Content is king.
Bill Gates made this prophetic statement back in 1996 when there was no social media and companies were limited to the traditional marketing channels.
When making this statement, Bill Gates called the Internet a marketplace for content and a very competitive one.
So, were Bill Gates’s expectations satisfied? Does content rule all?
What do the statistics say?
Let’s crunch the numbers. According to WordStream:
- Mr. Gates was right about the Internet being an extremely competitive marketplace for content. Today, 60% of companies online product at least one piece of unique content every day.
- Content is the strongest medium when it comes to customer relationship management. 80% of business executives say that they prefer to learn more about their customers through content than through traditional ads.
- Brands that have strong content marketing strategies have conversion rates that are more than 6 times higher. Content marketing is also extremely cost-effective, as one content marketing campaign costs at least 62% less than a traditional marketing campaign.
- When considering buying a product from a brand, 95% of the customers say they always evaluate the brand’s content.
- Content marketing is universal, as 72% of marketers say that it ‘aligns perfectly with shifts in media consumption habits’.
Content marketing is the most effective strategy to help brands increase exposure and awareness online. Consumers trust brands that have a diverse content marketing strategy and bring knowledge and value.
There’s one problem, though.
There’s so much content online that the Internet has been oversaturated with it. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding, and it seems like nothing can surprise them.
Reportedly, only 20% of brands are prepared to meet the demands of the modern consumer. It is a very worrying number, considering that over 90% of brands are actively using content marketing to engage with consumers.
So, if the Internet content marketplace is already overflowing, how can you find ideas that will help you create unique content?
What is the best way to find content marketing ideas?
The answer: there is no one way of finding a content marketing idea.
Instead, there are at least 10 ways that will provide you with creative insights for your content marketing strategy.
Let’s take a look at them.
1. Browse Social Data for Content Ideas
Sometimes the answer to your content needs is right in front of you.
We all know that social channels contain tons of raw data that can help navigate us to find the best content marketing idea. It’s called social data and is collected in real-time, right this second, while you’re reading this article.
What is social data and what does it include?
Social data is the information shared publicly by social media users. Usually, it contains:
- demographical data
- biographical data
- feedback (shares, likes, shared links, comments, etc.)
Brands usually use social data to look for ways to increase sales or to analyze their current social media following base.
How can social data help in content marketing?
Every social channel has an Analytics tab, where it displays social data collected from your audience. There, you can find a separate tab where the social channel collects follower feedback regarding your existing content.
For instance, on Facebook, you can see the general content preferences of your followers
As well as their response to each of your existing posts
On Twitter, you can also browse the general ideas of your followers, which can become an inspiration for content marketing ideas:
Similarly, every social media platform can provide you with a content overview over a certain period of time to help you observe the tendencies, likes, and preferences, and determine, what content type will work best for your next content marketing campaign.
2. Go Ask Your Audience Directly
Indeed, the Internet audience gets pickier each year.
So, instead of beating your brains with finding a unique content idea, go and ask your audience to participate in creating a content strategy and contribute their content ideas.
Social media channels provide an abundance of tools to survey your audience. On Facebook and Twitter, you can do quick simple polls:
Image credit: Twitter
On Instagram, however, you can do interactive polls in Stories, where you can customize response choices instead of simple Yes/No answers, add stickers and other interactive features:
Image credit: Instagram
Ultimately, a social media platform you’ve chosen to conduct your poll will provide you with a report after the poll is over. As a result, you’ll be able to get a definitive answer from your audience on which content they would like to see more.
3. Explore Content Through Hashtags
A hashtag is the quickest route between a user of a social platform and content on this platform. Hashtags can also be a source of inspiration for brands who want to create viral content and keep up with the trends.
Here’s an example.
Do you remember Ellen’s viral tweet back in 2014 when she was hosting the Oscars?
Image credit: Twitter
The tweet inspired millions of Twitter users to create similar selfies under the hashtags #ellen and #oscars. But average Twitter users were not the only ones to get on board with this trend. We also saw many companies, big and small, get inspired by this tweet and create similar content:
Image credit: Twitter
However, not every hashtag can lead you to the content that is relevant at the moment.
“Every hashtag contains metrics that describe its current performance,” says Justin Manson, a content manager at BestEssay Education. “The metrics are updated in real-time and are directly related to the current trends.”
To make your content marketing strategy effective, you need to invest in content that will get noticed. And since hashtag is one of the main tools that people online use to find content, it is important to measure hashtag performance.
How can you do that?
There are plenty of online tools that can do it for you well enough. Here’s how a hashtag performance report looks like (we took #oscars as an example):
Image credit: Hashtagify.me
As you can see, right now #oscars is not trending on either of social channels, but its popularity will increase closer to the ceremony.
