Content marketing is one of the best strategies for building a promoting a brand, but planning and strategizing is hard work.
After all the initial work of establishing a blog and choosing a broad strategic direction, you’ll need to start coming up with topics and titles to fill your blog writing editorial queue—and fast. Most content marketers (especially newbies, but seasoned vets as well) struggle coming up with new topics as their campaigns roll on. Fortunately, there’s a practically endless supply of title “frameworks” that, with a little modification, can serve as ideal slot-fillers in your campaign.
In this guide, I’m bringing you 101 of them.
You might be thinking to yourself, why just the titles? That doesn’t give you much meat to work with. However, titles are especially important to the content creation process for a number of reasons:
Many of these titles have blanks in them, generally referring to your industry, your products, a specific action or task within your industry, or some other niche-specific item. I’ll guide you where appropriate on each individual blank, but there’s a lot of flexibility here. Additionally, wherever you see “X,” you can replace X with any number.
Without further ado, here are 101 title ideas you can use on your blog:
First, we have a simple entry. The blank here can be any process you can think of related to your industry. It could be how to solve a technical issue with one of your main products. It could be how to learn a new skill if you have no experience. It could even be how to start and manage a business like yours. Because of the broadness of this topic, you’ll be tempted to choose high-level concepts here, like “how to drive a car,” but the more specific you are, the better, like with “how to drive a two-wheel drive car in snow.” You’ll face less competition and have higher relevance this way.
This is a variant on the previous title, but offers the distinct advantage of including a number in the headline. Numbers automatically make headlines more appealing and clickable, which gives it an immediate edge. Part of the motivation behind this is that it illustrates that your concept is simpler than it may appear; breaking down a task like “how to draw a dog” into six steps makes it more approachable, and makes it seem faster to learn. Plus, you’ll give yourself a framework when it comes time to write the actual article, helping you break down the process.
(Image Source: Activity Village)
Here, we have another number-based headline that should get users’ immediate attentions. As you’ll see in the titles throughout this guide, a common thread is heavily implying that your readers are about to learn something new. Here, that effect is made bluntly; you’re directly stating that you’re about to tell your readers something they didn’t know before about the subject of your choice. The word “secrets” also adds a layer of mystique here, making your readers feel like they’re about to get some privileged information. Just make sure you have something juicy to back up this headline’s power.
This is a powerfully attractive headline for click-throughs; it tells users you have some piece of information they don’t have, but doesn’t give that information away, and also offers a kind of dare—that they aren’t supposed to know this. As for the blank, that’s usually some kind of authority figure, or someone that your readers are paying money to—for example, “what your accountant doesn’t want you to know,” or “what big-box retailers don’t want you to know.” The only problem with a headline like this is that it borders on clickbait, which can damage your reputation if you traditionally offer straightforward content.
The thread continues with this title, which again offers privileged information that readers previously haven’t gotten. There’s a teasing element, which will lure more clicks, but this title is interesting because it uses the word “lies.” Lies are deliberate actions taken to deceive someone, leading your readers to believe that not only do they believe untrue information, but someone actively wants them to believe it. For most readers, this is reason enough to click through—again, just make sure you have something good waiting for them on the other side.
This title forces users to confront the fact that they might believe something that isn’t true, but instead of putting the blame on some authority figure that’s “lied” to them, you resort to something more innocent—a myth or misconception. This title also automatically implies that you’re an authority on the subject; you’ve somehow risen far above about the common myths to not only recognize them, but work actively to correct them when you see them. And of course, there’s a number at the beginning, so it’s automatically more clickable.
Though not always a rule, in many industries, it’s advantageous for your business to attend conferences, tradeshows, workshops, and seminars. These are valuable opportunities to promote your business, network with others in your space, learn new things, and walk away with some new direction for your business. Unfortunately, not all businesses or workers get to attend these events, so you have a critical opportunity to share your knowledge with them—and lead with a powerful title at the same time. Reduce the hours you spent at the event to a handful of key takeaways, and start capitalizing on the keywords associated with the event.
