Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract and engage clients and prospects. The problem is you need to keep creating content — lots of great content again and again.
Sooner or later, you’re going to run out of ideas. It can happen much sooner than later.
Keep this list handy for the next time you’re stuck. You’ll be back to creating terrific content again in a snap.
It’s okay to create a blog post of the best blogs in your industry. Or to create an infographic pulling data from reports put out by a group of different companies. Taking bits of related content and putting it together to show a body of work or to track a trend is a perfectly legitimate way to create content — and here’s a Social Media Today post to help with content curation. This is a good format for when you’re short on time because you probably already have a list of go-to blogs in your industry. You’ve already done the research.
The wild card of social media is you put content on the Internet, but what people do with it is beyond your control. Borrow a page from this concept for your content marketing. What are your customers doing with your products? How are your clients using your advice? Assemble a piece of content to show what the wider world has done with what you’ve given it.
Lego’s Create and Share section of its website showcases what creative Lego customers have built.
Are there any related news items you could stretch to relate to your products or services? For instance, the World Meteorological Organization is considering a new type of cloud,undulatus asperatus, for inclusion in the International Cloud Atlas. Can you tie this “news” into anything your company does? Can you tie it to anything going on in your industry, or anything your clients or customers are dealing with? Can you even make a joke out of it, like “there is something new under the sun.”
YouTube is a treasure trove of ideas — wacky, wonderful, and otherwise. Spend 30 minutes wandering from video to video, related topic to related topic, until something triggers an idea. Don’t skip the comments either — they often spark as many ideas as the videos.
Get out there and talk to your customers. Scary or not, there’s no better way to find out what your customers want to know than by asking them. This can take the form of surveys, but it can also be casual conversation. Conversation, in fact, often reveals topics a strict question and answer survey might not reveal.
Head over to Yahoo Answers or to Quora to see what people want to know. Answer even one of those questions in detail and you’ve got a blog post. Answer a series of those questions and you’ve got a SlideShare deck. Arrange information in a visual way that helps them understand a complex issue and you’ve got an infographic.
Podcasting is exploding. Have you listened to any of the podcasts put out by people in your industry? If not, get started. Whether you listen at your desk, at the gym, or driving, all sorts of ideas are likely to flash once you think outside of the white screen.
Try to read 2 to 5 blog posts from major blogs in your industry every day. This is a terrific way to fuel tip 9.
Keep a running list of ideas for different topics and content marketing projects. If you can, set up a system that lets you attach 3 to 10 pieces of information to each idea. Blank note cards can handle this, or there are WordPress plugins like WP Idea Stream to help you record and arrange your ideas.
Yes, you can spy on your competition. Get on their webinars. Sign up for their newsletters. They’re probably snooping on you too.
Play around with Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Warning: It can become addictive and time consuming. But how can you resist a content marketing tool that puts out title suggestions like “5 Things Your Kids Don’t Want You to Know About Dogs” or “Darth Vader’s Guide to Lead Scoring Software.”
Portent’s Content Idea Generator can come up with headlines or ideas.
Don’t have enough resources to research and develop your own ebook, report, or large content project? Partner up with another company and share the load. The blog version of partnering could be accepting guest posts.
Find one thing in your content marketing — or in any part of your marketing — that just isn’t working, never has worked, and realistically never will. Stop doing that thing.
Sure, the marketing gurus may say it’s a great thing to do, and it may work wonderfully for other marketers, but not every tactic works for every marketer. Isn’t that one of marketing’s dirty little secrets? A lot doesn’t work that should. You try, you test, and sometimes you fail. This isn’t a problem, so long as you don’t get stuck.
Access what you’re doing on a mobile device to make your content is still usable. Access what your cutting-edge customers are doing with their mobile devices. Implement what you find.
What do your clients or customers need? Even if it’s not related to your products or services, find some way to meet that need. For example, this could be productivity tips for small business people, a yoga studio creating an infographic on simple stretches to do at your desk, or a fishing gear store could put out a map of local places to fish. Find the need and meet it.
What do your clients or customers want to know? See L.L. Bean’s wonderful fly fishing videos for beginning fly fishers, or Adobe’s stunningly comprehensive set of tutorials and inspiration at Adobe TV. Companies have been using free courses and ebooks to promote their wares all the way back to the 40s. Consider Campbell’s Soup cookbooks.
How Campbell’s Soup did content marketing back in the day.