How many times have you seen the same ideas for content marketing labeled as “new” and “innovative?” Or perhaps you’ve had an idea of your own, and then you realized other marketers or their content marketing ideas generator have been doing the same thing for months – even years.
Is there actually anything new under the sun?
Actually, yes. There are always new ideas to discover, even if they are variants on older, well-worn concepts you might have tried in the past.
We live in an age of emerging technology where resources and knowledge are always flowing, always changing. That means there are always unique content marketing ideas and ways to create and distribute content for marketing reasons. After all, as long as there are new forms of technology, there are new forms of marketing.
1. Notes, Notes and More Notes
If you haven’t already, open a spreadsheet or notepad or new Google Doc file. Or you might just create a new note in your phone for ideas as you come across them. Don’t count on your busy brain to remember everything you see and hear as you seek out innovative content marketing ideas. It’s better to jot down some keywords and a URL so that you can access your “swipe file” when you need a new idea and your brain is stumped.
Collect all of these unique content marketing ideas and save them for later. Harness the creativity when it’s running wild and you’ll always have something to fill your tanks when they are on empty. In the world of internet marketing, things tend to be a bit flood or drought. Use the flood to help relieve the drought and you’ll never run out of ideas, especially as you get more practiced at writing them down as you come across new material or inspirations strikes.
Making This Work:
Getting organized is big business, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. A swipe file is just a dumping ground of information you like or links you want to explore. You can create your own single dumping spot or network a few together using social media.
Whole websites are dedicated to swiping marketing ideas and organizing them. Swiped.co is like a Pinterest for marketers. Google Docs and OneDrive can be accessed from anywhere. Just make a point to collect ideas in a place you can get to easily to add or purvey your collections.
2. Find Your Best Old Stuff and Update
We’ve all written posts that have been forgotten almost as soon as we posted them. But some seem to catch the attention of the internet and stay relevant for a while. Those are the posts you’re looking for.
Find the winning posts or your best content marketing blog ideas from days gone by and simply update them.
You see this all the time with websites like Hubspot and Cracked. The oldies but goodies are updated to include relevant information from 2016 or perhaps what they think will be relevant in 2017 or the future. This works especially well when an old topic becomes a hot topic again (as they all seem to eventually.)
Image: The Pasture
Making This Work
You already wrote a great post once, just put it to work for you again. Or if you’d rather now tweak your original post, you can create a follow-up post with new information or tips to implement the ideas you covered in your original one.
As far as the specifics for maximizing that old post, Hubspot does a great job on a step-by-step explanation and how-to.
3. Talk to the Experts
Remember when there was a guru every time you turned around? Now we are surrounded by “rock stars of the industry.” But whatever you call them, we have stand-outs in every industry and most are nice enough to answer questions when you ask politely.
There is a ton of information to learn, and one of the best ways to learn it is to visit with those who discovered it. Or those who have fallen a few times and still remain standing today.
There’s a reason we love hearing from the Elon Musk and Bill Gates of the world. Every time Steve Jobs spoke we sat up to listen. These guys figured it out. And then they tried to help others do the same. You can help share the wealth of information through interviews and articles.
Making This Work
Granted, Elon Musk isn’t sitting in his office answering emails from people he’s never heard of every afternoon. There is an art to making the interview or round-up work.
1.Get to know your hero. If you’re going to interview someone you should know the person well. Don’t embarrass yourself by failing to do your research before reaching out. And don’t be limited by the biggest names. They may be the hardest to reach. Instead, think of the others who haven’t heard from you.
For example, who was responsible for the hugely viral Puppyhood campaign by Purina? If you haven’t seen it, it’s the perfect blend of adorable puppy love and antics with just a smidge of advertising thrown in. Oh, and it has more than 10 million views so far.
Image: Screencap from Youtube
2.Think about what specifically you’re trying to learn from this person. You’re not going to write an autobiography (and they probably wouldn’t let you anyhow.) You’ll probably only get a few good questions in, so think about what you – and your readers – want to know the most.
3.Make the connection for your audience and you’ll be all set.
4. Ask the Real Content Marketing Ideas Generator – The Customers
You know everything there is to know about how to make and sell your product or service. After all, you created it. But what about the other experts? You know, the ones who actually are trying to use this thing in real life? They know quite a bit as well and often have something to say if you care to ask them.
And you should definitely ask them.
Customers are often bursting with ideas, comments and questions. They are excellent resources for ideas for content marketing. There are entire websites dedicated to asking each other questions about things and leaving reviews for products and experiences. Why not take a bit of that traffic and form your own sort of question and answer to help those customers out?
You can create and share innumerable bits of content simply by answering questions that customers are researching.
If you are selling siding, for example, your competitors probably have very nice websites loaded with credentials and contact information. But how many of them are actually willing to talk about the different siding products and installation patterns on their websites?
The answer is not many. Most service websites talk about the company. Most customers are interested in learning about the process. There is a mismatch that can be easily remedied by someone willing to jump in the middle and start answering questions.
Maybe that person is you.
Making This Work
To answer customer questions, you have to know what the customers are asking. There are many ways to do this.
Think like a customer. If you were the customer who knows nothing except they need new siding for their home, where are they going to go for answers?
You’ll find many would-be customer questions on neighborhood groups and Facebook groups asking neighbors for recommendations and information.
Forums may offer information and questions as well you can use for content marketing blog ideas.
Your sales team may already know all of the questions because customers have been asking them for months or years.