(Image Source: Media Planet)
This is another title that shows off your expertise—and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t taken advantage of it. Human beings are naturally curious, so we’re always speculating about the future, wondering what’s about to come next. Seeing this headline, projecting what’s coming next in quantifiable, segmented bullet points, users won’t be able to help but click through. Even if they don’t agree with your predictions, you’ll satisfy their curiosities and show off your knowledge of the industry’s past and present.
Remember everything I said about human curiosity naturally wondering about the future and apply it to this title. It’s a slight variant on the original model, but note a couple of key differences. Rather than making concrete predictions, you’re talking about the future in much more vague terms—so you can chart paths of development rather than quantifiable milestones. Plus, you’ll be drawing on quotes from influencers in your industry rather than coming up with them yourself (either through interviews or by finding this information online already).
People love a good quote—especially when those quotes are conveniently assembled into one nice, neat package. Pick a topic related to your industry (or maybe just choose your industry in general) and hunt down some inspirational quotes on the subject—you can use an archive like BrainyQuote to get the job done. Make sure you acknowledge where the quotes came from, and try to dress them up, if you can, with images or meta-commentary.
Have you ever wanted to achieve a goal, like losing ten pounds or hitting a certain sales figure, but found yourself consistently unable to meet it? Most of us have at some point, and it’s an unbelievably frustrating experience. In that moment of frustration, if someone offered you a simple solution to bypass your failures and finally achieve your dream, how excited would you be? This is the emotion you’re playing with here. The biggest obstacle in using this title effectively is finding a problem your target audience faces that’s significant and common enough that most of your readers have experienced it—then finding a one-size-fits-all solution.
It might be a sense of morbid curiosity. It might be a comparative way to see how good you’re actually doing. It might be a way to learn by contrast. Whatever the case, we all seem to be borderline obsessed with reading about bad advice. Take it a step further to make it the “worst” advice, and you’ll capture a ton of attention in your field of expertise. As for the source of your inspiration, that’s up to you. This can be advice you’ve actually heard, or a mistake you’ve seen made reduced to advice form. As long as it’s a bit nasty, you’ll be in business.
Let’s not get too negative, though. For every person squirming to learn what the worst advice on a given topic is, there are just as many people who want to know the positive corollary. Tracking down the “best” advice on a subject is tough work, and most of the time, there’s no such thing as one bit that’s objectively “best.” However, you can back up your claims with evidence, or even an anecdote, to make your topic resonate with audiences. It’s also valuable to point out other pieces of good advice that didn’t make the cut as the “best” to show you did your homework.
One of the most effective ways to secure visibility online is to stir up debate or disagreement. When people disagree with each other, they become more emotionally invested, more vocal, and the piece itself attracts more comments, shares, and reactions. All of these are good things, so how can you imply discussion and debate with just a title? This title fits the bill. You’ll track down a number of experts, find their views on a given subject (hopefully disagreeing with each other), syndicate the article, and let the fun begin. Also note that the blog title isn’t sensationalized; it just presents the situation as it is.
People increasingly rely on recommendations to make their decisions. They’ll even trust reviews from strangers rather than relying on their own devices because we’re social creatures who like to see human-backed evidence that a decision is correct, or at least worthwhile. If readers have any sliver of trust for your brand, they’ll see a title like this and will want to know more about what it is you’re recommending and why you’re recommending it. The only caveat here is that your blank space shouldn’t be overtly self-promotional; stick to things your target audience will find genuinely useful.
When there’s a topic you know nothing about, but want a briefer on it so you can hold your own in a discussion or prepare to be immersed in the field, what do you do? You Google it, just like the rest of us, hoping to find an all-in-one guide that explains the high-level view of the subject with a handful of practical takeaways to boot. Introductory classes in college are frequently referred to as “101” courses, so labeling your introductory guide is a good way to secure some immediate attention.
You may see this title and think it’s almost identical to the 101 guide I covered in the last entry. However, a 101 guide covers everything there is to know about a subject—from its history to the basics to long-term strategies—while a beginner’s guide is custom-made for people trying to get started in a field. For example, a “101” guide for SEO might give you a high-level vision of what SEO is and how it works, while a “beginner’s” guide might give you some fast tips to start actually optimizing your website.
