordinate their fragmented online marketing efforts, to return results, and to follow up with potential leads.
Chin up, buttercup — there’s HOPE!
Savvy C-level business owners have a plan to get their organizations in line and ready for this new frontier of online content marketing: They are using their own online real estate to do the work for them, and they’re using the most relevant marketing automation tools available to facilitate the development and definition of buyer personas; to develop educational industry-related content; and to strategically map trackable pathways through their site, so they can organize their leads by name and level of potential value.
So now that you have an idea of what the smart business owners are up to… as the resident marketing genius in your organization, you should re-evaluate your traditional marketing efforts and strategize the new directions you can take with today’s online marketing automation tools.
This means you’ll need to create:
- Buyer personas (the internal processes necessary for self-promotion)
- Industry-relevant, educational content that your audience craves
- A content map for your online real estate, so you can ultimately guide the right personas into quantifiable leads for your organization
That may sound like a simple 1-2-3 approach, but I can assure you, it takes a team to make this happen, and it’s probably going to be a rough road.
I applaud your moxie in deciding to embrace this entirely new frontier of content marketing. But you’re gonna need patience in your new journey. The level of creativity you will exhume, the education you will receive along the way, and the fulfillment you and your team will feel will be well worth the investment of time, energy, and (most importantly) financial resources you put forth — both qualitatively and quantitatively.
Connect with me on LinkedIn and lets’ talk about where your business stands, what kind of strategies you can develop for moving forward, and the online tools that you can use to make your content marketing plan a success.
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Connect with Nicholas online: LinkedIn
I pride myself on being on the frontlines of technological updates, standards, and breakthroughs so we can get out in front of new tools, programs, and approaches we’re going to need to keep pace with work, life, and everything in between. I like to prepare as best I can on all fronts.
That being said, one thing evaded my radar and I didn’t understand the true impact of my lack of attention until I found myself once again trying to stay ahead of the game, a little late in the game.
I purchased a brand-new February 2013–release model of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display and all of the other cool bells and whistles that go along with it.
The screen is OUTSTANDING. I may have terrible hearing (or so my wife tells me), but my vision is spectacular, and having the privilege of owning this new MacBook is truly a pleasure.
The only thing is, I was used to creating my graphics a certain way. Any graphics I produced started in Adobe Illustrator, then moved into Photoshop for finishing and web prep or whatever else was needed. If I needed a 900 x 250 pixel banner for a website, that was pretty normal, right? Well, not anymore.
As I was looking at some graphics I had created for the web in the past, even my own photography, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been looking to the future AT ALL in respect to how graphics in web development and computers were evolving.
I couldn’t believe the quality difference in what I was seeing. Those brilliant individuals who stayed ahead of the game and created graphics for sites that were now optimized for Retina display BLEW MY MIND.
A quick test on my new MacBook showing our newly redesigned Cultivate website that’s in development vs. our existing GROW blog header clearly proved the point of NEEDING to stay on top of this trend in graphics resolution and learn as much as I could about how to streamline a process for implementing Retina-compliant graphics into new developments I create — both personally and professionally.
Check this out. . .
Look at the difference between the logo images as shown on the new MacBook Pro with Retina display (click to enlarge). I think you’d agree that the quality difference is insane.
Armed with this new insight, I’ve been circling back to transition the graphics for our new website so that the quality of our graphics will blow people’s minds just as those optimized graphics did for me the first time I saw them on my new screen with Retina display.
As this trend in high-resolution graphics evolves over time into the new standard, how are you going to approach the subject? Have you even thought about it yet? Are you thinking about it now?
How are you changing/will you change your processes in graphics development to keep pace with screens featuring Retina display?
I know there’s some discussion of SVG formats being the new web standards soon, and that would rock — but what about all those graphics (like photographs) that can’t really be vectorized? There’s still some uncertainty there, it seems. What’s the best approach to handle this Retina Resolution Revolution right now? And what do you think it will be 6–12 months from now?
Web developments and graphics remained fairly standard for a long time. Web technology, coding, and design evolved, for the most part, at a pretty typical pace in accordance with Moore’s Law.
But Retina display was a huge eye-opener for me — one that only came as I immersed myself in the technology. Sometimes we can’t stay ahead of the game until we see and feel what’s all out there for ourselves.
I want to hear your thoughts on this topic and start a great discussion because I’m sure there are many of you reading this who have already taken a huge leap into this new high-resolution frontier.
Please contact me, comment below, or share this article with your friends — I really want to hear everyone’s take on this latest trend and what you’re all doing to respond to this exciting new development. (And don’t forget to check back this fall to see our newly redesigned website featuring graphics optimized for Retina display!)