With 2014 fast approaching, now is a good time to start thinking about your content marketing strategy for the coming year. The following 14 tips will help you generate truly epic content marketing ideas and develop a powerful content marketing strategy for 2014.
Use these content ideas
1. Conduct a survey
Use SurveyMonkey or Toluna to conduct some research among your readers, followers, or industry members. Share the results in a blog post, infographic or video. It’s useful for you, and it’s useful for your readers. And if you’re out of survey ideas, solicit suggestions from your readers or followers. Opening the lines of communication and letting your audience become co-creators gives them a higher stake in your content.
2. Do an interview
Interviews are an easy way to create useful content without too much writing on your part. Do a bit of research, prepare thoughtful questions, and let your interviewee do the rest. Film the interview, post the video, and post a transcript of the interview on your blog.
Who can you interview? Try a thought leader, a customer, or your CEO. If you interview a thought leader or your CEO, you can reach out to your community a week in advance to ask what questions they would like to ask your interviewee. That’s great for community engagement, and it’s great for creating some buzz about your content!
3. Run a contest
Everybody likes free stuff. Run a contest and give away a good prize that is relevant to your industry. If your contest asks for Twitter or Facebook engagement (for example, participants are required to tweet a caption for your caption contest), you can get extra exposure.
4. Write a book for your business
And I don’t mean an ebook. Nothing says “industry leader” like having written the book on the industry. Collect the blog posts that have proven most popular (and useful) and reconstitute them into chapters, or parts thereof. You can also create new content entirely, if you’re so inclined. Bonus points if you can get your book picked up by a major publisher.
5. Maintain an FAQ
Ask your customer service representatives which questions they get asked often and create (and maintain) an FAQ answering these questions. Or you can ask your community which questions they have about your industry. You can then maximize the amount of content you create by making one blog post (or video, or infographic, or Slideshare…) per question, and create one blog post with all the questions you answer and a link to each piece of content answering them.
Generate great topic ideas
6. Stay relevant with current events
Be relevant by keeping abreast of current events:
- Follow the news and be the first in your industry to share a relevant story.
- Open Site Explorer will identify the most popular posts on news sites, making it easy for you to write good response posts.
- Leverage pop culture icons or happenings by relating them to your industry. For example, “What [people in your industry] can learn from Breaking Bad.” Then, not only is the content timely and culturally relevant, it is also educational, useful, and shareable.
7. Use forums for ideas
Getting Google Keyword Planner to tell you what’s relevant to internet users is great, but you can also find out directly from the source. Follow different forums like reddit or industry-specific ones to find out what is currently being discussed or what information people are seeking out, and then create content directly addressing those topics.
Venture beyond blog posts
8. Repurpose and share content across platforms
When you get a topic idea and mine it for keywords to target, get the most out of it by creating several pieces of content about it and on as many platforms as possible, rather than one lonely blog post.
- If you or members of your team give presentations, post the slides on SlideShare. Transform your numbered list blog posts into a set of slides. Use relevant keywords.
- Use Pinterest to showcase your product.
- Create a slideshow of a recent event on Flickr.
- Transform your best content into a whitepaper PDF or ebook.
- Create videos of your presentations, your products, how-to tips… any relevant thing you can think of. Screenr is a good tool for making screencasts.
9. Create infographics
Infographics deserve a special effort, because they’re that useful. They get shared almost twice as much as blog posts.¹ They aggregate a lot of interesting information visually, catering to the curious and the visual. Find data on a particular topic online (and cite your sources) or conduct a survey yourself. Piktochart and infogr.am are two free services you can use to create infographics and boost your shares.
Refine your strategy
10. Become a Twitter pro
Here are some tips to make your Twitter content marketing strategy truly epic in 2014:
- Ask a question on Twitter and write about the responses – especially if you can get thought leaders to engage with you.
- Maximize your reach: @someone shares the tweet with your followers who also follow “someone,” whereas .@someone shares it with all your followers.
- Followerwonk can help you find your competitors’ followers. Follow them and cater to their interests by tweeting the content they’re interested in.
11. Target the different personas
If you haven’t already identified your client personas and started targeting each one, make it one of your 2014 resolutions to do so. Figure out who your customers are, what kind of person typifies each customer segment, and then write for each of these personas. Personalizing the content you create by persona will help you maximize your reach and the effectiveness of your content.
Minimize your work, not your relevance
12. Make lists of found content
You don’t always have to do all the work. Create a list of quotes relating to your industry, or share a list of the best YouTube videos or infographics on a given topic. Tweet links to the most relevant news daily. Use Storify to make an engaging list of interesting social media posts by others. Storify makes it easy to notify those whose posts you use, increasing the chances that they will share your content.
13. Get user-generated content
This is another easy content generation method, because you’re not doing the writing – you’re asking someone else to do it for you. Ask for guest post pitches from your readers, and publish the best ones. It benefits you, it benefits the people writing for you by giving them exposure, and it benefits your readership by heightening the sense of community and the level of engagement.
14. Do weekly reviews of your content
Do you use your newsletter to send your subscribers a roundup of your posts of the week? You can create a blog post, a set of tweets, or even a video that serves the same function, providing summaries of and links to your content from the last week. Help those who missed your content the first time around find it now, neatly and conveniently located in one place.