The title says it all, both to you and to your readers. Generally, if you’re going to go this route, you’ll want to start with a beginner’s guide first; that way, you’ll prepare your readers for a series to come next, and you’ll be able to capitalize on a single stream of audience members throughout the process. Your intermediate guide should target the same audience, but be a bit more advanced in scale; you’ll want to go over some common misconceptions, more technically demanding tasks and skills, and how to develop a long-term plan.
The last guide in this chain, as you might imagine, is the “expert’s guide.” This will be sure to attract a number of people in your industry—from self-proclaimed experts who want to check to see if there’s anything they’re missing, to entry-level newbies who want a glimpse at what they’re in store for in the long run. Referring to it as an “expert’s guide” will make you seem like an expert yourself—but only if you can successfully back that claim up with quality content. This guide should be packed with valuable information, living up to its title and then some.
No matter how good your blog is, it’s not a comprehensive resource for everything there is to know about your industry. Even if you somehow provided all the information all your readers needed, there would still be trade organizations, networking opportunities, and other organizations who offer what you can’t. That’s why an “ultimate” list of resources is so appealing; it aggregates all those sources and puts them in one convenient place. The title alone will encourage readers to click through, rather than hunting down all those resources individually—and you might get some extra shares from people “bookmarking” this guide for later reading. You can see one good example of this here.
This is a form of content aggregation, which can be both powerful and efficient if you use it correctly. The idea behind aggregation is to collect bits of content that other people have already created, assemble them on your own space, and add a bit of your own flavor to it, either with commentary or by unifying them under a single theme. There are many options here, but the key advantage is obvious; you don’t have to create the videos yourself. Instead, you merely need to find interesting videos that already exist and collect them in a way that makes them even more valuable to your readers. The headline also makes the notion compelling: you “have to” watch these.
Podcasts are seeing a massive resurgence in popularity, for a handful of reasons. People are crazy about them, and are always looking for new ones to follow and listen to. That’s where this headline comes in; it’s another form of content aggregation, but this time centered on podcasts. The burden will be on you a little more here—since users can’t listen to full podcasts on your site, you’ll be relegated to describing them in detail. Make sure you do a sufficient job of giving your audience what they need to make their listening decisions, and choose from the best podcasts you can find.
At first glance, you might think this is another form of content aggregation. For your readers, certainly, it fills a similar role; they’ll be scouting this type of post to find more content for their wants and needs. However, it also serves as an engine for recommendation. You won’t be featuring any specific posts from these blogs on your site, but you will be listing them. Spend some time finding some of the top blogs in the industry, and make sure you justify each of your recommendations.
One of the worst feelings is putting something together with excitement and high hopes, only to realize it’s not working the way you expected it to. For example, you might have started a new marketing campaign expecting a certain increase to your traffic flow, or you might have attempted a DIY project that didn’t turn out quite right. In any case, you’re confused, and this title promises to correct that confusion. Plus, even if you aren’t experiencing any immediate problems, if you’re interested in the subject, you might see this title and read the piece proactively to learn what could be done in the future.
Troubleshooting can cover a lot of hypothetical ground. You might write a troubleshooting article on a problem with your software or products, or help correct people in their approach to solving a certain problem in their life. In any case, the word “troubleshooting” bears most of the significance in this title; either your readers will be interested in correcting a problem, or they won’t be. If you want to add a bit of flair to the title and possibly get more impulsive clicks, you could amend the title by adding “in X steps.” Such an addition also implies more certainty and finality, which is always good in problem solving.
This is another kind of prediction article, similar in premise to the titles I introduced earlier in this collection, but with a slightly different viewpoint. Rather than making predictions about how an industry or subject matter will develop, you’ll be trying to take a snapshot of how it looks like after a number of years have elapsed. For example, rather than making claims like “SEO will become more conversational,” or “search engines will adopt more machine learning updates,” you could try to illustrate the totality of SEO as it will stand in 2025.
There are two obvious trigger words here, and the first is “misconception.” This implies that there’s something your readers believe to be true that isn’t—and that compels them to find out what that is. Even if they don’t believe themselves to hold any misconceptions on the subject, their curiosity will drive them to check to be sure. The other word is “common.” These aren’t just misconceptions that happen to pop up from time to time; instead, there’s an implied likelihood that most readers harbor these misconceptions, making the article appealing to more people.
