A to Z of Content Marketing Ideas


by Bryony Thomas – Author & Founder of Watertight Marketing

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How does marketing support sales results?

Delivering long-term sales results is what Watertight Marketing is all about. We give you a clear understanding how real people really buy, and then mapping an effective marketing tool, technique or activity against each step in their decision. This means that your buyers have somewhere to pause, think, and actively choose to move forward. And, your salespeople always have a good reason to stay in touch, with a way of earning the right to their precious time (see Chapter 4 of Watertight Marketing). A sales operation that works like this, delivers customers who buy more, stay longer, and tell the world how great you are. Your marketing content is what keeps this running. It’s the marketing fuel in your sales engine.

Powerful content gives you…

  • AWARENESS: Content format = Status updates, headlines, etc. Gives you = Visibility and reach.
  • INTEREST: Content format = Blog posts, articles, podcasts. Gives you = An invitation to buyers.
  • EVALUATION: Content format = Papers, guides, presentations. Gives you = Showing rather than telling.
  • TRIAL: Content format = Webinars, audits, calculators. Gives you = A taste of what you do.
  • ADOPTION: Content format = Welcome sequences, internal selling. Gives you = Emotional connection.
  • LOYALTY: Content format = Newsletters, exclusive content. Gives you = Be remembered and valued.


Keeping the content marketing engine running

The more considered the purchase, the longer people will take to make up their mind. Great content can speed this up. But, more importantly, it can keep the conversation going for as long as it takes. Great content will help you to earn the right to a person’s time. It also keeps the conversation going over time. Whether the decision takes six minutes, six days, six months, or even years… your content can give you a reason to stay in touch, and your buyers reasons to get in touch with you.

From these touchpoints come conversations. From conversations come sales.

There are lots of reasons to create great content. But, if you’re going to get this content to pay you back you’ll need to make a commitment to doing it consistently. The sort of commitment you’re looking at to get great results from your great content, might include:

  • Tweeting a few times every day,
  • Blogging at least once per week,
  • Sending a subscriber newsletter weekly or monthly,
  • Running a webinar each month,
  • Issuing a new paper every quarter,
  • Re-purposing all this stuff into Podcasts, webcasts, Slideshares, and more.

That’s a lot of content. And, whilst you will most certainly be able to re-use, re-cycle and re-spin a great deal of it… you will definitely need some ideas, themes and reasons to put it out there. So, here’s some help with exactly that…



  Advice | Ambitions | Analogies | Anecdotes | Anniversaries | Assumptions | Astrology | Awards

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Our advice is to give good advice. You can do this for free in blogs or tutorial videos to generate awareness, word of mouth and search-driven traffic. You can create a useful download or online event for which people register, thereby giving you leads to follow-up. Introductory offers, like free trials or online reviews can generate hot leads. Or, you can charge for your advice with audits, reviews or training events.


Sharing your personal and professional ambitions can do a number of things. Public declarations often help people to focus on making things happen. You will often find people willing to help you with your challenges. And, people often share their ambitions with you in return. It might be that what you do professionally (and for a profit) can help them. Or, you might know someone who could help, and vice versa.


We love a good analogy. Using something from everyday life to explain a tough concept or bring an idea to life can make for an interesting read, a fab cartoon or a perfect viral video. For example, we like to compare marketing to DIY or a fitness regime. What in your business could be helpfully, or amusingly, compared to something we could all relate to?


Amusing or interesting stories from real life can make great conversation starters. Observing a customer receiving excellent (or not) customer service, for example, in any setting could be the starting point for a discussion on what constitutes good service.


Marking your own anniversaries, like number of years in business or key milestones in your business development can make for an interesting retrospective. You can also look to historical events or markers in your industry to spark off your own thoughts. Perhaps there was a key scientific discovery that was important to your technology, the formation of your industry body, or a legal reform that meant something profound. In a one-to-one marketing setting, have you thought about marking customer anniversaries – perhaps they get a special discount or ecard when they’ve been with you a year?


Challenging assumptions can be good for getting attention. Have think or brainstorm with colleagues about assumptions in your own industry, then break them down to see if they’re a help or a hindrance. In marketing, for example, people often assume that older people don’t use the Internet – just not true. Or, business decision-makers don’t use social media. This could make a great discussion in an appropriate LinkedIn group.


Astrology can be fun, perhaps you could get the astrological charts done for your key people to see if it really sums up their personalities? Retailers also have opportunities to theme gifts around astrological birth signs for a given month.


