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We have added additional great content ideas that can help propel your content marketing program forward fast:

New commentaries

if your company is in an industry with high visibility or much change, there are bound to be numerous news stories.  Using the news commentary content type, you can use those news stories to help build out your blog, while staying on point.

Simply write a blog post that summarizes the article and provides your company’s point of view.  Don’t forget to link back to the original news story.  Also, don’t copy text.  Doing so creates a plagiarism liability for your company.  Simply summarize the article.

Your point of view should be thoughtful and tie to your company in a meaningful way.  If the connection is tenuous, the news commentary will not provide value to the reader and will detract from you brand.

Viewing how competitors’ blog posts show up in online search results can make a compelling case for developing a content marketing strategy. But once you’ve sold your clients on the idea, the real challenge is ahead of you.

As creative organizations, agencies are typically adept at coming up with stimulating and provocative content topics, but regardless of how scintillating the subject, content marketing is not a one-size-fits-all situation: content marketing is a sophisticated balance of communicating meaningful, intelligent information to customers without directly selling to them. An advertisement is for selling; online content prepares them for the sale.

Here are a few tips for developing great content ideas for your clients.

Solve a problem

How-to formats are popular with many audiences, whether it’s for a hands-on project, like tips for refinishing antique furniture, or settling nerves before a public speech. The good news is that this popular format can be applied to every industry — it just may take some thought and brainstorming to unearth the topics. Asking a company’s customer service or repair department, depending on applicability, can be a good starting point. What’s the No. 1 complaint that comes into the call center, or through an online form on the company’s website? Could arming the customer with more intelligence — information — potentially reduce the number of incoming complaints? It can be anything from “when to replace a part before a breakdown occurs” to “how to lengthen the life of my widget.”

Jam-packed information piece

A well-written, comprehensive and informative piece on a relevant industry topic can end up being a bookmarked reference — or shared throughout social media platforms — for months, even years. Client companies should be able to come up with a decent list of industry concerns, but agencies can impress them by presenting a few of their own. What are industry media writing about? One way to find out is to subscribe to a media query listserv. Reporters, editors, bloggers and authors pose questions based on current stories or books they are working on, but for which they need sources. Many times their work is based on current events but the reporter is making it specific to the industry he or she covers. For example, a new discovery on Mars can be applied to many industries, from higher education to prepare for a future Mars mission, to how Mars can be good for businesses here on earth. Tying individual industries to current events can bring client companies up in online searches in surprising and unexpected ways.

Readers want to know why

In addition to learning how to do something, Internet users also want to know why — what is the reason for or specific purpose of something? Regardless of whether the client company is selling a product or service, there is likely more than one “why” attached to that industry. For example, why is it important to not use the same topical products on cats that are used on dogs? Why is it a good idea to hire an appraiser prior to a divorce? Why is a company’s parental leave policy important to employees who don’t or won’t have children?

Seasonality matters

Some industries are more obviously affected by seasons than others: retailers count on Christmas holiday shopping while service companies may see a decline in business during that time period. In addition, however, seasons can guide content creating and scheduling. A technology company can use the end of the year to review the latest gadgets introduced that year, even if they are not a retail company. It positions them as experts in technology, while meeting the content goal of delivering intelligence to their current and prospective customers. Education topics are likely not sought out during the summer, but spring topics can include tips on prolonging the educational experience by looking for a summer internship, or a student’s guide to trekking across other continents. Fall foliage topics can integrate recipes from food industries, an environmental message for many other types of industries, or travel tips for fuel, automotive or hospitality industries.

Don’t forget visual

Content marketing is not just about writing. Incorporating a visual, such as an infographic or video into a written piece not only appeals to additional audience segments, but also can be a great way to clarify or illustrate a complex topic. Many how-to topics are good choices for visual reinforcement.

Uncovering content ideas for specific companies can take work, but once the process has begun it becomes easier. Once those topics are selected, however, they must be executed in a timely fashion to take advantage of a rapidly moving content world. Hiring a content partner that is proficient at executing ideas into well-written content pieces is one way to help keep clients one step ahead of their competitors, so that the next time they perform an online industry search, their names come out on top.

Need help?

If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our e-book “100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.”

This e-book will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.

Michael Marchese is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments.

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