Marketing content is material generated by your business that you put out into the world to generate some sort of interest in what your business does.
I’d specifically differentiate sales content and marketing content. Sales content is material specifically about your products and services – e.g. features, benefits, prices, etc. Things like brochures, catalogues, product pages, proposals, data sheets, price lists, etc. Anything that basically says ‘buy from us’ is sales content.
High quality marketing content, on the other hand, explicitly does not talk about these things. Marketing content is material that leads naturally into a conversation about an area of interest, which helps identify sales opportunities, and aides the sales process by being helpful and engaging.
Content marketing is when you put this sort of material at the heart of your sales engine. It’s what invites people into finding out more about you. It helps them to understand you and to like you. And in doing so, actively choose to buy from you.
But, what do you say in all this fabulous marketing content? To get your own ideas firing, I’ve put together the A to Z of Content Marketing Ideas. There are 26 letters, and 140 ideas in all. And, I’m releasing every single one in December, so that you can use them in 2014.
Content marketing ideas beginning with the letter C
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.
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 blog post 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.
© Bryony Thomas – The Watertight Marketer.
Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing
Bryony Thomas is the creator of the multi-award winning Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in her best-selling book of the same name. She is one of the UK's foremost marketing thinkers, featured by the likes of Forbes, The Guardian, Business Insider and many more, and in-demand speaker for business conferences, in-house sales days and high-level Board strategy days.