You can, of course, enter awards – but that’s not the only way to make use of them. How about critiquing the entries and winners or reviewing what the entry criteria tells us about best practice. You could even run your own awards – do you have partners or resellers, could you run an annual award for them? Could you ask your customers to vote for the best product, service or employee? You should certainly be aware of the awards in your own industry and keep an eye on who wins what and why.


  Best practice | Birthdays | Books | Bucket list

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Best practice

It’s an oldie but a goodie. Helping people to understand and implement best practice makes for great marketing content. Whether you do this in a blog, video, webcast, seminar, download, talk at regional events… it’s always a winner.


Birthdays are great – there’s your company’s Birthday, Birthdays of key people in your organisation. You can also use famous Birthdays as a thought starter. Imagine it’s the date of Marilyn Monroe’s Birthday and you run a fashion or jewellery company… what do you think she would have liked as a gift from your catalogue? Who’s famous or influential in your industry – when’s their Birthday and how could you mark it?


There are hundreds of books written every year. There’s bound to be something new out there relevant to what your company offers – how about writing a book review or preparing a reading list on key subjects. Perhaps you could pep up those profiles with a list of favourite books. Or, heaven forbid, you could write a book yourself!

Bucket list

Have you heard of a ‘bucket list’? It’s a list of things you want to do before you die. It can be really inspiring to think about the experiences or goals that are important to you. It might make an interesting addition to those identikit professional profiles. You could even reward your staff for great work by funding something from their list and film it for a little video. Haven’t you always wanted to see your colleague do a skydive? Wouldn’t your clients love to see it too?



  Calendars | Careers | Case studies | Celebrities | Challenges | Change | Charities | Checklists | Compliance | Concerns| Customers

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Preparing a calendar style piece of content with relevant reminders can be genuinely useful. A school or educational institution issuing term dates and exam timetables for example. Or a lobbying group detailing when political conferences or when key votes are. Desk formats are a bit old-fashioned (but can still work!), for a more digital approach you could invite people to people to sign-up to timed email alerts or preparing some sort of smart phone app could be an innovative approach.


Helping people in your industry to build their careers can be personally rewarding for those involved, can raise your profile locally, and can generate future recruits and clients. Your local schools and universities will be crying out for businesses to give talks or host interns. You could even think giving a local degree student the chance to base their final year dissertation on your business or industry, in return for publishing a version of it.

Case studies 

We can’t emphasise this one enough. Demonstrating what you do with a real case study is an absolute must. Whether it’s business-to-business, or business-to-consumer, people like to hear about the experiences of people like themselves. The ideal format for case studies these days is a video interview – direct from the horse’s mouth. But don’t forget a version that people can print off and read on the train, or turn into a slide for a sales presentation.


Think about people who are in the public eye for your audience. Is there a popular blogger or industry commentator? Perhaps you could review a book they’ve written or reference and respond to their blog in a post of your own. Perhaps you could attend their speaking events and do a write-up. You could even ask them for an interview, or to attend an event that you host. Celebrity doesn’t always mean red carpet, but it could.


Every business faces challenges. Being open about them can really set you apart. Talk to your senior team about tough decisions they’ve made or changes they’ve gone through. Posting a piece on what the challenge was and how you met it as a business can demonstrate your values in a really interesting way.


Change is a great subject. Everyone everywhere will always either have just gone through, or be about to go through, some change or other. Be it a restructure, a rebrand, a new hire, new processes, the economy, etc. Talking about change and how to navigate it can be a great source of content.


Working with charities can be a great way to motivate staff and express your company values. You could do this by donating to a given cause each time a certain product is bought, you could have a staff team undertake a fundraising challenge, you could help them raise awareness through your communication channels, and so much more. Without wanting to appear cynical, there’s a lot you can do with an appropriate charity to raise awareness and funds for them, whilst also contributing to your company’s reputation.


Regular Watertight Marketing blog readers will know that we love a good list. If there’s something in your line of work that people do often, why not break it down into a handy list for them. It might be care instructions for your products, set-up steps for a piece of technology, or steps in a process. Our ‘How to write a marketing brief in 10 simple steps’ is one of our most popular blogs by some distance.


If there’s a law that affects your target audience, tell them about it and help them with it. It will demonstrate your credibility and can generate excellent leads if your service pertains specifically to this sort of support.


Tapping into a concern that your audience might have is a great way to engage them. Think about the world from their seat – what do you think is keeping them up at night? Come up with things that make this easier for them and you’ll have their ear. That’s exactly what we’re doing in this paper – our clients told us that they struggle to come up with content ideas, so here’s us making this a little easier.