Taking a break from somewhat serious matters like troubleshooting and correcting misconceptions, this title is less practical but far more entertaining. Depending on your readership and the makeup of your other content, this could be a standout title in your syndication efforts. It promises your stories to be amusing, and also gives you lots of options. These are just “stories,” so you’re unrestricted about how to attain them; for example, you could tell anecdotes about your own experiences, or explain something that happened to someone else, case study style.
This is a form of content aggregation, but the spin in the title makes it that much more appealing. First, note the use of the word “tweet”—you could substitute another medium of content (like “quotes” or “blog posts”) but tweets imply something succinct. Combined with the number at the beginning, your readers will immediately understand that this is a rapid-fire means of consuming content. This also implies a degree of significance; these tweets are informative and surprising enough to make you rethink your strategy entirely.
(Image Source: Offbeat)
There are a few titles about influencers on this list, whether you’re listing them outright or drawing quotes from them, but this one is different; this one is about the influencers on social media that your readers should be keeping tabs on regularly. Why is this differentiated? First, it qualifies influencers not on how influential they are or what they have to say, but the consistency at which they have good things to say. This is a subtle, yet important distinction. It also implies that these are people “everybody” follows, piquing readers’ interests and drawing them in.
Some of the guides I’ve mentioned earlier in this article are in-depth, such as “how to” posts, or the history of your given industry, but not everyone has time to wade through long-form material. Just like the “tweets” title implied a degree of urgency and lightness, this title boasts a similar appeal. Here, you’ll be coming up with a number of “quick tips” to guide your readers in the right direction. For example, “quick tips” on driving wouldn’t be a comprehensive guide on how to operate a vehicle; instead, it would boil down to easy-to-follow improvement tips like avoiding slamming on the brakes or slowing down in inclement weather.
This is a sister title to the one above it. People love to get small nuggets of information, which is why “did you know” style pieces of content and trivia are so popular. Here, you’ll let your readers know that they won’t have to spend much time on your piece to get something valuable about it, which is compounded by the fact that there’s a number in the title. The blank for both of these titles can be pretty much any subject you can think of related to your brand, including your brand itself; why not show off some of the facts that make your company unique?
“Cheat sheets” are fundamentally reference materials, which makes them appealing to anyone trying to get ahead in your industry or with a specific subject. Your cheat sheet could be a list of reminders, a boiled-down set of instructions, or even a list of reference materials to consult. It can be whatever you want it to be as long as it provides some fast, helpful information on your topic of choice. The title is also persuasive because the phrase “cheat sheet” implies that your readers are getting away with something borderline “wrong,” or something exclusive that only exists for the in-crowd.
Avoiding the positive and negative aspects of “cheat sheet,” a checklist-style post is a sure way to get interested readers. Checklists are helpful for almost any task you can imagine, and they’re also usually speed-reads. If you can make your checklist interactive, you’ll engage your audience even further. Try to be as comprehensive as possible here; if your checklist is effective enough, your readers will likely bookmark your page so they can return to it later the next time they’re working on this project.
Note that there’s no stand-in “X” variable for the number here. It’s entirely possible and valid to have “top 5” or “top 8” or any other types of posts, but “top 10” has a ring to it that makes it stand out from all the others (my hypothesis is that it’s due to the alliteration). In any case, you have a lot of room for creativity here. You could do the top 10 influencers in your industry, the top 10 software management products for a given application, or the top 10 innovations that sparked change in your industry. The sky’s the limit; almost any top 10 post will attract ample attention (and may even spark a debate).
This is ideal for companies that are selling tangible products. You’ll be creating content specifically tailored toward people looking to buy products like yours, and telling them exactly what to look for when they buy. Try not to be too salesy, though; you’ll want to create a legitimate buyer’s guide that walks users through all the steps in making a decision, presenting your competitors on somewhat equal footing. You can go the full-scale interactive route, like in the example below, or work on something more concise; this depends on how much time your target audience needs before finalizing a decision, which will obviously vary.
(Image Source: Product Chart)
One of the best ways to drive attention to your blog posts is to strike up a controversy, and with this title, you can do it before your readers even click the headline. Immediately, you’ll call out a product, a strategy, an approach, or even an influencer (be careful with that, though), and declare it to be getting more attention than it deserves. You’ll probably get some shares and comments on this type of post from people who haven’t even read it, but don’t rely on that to help you succeed—make sure you back up your bold claim with compelling evidence.
