What difference does a minute make? Well, did you know there are over 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute? Almost 70,000 Instagram posts? 3 million Facebook posts, and 38,000 status updates? 474,000 Tweets? Oh, and don’t forget the 3.5 billion search queries on Google, adding up to over 40,000 searches every second.
Every moment the Internet exists, a fresh flood of data and information is made available to the billions of users who need it. Then the next minute comes, and the next, and the next.
In this rush and race of constant new digital content, coming up with fresh marketing ideas is one of the hardest parts of content marketing. Smart marketers keep brainstorming and topic generation focused on the perspective and needs of their customers. But even these visionaries can find difficulty in standing out from the crowd when it comes to the idea for the content. While you might need to share the same information as your competitors, of course you don’t want to share it in the same way. You want to do it better!
That’s why we took some time to explore the specifics of what goes into a truly engaging idea, and how coming up with these content marketing ideas can be easier and more effective.
How Do Creative Content Ideas Boost Business?
While you probably know that content marketing is essential to your overall marketing strategy, you might not be as concerned with coming up with creative or innovative ideas for marketing content. You might choose to write on the same topics as your competitors, or even focus on the primary keywords your audiences use. While this is a great place to start, ending there doesn’t make the most of your opportunity.
Let’s think about four of the primary ways content helps you boost business and gain new customers:
- Helps You Be Seen: Digital content helps customers become aware of your brand.
- Helps You Build Trust: Digital content lets you share free advice and insight with audiences.
- Helps You Share Values: Digital content offers a medium to show your values in action.
- Helps You Stay Top of Mind: Digital content is a regular way to remind audiences you exist.
In all these cases, the quality of your digital content ideas plays a major role. Remember, you have to assume that along the path to a buying decision, customers are doing research and evaluating your competitors at the same time they are researching your business. So, if all your content does is repeat similar information, will it really help target customers make a decision?
The same is true from a keyword-driven perspective. While you can just write an article or make a video about the exact topic your audiences are searching for, it will provide even more value if you can take it one step further and tell them something they didn’t know they were looking for, but can’t forget.
What Makes a Content Marketing Idea Creative?
There is no such thing as a totally new idea, especially in the kind of content environment we described earlier, with millions of posts, videos, and articles published every minute. But the good news is that studies into creativity have shown that some of the old must be mixed in with the new for an idea to really succeed.
Two marketing professors at Columbia Business School, Olivier Touba and Oded Netzer, undertook an eight-experiment study in idea generation. In these experiments, the researchers asked participants to submit ideas, like for new apps, or how to improve an existing product. These ideas submitted by participants were analyzed in two ways: by panels of judges, and by a machine learning algorithm. The researchers wanted to see if there was a way to predict which ideas would ultimately be perceived as most creative by the human judges. Touba and Netzer found that ideas which blended familiarity with novelty were considered the most innovative and exciting. So, it would follow that creative content marketing ideas succeed by achieving a harmonious balance between novelty and the familiar information and practices in your industry.
What does it mean for something to be “novel?” Here, it’s more useful to turn our attention to the definitions of patent law. In that context, “novelty” means no one has ever done anything exactly like the idea someone is trying to patent. This could be something completely new and never before seen, or it could be an improvement to an existing product. For instance, consider the idea of a retractable pen. When that was invented (and patented) other types of pens already existed and were copyrighted. But the new approach to the pen meant a completely new patent—and a revolution in writing utensils.
In much the same way, marketers can and should take the existing inspiration for content and turn it on its head to find something special, new, and valuable. Here are some questions to ask to help revise topics and introduce more novelty:
- How could I format this information differently?
- What stories can I tell about this topic?
- How could I make this topic more relatable with a comparison?
- What could be funny about this topic or situation?
- Do current events or news connect to this topic?
Your content doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to be creative—but it does need to put a new spin on it. Get it? Spin…wheel…uh, let’s just move on.
Is There A Difference Between B2B and B2C Content Marketing Ideas?
Marketers and consumers alike generally recognize two types of businesses, even if they don’t know the exact names for them. There are businesses who sell to other businesses (B2B) and businesses who sell directly to consumers (B2C). While there can be overlap between the content marketing ideas that work for these businesses, each should generally take a unique approach to the positioning of their content.
B2B marketing generally focuses on building the deep personal relationships that lead to long-term business between two companies. In a B2B buying process there must be open communication about the values and services that set the company apart from its competitors. This messaging can be achieved through content in a way that lets audiences find the information at their own pace.
B2C marketing is more focused on underscoring the value of products and individual transactions. A B2C buying process is all about simplifying the research and purchasing for the customer and offering them value as a returning customer who buys from the retailer again. This content succeeds by evoking emotion and making the buyer feel confident in their purchase.
Both types of company are interested in helping consumers balance the rational and emotional decision making that goes into making a purchase. But the stakes and scope of each purchase will be different, leading to a necessary variety in the kinds of content ideas that will work best for each type of business, and for each individual business. The differences include not just the ideas for topics, but the format of content, the channel where it is shared, and how often content is posted or updated.
How To Generate Content Ideas
With all this said, we now come to the specifics of how to come up with digital content ideas. This doesn’t have to amount to sitting in a room, staring at the wall, and racking your brain. Instead, you can turn outward for inspiration to sources like these:
- Comments or Reviews: Do your customers routinely ask a specific question, or make observations about why your business is unique and valuable? Use that feedback as inspiration for your next piece of content.