5. Keep an Ear on the Industry
Speaking of gems worth expanding, your friendly, neighborhood competition may be just the right people to keep an eye on for new ideas.
That doesn’t mean you should copy what the guy next door is doing, but if you see a topic in an industry forum or discover a treasure trove of information in a Quora thread, it’s yours for the taking!
Your industry is growing and changing (or it should be), and you can be at the leading edge in providing information if you are able to detect the questions before others think to write about them. Set up Google alerts. Join the Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Join Twitter and Google+ chats. Don’t just lurk when you join, either.
Become active and gain a reputation as an expert or at least willing participant. This certainly can’t hurt you once you start writing knowledgeably about the various topics.
Making This Work
While you’re building up your reputation in your social community, waiting for inspiration to strike, go ahead and jump into other popular topics by researching popular topics and questions in Quora. With more than 500,000 topics, you can surely find something worth talking about.
To find the trending topics in Quora, start in the Frequently Asked Questions for a particular topic.
Image from: Quora
Then you can find the most popular questions on a topic (or add a few of your own). You can translate the answer to the questions into a blog post and then link back to your post from your detailed Quora response as well.
When you respond to the popular post, your response will notify all of the followers with your answer and the link to your new post as well, boosting exposure quite a bit.
6. Improve What Is Already Out There
Okay, so it’s not actually new material you’d be writing here. It’s BETTER material. How often have you read a post and wondered why there were only five points when the article could have easily covered fifteen or more? Well, that’s now your job.
Take that shoddy article and make it into something that really addresses a topic in earnest. You can do this with just about any topic or in any industry. Nobody wants to read about 15 tricks for selling your house when the very next article in the search results has 25 tricks!
Building on a post doesn’t just mean making the list longer. You can use other techniques to “skyscraper” your content. Brian Dean of Backlinko fame introduced the term and outlined some methods you can use to build up existing content into the best content marketing ideas around.
- The first is to simply make the post longer. Don’t settle for 40 travel tips when 75 can be had!
- Another idea is to simply update a concept. Revisit a popular blog post or idea with a twist for 2016. You already know it’s a popular idea, and it will probably still be popular with an update.
- Turn the original post into an infographic and you’ll help that idea grow quite a bit. Readers love visuals. According to a study performed by OKDORK and BuzzSumo, infographics are the most commonly shared type of social media.
- Add detail. A good bullet point is good. A good explanation with the bullet points is even better.
Making This Work
The first step to turning good content into truly innovative content marketing ideas is finding the content that’s worth improving. If you’re not entirely sure where to start on that, you can research keywords to see what’s popular and what’s the most-shared content related to those keywords.
Ninja Outreach and BuzzSumo are just two companies that offer marketers the ability to deeply research keywords and social media. In fact, Ninja Outreach offers a full tutorial on just how to do this using their software as shown here:
Image – Ninjaoutreach.com
7. Stay on the Leading Edge
If you’ve been in this internet marketing business for any length of time, you already know that things are constantly falling in and out of fashion. You can use these changes in the industry to create all sorts of blog posts and content updates. All you have to do is share your thoughts on the action of the day.
Simply think of the many phases of SEO if you need an example. There were posts about every Google update and every whisper of a future update. There were posts about content sites falling out of fashion and posts about guest blogging going under. There were posts about being in the sandbox and how to possibly get out of it.
And now there will be plenty of posts about whatever is happening in the industry right this very minute.
The question is how will you know what is happening right now so that you can be one of the first to share your words of wisdom and advice on the topic? Or perhaps you’d rather write a scathing critique of the latest internet happening. Scathing is always good for shares and comments, after all.
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Fortunately, there are many ways you can find trending topics. BuzzSumo has a finger on the pulse of social media, as does Digg and Twitter. You can use Google Alerts to find trending articles and topics in a particular industry or related to a particular keyword. NinjaOutreach, the same software you used above to find trending topics can help you here as well, of course.
Once you find the topic, write about it. Quickly. And share the heck out of your post in hopes of starting up new conversations about the topic. Then, when that fervor dies down, simply find the next topic and repeat!
Or, if the idea of writing commentary only doesn’t suit your blog or audience, use the idea to do some digging. Be responsible for putting the facts behind the topic. Roughly 65 percent of study participants in a project done by Constant Science feel like web content is “hit or miss” or worse on reliability.
You do the research on the topic and let the statistics and facts speak for you like Koozia blog did when the Guardian declared “SEO is dead” back in 2013.
8. Share Yourself and Your Journey
We are a narrative culture. We love stories and cave paintings tell us that we always have. So why keep your own stories for yourself?
As you journey through this world of content marketing, you’ve probably stumbled a few times. You might have even crashed and bounced a time or two. Maybe you’ve been hugely successful, maybe not.
But you definitely have something you can share with others who are out there trying to learn everything they can.
Share your stories, thoughts, and opinions, and they don’t just have to be related to work. Life happens and often the best learning experiences occur when we least expect it. Your creative content ideas can simply be capturing those moments and sharing them with others.
Making This Work
There are many ways you might share your teachable moments with the world. One of the easiest would be to create a hashtag on Twitter, if you’re a regular Tweeter, and then hashtag your #contentmarketinglessons so that followers can see them as they happen and you can go back and do a round-up of lessons whenever you feel like it as well.
Expand a single point into a full story with a follow-up. Chart your journey through tweets and posts. Or post your progress using the Inside blog from iDoneThis where you can send a quick email at the end of the day with your accomplishments and tasks.
What do you think? Do you have any strategies of your own for generating content? Write us in the comments and tell us!