sometimes it pays to be odd -- girl with crown on her head

Content marketing doesn’t have to be a blog, YouTube video series, ebook or webinar. And it doesn’t have to directly be selling something.

Content marketing is all about creating and distributing valuable content. Content that showcases your brand and your company values, that attracts and engages an audience, and that will lead that audience down the path toward an action (not necessarily a sale).

Think outside the box a little when it comes to your business’s content marketing strategy. Great content marketing can be found in the oddest places.

Here are three examples to tickle your imagination…

1. Brick and Mortar Stores That Don’t Offer Shipping

I hear this all too often, and it drives me a little crazy…

“My business is strictly bricks-and-mortar. I don’t sell anything online and I don’t ship my products to customers. They have to . So all I need is a one-page website and an ad on Yelp, right?”

Wrong. Even businesses that don’t sell anything online can use content marketing to their benefit.

People today use the Internet to research products and services online before they buy in stores. The Millennial generation is particularly fond of doing this.

Think about it. Have you ever looked at a book on before heading to your neighborhood Barnes and Noble to purchase it? Have you researched brands of tires for your car before heading to your local tire shop? Or have you looked at a restaurant’s menu online before going in to eat?

People today also share photos of their probable purchases with friends and family to get opinions before they buy. So whether or not you’re selling your product online, you should make photos and/or videos of your product available on your website and on social media.

Just because your business isn’t selling online doesn’t mean people aren’t looking at your business online. And when you turn your online presence into a real resource for people – offering up education, entertainment or inspiration to your audience – you are using content marketing to increase your sales.

2. Pinterest

Pinterest launched in 2010 and has become the premier social media site for sharing recipes, decorating ideas, craft projects and more. Users create and add to virtual bulletin boards to collect ideas and showcase their interests.

Just because your mom uses it to collect recipes and your girlfriend uses it to create vision boards for her dream house doesn’t mean that there’s no place on Pinterest for your B2B content marketing.

Here are just a few ways you can leverage Pinterest for content marketing:

  1. Post pictures of how your product can be used
  2. Share infographics
  3. Tell your company’s story in pictures
  4. Pin tutorials

3. Memes

Love them or hate them, memes go viral for a reason. Usually because they’re entertaining.

And memes are actually a great way to help spread your company’s message. Use them as images on your blog to give your post more sharing power. Put them out on your social media feed with a poignant comment. Or join in the fun and create your own version of a popular meme.

Take a look at some of the popular recent memes:

The right way and the wrong way to hang toilet paper

Think about some of the creative ways this one could be used by a toilet paper company, a home-decorating website, or a marriage and relationships counselor.

Think about how a news website or a parenting blog could use this video on social media.

Or one of my favorites…

Punctuation saves Grandma

I’ve personally shared that one on my Facebook business page as a way to bring attention to my word-nerdiness (or “grammar police” tendencies, if you ask my friends and family). Shared with the comment, “Save Grandma’s life! Edit your writing,” I let people know that I prioritize technical accuracy in my writing. Think about how a marketing agency or an editor could use a meme like this to share their values on their blog or social media.

Where is the strangest place YOU have seen content marketing? Comment below or send me a tweet!