Last week on this blog, we touched on some of the finer points of content marketing, focusing on content curation and using your unique expertise to come up with engaging content.
This week, let’s dive a little deeper and assume that you have time to sit down at the computer, flex your fingers, and actually create new content. Of course, that’s when it’s a natural time to get stuck — oh, how ironic that you’ve actually set aside a block of time to focus on content marketing and found that you can’t actually think of anything!
So, how do you come up with ideas consistently? And once you have an idea, how do you represent it?
Content Marketer’s Block
When creating content for the online arena, remember that being concise is key. If you don’t have a topic to write about and start rattling away on the keyboard in hopes of summoning inspiration from sheer kinetic energy, the results can be sleep-inducing at best. The trick is to find inspiration first, because inspiration will serve as momentum.
Martin Lieberman, the managing editor at Constant Contact, explained in a recent post here about blogs that he has a system worked out: He jots down every idea that comes to him on a list next to his keyboard. That way, when it’s time to write, he already has plenty of material to choose from.
Another way to find inspiration is to use Google News to search for topics related to your industry, or use Twitter to see what people are discussing. Alternatively, you could think about subjects that most concern your customers —healthy holiday eating, environmental road cleanup, gift ideas, organizational tips, tax preparation shortcuts, cleaning up after pets, and so on.
That brings up the other problem. Once you have the idea, how do you deliver it so that it’s fun, engaging, and shareable?
Check this Out!
In the first part of this series, we talked about how important it is to evoke the “Check this out!” moment with anything you create. Businesses and organizations can only benefit from people sharing that content. Whenever you’re making something new, just ask yourself: “Would I ever share this with a friend?”
To increase the chances of a "yes,” just remember: Creativity, originality, and fun count for something, but great content marketing engages people so much that the marketing message becomes fun, whatever the subject. Just take the example of the Belmore Court & Motel in Enniskillen, Ireland.
Owner Terry McCartney explains that the establishment won the Best Online Strategy Award at Digital Advertising Northern Ireland (DANI). He points to one video in particular that helped boost the hotel to the top: a clip that shows a very special tour of the property, conducted by none other than Lewis McCartney, Terry’s 8-year-old son. The video, which follows Lewis as he remarks on the Belmore Court & Motel’s “lovely” bedrooms and “lovely wee balconies,” proved to be a hit. The clip has been shared through all sorts of social media channels, earning thousands of views since its debut last fall.
The popularity of the video highlights the fact that the way an idea is delivered matters just as much as the idea itself. Let’s face it: There are plenty of video tours of hotel rooms, but how many are hosted by a hospitable eight-year-old?
Content marketing, in the end, is about giving value to viewers and readers, but knowing that similar information is just a quick Google search away. The “Check this out!” moment will always be the thing that sets you apart so that people read, react, view, or engage with your content.
What do you do to make your content special? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook Page.
I'm interested in all things content marketing, especially how they relate to good writing. I'm an author at heart and I think that the internet and quality books and articles have a healthy future together.