Featuring your customers can make for great content. Whether it’s a case study, a guest post or an interview. Prospective customers love to hear about existing customers. Try not to get too salesy with this one, a simple interview about a challenge they’ve experienced might be enough. That working with you was the answer is implicit, you don’t need to harp on about it.



  Debates | Design | Diary dates

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Debates are a great format. Find a topic on which people have differing views in your industry and explore it. You can post a ‘for and against’ article, video two people with different opinions, run a poll, etc. This can be great for stimulating discussion.


Product design processes, or how you came up with your brand, can give people a real insight into your business without being a dull ‘about us’ approach. Some sort of piece that shows the stages of design, how decisions were made and a before and after can be really powerful.

Diary dates

Little reminders like when clocks go forward, when the Bank Holidays are, etc. can be helpful and give you a chance to promote what you have to offer. Technology providers could send a guide on setting up custom voicemails, diverts of out of office assistance. Virtual PAs could offer out-of-hours support. Local venues could give ideas for days out that includes a trip to their attraction.



 Economy | Education | Environment | Events | Examples | Experiments

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Relating your offering to aspects of the economy can work. Working out how any new budget announcement, or economic policy affects your target market can certainly be useful. It’s a tried and tested technique for getting press coverage, so you’ll either need to be really quick off the mark, or controversial, to cut through the plethora of others who will be doing the same.


Whatever industry you’re in, many of the people you deal with have families. So, being aware of key terms dates, big results days, and childcare issues can give you an opportunity to show understanding and offer helpful advice. If your business is more directly related to people with families back-to-school planning, etc. can make excellent content.


If what you do can help people to be cleaner and greener, tell them about it. We would caution against appearing to shoe horn your offer into this topic, but it is one that a great number of people are passionately interested in, so if you have a genuine green story to tell, go for it.


Every industry has its own events – conferences, awards, trade-shows, etc. You need to be aware of them even if you’re not attending. Asking questions via their online presence can gain you some coverage even if you’re not there. If you do go along, why not post a review, or response to one of the talks. And, of course remember to find out if there’s the Twitter hashtag you can use for related tweets.


Are there people or businesses out there that stand as shining examples of what you’re encouraging people to do. Compiling lists and reviews of exemplars can be really useful in bringing what you do to life. A web agency might list five great examples of site navigation, or homepage layout, or whatever. This is all the more genuine if the examples you pick aren’t from your own portfolio.


Have you tried something that your clients or customers might be thinking about? Why not share your experiences. We once did a ‘pay what you think it’s worth’ event and shared a write-up of how it went – it was one of most popular posts of the year. What could your business trial, and then talk about?



  Facts | Fashion | Feedback | Festivals | Films | Finance | Fun

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People seem to like facts and figures. If you can find a supply of interesting facts relating to your products, service or industry, then use them. An article that collates this information will always be gratefully received. Even better if it original research with graphs and charts that they can reference.


Keeping an eye on fashions and trends can provide opportunities for comment or promotions. If you sell product, and spot that a particular colour seems to be all the rage, you could point people to anything you have that’s complementary – maybe in a ‘style tips’ format to be less salesy. Or perhaps you’ve spotted a fashionista wearing something you sell?


Whether its from an online forum, a customer satisfaction survey or a post-event feedback form – collating positive feedback into a post that sits alongside a page or a proposal for a similar product or service is always worth doing. You could even collate these into a presentation turn it into a slidecast and embed it as a looping video on the product page in question.


Summer, for some, means music festival time. With Glastonbury at one end of the scale and local folk festivals at the other, packing up your tent for a weekend of fun with friends is ever popular. The 2010 Wedge Wellies hit shows how a festival-related product can make its mark. Are you able to create some sort of festival survival pack or guide?


Building on our earlier analogy idea – using a well known film plot to explore a subject can be both informative and entertaining. Using Darth Vadar and Luke Skywalker to introduce the concept of dysfunctional relationships could certainly make a point. Or, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ for appreciating what you’ve got. Think about your favourite films – are there any parallels to be drawn?


Relating your activity to key dates in the financial year can help you to pop up at the right time. Obviously, if you do financial planning for a living, timing your activity around when tax returns have to be filed or the end of the tax year is important. If you offer strategic planning services of some kind, timing an offer to coincide with normal financial planning cycles makes sense.


