Content Marketing Ideas

You know you need to implement a content marketing strategy. You’ve heard all the buzz about how content curation can do everything from building brand awareness to creating long, loyal, and converting customers. The only thing stopping you from adopting a content strategy (or furthering your existing one) is, well…writer’s block, or media block for the visual content like video, digital arts savvy in the crowd.

What do you write about? What type of content do you produce? What great content topics should you be focusing on? And how in the world do you answer those questions?

Initially, finding the answers may seem down-right daunting, but much like anything else in this world, once you step back and begin to make a plan, things, start to fall into place.

Where to start?

Content Marketing Ideas from ContentMender

Define Your Content Marketing Purpose

Yes, you want people to read or view your content and then flock to your site, eager to follow and buy whatever it is your selling. That’s a great goal – one we all keep nestled in our minds – but unless you dig deeper, it’s a pipe dream.

What really defines your purpose is “how” you want the content to work for you: your goals. Need more leads? A stronger social presence? Address common customer needs or questions? Promote a new brand or highlight a product line? This isn’t about what you can do for your content (at least not yet), it’s what your content can do for you.

Once you set your goals and determine the driving purpose content marketing strategy, you’ll be able to start analyzing metrics, “listening” to social and customer feedback, and identifying industry trends – all of which can represent great ways to harvest ideas.

That brings us to the next stop.

Content Marketing Ideas: Research & Analysis

Determining your purpose can help you identify what data to mine first. Or, if your content needs are multifaceted like they often are, this step will help you organize the information appropriately and draw conclusions based on both high-level and low-level metrics.

There’s no single path to completing research and analysis. Instead, your goal is to gather information from multiple sources including the following:

  • Site analytics: Why are people coming to your site, and what are they looking for when they get there? Use your analytics platform (Google Analytics) to determine what keywords drive traffic to your site as well as to monitor site searches, define popular products/categories, or identify successful landing pages. Here it’s all about user trends.
  • Social Media Chatter: Find out what’s being said about your company, your competition, and your market in general by monitoring your social media marketing accounts. Additionally, take note of how your followers are interacting with your page and what they’re saying. There are some great tools out to help with this, Buzzsumo and Mention, to name a few.

How to Develop Content Marketing Ideas

  • Industry Trends: Content marketing aside, it’s important to know what’s going on in your industry. Keeping your finger on the pulse and identifying existing or potential trends can help you create timely and effective content. Follow the industry-specific influencers, check out trade shows, stay in touch with the pertinent blogs and pages. The more you’re in the know, the easier it is to curate timely topics.
  • Customer Service Feedback: You know who knows a thing or two about what your customers want? Those brave souls that man the phones, answer emails and social media inquiries and spend the day running your retail locations. Work with your frontline customer service reps to generate ideas, many of which can make their lives easier and your content strategy stronger.

What do you do when you have all this info?

Write it Down Those Content Marketing Ideas

Keep a log, invest in or find a free project management app, grab a quill and a jar of ink (though I really recommend storing ideas electronically), and start compiling your information.

There are so many useful tools that spur both organization and collaboration (I’m a big fan of One Note and Asana), that can connect you, your team, and your content goals anytime, anywhere. Find one that works for you, and your team, and start to piece together the information you acquired from the first two steps.

You’re free to skip this step, I suppose, but it will make your life a lot harder and your efforts for naught. You need to have a central location to store not only ideas but the lessons obtained once those ideas were executed.

There’s really no perfect place to stick to the next topic. It could easily be placed anywhere, but it’s pretty important, so let’s just pretend I’m working from an emphatic order approach and plop it right here.


Honestly, you’re braining storming (whether you know it or not) through the entire process. That said, we often take this step for granted. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the hours and years I spent (and still spend) preaching about writing techniques to bright-eyed college freshmen, it’s that brainstorming is the key to transforming a “so-so” idea into one that’s worthy of exploration and development.

Great minds may think alike, but they also feed off of each other. Don’t skip this step.

Once you have a fairly comprehensive and developed list of ideas, it’s time to start executing them. But don’t just pound out a bunch of blogs and call it a day.

Consider Different Types of Content

Video represents a huge portion of internet traffic; LinkedIn is the most popular social media network for B2Bs, and Instagram and Snapchat (i.e., photos) are favorites among younger millennials.

How-to articles are great for the early stages of the purchasing funnel; posts by influencers can really boost brand and product appeal (and maybe win you a backlink or two); and honestly, who doesn’t appreciate a finely-crafted infographic?

The point is, your audience, even if it’s a fairly specific demographic, will still vary in what they define as useful content. And that variance will often dictate topics and methods of delivery. For that reason, determining what “topics” work best also means examining what channels you’re using, what’s happening in your industry, what channel your target demographic prefers, etc.

As a final note, identifying topics is a huge part of content creation, but it’s only half of the equation. Content creation is a never-ending, multifaceted activity. It requires a healthy mix of research, creativity, and industry and audience awareness. It also requires skill.

To be competitive in today’s market, regardless of your industry, the notion of quality must come first. You can publish 365 so-so pieces of content, but unless it’s well written and the topic has been researched and shown to be relevant to your audience, it won’t matter. As you research and brainstorm your way to a solid content marketing strategy, consider bringing in a classically trained writer or a marketing agency that specializes in keyword driven content creation.