- Client or Customer Interviews: Talking to your clients isn’t just a great way to learn about how to make your business better, but also a great source for content ideas. Use their description of how you help them, what you could do better, and what they are still curious about to create content that speaks to them.
- Search Engine Trends and Results: You can use SEO tools to research what is being said in your industry. Or, just put in some high-level keywords to a search engine and see what top-ranked pages come back. This is the content you need to compete with, so give it a look and see what you could do better.
- Competitor Research: If you’re at a loss for what to write about on your blog or social media, take a look at the online presence of your competition. While you don’t necessarily want to imitate what they are doing, you could get inspired about a great way to put your own spin on the industry.
Another one of the best practices for digital marketing in 2020 is to come up with many ideas at one time. As you start to think of topics, more ideas will naturally flow. Put down everything you can think of and then work backwards to see what ideas are connected, or what might seem like the same idea stated in different ways. If you come up with enough topics for the quarter or the year at one time, you’ll never be at a loss for inspiration.
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How to Create Great Content
The idea for your content is certainly the foundation. Without a great idea, even the best-executed content might not achieve the results you seek. But, on the flip side, what steps can you take to make sure your content is excellent and makes the most of your incredible creative idea? Regardless of if you are making a video, infographic, blog post, webinar, or something else, here are four ways to make sure your content is great:
- Make Your Content Actionable: Great content sets up your audiences to do something about the information you have provided—beyond hiring your company and making a purchase. By sharing tips or insights, you provide your target audience with value whether they choose to carry out business with your brand or not. That will make you a trusted resource and keep them coming back.
- Easily Provide Answers and Resources: A second, somewhat related step is to provide not just actionable steps, but quickly lead audiences to further answers and resources. Whatever actions you are recommending, make them easy to find for someone who is just scanning your article or only watches the first few seconds of your video. If you bury the value, many people might not find it!
- Be Accurate in Data and Sourcing: A backbone of great content is the data and sources that back it up. Make sure you are relying on reputable information to support your arguments and statements. Don’t overstate or understate any research findings, and make sure to provide readers or viewers with the information they need to find your sources and see for themselves.
- Update Existing Content Regularly: Lastly, you should also consider how you can re-create great content. If you wrote a well-performing article or shared a viral video or infographic, don’t forget to revisit that content for accuracy at a later time. Updating your data points, revising your position thanks to new trends, or simply restating the most important elements gets you a fresh burst of traffic and interest while still providing great value to your audiences.
We all know great content when we see it. If you aren’t confident in your abilities as a writer, graphic designer, or video editor, consider calling on a creative content marketing agency for backup. Good vendors will teach you what you need to know and help you get more confident in the long run while also helping you set the standards for great marketing at your business.
Best Practices for Digital Marketing in 2020 and Beyond
Once you have created a great piece of content, the concerns about quality ideas also extend to your ideas for promoting it. Here are some of the emerging trends in digital marketing that are taking center stage in 2020 and will likely have big effects on the industry for the rest of the decade.
- Personalize Your Marketing: Marketing personalization means collecting data about each customer or prospective customer and serving them content that fits them. Tools like web personalization software can be installed on a website and track this data along with user analytics. You can then apply the insights to everything from email marketing to direct ads and even customer service.
- Experiment with Different Formats: People don’t all learn and retain information in the same way. Atomizing your digital marketing content into different formats lets all different people absorb the valuable information while saving you the effort of coming up with distinct ideas. Consider strategies like how you can turn a video into a blog post, or a webinar into an infographic, to experiment with new formats using your best topics and messaging.
- Consider Different Search Modes: Typing queries into a search engine isn’t the only way people find information anymore. For instance, visual search lets users connect their smartphone camera and search for products or information by capturing the image of something around them. This currently helps people shop for everything from cars to food but will likely expand to more abstract concepts as the technology improves. This means using images and video in your marketing is also going to become more important to make sure this method leads audiences to your content through a different search channel.
Another new type of search is voice search through virtual assistants. Research about topics and products is the most-common use of these devices, though 22% of consumers had already used voice search to make a purchase when Narvar conducted a consumer study in 2018. Today and into the next decade, this number will continue to grow as voice assistants become more integrated into an increasing number of devices. This means focusing on keywords and queries that people will use to speak about your product or services, which may be different than what they type into a search engine today.
- Track the Funnel in Real-Time: These new methods of search, along with the high volume of content being published, mean marketers will need to commit more and more time to regular keyword research and gaining other consumer insights. As customers go from having no awareness of your brand to making a purchase, marketers need to know the search terms and marketing content that are helping them make the journey successfully. Then, content that isn’t performing as well can be optimized to fill in the gaps.
Our knowledge of the rising importance of these best practices is built-in to the Demand Jump platform. Using cutting-edge machine learning and integrations, Demand Jump provides real-time consumer insights to shed light on the concerns and questions of target audiences at every stage of the marketing funnel.
The performance data and ROI of your existing content is also displayed right alongside so you can tell just how your library of great content meets up with the needs of target audiences right now. Plus, we include competitor data so you can assess if they are outperforming you. Then, when the time is right, you can use our platform to generate new content marketing ideas and keep business growing. We call it Demand Jump not just because you’ll see an increase in your qualified leads and customers, but also because we think it will make you jump for joy when you see how much marketing research this one tool can take off your plate. Sign up for a one week free trial and let us know what you think.