As a business owner, you want to make sure you’re getting the best return on your investment (ROI). Sometimes, to get the ROI you want, you need creative content marketing.
As consumers increasingly look to brands to provide education on their products and services, content marketing has become one of the most popular marketing channels for both B2C and B2B brands. One reason for that is the cost-effectiveness of content marketing — it’s estimated to generate three times the number of leads as more traditional channels, like print ads, while costing 62 percent less.
But you can’t just post anything on your website and expect quality leads to come pouring in. The only way to get the ROI you want is by creating content that engages your target audience and promotes brand awareness. Providing value for your audience builds trust and retains customers over the long haul.
It’s seldom easy to come up with content marketing ideas. The best way to start is with keyword research to find out what your potential customers are looking for. Once you know what the audience is searching for, the real work of creatively standing out from the crowd begins. Here are five solid ideas to get you going.
1. Offer a list of benefits
Whether you’re selling organic energy bars or running a yoga studio, a list of the benefits your business brings to your customers is the foundation of a viable content marketing plan. This is your opportunity to focus on the overall advantages of using your product or service, such as improved health, without directly pushing your product.
Massage Envy does a great job of explaining the benefits of massage therapy, educating the reader, and explaining the advantages of using their products and services. You can do the same by writing about what you know, rather than who you are and what you do. Sharing knowledge results in more engaging content.
2. Write a “how-to” list
People are always searching for the best way to get something done. If you know how to succeed in a certain industry, niche, or situation, share that advice and wisdom with your readers. Creating content that includes a list of critical elements is an effective way to get your blog post to rank in a Google search.
Writer and editor Jane Friedman wrote a post about “How to get your book published” that still ranks at the top of search engines three years after it was published. Take the industry knowledge you have, research what “how-tos” people are looking for in your niche, and create quality content around that particular topic.
3. Share your behind-the-scenes moments
Behind-the-scenes content offers a glimpse into the people and ideas that make your business unique. It’s a way for brands to prove that their business isn’t just preaching values but also walking the walk. Consider showing how your product is made by giving a guided tour, showcasing employees testing out your product or service, and sharing clips from company events.
Online retailer Zappos has mastered this kind of content. Their About page includes dynamic stories centered on the values that make them so successful, while a post on their blog shares some of the books in the company’s in-house library. Each book in the Zappos library incorporates at least one of the company’s core values and is free for employees to borrow.
Sharing intimate glimpses of your company shows your audience that your team is made up of human beings, which makes your company more approachable.
4. Predict and follow up on trends
Whether you realize it or not, you’re an expert on your industry. You know more about what the future holds for your industry than your customers do, so turn that knowledge into quality content.
Take some time periodically to summarize what’s going on in your industry and where you anticipate it will lead. Whether it’s video marketing trends or the latest innovation in organic food, your customers are interested in knowing about it.
If you write about trends, revisit that content every six months or so to write a follow-up post. Was it accurate? Where did you miss the mark? How do you see it playing out in the future? This builds thought leadership and shows your audience that you have your finger on the pulse of your industry.
5. Leverage user-generated content
As you can tell from the name, user-generated content (UGC) is any content created by individual users or contributors who aren’t getting paid for it. Because of this, customers find UGC to be more authentic and trustworthy than content created by a brand. In fact, a whopping 93 percent of customers have found user-generated content helpful in deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
UGC is also incredibly easy to leverage in your content marketing strategy. Write blogs and social media posts featuring your customers. Ask customers to share images of them using your products. Share short, informative video testimonials of your customers talking about their experience with your product. Yogurt brand Chobani has done this with great success.
Moving forward with content marketing ideas
Content marketing works. It’s a long-term tactic, not a quick fix, but when done consistently it produces long-lasting results. With the right kind of content, you can earn the attention of your audience while engaging with them on a deeper, more meaningful level and educating them on your products and services. This can ultimately lead to not only a stronger brand but a more profitable business.