Content marketing is more important now than ever. It is, in my opinion, the best form of marketing. It’s honest, it’s authentic, and done correctly, it provides readers with high quality content. But businesses creating content simply for the sake of creating content should think twice about their marketing strategy.
Internet users understand the difference between content that is high in quality and content that is low in quality. It’s important to provide value for your readers. So as content marketers, you have to be constantly creating excellent content.
When creating content, you first need to think about your goals. Are you trying to generate more leads or get more sales? Do you need more brand awareness or recognition? Are you trying to increase your social media following? It’s good to get clear about what the goals of the content are before you start creating it.
The next step is to generate a list of ideas. You may want to have a brainstorming session with the rest of your team and just list all of the ideas that you have. It doesn’t matter if they are bad. Sometimes you have to go through ten bad ideas before you can come up with one good one.
How can you come up with any ideas if you don’t see yourself as a creative person? I actually believe that everyone has a spark of creativity within them. They just need to cultivate it.
Maybe you need a list of ideas to get you started. Fortunately, I have compiled a list of ten content marketing ideas for you.
1. Liven Up Your Blog
In the early days of the internet, having a blog was a great way to stand out. Everyone has a blog nowadays. There are now over 500 million blogs according to hostingtribunal.com.
This may be overwhelming. You may wonder how your blog is ever going to stand out in all that noise. However, your blog can still be relevant in 2019. You may just need to get creative about your content and try new things on your blog.
There are a lot of different ways you can breathe new life into your blog. You can try posting interesting quotes pictures, infographics, or captivating videos. You can post interviews or listicles. Tell a story, start accepting guest posts from other authors, or post images with captions. The possibilities are endless.
2. Do More Guest Posts
Finding other related blogs and writing good, quality guest posts is an excellent way to bring new visitors to your website. How do you go about finding new blogs to post on? It can be as simple as going to Google and typing your keyword + “write for us”.
When you find blogs that accept guest posts, be sure to read all of their guidelines thoroughly. They all have different preferences for their guest posts. Some of them will want you to send Word documents, some of them will want you to send Google docs, and some of them will want you to paste your post directly in the email.
Don’t just guest post for the sake of guest posting. Consider the blog’s audience and construct content that they would specifically appreciate.
3. Use the Keyword Explorer from Ahrefs
One good way to explore popular content related to your keyword and get inspiration is by using the AhrefsKeyword Explorer. You’ll type in a keyword, like “lawn care,” for example. Then it will generate a page for you that will show you related keywords, the search volume, and the top related content.
Browse the content, see what other people are writing about your keyword, and come up with your own ideas based on that. Don’t just copy another person’s post, though. That can get you penalized in the Google search results. So make sure anything you write is original.
4. Use the SkyScraper Method
Like the keyword explorer, the SkyScraper Method involves finding a great piece of content and creating something similar but better.
So the first thing you have to do is find a relevant piece of content with a ton of backlinks. Another great tool for finding exceptional content is the Content Explorer from Ahrefs. You can sort by referring domains to find the content with the most backlinks.
The next step is to create something better. How do you do that? Make it longer. If their list is a list of 10 items, make it a list of 25. See if the content is outdated and if the content can be updated. Include images and screenshots. Give it more depth, and provide more actionable tips for the readers.
5. Utilize the Power of Storytelling
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools for emotional connection. It’s wired in all of us. There’s a reason your parents read stories to you as children. Stories connect us to one another. So there’s nothing more powerful than a good story from your brand.
There are a lot of different ways you can use the art of storytelling. Try telling a story in video or in a blog post. Tell the story of your brand on your “about us” page. Have your customers tell their stories in testimonials. Use social media platforms to tell stories across multiple channels. There are so many approaches to storytelling that you can try.
6. Question & Answers
Everyone loves a good Q&A. Have someone interview or ask your own questions. Make them relevant to your field. Then answer your own questions.
You may want to use this as a blog post or as a page on your website, but it can also be a great brainstorming activity. You may find as you are answering questions that an idea comes to you for a different piece of content.
You can also interview other thought leaders and subject matter experts in your field. Interviews always make for captivating content. You can do them in blog posts, podcasts, or videos.
7. Capitalize on Current Events
This could be as simple as capitalizing on whatever the season is or whatever holiday is just around the corner. If you have a jewelry store, Valentine’s Day is a great day to get customers into your store. If your business is a landscaping business, spring and summer are going to be very active times for you.
Depending on your brand, this could also mean commenting on current events. You don’t necessarily have to comment on controversial events (although you may want to if your brand involves social justice or something like that), but there are always events in the public consciousness that you can connect to your brand.
A great example of this is the video Shutterstock did parodying the Fyre Festival, a failed music festival that was the subject of popular Netflix and Hulu documentaries.
8. Incorporate User-Generated Content
This could mean gathering reviews and testimonials from your clients and customers. You can have these reviews posted on your website or as video posts. You can post these testimonials on social media or have your customers post them on sites like Yelp.
Another way to use user-generated content is through contests. Have a photo or video contest where the winner gets a valuable prize. You’ll be able to use all of the entries that are posted as content that you can post on your website or social media.
9. Collaborate with Other Businesses
Find other businesses or brands that are related to you but not direct competitors. Some good examples of brand partnerships include GoPro and Red Bull, Pottery Barn & Sherwin-Williams, and Taco Bell & Doritos. (Read more about those here.)
When two businesses or brands work together, they can combine both of their audiences and expose each other to a group of new potential customers or clients. Both businesses expand their audience, and customers are exposed to great, new brands. Everyone wins.
You may want to offer discounts to customers of another business or have them offer discounts to your customers. You may want to work with another business to sponsor an event. Or you may want to feature a section on your website for another business and have them feature you on their website.
10. Use Micro-Influencers
Micro-Influencers are great for promoting content. They can guest post on your website or take over your social media accounts. Like the branding collaboration, the micro-influencer will gain exposure to all of your customers, and you will gain exposure to their audience.
Loyal followers of the micro-influencers are more likely to support businesses that they support. They are also more likely to share your content if a micro-influencer is sharing it.
Micro-influencers can easily be found through Brand24, and most of the time, you won’t have to pay a micro-influencer. Find micro-influencers in your field to get started.
These are just some ideas to get you started with your content marketing journey. Have a brainstorming session and see what ideas you can come up with that are unique to your business and your field. It’s time to get creative!
Sara Crawford is a digital content strategist for WT Digital Agency and an author from Atlanta, Georgia. She has written novels, produced her own plays, and performed as a singer/songwriter. She is passionate about the act of creation, and she adores the written word