How to Create Great Content Marketing Ideas (The Holistic Way)
You’ve discovered the wonders of content marketing! Even better, you’ve done some research and found out how it works together with SEO. You’ve read some fantastic articles about lead generation and creating article series, and you’re ready to put all that knowledge to use. Your business can benefit from this marketing technique and you’re ready to give it a try! The only problem is… you’re stuck. You don’t have any content marketing ideas.
Don’t worry, it’s a normal feeling that we writers are used to. A blank page on an early morning has been known to drive us wild with its demand to be filled. In the same way, your website is a platform on which you can publish anything. You have so much freedom to experiment with content and style and huge potential for your business. It’s exciting.
It’s also probably the reason you’re stuck. The number of metrics you need to meet with each piece of content is staggering. Will it build my brand? Will it bring in leads and encourage sales? Can it increase my traffic? Will this idea have any worthwhile keywords at all?
All these thoughts can stifle any creativity you could bring to the table, but have hope. Content marketing is a long game. If you’re lucky, you have room to experiment, so find your voice first and put organic traffic to the back of your mind for a while. If you don’t have the luxury of all that space, you have the Ingeniums blog to help make the most of your output.
Four Factors of Quality Content Marketing
Over time, you can succeed in those marketing metrics as long as your work meets these four factors:
- Is it well-written
- Are there resources?
- Is it new, interesting or relevant?
- Have you used SEO?
It’s worth noting that these are not in any particular order. All of them are important, and meeting all of them in every article is hard work. Unfortunately, there isn’t any magic formula for content marketing.
The attempt to find one is the cause of our current plight: content saturation. In almost every industry, search engine results pages are crammed with articles that are largely the same. Some are better formatted, longer or more up to date than others, but when it comes down to the line, consumers can’t tell one from another.
If you rely on tried and tested lists of content ideas, your content will read just like everybody else’s. Your brand recognition will suffer. And you’ll quickly grow tired of writing formulaic blog posts that don’t cut through.
Instead, your content marketing needs to be driven by originality. Your content strategy needs to be holistic and integrated into your daily ways of working.
7 Techniques to Stimulate Creativity
There are reasons why associate creativity with ‘sparks’ – your brain is electric, and creativity is a complex neural process. By thinking about the same things and repeating the same actions all day, you’re dulling your brain’s ability to access complexity. These techniques will help you start rewiring for ingenious ideas.
1. Write your Content Marketing Ideas Down.
Sometimes, great content marketing ideas do fall out of the sky. We put a lot of work and strategy into creating ideas, and most of the time that does the job. However, we still need to pay attention to the ones that come when our backs are turned.
For example, I was riding a bus through Birmingham city centre and noticed all the bus advertisements were the same as they were in April. It’s 2020, you can imagine that marketing budgets shifted from Outdoor to Digital pretty quickly. But there’s an idea: when people are staying closer to home, how can billboards and posters do more?
I wrote it down.
Simple as that, write down your ideas when you have them. You and I both know you won’t remember it
Whether you write it in a notebook, create a Trello card or send it to yourself on Slack, it doesn’t matter. Record the ideas somewhere, so that next time you’re stuck for ideas, it’s right there.
2. Do Your Homework
There’s a reason bad copy is a slog to read: it was a slog to write it.
When you’re not sure what you’re writing about, who you’re writing for, or where the article is going, writing can feel like a bad dream. You’re running and running but just can’t get away from the feeling of being caught.
The solution for this is simple: research.
Research your Audience
Find out who your audience is using simple tools like Google Analytics or your social media channels’ insights. Knowing your audience means knowing what they care about, and can target your idea creation at these subjects. You can also use Keyword Research tools such as Ahrefs to find out what terms people are searching for to find you.
Know Your Industry
If you’re creating content for your own business, you know a lot about it. Even if you don’t think people will be interested, you’ve got opinions. You know what questions people ask most often, what processes are most exciting, and what developments will have an impact on your industry. Your opinions are important – write about them.
Even when you’re working for a client, you need to know enough about what you’re writing to have something valuable to say. Become an expert in their industry. Talk to them. Get invested, develop your own opinions and write those down, clearly and with conviction.
