Once upon a time, blogging was cutting edge and content marketing was a newfangled concept. It was easy to brainstorm fresh, new ideas and standout within your industry. Now that blogging has taken hold, it has become a standard part of nearly every marketing strategy, and for good reason: blogs and unique content provide immense value to visitors and increase conversions at a consistent rate.
As content marketing has taken on an air of drudgery, however, it has become more and more difficult to create new content on the scale and frequency necessary to be truly successful. Try some of the tips below to bring some excitement back to your blog.
Find a New Content Format
If you write blog after blog in the same format and structure, well, no wonder you’re bored! Content formats have expanded far beyond the typical blog post to include engaging graphics, unique outlines, and more. Diversifying your content formats expands your audience and attracts new visitors and leads. Some people are drawn to words, while others to graphics – a healthy mix of both will maximize your reach. Converting an old post into a new format or spicing up a boring blog post with new images can alleviate the burden of coming up with completely new content, while still sparking new ideas and drawing new traffic.
Here are three types of content to experiment with, as well as some examples of companies that use these kinds of content well.
Infographics are fairly common but are nonetheless a great way to provide useful information or statistics related to a specific topic in the form of a creative and attractive visual presentation. They can be especially effective for industries that are less flashy and exciting, as they can present a lot of data and information in an easily digestible format.
Check out these examples of great infographics about desk exercises, employment screening policies, and email accessibility. Reading a 1,000 word blog post about these topics might not be the most interesting, but the packaging and presenting the information like this catches the eye and gets the information across much more clearly.
Infographics are also great for sharing on social media, and can even be used in an “old-school” print marketing campaign.
If your target audience is mostly of a younger generation, incorporating memes is one of the best ways to attract and interact with them. The images with humorous text might capitalize on trending news topics, pop culture references, or just a random bit of silliness. They can be posted on social media as a way to direct followers to your site or post, or incorporated throughout your blog posts to create a more casual tone.
You can check out a great example of utilizing memes to create engaging content here.
While memes seem very casual, silly, and easy-to-use, there is often a lot of nuance to their use, and if misused, can do a lot more harm than good for your marketing efforts. Be sure you understand the meme and its context before using it.
Memes are by nature viral creatures, so capitalize on the trends to stay in touch with your audience. If you’re always using old memes, you won’t make as much of a connection with your audience. For more tips on incorporating memes into your content, check out this article from Brafton.
If longform writing is still more your style, consider creating more structured articles like how-to guides. With clear headings and images to support the steps, how-to guides can become very clear and easy-to-read and make good resources for customers to return to over and over. Creating numerous how-to guides can also establish you as an authoritative source for information, especially if your how-tos are not tied exclusively to your product. Check out these how-tos on creating CTAs and writing cover letters.
There are many more types of content you can utilize for your site, but these are a great place to start. Once you start diversifying content formats, continue to experiment and find new ways to create.
Ask Customers or Partners for Advice
One of the best ways to break out of a creative slump and figure out what your followers want to read or see is simply to ask them! Track comments, requests, and customer service channels for new ideas. It’s an extremely effective way to engage your readers and viewers.
Use their ideas to produce unique content, while being sure that it’s something your followers want to see. You can even use various content forms to display it, such as videos, guest posts, reviews, and much more. Insights from customers are always beneficial, regardless of business size.
To leverage customer or partner input even more, consider inviting them to be the subject of a video or produce a guest post for you. Video content featuring customers is often very successful and can be shared across a variety of platforms. ChowNow and Renovate America have some great examples of featuring customers in their video content here and here.
Another way to understand what customers are looking for is by analyzing FAQ content. Evaluate which questions are being viewed the most, and use that particular question to create a guidance video or how-to blog to engage with that segment of the audience. In addition, the comments you receive on your website, or the queries via live chat and email, can be used to upgrade your FAQ content to make that content as effective and up-to-date as possible.
Brainstorm with Other Departments
Teamwork is essential for every organization, and many new ideas can be generated if you involve other departments as well. It is the marketing department’s duty to run an effective content marketing campaign, but brief brainstorming sessions with non-marketing employees can inspire a host of new ideas. They can serve to give you a fresh perspective on how to carry forward your marketing campaign.
Customer service representatives are a great place to start, as they directly engage with customers and so are aware of what many potential prospects are looking for. They can inform you of what’s missing on your site, keeping in mind the kind of questions visitors to the website have in mind.
Cross-departmental brainstorming sessions can include anyone involved with your company, as each will bring a unique perspective, whether from their position as a potential consumer or with a view on a different facet of the company or product. Production team members may have details on some particular aspect of your product, the administration may have an idea for an inspiration big picture campaign, and web developers could tell you what neat tricks they can use to leverage your ideas. When working collaboratively, some of your best ideas may come to light.
Publish Timely Posts on News Topics or Reuse Your Own Content
All content marketers need to be active and alert, always keeping eyes and ears open for the latest buzz in the market. Capitalize on trending topics to create timely and relevant content on anything noteworthy or newsworthy. Take a look at these blog posts regarding the recent eruption of Kilauea and last year’s Southern California fires.
In addition, be active and timely in terms of your publishing habits. There will be days when you won’t have any hot topics to cover. If you’re still struggling for new ideas, consider adapting old content into a new kind of post. For example, if you have a how-to blog post, make a video out of it or host a webinar regarding it to still remain active in the industry. You can see an example of Visiolink leveraging this tactic by creating a new blog post from a previous webinar presentation.
There’s no doubt that content marketing is currently the most effective strategy, in terms of both performance and cost. However, due to rising competition and awareness of this marketing tactic, it has become difficult to produce the right kind of effective, high quality content. Of course, with the right mindset, you can change that by improving your content marketing strategy with our useful pointers!