Remember that whatever line of work you’re in, people are people wherever they are. And if it’s appropriate, you can afford to have a little fun. In fact, fun can be just what’s needed to set your business apart as people to work with. Are there some fun questions you could add to liven up those professional profiles? Or, is there an online game to be made of something you offer?



  Gardening | Geology | Goals | Grants| Graphology | Growth | Green issues | Guests | Guides

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Linking with Growth and with Analogies, gardening is great. You know… hard work and the rewards there of, and all that – there’s got to be something there for everyone?! If it’s appropriate to your business, how about… encouraging people to grow a veggy box, maybe you’re into healthy eating, workplace health, or something. A salad growing competition, captured in photos could be great fun.


Ok, it’s a personal one. I like rocks, and I like that they have meanings. Birthstones are good if you make products from precious or semi-precious stones. Maybe I like this one because my birthstone is Diamond… so any marketing reminders that go to my husband to that effect are welcomed by me.


There are three ways you can look at goals. You can share your company goals with the big wide world (see Ambitions), but what is perhaps more interesting is to ask your customers to share theirs with you. Perhaps you could add an option to something that you do that triggers reminders or prompts to help them meet those goals, or help them save or reward themselves when they do so?


Find out if there are any government grants on offer for what you do. See if you can get your company approved as a supplier for grant-funded activity. You then have a perfect offer to make, where people can use your services for a vastly reduced rate, or even for free (whilst you get paid).


I’ve wanted to do this for years! Go on… do it. Relating to individuality, personality or personalisation, how about you get people to send you a sample of their handwriting, you get a graphologist to analyse it and post a personality profile – they then tell you whether it’s accurate or not. There’s got to be a campaign in that one! Or just adding it to the profiles of your key people could liven it up.

Green issues

See Environment.


There are very few business that don’t want to grow. So if you’re in a B2B context and something you offer will help a business meet their growth targets, tell them about it. In a consumer context, personal growth is often a good topic.


Inviting a guest to provide content can be a win, win, win. Let’s say one of your clients offers a complementary product or service. They could write you a guest blog, which appears on your site, giving you SEO phrases, conversation starter and a bit of variety, and they also get a bit of exposure. You can also offer your material as guest content to others. And, it’s not just blogs – could you co-host an event or offer a joint promotion?


Guides to using something, doing something, preparing something, etc. are top notch and make excellent SEO fodder. Whether it’s getting the best from a product, planning something, etc… have a think about questions people might ask and make that the name of your guide. You know, things like ‘How do I prepare a marketing plan?’ That kind of thing.



  Health | History | Hobbies | Holidays | Horoscopes | How to

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Health and fitness, like gardening, is a perennial theme. There’s the January resolutions you could tap into, or you could simply give tips on how to weave a little exercise in around something you offer. It also makes a great analogy for anything that requires perseverance, consistency and pays off in the long term.


Taking a quick look at ‘this day in history’ can always get you out of a tricky spot at a networking event if you find you have nothing to say… “Did you know that on this day in XXXX {something interesting} happened?” can be a great conversation starter. It can also enable you to direct people to products along the theme, or prompt article ideas inspired by historic events.


Does what you do hook into any key hobbies? Do people who enjoy that hobby hang out somewhere specific online, or attend specific events? Can you attend, provide tips, leave comment or theme a product or service to a specific hobby?


Even if all you do is remember to tell people your opening hours, holidays can be a great reason to get in touch with people. You can make more of it with ideas for great days out, productivity techniques for managing workloads around days off, or provide details of how to arrange cover, etc.


See Astrology.

How to

See Advice and Guides. Helping people to make the most of your products, use your systems, care for their goods or simply perform better in their role will always reflect well on you and contribute to positive word of mouth.



  Indulgence | Inspiration | Interviews



To balance out the health and fitness, a little indulgence from time to time is great. How about using Christmas or Easter to run a little online game, or to send your customers an indulgent thank you? Marketing agencies seem to have a habit of taking their teams abroad for Christmas trips, photos and tales from the travels can make for engaging social media content.


Everyone likes to be inspired. Being inspirational isn’t something easily done to order, but talking about something that’s inspired you, or inviting people to do, so can be really engaging. If you’re a business owner, a post about what inspired you to set up your business is usually a good read. Asking others about their inspiration can help you to understand them better too.


Interviewing an industry leader or celebrity can be great, but don’t forget your own people. A simple ‘meet the team’ style 20 questions can be a nice way to show the real people in your business and bring a bit of personality to it all.



  Jargon | Jobs | Jokes | Journeys | Jury Service

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Every industry has its jargon, helping people to understand what it all means is useful and demonstrates your own understanding. A jargon-buster can be a real winner on your website, and it’s SEO-tastic too.


