34 inspiring ideas for creating great marketing content

Posted by Jennifer Horowitz on 23 Dec, 2014
View comments MarketingContent
Regularly producing content helps garner authority in your field and gives search engines something to munch on, but where do you start?

34 inspiring content marketing ideas

2015 is going to be a big year, we are predicting lots of changes in Search and Social. One thing we know for sure, is content will continue to be crucial to your marketing strategy.

The sheer volume of content needed can be overwhelming – Blog posts, social media posts, emails, newsletters, infographics, videos and more. To help you start the new year filled with inspiration and ideas, here are some great suggestions for your content. All of these ideas can be used for email, Blogs, social posts and more.

1. WORD OF THE DAY:   Social Media and Blog posts don’t have to be all serious and formal. Have some fun with it. Once a week try posting a Word of the Day. Use it in a sentence and ask your followers to comment/reply using the word in a sentence also.  Remember, you can set the tone – do you want silly and fun replies or are you looking for something more serious and thoughtful? Shake things up and vary the tone from week to week.

2. QUOTES:  Everyone loves a good quote, whether it’s from a celeb, a scholar, a historical figure or even an unknown person (if the quote is good enough). Find quotes that you can tie into your product or service and the pain point of our target market. It’s also OK to go “off topic” (more on that in just a minute) and just share a quote that impacts you – even if it’s not related to your industry.

3. RANT:  No one wants to hear about how your dog ate your wife’s shoe and your kid broke the TV and your car wouldn’t start BUT everyone enjoys a good rant that’s relevant to them. Think about what your ideal prospect might be ranting about and do a little rant on their behalf.  Get worked up and they’ll get all riled up along with you. Don’t abuse this strategy but definitely use it to incite some passion from your followers.

Bonus Tip: Once you have them riled up, be prepared to follow up with a solution – your cred will skyrocket if you solve problems.

4. WHAT IF:  No better way to engage your followers than to get them to put their thinking caps on. Ask a “what if” question and get them to reply. As always, you can be goofy and have some fun or you can be serious and this could be the first step in getting them to make a purchase.  It could be “What if money was no object, what is the first thing you would do” or it could be something like “What if I told you I could solve your xyz problem, would you be interested”

5. OFF TOPIC / PERSONAL:  No one wants to follow a stuffy, corporate Blog, site, newsletter or social media account. People want to get to know the people behind the brand. Share some (appropriate) personal info or off-topic stories. Sports, music, movies, funny kid stories are all examples of conversational topics that engage followers. Be creative and let people get to know you and your interests – that is what will get you the best results.

6. NEWS/TRENDS: You could talk about general trending topics and news or items specific to your product/service and industry. You don’t have to break news, but you can share it or share your insight and opinion into whatever the news topic is.

7. MUST FOLLOW:  Bring attention to influencers in your industry and other colleagues, friends or accounts you discover that are sharing valuable content. It’s a great resource for your followers and it’s a great way to get people to notice you and many are even likely to reciprocate.

8. PRODUCT/SERVICE TIPS:  Be helpful – offer people tips on how to use your product or service, or how to care for product, or when to replace parts etc. Also, don’t hesitate to let people know when you have a special offer on any of your products or services.

9. PREDICTIONS:  Want to go down in infamy for being a psychic? Make a bold prediction. It could be as simple as the outcome on a sporting event or something bigger about your product, service or industry. It could be serious or in jest. Don’t miss the opportunity to invite engagement – have your audience share their opinion on your prediction or their own predictions.

10. REACTION: Share your reaction to news, changes or trending topics. Again, these could be related to your product/service or industry or not. Be funny, be controversial, be bold.  Decide how you want to be known and live up to that in all instances. Sometimes you can get away with being a little “cheeky” and other times you can’t. Use your judgment and be authentic and you should do just fine.

11. IMAGES:  Not surprisingly, images get shared, liked, retweeted, +1ed (etc) the most. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all. Post some fun pics. Get creative, be interesting and if you can, also find a way to use some of your images as a teaching/training tool for people. This works for Blogs and social media posts. Canva.com is a great tool to create images that are free (or very low cost, they have $1 stock photos you can use). You can also upload your own images/photos and you don’t need to be a graphic designer to use it.

12. COMPANY NEWS:  Keep people updated on the latest and greatest news from your company. Won an award? Brag a little. Got new staff? Introduce them. Adding new products or services? Promote ‘em.  It’s your profile/Blog/newsletter, so you can do whatever you want with it – just keep in mind that if you do too much of any one thing, it gets tiring. Keep it fresh and interesting by varying the types of posts you share. Don’t be afraid to promote your goods, but don’t stop there – offer a lot more – trust me, you’ll get a lot more out of it.

13. PEEK BEHIND THE CURTAINS:  Social Media (which includes Blogs) created transparency in business. It allows us to peel back the curtains and reveal what magic happens behind the scenes. Let people in to peek around. Pics of staff, or projects in process are always fun. Pics of your desk or your fave book or a video of you explaining things are all really popular.

14. QUESTIONS:  We are generally pretty narcissistic. We love the sound of our own name and our own voice. We love to be heard and we love it when someone specifically asks to hear what we have to say. Pose questions for your followers/readers  – it’s a surefire way to get them involved. Try open ended questions and try being creative in the questions you ask. Don’t forget to acknowledge everyone and maybe share the best responses.

