Your audience is smart. They believe that they have seen it all and know it all, and it is your job to prove that there is something in your content portfolio that is new to them. Those who present new and relevant information get the most attention. The question is how do you do this? Here are some ideas that will help get you started.
1. Be Honest
I personally admire Ash Ambirge from The Middle Finger Project. She has never said it but I bet that her email open rate is 80% and that every time she opens her mouth, she sells something. This is because she is honest – not corporate honesty, but the ‘in your face, tell you like it is’ sort of honesty. This type of honesty is both creative and compelling.
2. Play the Wonderland game
One of the things that we like to do is to play the “Wonderland” game. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the question is asked: Why is a raven like a writing desk? Sure, this question has been answered many times but does it apply to your product or service? How is your product like a person, place or thing that appears to be completely unrelated to it? Thinking about this leads us towards more creative solutions.
Let us take ‘content marketing’ as our product. By playing the ‘Wonderland’ game and using items that are either in the news or around us, we end up with topics like ‘Five things Barack Obama taught me about content marketing’, ‘What I learned about content marketing from my grandma’ or ‘How I increased my open rate by 174% with a roll of duct tape.’
3. Free Your Mind
When thinking about content, many marketers only consider article-style blog posts. Article-style written blog posts are fantastic for content marketing but there are more ways to convey your information. In the design of your content strategy, remember that you are striving to answer an exaggerated question, and facets of that answer should be in everything that you produce.
It is not about the blog posts. It is about being useful, interesting and remarkable. You can create anything you want. Seriously.
- Puzzle Games
- Word Searches
- Coloring Books
- Email Campaigns
- Research Papers
- Data-Driven White Papers
When you free your mind and tear yourself away from the idea that content is article-style blog posts, you uncover a whole realm of possibilities.
4. Study What Others Are Doing
People love teaching others. Try typing ‘how to’ in a Google search with auto-complete on and you will see that there are many teachers out there. When thinking about how to creatively bring your message to others, look at what other people have done in the past. Is there a marketing campaign that particularly impresses you? Are you able to deconstruct it and use its principles in yours?
For instance, how could you take the lessons from LEGO’s content marketing and apply them to your own campaigns? You might say that your brand is nothing like LEGO’s but that does not mean that the same tactics cannot be used. Just like the X-Files, the lessons are out there. All you have to do is study and listen.
Collaborating with your internal team is one of the most efficient ways of developing a creative content marketing strategy. The best digital marketing companies in the world use their employees as sounding boards for related and unrelated projects. This is because each one of their employees has a different set of experiences that they bring to the table, both personally and professionally.
Bring your idea to the team. Talk to them about it. See how that idea is transformed into something better. It is difficult to work in a vacuum and the content marketing arena is no different. Let your ideas breathe and evolve with the people who are just as devoted to your company’s cause as you.
About the Author
Laura O’Donnell is the Communications Coordinator of the Integrated Online Marketing experts at Marketingzen. As an avid writer and learner, she loves to use her skills to engage others in important topics in creative and effective ways. When she is not working, she loves meeting new people, traveling and bringing her Pinterest dreams to life. Find her on LinkedIn.
This article has been updated and was originally published in Mailigen blog on November 5th, 2015.