This is another title with tons of potential applications. You could list alternatives to solving a problem, alternatives to a prominent brand or company, or go more conceptual with alternative ways to think or brainstorm. The word “alternative” is the obvious focal point here; it appeals to anyone looking for more options on a given topic. Even if you’re satisfied with the way you’ve been handling something, you can’t help but be curious about what those alternatives are.
This post serves as a kind of gentle warning, zeroing in on an audience that’s about to take a given action, such as making a major purchase or pulling the trigger on a new business strategy. This type of post offers a handful of important considerations before following through, from a kind of mentorship role. Readers see a title like this and immediately view you as an authority with some kind of experience in your chosen topic, lending some extra weight to the headline.
It’s natural to be curious about the ways that other people have messed up. There are some clear motivations for why this the case. First, there’s the amusement factor; it’s kind of funny to read about someone else’s mistake, and the playfulness of this title implies that level of amusement. Second, there’s the education factor; we like to read about how other people screwed up so we aren’t doomed to the same fate. In fact, there’s some evidence to show that we learn more from other people’s mistakes than we do our own.
This one’s for all those potential customers on the fence about your products or services, or those who aren’t quite sure what they need in a given area. The brain gravitates toward certainty; when we don’t know something, we’re compelled to find an answer (regardless of what that answer is). The quiz element shows a degree of both interactivity and personalization, distinguishing it from the usual types of “filler” content posts, and indicates that once taken, this quiz will lead a reader to a final, definitive answer.
This is a direct challenge to your readers, and one that you’ll find works quite effectively to draw people in. This is one of the most ambiguous headlines on this list, which means you have the flexibility to transform it into almost anything you want. You could use it as a platform to uncover little-known facts about your industry, or highlight the fact that few people know much about your products. In any case, this forces an introspective thought in your readers—“how much do I know?”—followed by an urge—“I want to find out.”
This headline gives you a chance to show off your products and services (though of course, your content will have to remain neutral and informative for the most part). The blank here is something you sell, whatever that happens to be. There are two main keys in this headline, the first of which is “X signs,” giving readers a certifiable blueprint they can use to come to a decision. The second is the word “invest.” Investments are different than purchases—it implies you’ll get more out of the transaction than what you put in, elevating your value immediately.
This is a simple, straightforward headline, but it works well to appeal to history buffs and anyone especially interested in where your industry came from. You can do your industry, or some segment of it, from a high-level perspective, but it’s better to go after something more specific if you want to attract more attention. You can also transform this post into almost any kind of medium you want—generally, visual is better, like the infographic examples below. It’s easier to acquire and retain information this way, especially when dates and timelines are involved.
This one may make you feel arrogant. After all, how are you to know how to solve the biggest problems, even if they’re in your area of expertise? If the top minds of the industry haven’t been able to completely solve them after decades of work, how could you hope to address them in a single post? That’s what your readers are going to be thinking, too, and they’ll want to see what suggestions you have to offer. Remember, you don’t have to completely eradicate these problems to “solve” them—instead, you could merely offer advice on how to work around them, or mitigate their effects.
Ever since the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was released, people have loved the idea of studying the habits of people who have already achieved success (they did before, too, but not with such a specific name). The idea is that by mimicking the actions and habits of people who have already accomplished greatness, you can accomplish greatness in your own right. Of course, most of this is usually anecdotal evidence affected by human bias, but it’s still interesting to study and will undoubtedly earn you clicks in your core niche.
You clicked on this post, didn’t you? Take a moment to think about why. Maybe you’ve been struggling to come up with title ideas and you wanted some extra inspiration, or maybe you feel confident about your ability to come up with ideas and were curious about what I had to say. Either way, the notion of reviewing a list of someone else’s ideas for your own use is appealing (not to mention practical). The higher the number here, the better, as it implies a higher value for brainstorming and utility. The ideas themselves can be anything—strategies, creations, recipes, dates, or anything else you can think of.