Along with the overall performance, you can also get information on similar trending hashtags, the most popular accounts that use this hashtag, countries, where it’s trending right now, and language variations.
4. Watch Your Competitors and Do Better
How long ago have you checked on your competitors?
Have they put up interesting content? How did it perform?
What would you do to improve it?
Competitor analysis can be a great source of content inspiration, especially for those brands who experience content drought. It can even help you go viral.
Take a look.
Probably, every social media user knows the hype around Popeye’s best chicken sandwich, a sandwich that got people waiting in lines for several hours just to try it out.
But it’s not the sandwich that caused a stir, it’s the Twitter war between Popeye’s, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy’s, who took on this challenge and posted the images of their chicken sandwiches to compete with Popeye’s:
This is a great example of a competitor analysis performed right on time. And, let’s be honest – in this Twitter war, no one got hurt, but these three brands only got more attention.
5. OK, Google!
As always, Google got all the answers to your content needs.
You might be wondering, isn’t looking for content on Google is like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay?
Not if you know where to look. And the place where you can find the answer to your content needs is Google Analytics.
The information that may interest you contains in the Behavior tab, which contains detailed data from online feedback regarding your content:
Google Analytics is one of the tools that provide social data that is collected from either one platform or from across several platforms, used in one content marketing campaign.
“You can also use it to determine bounce rates and average time spent on a page,” says Peter Coleman, a marketing manager from Studicus.
But general web data is not the only thing Google Analytics can provide you with.
You can also go into detail and research how, for instance, the titles of your blog posts perform individually to determine:
- whether you get more traffic with clickbait titles
- how much conversions your titles provide
- which post types perform the best
Ultimately, Google Analytics can help you get objective answers and outline your content strategy using content types supported by the stats.
6. Try Influencer Marketing
If you’re looking for content ideas, there’s no better place to get it than from the creative brain of an influencer.
Influencer marketing has become popular with the emergence of social media marketing, and people trust influencers more than ever.
Companies, too, take more and more interest in partnering with influencers. Reportedly:
- 65% of all influencer marketing budgets were expected to increase this year
- 17% of companies spend over half of their marketing budgets on collaborations with influencers
- 89% of marketers report that ROI from influencer marketing is ‘comparable to or better than other marketing channels’
The main interest that companies pursue with influencer marketing is, of course, reaching out to diverse audiences. Depending on the type of influencer, companies can potentially reach up to several million people at once.
But, of course, influencer marketing is the source of creative content ideas, which your brand can largely benefit from. Daniel Wellington is one of the brands who collaborates with thousands of influencers:
Image credit: Instagram
Daniel Wellington united over 7000 influencers who’ve created content on different social platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, and their hashtag #DanielWellington has been used in over 2 million posts across these social platforms. This example proves that influencer marketing can be a powerful source of content marketing ideas.
7. Draw Inspiration from User-Generated Content
Apart from influencer marketing, you can also draw content marketing inspiration from your followers and customers, encouraging them to create user-generated content. Indeed, who knows your products better than your customers?
People like to be involved in helping a brand diversify its content marketing strategy. If you read through the comment section under a brand’s post, you will find at least 10 content suggestions. So, why not take advantage of it?
Stats will support your intention to include user-generated content in your content marketing strategy:
- consumers consider user-generated content 8.9 times more impactful when it comes to making purchase decisions
- 67% of consumers say that user-generated content creates a more personalized approach
- millennials are the most active age group, providing more than 70% of all user-generated content online
Over the past years, consumers helped create the most successful content marketing campaigns. For instance, back in 2014 Starbucks launched its #WhiteCupChallenge in which participated millions of their admirers. As a result, Starbucks got millions of content ideas, which were used across social platforms, and helped the winner of the challenge jump-start her designer career:
Image credit: Instagram
User-generated content has also inspired content marketing campaigns of such brands as NYX and McDonald’s, providing them not only with content ideas but with massive exposure as well.
8. Get Inspiration Boost from Social Causes
The inspiration for your content marketing ideas is not only in the digital world but in the real world as well. Many brands take an active interest in important social causes, not just because they want to do so, but because consumers want them too.
According to AdWeek, over 80% of consumers think that brands should take a stand on important social issues. And consequently, for many brands, social issues have become a source of incredible content inspiration.
Procter & Gamble is one of such companies. They are active participants in a number of social issues, from supporting poor families to ensuring education for young girls:
Image credit: Instagram
Consumers want brands to take a stand in social issues because of the immense outreach and influence they have. For brands, it’s another opportunity to diversify their content marketing strategies by actively supporting important causes.
As you can see, there’s no one best way to find a content marketing idea, but instead, there are several great sources of inspiration. You can either several of them or all of them at once to find content marketing ideas that will help you succeed.
What’s your best way to find a content marketing idea? How did you find it? What results has it inspired?
Share your experience with us in the comments below!