3. Find Inspiration from Other Articles
Reading successful articles from other companies is a great way to get inspiration for content marketing ideas.
Sometimes they are fantastically written, with clear signposting to the most relevant sections, great imagery and a whimsical turn of phrase that keeps you engaged all the way through. Note down what it is you love about the style. Think of ways you can use these in your own work, or which clients they might suit.
But it’s not just about copying what’s great. A successful article from another company may be successful because it’s the best available article on that subject. It provides useful content that interests your audience but hides it in jargon, boring paragraphs and poor content organisation. Sometimes the information is out of date, or misleading.
Look for the places where this article can be improved. Can you rewrite it with more scope, more focus, up to date, clearer language, or better graphics? If you can improve a resource for your audience, your new content becomes the benchmark.
Update: Take a look at your own archives, too. You might be able to refresh some of it in the same way.
4. Experiment with New Formats
If you’re reworking an old article idea, you can liven it up a bit. Trying out a new format can unlock some of the constraints of the familiar. Changing up your format can shuffle around your thoughts and lead to great content marketing ideas.
The following list of content ideas can help you get started as you freshen your style:
- Convert top articles into a SlideShare – Presentations like this one use visuals and varied typography to add texture to a quick opinion piece.
- Interview an Expert – Give your clients a chance to shine in front of their audience by quizzing them about their latest business development. Interviews can give you a range of voices in one article and help your readers add a face to the brand name.
- Research Summary – Results of a recent survey in your industry have just been published, and you’re going to explain them to the world in layman’s terms. Get your expert credentials
- Question of the Week – Choose a customer query from the past week and answer it, in detail, on your blog. Chances are, other people will have the same question.
- Demonstration Videos – Humans process visual aids more quickly than written instructions, so how-to videos are always popular. Viewers can follow along while the video plays, rather than stopping to scroll and read the next step.
5. Set Yourself Some Limits
Working from home in 2020 has really split creatives, with some finding the lack of stimuli constricting while others thrive on experimenting with new limits. Sometimes having a completely blank canvas can cause us to freeze. Limits give us something to bounce off, forcing us to be creative to work around them. Try it: draw yourself a box and think inside it.
- Free-write for 15 minutes; rewrite for 5 – When we have less time to do something, the most important information comes across.
- 1 Key Point – challenge yourself to write an article about one great argument, explaining fully and giving it room to breathe.
- Write by hand – by changing your usual typing technique for something completely different, you can remove all the distractions and habits that come with it, the temptation to delete and edit every few seconds. Edit when you type it up later.
- Use voice notes – Don’t allow yourself to write at all. The temptation to try and reach perfection first time around leaves you stumped before you’ve even started. This is especially useful if it’s a how-to piece- imagine you’re talking to your target audience.
6. Collaborate for Content Marketing Ideas
Grab one of your colleagues and agree to work together on a couple of articles – you’ll benefit from each others’ perspectives and be able to create something more robust and flavourful. You could even swap article series and become a ‘guest blogger’ to inject some new energy into the content schedule.
Another, less disruptive idea surfaced when I discussed this article with fellow Ingeniums writer, Chelsea. She suggested we quote our colleagues and clients.
“Make the most of the assets you have and use the knowledge available to you within your team.” – Chelsea, Ingeniums writer.
Their expert knowledge and good advice can help highlight the more technical details, as well as showing you’re human.
7. Give Yourself Some Space
Take five minutes before you start writing to just breathe. You can meditate, make notes or just sit staring out of the window, it doesn’t matter. Every time you rush into an article, you’re going to churn out another list of ideas. When you take time to let the important points rise to the surface, you give yourself space to write a well-reasoned argument. You never know, it might just be that easy.
Great Content Marketing Ideas come from you, not list articles
At Ingeniums, we practice what we preach. When our ways of working are leading us into boring, formulaic copy, we mix it up. We value quality content over quantity, so we take the time to find the great content marketing ideas that matter to our readers. We figure out how to deliver those ideas intuitively, and we back them up with experience and data. For more great content marketing ideas, read our thoughts.