Are there interesting roles in your business? Could you give people a little insight into your company by featuring some sort of ‘day in the life of…’ one of your people. There’s always a lot made of the leadership team, but featuring your receptionist or designer might often be more interesting. Oh, and take care with job ads and job specifications – they’re also ‘content’ and can say a lot about your business.


Don’t force it. If you’re not funny, avoid this one. However, if you have a comedian in your midst this can be a nice touch. It probably works better in certain social media contexts – like Facebook pages – than on your website. But, a bit of humour can be really refreshing.


Metaphorical journeys are always good – how have you or your business reached where you are today? What were the slips and highlights along the way? Real journeys can also give you something to talk about, perhaps you’re a salesperson who makes a habit of posting a photo of every hotel you stay in… or airport you go through.

Jury service

Ok, so this one is niche… but business owners whose staff get called out on Jury Service wonder how they should deal with it. Can you offer any advice, tips, support, or cover?



  Kick-start | KPIs

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Getting started is often the hardest thing about any new challenge. So, let’s say that the product or service you offer is related to something that’s new to people… like losing weight, stopping smoking, trying out social media marketing, implementing best practice… can you provide them with tools to kick-start the process?


Key Performance Indicators. People like to know how well they are performing at something. Is there a way that you can help people to track their performance in some way? Or can you provide guidance on the sorts of results they should be seeing towards a certain goal? This could be broad benchmarks, or personalised reports – either way, makes great content.



  Language | Laws | Learning | Lists | Locations | Lyrics

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As with Jargon above, language can be fascinating. Could you look at words used in your industry and look at their derivation or how usage has changed.


A lot of the content ideas here are about learning – that is showing others how to do something. Could you turn this around and talk about some of your own learning. Tales of key learning experiences along the road can be a great way of showing humility and character.


We love lists! The best of… Top Ten… A-to-Z… a bit like this one.


Ok, so this isn’t about techniques… so I’m not talking about ‘location based marketing’, but the locations themselves. Could you profile your different sites? Could you get people to tell you about places they’ve taken your products? Or maybe run some sort of location-based photography or video competition? (Photos of then with your stuff in weird and wonderful place – I can picture the Facebook album already).


A jewellery client once asked fans on Facebook to come up with song lyrics that reminded them of their favourite products from the range in question… over 100 comments later and we can safely say it worked well at getting people engaged and entertained.



Maps | Memories | Mistakes | Milestones | Money | Music | Mythology

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Think about locations that might be of use to your customers and provide a map for them to access via their phone or download. Maybe you could encourage people to get a bit of culture when they visit by pointing out local sites of interest on your ‘how to find us’ map.


Nostalgia is a powerful thing. If your business or products are well established, there’s fun to be had in getting people to share memories of your brand over time. Perhaps they even have photos of your first store or examples of old ads. Or, baby photos of your team… or a little something from their past.


See goals. Your milestones, business milestones, customer milestones. Share them, celebrate them, and help people meet theirs.


There’s no better learning experience than a mistake. Could you list some of the classic clangers in your industry and provide hints on how to avoid them. Or even regale a true story of some of your own mistakes along the way and how they’ve shaped your business and your approach.


How to make more of it. How to spend less of it. Where to find sources of funding. How to manage cash flow. Tips on book-keeping… money is a topic that can almost always be talked about sensibly and people will listen.


Social sharing sites can now let you share playlists and what you’re currently listening to. If it suits your business, you could put together seasonal track lists, or maybe a selection of songs with titles that relate to something happening in your industry.


Using well-known myths as the starting point to an article or presentation can help hook people in and set some context. Or you could do some myth-busting… are there ‘universal truths’ in your business that need to be challenged?



  Names | News | Nonsense

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Sharing the thinking and stories behind your company name, and/or your product names, can make for an interesting piece. Including those that didn’t quite make the cut is always fun too.


Even if you’re not creating the news, you can comment on it, and respond to it. Share the load by getting different people to track particular news outlets. If something comes up that’s relevant to what you do, you can either comment via their online facility, or post a response as your own blog article or a short piece-to-camera.


We’ve seen some great ‘random facts’ posted by people in social media settings, and amusing tweets from the likes of @viztoptips certainly raise a smile. If it’s appropriate to your brand personality, adding a little bit of fun and nonsense from time to time can show that you don’t take yourself too seriously.