We like to classify and organize things; it helps us understand our subject matter better. That’s why this post is valuable—it takes some big, complex group, like social media followers or donuts, and reduces them to a number of different “types” that can be separately studied and analyzed. If there are categories out there that already exist—like powdered sugar donuts—feel free to use them. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to invent some categories of your own. The tail end of this headline—the “need to know” gives it some extra oomph.
Human curiosity once again enters with this title—and you already know its power. You’re implying that the items you’re listing are not only “amazing,” but they’re currently unknown to the reader. What you’re actually promising here is a surprise, and the magnitude of that surprise is intensified by your “amazing” adjective. Of course, you’ll want to back this up by offering some truly surprising tidbits about your audience’s interest, but the title alone will help you sell them.
Some of the best blog ideas are ones that give users some practical value, almost like drawing water from a faucet. This is a promise for pure practicality; once a reader is done with this blog, they’ll walk away with X brand new tools to leverage in whatever context you choose. More isn’t necessarily better here; sometimes, offering a sheer quantity of tools is helpful, while other times, it’s better to delve deeper into the pros and cons of each one.
This is another title that’s partially reliant on the type of audience you’re serving. If you want to exclusively cater to readers who have been in your industry for years, or more advanced experts, this isn’t going to work. Otherwise, it’s a great way to appeal to the entry-level crowd. You may even attract some intermediate-level professionals who want to catch up on everything they might have missed in their first few years.
This is a more personal post than most of the others on this list, but I always recommend leveraging personal brands to make your content more powerful. There are a number of appeals here. First, the “I” alone makes this post resonate more powerfully, as it’s the relation of a personal experience. Next, the creation—the blank, which can be money, a business, or any kind of achieved goal—gives the title some measurable weight. Finally, the “X” referring to a measure of time makes it seem possible for any reader to achieve a similar goal within those time constraints.
The one thing that makes us all the same is our desire to be different. We all like to believe we’re special, and that we’re different from everybody else. We see ourselves as innovators, in whatever space we’re in. That’s why this title resonates with such power; it gives people a chance to see a certain topic from the perspective of someone who thinks “outside the box.”
This is another variation of the “common” guide template, but focuses on more practical takeaways. This is ideal if your audience is impatient, or if they’re focused on bottom-line figures, like incoming revenue, goals, or other specific accomplishments. The title also implies that it’s been stripped of any superfluous additions, like fluff content or other wasted material.
When it comes to online marketing for startups, small business owners, parents, fresh college grads, and about a hundred other potential demographics, frugality is a virtue. Few people, excepting the very rich, actively enjoy spending money, and with all other variables being equal, prefer more cost-effective options. We like to get the most for our money, and the raw appeal of this title somewhat proves it. You can spin almost anything into a frugal version of itself, from buying cheaper pizza to managing human resources more wisely.
The power of this title comes from the fact that, if there’s a “right” way to do something, there’s also a “wrong” way to do it. Even if your target readers are absolutely confident they’ve been doing something the “right” way, or at least an effective way, some small part of them will be curious to figure it out for sure. Is there some other way to go about this? You can also put a variant on this title by adding “in X steps,” which makes your promise of a strategy more concrete.
The exact structure of this title doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the presence of the word “hacks,” which has become a buzzword thanks to the takeover of life hacks in our common lexicon. A “hack” is basically any kind of shortcut or trick designed to make something more effective or more efficient, and they exist in almost any area of life or profession you can think of. Introducing “hacks” into your title makes people curious about what insider information awaits them.
In this post, you’ll be breaking down the makeup of some element related to your business. If you sell products, you might demonstrate the anatomy of one, like “the anatomy of our smart can openers,” or “the anatomy of a perfect mattress.” Otherwise, you can focus on more abstract ideas, like “the anatomy of an ideal meeting agenda.” The point is to imply some kind of deeper analysis, breaking down the components of a given subject to better understand how it works, like the “perfect landing page” in the infographic example below.
(Image Source: KissMetrics)
People love to watch trends. Evergreen content topics are good, and generally preferred due to their indefinitely long lifespan, but the appeal of trends is sharper and faster. They’re new, they’re fleeting, and they need to be acted on quickly if they’re going to serve your purpose, so they make for a perfect injection into your headlines. The fact that there are a concrete number of them is just an added bonus.
