Hey, content marketer! You’ve landed here because A) Your current content strategy isn’t helping you meet your business goals, B) You feel you lack content ideas or C) All of the above. No matter the reason, you’re in the right place. Let's explore how to elevate your content strategy through effective content ideas
Consider just how much content is in front of your prospects right now. They’re flooded with news, social media posts, emails, commercials, and pages upon pages of Google articles. There is no shortage of information out there, so, spoiler: The secret to getting your prospects’ attention isn’t adding to the noise with haphazard blog content - especially not when your end goal is conversion.
The sad reality is that people don’t see 99% of content that’s on Google, because the majority of content doesn’t appear on the first search results page. And the percentage of readers who don’t click past that first page? A whopping 75%. A marketing plan and content strategy powered by strategic content ideas are imperative to attracting new business.
Combining Content Marketing Ideas and SEO
Simply put, content marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly - great on their own but better together. The two should work hand in hand as part of your brand’s content strategy. Gone are the days of publishing content just to have something on your blog page. By focusing on quality content that’s fueled by keywords over quantity, you will see an increase in visitors - visitors who eventually convert into customers and clients.
Become a Resource First, Gain Business Second
Developing a content strategy that puts your prospect at the center is the key to serving them well. With a sound customer-focused strategy, brainstorming valuable content ideas becomes easy. You'll become an expert at developing content that answers the questions about your product, service or industry that are swirling in your customers' minds.
That’s right. Start by answering their questions, by gaining their trust and by becoming a resource. The goal is to become so valuable to your prospects with the free content you provide, they return to your site again and again. Ultimately, these returning visitors will become brand advocates and customers once they’re ready to take that step.
According to Hubspot, the three steps that prospects go through to become customers are:
Gain awareness about your brand
Add your product or service to their consideration pool
Make a decision to become a paying customer of your business.
Let’s dive deeper into how to become the resource your prospects learn to trust before they become a raving fan and loyal customer. Because, of course, in order to buy your product, they first have to discover your brand.
Building Your Brand’s Content Strategy
Imagine throwing a dart at a target... blindfolded. That’s essentially what you’re doing by posting content with no content strategy.
A content strategy should clearly spell out who you are, who your target audience is, and how you can help them through content marketing. Your strategy will become the voice of reason when members of your team pitch content ideas - you’ll clearly know which ones work and which ones don’t - or when you’re faced with the daunting question of where to post and share your content.
To create your content strategy, here are some questions to answer:
What can your business offer that competitors can’t?
Not only should you identify what your business offers but also how your offering is different from everyone else’s in your industry. It could be your killer training tools, your employee’s expertise or your beautiful packaging. Knowing why your customers turn to you will offer insight into the types of content you’ll be good at creating.
Who is your reader?
The goal here is to really know and understand your readers. Don’t fall into the trap of defining your target audience as everyone. That answer won’t help you produce the best content. Instead, think about your best customers or clients -- the ones who love working with you and your feelings are mutual for them. Create customer personas for those people who come to mind. What keeps them up at night? What are their goals? What is their reasoning for using your product or service? And make sure to include their demographics! The more relevant detail you can provide about them, the better.
Where does your target audience get most of their information?
Now that you know who your audience is, determine their most-used resources. Are your customers likely not on Instagram? De-prioritize IG. Do your best customers always read your newsletters? Add that to the list of places your content should be seen. Honing in on where you should be creating content will help you know what types of content to include in your content strategy. Better yet, the place your customers are most likely to see content is also often the place they’ll most likely share content - hello, more website traffic!
What types of content are relevant?
Based on where your customer is most likely to get his or her information, it’ll become more obvious which types of content are relevant for your brand. For example, if you have seen success with newsletters, you’ll want to create more content that’s click-worthy and digestible through emails. Keep reading for tips on brainstorming content ideas plus our favorite content marketing ideas for any industry.
Brainstorming Content Ideas
Even now that you know your audience and what types of content you should be producing, it’s still easy to get stuck when brainstorming content ideas that are valuable for your customers.
Start the brainstorming process with keyword research to understand your prospects, but follow along, because about 80% of SEOs and marketers do keyword research wrong.
You should dive into keyword research with the goal of finding the burning questions your readers have. The best content answers those questions right away, so focus on uncovering terms your prospects are searching for that are relevant to your industry. You'll use those insights to determine the challenges they’re facing and how you can help.
Make a list of all the keywords you come up with that are both related to problems your prospects have and solvable by your products or services. The best content ideas are the ones that allow you to weave in your offerings, as you aim to add them to your prospects' consideration pool.
Cross-Industry Content Marketing Ideas with Impact
With a list of data-driven content ideas in hand, it’s time to create! Here’s a list of some of our favorite content marketing ideas that can work for a variety of industries. Based on your findings from above about the types of content you should be creating, narrow this list to fit your business. The winning formula is to take a content type from below and combine it with a content idea from your keyword research.
Articles & Blog Posts
This content type focuses on describing your customers’ pain points while offering simple solutions -- bonus points if these solutions lead back to your business. Use these posts to offer a free sampling of the expertise you have to offer. Keep in mind that you’ll see the most impact from blog posts when you can post articles consistently to keep readers engaged with your brand.
Whereas articles and blog posts are good for offering no-strings-attached resources to your customers, white papers are a great method for capturing leads. Unlike blog posts, white papers are persuasive, authoritative, in-depth reports on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. They can take between a few weeks to a few months to write since they warrant much more research than blog posts. However, this time investment justifies requiring a reader to enter at least an email address for download.
Demonstrations & Other Video Content Ideas
What better way to answer your customers’ questions than with a demonstration? Not only is video a powerful tool for showing rather than telling, but video content will also help pull back the current, allowing your customers to better get to know you and your team. The more connected a customer feels to your brand, the easier it is to gain their trust. Use videos to showcase your industry expertise and to highlight the value of your offerings.
Keep in mind that for any video content ideas, you don’t have to have fancy video equipment to create good video content. Thanks to the popularity of video, it’s become the norm to shoot on an iPhone. Here are a few tips to capture the perfect video with an iPhone.
How-To & Buyers’ Guides
If creating videos doesn’t seem doable or if you want to supplement your videos with more content, how-to guides are an excellent resource. Remember, your potential customers might not yet know how your offerings can solve their problems. Your goal is to explain this with beginner-level information and step-by-step instructions. These types of guides also prove your knowledge and leadership within your industry.
Common Questions and Answers
Building a community is an impactful way to be an influential member of your industry. By creating a community forum or by sponsoring an existing community, you can create a place for users to post questions and get answers from their colleagues.
An Industry Directory
Make your website even more valuable with a directory that showcases other industry websites, news, and resources. By creating a space on your site dedicated to describing these resources and linking customers to them, you’re positioning your brand as customer-focused. Your website will also become a go-to for prospects who return for that list of resources.
Influencer marketing shouldn’t be ignored. Even if you’re a local business, micro influencers in your area can be quite valuable for building brand awareness. A recent study of marketing professionals showed that 94% of those surveyed said influencer marketing was an effective campaign strategy. So, how can you add some influencer ideas into your content strategy? Read more about influencer marketing to find some inspiration.
Unleash Your New Value-Driven Content
By following the steps we’ve laid out in this post, you’ll walk away with a clear content strategy that leads to better content ideas. The more strategic your content is, the more it'll attract your ideal audience... First as readers, then as loyal clients and customers. That, friends, is the power of valuable content.
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