  Occasions | Opinions | Opportunities

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Occasions that capture the public imagination, like Royal Weddings, sporting events, etc. can give you an opportunity to comment. Perhaps tips on planning the perfect wedding, or what to do if you don’t fancy watching the endless coverage. Maybe there’s a legal or best-practice angle… like understanding trademarks around commercial or sponsored events, for example.


We all have them… and if you feel strongly about something it can make a great source of content. Let’s say you feel strongly about permission marketing, data protection, website usability or pension provision… you can post an opinion piece, start a discussion, invite a debate.


Passing on details of opportunities that your audience might benefit from can stand you in good stead. Perhaps you’ve been contacted by a journalist, but can’t supply comment yourself – could you pass it on? Maybe one of your customers is recruiting. These are things worth passing on via your social media channels, for example.


  People | Personality | Pictures | Places | Planning | Politics | Polls | Predictions | Product development | Productivity | Profiles | Problems | Profit

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People are interested in people. Find as many ways as possible of letting people connect and engage appropriately with your people. Provide profiles on your website. Interview them in your blogs. Consider an intro video for key people. Share the load with blog articles from various authors around your business.


As business gets more social, sharing a bit of what makes the people in your business who they are gets more important. Have a think about ways that you can show a bit of personality.


Imagery is content. Think about the photography and pictures on your website, brochureware, etc. Could you do something more exciting with it? Could you run a competition to get your employees’ children to design your next Christmas card? Could you run a customer photo competition of some kind. Are you photographing events? These are great for posting on Facebook and Pinterest. Could you even make an actual physical photo album, or a photo booklet? If yours is a visual product this could be brilliant.


See Locations, Maps, and Tours.


January, for year ahead. April, for next financial year. Seasonally, for each season, etc, etc. Could you provide a tool, template, article or special offer to help people with their planning?


See Economy, Laws… those politicians are always coming up with suggestions, initiatives, etc. that are likely to effect you, your business, your industry and your customers. Issue a comment, provide a guide, break down the impact.


A quick poll and your reaction to it can be a great way of starting a bit of a debate. Think about things in your business that have potentially polarised responses and taking a quick poll of opinion can be a great starting point for a two-sided discussion piece.


A stalwart of January editorials up and down the land… could you make some predictions about your industry? Maybe you could do this seasonally, quarterly or annually?

Product development

How products and services are developed and improved can in itself be a source of interest. Telling the story of how your own range was developed from the original idea to what it is now can really bring your company to life. Illustrated with early prototypes or sketches, with details of the decisions you made and why – this could make a really compelling read. And, a bit more interesting than features and benefits.


An ever-present theme… anything you can do to help people achieve more in less time will be welcomed. Are there little tips around your area of expertise that could save people time or energy?


We’ve mentioned profiles quite a bit… this is the mini biographies on key people. By which we mean at least your Board, and almost certainly your sales people and account handlers. People buy from people, so this is critical content that shouldn’t be ignored.


See Concerns. Solving a problem is almost always a perfect piece of marketing content.


As with money, in a B2B context – if you can help people maximise their profits, tell them about it. We’d recommend doing this in a gentle ‘how-to’ way rather than a ‘get rich quick’ style – it’s much more credible and approachable.



  Qualifications | Quality | Questionnaires | Questions | Quotes

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Does your industry have professional qualifications? If so, what do you think of them? You could issue content around the time of exams, particularly if the people taking those qualifications are likely to be prospective customers or recruits. Or, if you don’t think they’re worth the paper they are written on, you’ve found a great topic of debate.


What does quality mean in your business? How to you ensure that you reach it? And, how does your business guarantee quality standards? All great topics for marketing content.


See Research.


Ask questions that often get asked to which you know the answer. And ask questions to which you want to know the answer. The former helps people find your answers to their questions… which may lead to them buying your solution to their problem. The latter gets people thinking, helps you improve your offer and may help you to find solutions to your problems. All good.


Take care not to over do it… a stream of inspirational quotes on a Twitter feed can seem more that a little trite. But, if there’s a saying or a quote that you find genuinely useful, funny or inspirational it might be worth sharing, or using as the starting point for an article.


Regional | Religion | Research | Retrospectives | Reviews

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Regional interest

Keeping up to speed on what’s going on in your area, or in regions where you have a presence, is important if you’re to appeal to a local audience.


This one comes with a health warning… some religious events like Easter and Christmas are fairly safe ground here in the UK, as are the main festivals of the main world religions. One of our IT clients runs a great online Easter Egg that’s lots of fun. Take a moment to think which of the major religious festivals might be appropriate for themed activity.


