Is your well of content inspiration everlasting?
Or are you currently staring into the bottomless, black abyss of the idea void?
If you’re in the second camp, you’re not alone. One of the top concerns for content marketers is project management flow, of which the beginning stage is conception – coming up with those great, profitable content ideas.
For scope, 32% of content marketers rate their project workflow as “fair” or “poor.” Another 31% rate their flow as “good” (which we can read as meaning “meh”).
As you know, and as this survey shows, using content marketing does not guarantee amazing results.
Content marketing is nothing more than a framework – your vehicle for delivering your ideas and creativity.
The success of the content campaigns you conceptualize and execute is totally up to you…
…And that can be a daunting thought.
Don’t let it paralyze you, though. You can come up with campaigns that drive traffic and engagement, boost your brand visibility, and more.
Your content can effortlessly flow from conception to a fully-fledged, successful campaign.
Every content marketing endeavor has to start somewhere – so why not begin with the seeds of ideas?
That’s why, in this post, we’re sharing idea-generating tactics for blog campaigns, social media campaigns, and email campaigns. That includes prompts to get you brainstorming and a few examples for inspiration.
Ready to nail the “conception” stage of content marketing ideas?
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3 Ways to Come Up with Content Marketing Ideas for Blogs
How do some people seem to be never-ending idea machines for blog content?
Hint: They’re not idea machines. They just have a strategy.
As it turns out, there are a few skeleton ideas you can use and re-use to create posts that deeply appeal to your audience.
Lots of content marketers do this: They take a skeleton topic and branch out from it in many directions, or they follow a formula to come up with many different original posts.
Here’s the first skeleton topic: Be totally open and honest with your readers about a facet of your business.
1. Get Transparent
In this age of gimmicks and “fake news,” building trust with people is worth its weight in gold.
Luckily, that’s what content is about. It’s a bonafide trust-builder.
When brainstorming your next blog series, consider taking that one step further. Get even more transparent with your audience.
Before I go any further, stop for a second and think about what being transparent in business means to you. What can you share to show the flip side of the coin?
Here are some starting points:
- Get into dirty details.
Share a failure, a misstep, or a wrong turn you or a client took. Break it up into a two- or three-part series of posts. The final post should detail what was learned and/or gained from the experience.
- Showcase how a product is made.
This is the ultimate behind-the-scenes look. Take readers into the bowels of your business and show them how things get done.
Beauty brand LUSH does this to great effect on their YouTube channel:
The comments on one video (“How it’s made: Big Shampoo”) speak volumes – customers LOVE this kind of transparency.
- Share the exact steps you took, tools you used, etc., to reach a goal.
Your know-how is incredibly valuable, so sharing it with your audience is a quick way to earn their trust. Detailing the practical steps you took to success can result in readers looking to you as a mentor in their own career journeys.
A great example of this type of content comes from the Buffer Social blog. The team there regularly show the actual steps they take to get results in content marketing and traction with their software.
This post on social media engagement contains lots of concrete steps the Buffer team uses, including personalizing their signatures when they send messages:
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the gifts. 🙂 If we can ever help with anything, don’t hesitate to reach out! -Nate
— Buffer (@buffer) January 27, 2021
2. Get Friendly
In a similar vein as getting transparent, get down-to-earth and friendly. Open up and show that real humans are the center of the company.
Think about how you can show off this human side of business. There are lots of ways to do it. For instance:
- Post a series of staff interviews.
Let your readership get to know the team behind the shiny brand façade. Include fun details like favorites, and let staff members explain in their own words what they do day-to-day.
We’ve done this on The Write Blog with great results. Here’s an interview we did with one of our copywriters/content strategists.
- Introduce yourself.
Feature a post that lets people get to know you/your client on a personal level. It’s all about putting a friendly face to a name.
3. Get Analytical
Coming up with blog content marketing ideas can be as simple as analyzing your stats and data. Looking at metrics like your traffic and engagement numbers can help you determine which topics win with your audience.
Then, you can give them more of what they want!
- Look at your top-performing posts, then follow that same formula to create new ones.
Which blog posts hit it out of the park for your brand? Check for ones that draw in lots of traffic, but also look at metrics like engagements, shares, and conversions.
Once you find the winners, analyze why these posts did so well. Was it the topic? The way you approached that topic? (i.e. Did you use lots of examples and images? Did you do a case study?)
Follow the lead of winning posts and repeat the process – same approach, different topic or subtopic.
For even more ways to come up with blog content campaigns, check out our blog topic ideas guide.
