A TO Z OF CONTENT MARKETING IDEAS

by Bryony Thomas

140 content marketing themes, topics and thought starters

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.

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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.

PRO TIP:

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.

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,
  • Re-purposing all this stuff into Podcasts, webcasts, Slideshares, and more.

CONTENT MARKETING IDEAS A - Z

A

ADVICE

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.

B

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.

C

CALENDARS

D

DEBATES

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.

E

ECONOMY

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.

F

FACTS

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.

G

GOALS

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?

H

HISTORY

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.

I

INTERVIEWS

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.

J

JARGON

K

KICK-START

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?

L

LISTS

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

M

MAPS

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.

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N

NEWS

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.

O

OPINIONS

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.

P

PICTURES

Q

QUALITY

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.

R

RESEARCH

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!

S

SEASONS

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.

T

TECHNOLOGY

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?

U

USABILITY

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.

V

VISION

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.

W

WEATHER

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?

Y

YOURSELF

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.

Z

ZOOLOGY

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author & Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony Thomas is the multi-award winning creator of the Watertight Marketing methodology, captured in the best-selling book of the same name. Bryony is a popular professional speaker for entrepreneurial audiences. Bryony's impressive career includes heading up the Microsoft account in the UK aged 26, and securing the role of divisional director of marketing for FTSE 100, Experian, aged 28.

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