We can’t speak highly enough on the value of research. Especially original, well conducted, thought-provoking, research. If you can provide an original and evidenced perspective on something of interest to your audience, you’re onto a winner. It gives you content for news releases, reports, web seminars, roundtable events, benchmark reports and articles galore. A content marketers dream!


If predictions are the January staple diet, then retrospectives does it for December. Whether you’re collating a best of, or detailing highlights from the year just gone – a look back post, video or picture diary can make an interesting piece.


Your reviews of other people’s stuff and their reviews of yours. Both rich seams of marketing content. How about reviewing a set of tools for a service you recommend, like a marketer reviewing email software, and talking people through the pros and cons? And, asking for reviews of your products, services, talks, etc. can also generate great content for your blog, product pages, brochures, sales presentations, and more.


Saints’ Days | Scenarios | Science | Seasons | Skills | Sport | Standards | Statistics | Stereotypes | Stories | Success | Surveys

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Saints’ Days

Links to Religion, of course, and may not be appropriate to all. But theming activities around days like Valentine’s, St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick, etc. can provide the starting point for some great materials.


It you struggle to get named case studies signed off, scenarios can work well. Find ways of demonstrating the likely outcomes of using your products or services. Animated story style pieces can work well for this.


It’s all around us people. The news coverage of the hadron collider certainly shows an appetite for science-based stories. Are there any live experiments you could show? Do you test things as part of your new product development? Can you demonstrate it? You can also mark anniversaries of scientific discoveries, using them as a starting point for discussion about the impact on your industry.


Whether it’s a new range, a photo competition or a timely offer, the shifting seasons will almost always give you a reason to get the word out in some way or another. Spring cleaning, for example, works well as a metaphor for all sorts of businesses.


Building on Guides and How-tos, sharing tips on improving skills always goes down well. Demonstrating your skills can also be great. Is there a way that you can show the process you take to deliver your product or service? For knowledge businesses a ‘day in the life’ can work well. For manufacturers and craft businesses, videos of your stuff being made are great.


Being mindful of the various trademarks and restrictions around the names of heavily sponsored sporting events, you can make some mileage in commenting on sporting events. Whether its the sport itself, related facts and figures, impact on local economy, how great it is for team-building, dealing with staff truancy… there’s usually an angle to be found.


Are there industry standards that apply in your business? Or, can you help people meet a certain required standard. A quick guide on what the standard is, how you reach it, how not to breach it, etc. can be really useful.


News outlets love stats. And people are always looking for a bit of logic they can point to to back up their (often) emotional decision-making. Can you track and report on trends in your market? Could you issue some sort of annual benchmark against certain criteria? These can be interestingly represented in an infographic.


There’s a debate to be had as to whether stereotypes are useful shorthand or harmful generalisations. Whichever your viewpoint, stereotypes are instantly recognisable and can be a starting point for discussion. Are there any in your industry that you could challenge or verify?


Story-telling is a key skill in creating compelling content. Whether it’s your own business journey, an amusing anecdote, a real case study for a made-up scenario to illustrate a point, doing so in a story style appeals to people on a more emotional level. Have a think about your company – what are your stories? How did you come up with products? Have you turned things around? How did you find your first client?


Without being smug or big headed, the occasional celebration of success can be appropriate. Perhaps you’ve won a new client, or secured some great press coverage. Linking to the news item, or issuing a public thank you to people who helped make it happen can work well.


See Research. A rich vein for great content.


Technology | Television | Templates | Testimonials | Thank you | Time | Tips | Tours | Training | Travel | Trends | Turning Points

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It’s all around us. How to get the most from it, what to do when it goes wrong, and advice on the latest gadgets, are all good subjects. Even if you’re not a technology company, it is highly likely that your customers encounter technology alongside, or in the course of using, your products or services – can you help them with that?


We’ve seen some TV programmes really capture the public imagination recently. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad – these have all been real talking points of late. And, Strictly, X-Factor, and the Apprentice seem to have recaptured some of that TV occasion feeling that was lost in recent years due to on-demand offerings and playback. Most major programmes now have their own Twitter hashtag for related conversations. Using an appropriate programme as inspiration, you could review performances, costumes, or run your own polls on elements of the shows?


Is there something you do that could be made into a useful template of some kind? A briefing template, or a calculator tool of some kind? Perhaps you could create a useful template that is given away when people sign-up for your newsletter? Or release one weekly for particular types of subscriber or customer?


