The brilliant thing about content marketing is that anyone can get cracking with it, no matter the budget, industry or products they have to sell. All that’s needed is a blog, a content calendar and some inspiration.
Finding inspiration isn’t easy, though. There are all manner of techniques you’ll find dotted about the internet, but they’ll be the usual stuff – speak to customers, ask colleagues to contribute and delve into the solutions your products offer.
That’s all good advice but, sometimes, when you’re staring at a blank screen with nothing more than a flashing cursor looking back at you, you need some inspiration from elsewhere.
Good news – you can find ideas for brilliant content marketing practically anywhere and in the most unlikely of places. Here are 6 I can guarantee you won’t have thought of.
1. Your sporting heroes
Sports people aren’t just known for their prowess on track and field – they’re rather adept at delivering the odd comment that knocks you sideways. At first glance, such comments may be nothing more than something you can discuss with friends, but look deeper, and you may find inspiration for your next blog post.
Take footballing maestro Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s critique of a fellow professional: “What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange.” Now, let’s say your business is in sales recruitment; Zlatan’s comment could easily be turned into a blog post that highlights the benefits of not resorting to competitor bashing when trying to make a sale.
Suddenly, the overzealous comment from a footballing icon has given you a few hundred words to add to your blog!
2. Your dreams
If truth be told, not every dream is fit for content marketing, but the mind is a wonderfully creative thing – particularly when left to its own devices.
If you’ve ever woken up with a vivid recollection of last night’s dream, spend some time working out if it could be turned into a piece of content for your company blog. Dreams often reflect anxieties or desires, and that kind of emotive stuff can be gold dust for content marketing.
3. Listen to people
Nope, not just your staff or customers – anyone. While on the bus on the way to the office, or during a dog walk, listen out for conversations. No one will know you’re doing it, but humans are fascinating beings and just a single, overhead sentence could become the title or underlying narrative for your next blog post.
4. Watch a film
Any marketing tactic that involves doing something you love can’t be ignored and watching a movie is a great way to find inspiration. One liners, action sequences and plot twists can all be fed into the melting pot for your content marketing efforts.
If you’ve started a blog post but have experienced writer’s block halfway through, you can do a lot worse than sit down and watch a film. Getting away from the words will help regardless, but if you can pick something that loosely relates to what you’re writing about, the director will help you finish that piece.
5. Your failures
The greatest gift we have as humans is the ability to fail and learn from those failures. Unless you try something, you never know how it’s going to pan out and if there result is anything but desirable, you’ll know never to do it again, or to approach it in a different manner.
The same goes for content creation. Look back at what failed spectacularly. Those posts that tanked and received just one or two hits from search engines. Find them and do the exact opposite. Better still, write a post about them – content marketing is all about establishing yourself as a thought leader, after all, and if you can educate others off the back of your own failings, people will sit up and take notice.
6. Magazines you usually throw away
Ok, so your other half is into horse racing, but you’re not, so why would you ever look at the countless magazine that are left strewn around the house?
Well, you could be throwing away valuable inspiration for your business blog. Those magazines – although of absolutely not interest to you – may contain articles that catch your eye. If they do, they’ve achieved the seemingly impossible feat of engaging you in a subject in which you have absolutely no interest. That is content marketing at its best, so analyse such pieces and work out how they’ve done it.
Is it the title? The opening paragraph? Or have they included a call to action at the end that is of genuine use to you? Use the same tactics in your next blog post.
Inspiration is all around us. I hope the above helps you fill that empty void with blog posts that will capture the attention of your audience and keep them coming back for more.
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