2 Easy Ways to Find Your Next Big Social Media Content Marketing Idea
Need some ideas to stand out on social? Check out these suggestions to get your brain gears turning.
1. Crowd-Source Content
Since the point of social media is, well, being social, crowdsourcing content is always a great idea.
The gist is that you put out a call to your followers to submit photos, tweets, selfies, or posts that tie into your brand. Then, you publish the submissions.
You can approach this in many different ways and ask your followers to get creative.
NASA did it a few years ago, to great effect:
They asked their followers to submit selfies that answered the question, “Where are you on Earth right now?” using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie. NASA then rounded up these photos and used them to make an incredible photo mosaic of Earth:
On Earth Day this year, NASA asked people all around the world a simple question – “Where are you on Earth Right Now?”We asked people to answer the question on social media, with a selfie. The goal was to use each picture as a pixel in the creation of a “Global Selfie” – a mosaic image that would look like Earth appeared from space on Earth Day. The mosaic was made with 36,422 individual images that were posted to social media sites on or around Earth Day, April 22, 2014. To see & zoon into the mosaic, visit: http://www.nasa.gov #earth #earthrightnow #globalselfie #nasa #space
Not only did NASA crowdsource content, they also figured out a way to use that content and turn it into the crowning glory of the entire campaign.
2. Think Visual
According to data from Statista, the social media platform with the highest year-over-year growth is Instagram, hands down.
Each year, the platform adds at least 100 million new, active users.
And, most of Instagram’s base are posting photos. (No surprise, there.)
Why do we love sharing photos so much and seeing them in content? According to John Medina, the bestselling author of Brain Rules, it’s because vision trumps every other sense:
Thus, for your social media campaigns, always think about how you can get visual (and not just on Instagram!). How can you incorporate photos, video, graphics, or any other type of visual media into your social content for higher impact?
For inspiration, look at what other marketers have done with images in their social media campaigns. In addition, try this idea on for size:
- Start posting campaigns on Instagram and Facebook Stories.
Posting to Stories can be a great way to boost your visibility, as platforms like Facebook and Instagram take ALL your account engagement into consideration. Interactions and views from Stories help the algorithms determine whether to prioritize your posts in people’s feeds.
Since Stories are usually temporary or on-the-fly, they don’t have to look as polished as photos you post to your feeds, either – a great benefit if you don’t have the budget or time to make your Story images or videos look snazzy.
Plus, if you dive into Stories, you won’t be alone. According to the State of Social 2018, 68% of social media marketers plan to create more “Stories” content in the future:
2 Email Campaign Ideas for Impactful Communication with Your Subscribers
Blog content and social media campaigns are one thing. But, coming up with email campaigns gives many marketers nightmares.
Good news: It doesn’t have to be that hard.
Here are some easy suggestions:
1. Recycle Blog Copy
One of the easiest ways to promote your published content is to send out a mini email campaign reminding your list to check it out.
However, you don’t even have to write up original email copy to do this. Instead, sometimes the blog intro can do double-duty and serve as the perfect persuasive nudge.
Here’s an example of a recent email campaign we did. It’s simply a paste of the blog intro we want people to read. Add a great email headline, tweak the lead-in at the end, and it’s done:
2. Round-Up and Wrangle Your Content
Another easy way to set up an ongoing email campaign:
Send out a round-up that wrangles your latest content into one convenient place. This helps your readers never miss a post, and can give older pieces more traction.
A perfect example comes from MarketingProfs. They send out a newsletter called “MarketingProfs Today,” which is a digest of their recent content offerings.
Along with links to each featured content piece, the newsletter includes a short summary to help you decide if you’re interested in reading it:
This is a super-easy way to keep your readers updated on your content roster, and can help promote pieces both new and old.
For your own email campaigns, think about how you can promote your content in simple ways like this, that draw more eyes to your work.
Need More Content Marketing Ideas? Start Broad, Then Branch Out
There’s a formula to these various seeds of ideas:
For each one, we start with a very broad concept. Then, from that one concept, many smaller idea sprouts shoot up.
The best part: You can go back to your broad concept ideas over and over, and keep using them to generate new content ideas.
Make sure each idea can map to one of your larger goals. I do this by bucketing my ideas – if it doesn’t fit into one of my goal buckets, I scrap it.
Finally, it’s important to remember that creating and following a content strategy will make it much, much easier to generate great content marketing ideas consistently.
So, have you started nailing down your brand strategy yet?
If the answer is “no,” it’s time to start.
The Content Strategy & Marketing Course will teach you everything you need to know – including how to become a content marketing idea machine using real data to back you up.