It is much better to have someone else say that your products and services are good. Third party endorsements are a really powerful tool. Are you giving people a simple way of providing testimonials? And when you have them are you making good use? A montage video of written testimonials, or a video taken at the end of an event work brilliantly.

Thank you

Saying thank you makes everyone smile. Whether it’s an annual round-up of people and businesses who’ve supported you and your company in the year, or a monthly thank you for a member of your team who’s performed particularly well, taking a moment to say thank you demonstrates your humanity and humility.


It’s in short supply, and we all want to make more of what time we have. Can you give people a list of things they could do with just 10 minutes, or could you show them time-saving shortcuts related to your products and services?


Tips are simply short snippets of advice. You could do a series of 140 character tips as Tweets, or you could set-up a series of daily tips that people can request to receive by email? And, of course, a list of tips make a great blog article or video.


Do you have a venue, location or website for which you could prepare a video tour of some kind? This is great for destinations, hotels, etc. – but don’t count it out if people don’t actually visit your premises. A ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour can be really interesting and show a different side to your business.


Can you turn some of your fabulous content into more formal training? Look at your Guides, How-tos, etc. – is there a workshop in that? Or maybe an online web seminar or simply a free webcast? Or, perhaps training is what you do for a living; can you video and use snippets to draw people in?


In the lead up to holidays, or when the transport network hits the headlines, can you offer advice, tips or guides on travel? We all need to get from A to B, we all have time on our hands whilst we do so… perhaps reading tips for airports, or productivity tips on the move… or getting the most from your products and services from the road?


Linking to Stats and Predictions, trend-spotting can make for interesting content. Could you put together a video montage of imagery that demonstrates a trend? Or perhaps you could undertake some research to indicate a trend? Or, simply stating your opinion on what you think is becoming a trend.

Turning points

Stories about turning points are fascinating. Have there been key moments in your career, your business, or your product development that people would find interesting? We all have times when things are tough, seeing how others deal with similar situations can be very engaging.


Uniforms | Universe | Unique | Usability

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Does your company wear a uniform? Is it up for a refresh? Getting your audience to suggest or vote on new styles could get a little engagement. Maybe you have an informal ‘uniform’ that says something about your working style?


Solar or lunar eclipses, and interesting astronomical happenings can hold people enthralled. Is there something you can bring to the party? Tips on viewing, how to get a great photo, putting together a photo book, creating merchandise with images – facts and figures related to the event?


Is there something that you do that is unique? Can you demonstrate it or prove it?


Do people handle or interact with your product or service? If so, asking for their feedback on how easy they find it to use can make for excellent involvement, and content for blogs, videos and reasons to get in touch to talk about user-suggested improvements.


Values | Vision | Votes

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What’s at the heart of how you do business? What’s important to you? Are there any guiding principles by which you make business decisions or treat customers? Telling people about these and inviting people to tell you what they think, and if you’re living up to them, can make for engaging content.


Where’s your business heading? Where’s your industry going to be in five years, 10 years? Telling people about the vision you have in mind, and asking whether they agree or not always goes down well.


See Polls.


Weather | Weekends | Words

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The weather provides no end of content possibilities. Productivity, technology or motivational tips for businesses affected by severe weather like snow. Or handling staff truancy when people sneak in a sun-day. Or a photo competition of some kind relating to the weather conditions. If you think ahead now for something that relates to extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, etc. you can be ready to pounce the moment the weather does its thing.


Could you develop some content to help people skill-up over a weekend? Or, could you suggest fun and interesting things to do at weekend?


The meaning of words and the origins of them can be interesting in their own right, and can spark thoughts on a subject. Perhaps you could pick out some words that are used in your market and look at the origins and meaning of them?


X – treasure hunts

Ok, I’m stumped on this one. I’m using it as ‘X marks the spot’ to talk about treasure hunts. Could you run a treasure hunt around your website or across your locations?


Yin & Yang | Yourself

Yin and Yang

There are two sides to every story. Can you find a way of looking at something from the opposite angle. Are there things that people take as a given that you could explore? Could you set-up a two-sided debate on a contentious subject?


There are really dull ways of talking about yourself – like, ‘buy this, it’s brilliant’ – and there are more interesting ways of talking about yourselves. Careers stories, turning points, team interviews, your values, favourite films, etc.



Who would have thought that Meercats were so interesting? Go on… feature your pets. Who doesn’t love the odd kitten in social media?

Download this full list as an interactive PDF

Download this entire list as a fully interactive PDF… with space for you to jot your own ideas as you go through.

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