15. SHARE STATS:  Stats lend credibility to your position. Shocking stats inspire sharing and commenting. Dig deep and get creative in the stats you share. Typically these would be focused on your product/service or industry – but I’ve already given you permission to go off-topic too!

16. CHALLENGE:  Challenge your followers to do something. It could be as simple as RT/Like/+1/Share (etc) or it could be to go out and do a dance in public, record it and share it on social media (think Ellen DeGeneres type challenges). Challenges are fun and interesting but they are even better when they lead to more exposure for you (and your Brand). Challenge people to take pics in public with a big sign that says “I Love XYZ Brand” (or whatever other fun thing you come up with).

17. REVIEW:  Review something – a product, a service, a book, a movie, a song. Whatever it is, let people know why you are doing it and what you think. If you take a controversial approach, you’ll get more responses. Most importantly, be authentic. Don’t fabricate controversy to get responses. People can sniff out fakes.

18. PARODY:  A good parody can spread like wildfire. Think Weird Al. Think Sarah Palin spoofs. Get creative and share your parody with the world. Saturday Night Live may not come calling, but your fans will likely respond.

19. CARTOON:  Who doesn’t love a cartoon? It’s another great way to share a message visually. Not everyone has the talent to create their own cartoons, but there are plenty out there that you can legally share. Maybe “Friday Funny” can be your thing.

20. MEME:  If you’ve spent 3 seconds on Facebook, you’ve seen a meme. Have fun sharing the millions that are floating around online or create your own (just google “meme generator” and you’ll find tons of free tools)

21. SURVEY:  Survey your audience. It gets them involved and it also gives you material for future posts – you can share the results of your survey.

22. POP CULTURE REFERENCE:  Everyone loves a good pop culture reference. After Sex and the City, how many times did you hear “he’s just not that into you” and how many times have you seen mentions of The Most Interesting Man In The World? Find a good tie in to a song, TV show, movie, celeb or other pop culture or current events – you’ll see your exposure increase.

23. PICK OF THE WEEK:  You could take this in so many different directions. Pick a follower/fan of the week that you can promote, or a Blog or site of the week.  A product or service or tip. Find something that exists out there in cyberspace and promote it as your “Pick of the Week”.

24. GIVE AWAY:  Give aways work well. Offer a book or report or discount (or anything you want) to the first people that respond or share or like your post etc. Have fun with this one. Just be sure you know and respect the rules of the social platform you are posting on. Many have guidelines when it comes to contests and give aways.

25. INSPIRATION: We can also use a little inspiration in life. Share motivational and inspirational quotes, images and stories. Tie messages of inspiration into promotional messages for your product or service.

26. CONTEST:  In addition to give aways, there are all kinds of contests you can host on social media platforms. Online scavenger hunts, quizzes, caption contests and so much more. The only limit is your imagination. It’s worth repeating – make sure you follow the contest guidelines for the platform you are on.

27. PROBLEM/SOLUTION: People buy for many reasons, but the underlying reason is usually to solve a problem. Reminding prospects of their pain (problem) and the solution (your product/service) is a great way to motivate your followers to check you out.

28. DEFINITION:  Define lingo, jargon and other complex terminology related to your product or service. It’s better to keep the jargon to a minimum in your everyday social posts – but if there is jargon out there, be the one to define it for your followers.

29. JOKE: Everyone could use a good laugh. Even if you aren’t the funniest naturally, the internet can help you out. Head to Google and you’ll find a ton of jokes – likely even ones about your product/service or industry. Take a little time for the giggles. Your followers will appreciate it and it’s a great space filler when you can’t come up with anything else to say.

30. FAQ:  Review your FAQ on your site and pull from there to create helpful little posts for your followers. Better yet, ask them what questions they have and answer those.

31. CROWDSOURCE:  Feeling a little uninspired? Hey - with this post at your fingertips, you shouldn’t be! But in case you still can’t come up with something, take advantage of crowdsourcing to generate your posts. Ask people to share their tips, advice, experiences, thoughts on your products or services and then share/RT etc their responses.

32. CASE STUDY:  Case studies are a great form of Social Proof and they are great tools to educate consumers on the benefits of your product or service. Write up a killer case study, then write a dazzling teaser for it and push it out via social media.

33. HOW TO: If someone has a problem, they want to know exactly what to do to solve it. Simply adding “How To” to a post is a great strategy that most site owners don’t embrace and implement enough. As soon as you add “How To” you are communicating a promise to people – they click and they learn how. Remember, your prospects are all about what’s in it for them.

34. CREATE URGENCY:  Scarcity is a great motivator to get people to act. They don’t want to miss out! Tip: Fear of loss is a greater motivator than desire to gain! That means people are more often motivated by missing out on something than they are by the thought of gaining that same thing.  Write about merchandise being in limited supply, or a special offer that is disappearing soon. It even works with free reports you are offering or free consultations. Creating urgency is a great way to get people to act now and not procrastinate (as we all tend to do).

Those ideas should get you started. Remember to be creative and have some fun with it.  Please share any ideas you have, we’d love to be inspired by you!

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