Audiences are just drowning in horrible content, even after Google and its Hummingbird changes. Worse yet, people (and companies) are still using methods that are dated and maybe at most one or two ways to market their content.
Let's think about this for a minute. Brands today have more options for content marketing, such as investing in social media strategies, blogs, eBooks, videos, and much more. If you're smart, you'll know that the more ways you market your content, the better the results you want will be. This means consistently coming up with lots of content marketing ideas in order to get more engaging content out there.
Brain burnt out from trying to find fresh and effective ideas? Don't worry, I've got you covered.
1. Animated Pictures
Learn to create short, punchy and funny images people will want to share again and again. Sure, you normally see these on sites known to target pre-teens and humor site lovers only, but you can use this to your advantage by aligning it with your brand. Are you a casual company that prides themselves on having a great sense of humor? Or are you pretty corporate, but want to show your customers that you're also human? It never hurts to experiment with animated GIFs.
2. Online Scavenger Hunts
Who doesn't love a game? Using scavenger hunts can make content marketing fun, for both the creator and consumer. If it's fun for the creator, they'll be invigorated and energized, and will be excited to come up with new ideas. If it's fun for the consumer, well they'll obviously come back for more. You can even use this as an opportunity to revive older content, where you can use clues to lead readers to guest posts, videos, and more. The possibilities are endless!
3. Carry Out a Debate
Don't be afraid to engage with a competitor, or even your own employees, like HubSpot does with their "Marketing Debates" series. Pick a hot topic within your field or what your customers would be interested in, and create some fresh energy via Twitter chats or webinars. It's a great way to get audiences involved, by having them side with one person. Don't just stick with one debate, create a series out of it to generate more momentum.
4. Create Comics
Who doesn't love comics? And have you noticed that comics are circulated around quite a bit? My favorite are the ones from Webconfs. Take advantage of this type of content and create a spectacular comic strip that aligns with your brand. Do you have a company mascot you can use, or even feature your beloved employees? Inject some humor into it, as I'm sure audiences love to embrace their inner geek. Press 'Publish' and watch your content sharing soar.
5. Online Learning Forums
I'm not talking about publishing content on other people's forums. I'm talking about creating your own. Just think about how much value you'll ooze out of your company's pores by creating one stop shop for consumers to look for online education. These can include videos, whitepapers, and even eBooks, just to name a few. Having a space like this online allows you to keep users engaged and help create brand loyalty. And isn't that the goal?
6. Collaborate on Content With Your Audience
I'm not talking about simply using customer testimonials here. Instead, I'm referring to giving your consumers a chance to create content to help you establish your brand. Why not ask your audience to film a testimonial for you from their smart phone? Then have them send it to you so you can collaborate or add onto the content to be published? You can even think about turning your company mission into a retro jingle, created or voted on by your consumers of course. Again, possibilities are endless.
7. Create a Web TV Series
This could be another opportunity to collaborate with your audience, such as creating title shots, or even giving them opportunities to submit scripts. Think about what your audience would be interested, and create a series around that! Stuck for ideas? Start off with a simple Q&A series, and see if you can generate more ideas that way. Or do what we did and connect with a local TV Station and create your own YouTube channel.
8. Email Marketing is Your Best Friend
Just because it's tried and true, doesn't mean you need to ignore. Got an awesome product you're launching? Offer email subscribers a pre-launch offer they can't resist. Or even limited time offers can breathe new life into already existing products.
9. Make a Company Mascot
Even if you don't like the idea of a comic strip, think about creating a mascot. You can inject some fun into your brand, and even use the new mascot to create some interesting content, such as "a day in the life" of the company, or even what your company representative does. Just look at what could have been if your mascot was Grumpy Cat.
Five Quick Ideas for Topic Brainstorming
Now that I have established a number of new ideas for content types, you need a topic or theme that will captivate and engage your audience. Rob Garner, author of Search and Social uses these tips as a starting point for creativity. These tricks of the trade will help you to begin mapping your ideas together into an actionable content strategy and editorial plan.
- Use a Keyword-Research Tool Using one or more of the keyword-research tools is a quick way to gauge the relative search and social popularity of a particular subject at the keyword level. Choosing topics at the keyword level also helps provide you and your content creators with a thematic focus to build upon, either at the page level or for a whole section of pages or assets.
- Use a Real-Time Research Tool Real-time keyword research tools will reveal trending and popular topics. If you are fast enough to produce and distribute content while the topic is still hot, then real-time keyword research will provide you with more than enough ideas to choose from on a daily basis.
- Monitor Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Other Status-Update Networks for Hot Topics In addition to the real-time tools mentioned earlier, monitoring the status updates of your networks is one of the best ways to find out what people are talking about right now. If you need more than 140 characters to communicate additional thoughts on a topic, it might be just enough to warrant an expanded blog post or forum discussion.
- Use Your Brain (or Team of Brains) Have brainstorming sessions and editorial-calendar meetings with your team to drum up new ideas for topics, and do this on a regular basis. While tools can be helpful, it takes a good brain to synthesize your data into captivating content. Be creative, be engaging, and plan topic ideas and themes for weeks and months ahead of time.
- Read Your Analytics Files to Find Out What People Want from Your Site If you have an existing website, you might be surprised to find that many of the people who come to your site already have an expectation of what they want from your content. Reviewing analytics reports will reveal the most popular term referrals and reflect much of the content that is currently on your site. As you determine the most popular terms that your site attracts, also determine the stemmed topics or related themes that would appeal to this audience, and keep them coming back for more.
So dear readers, remember that content is king but engaging content is King of the Universe. Continue to diversify your content assets and it will come back and reward you for your efforts big time. I promise.
Photo Credit: New Ideas for Marketing/shutterstock