The blank here can be any verb that relates to your business, though generally, this headline applies more to business owners than direct consumers. If you want to make it more consumer-centric, you’ll have to swap out the word “competitors” for something more relevant, like “peers” or “managers.” As an example, if you’re an SEO agency, you can offer X reasons your competitors are “outranking” you, or you could go with the general “outperforming” if you include some specific industry terminology elsewhere.
This title can be tricky to pull off, and certainly works better in some contexts than it does for others. The problem is there aren’t many general products that everyone “should” own—there’s too much differentiation in needs besides food, water, and shelter. However, if you substitute “everyone” with a more specific, industry-related term, you can expand your range. You can even change the word own to “use” if you get stuck. For example, you could offer “X efficiency tools every marketer should use.”
This is a great title for any business that sports a long buying cycle, or one that requires significant consideration from clients and consumers. The vast majority of people consult the web before making any kind of purchase, so if your target market is struggling to finalize a decision, this is the perfect chance to capture them. Here, you’ll let them know exactly what they should be thinking about and what they should be asking their prospective dealers. It’s also a perfect opportunity to lead potential clients or buyers in your direction.
This title follows the same core concept as the last one—consumers want to do their research and learn more information before making a final buying decision. Here, instead of telling them what questions to ask or what to consider, you’ll be telling them how to conduct their research. For example, you could tell them to ask friends and family members, find referrals, or get quotes from multiple providers before finalizing.
Everyone’s trying to get somewhere. For some people, that’s becoming a doctor. For others, that’s becoming physically fit. Some people just want to be a “better” version of what they already are, like a “better blog writer” or “better golfer.” You can use that desire to feed into this title, giving users executable strategies they can use to get wherever they want to go. You can also substitute more specific phrases in for “ways,” such as “avenues for becoming” or “ideas for becoming.” Just keep it focused on that end goal.
In our culture, time is precious, to the point where we count every second of our days. If you imply that your readers are spending their time in inefficient ways, or that they’re wasting time altogether, they’ll be desperate to figure out how to correct the problem. This article will imply that many of your readers are wasting their time in some area of their lives, and that you have the knowledge necessary to fix it.
This article title is ideal if you’re targeting users early in the buying cycle, but can be a good way to optimize for your target keywords, too. Here, you’ll be outlining the main benefits of whatever it is you’re offering, whether that’s a product or a service. It’s an entry-level piece, to be sure, but it’s got lots of appeal to anyone who’s completely unfamiliar with the subject.
If you’re trying to take a more unbiased approach, or speak to readers who are debating whether or not to move forward with their decision, you can list out the pros and cons of your product or service, or some other element of your business. For example, you could discuss the pros and cons of hiring a contractor versus doing a job yourself, or the pros and cons of hybrid cars.
Typically, there are at least a handful of ways your clients will be faced with diametrically opposed options. Should they hire a freelancer or full-time worker? Should they get cake or ice cream for a birthday party? Should they choose vinyl or wood siding? This comparison title promises to permanently resolve the dispute (even if all you’re doing is objectively comparing the two against each other). Some sites, like Diffen, have dedicated themselves exclusively to this approach due to its popularity with users.
(Image Source: Diffen)
People want to make sure they’re spending money in the right way, and that their investments are going to pay off. This title immediately shows readers that you have empathy for their position; the wording implies you’re familiar with the struggle—and that you have a genuine answer. In most cases, the answer will be “yes,” giving you the opportunity to pitch your business to new readers, but stay as objective as possible.
These days, when someone feels unmotivated or can’t bring themselves to do a task, they turn to the Internet, where they can browse the news and discover new articles. If they see a title that addresses and responds to that lack of motivation, they’ll be highly likely to click through—and hopefully find some inspiration to get back to whatever it was they were doing.
I’ve already presented a post idea for simply presenting new ideas to your readers, but that’s a “give a man a fish” method. This title is a “teach a man to fish” approach. Instead of merely presenting ideas for your readers to use, you’ll be giving them ways to come up with their own ideas. For example, instead of giving you 101 titles for your blog, I could have recommended strategies like word association games, reading competitor blogs, and social listening to come up with them on your own.
This title obviously caters to a crowd that relies on strategies to accomplish some goal. This is often, but not necessarily, relegated to the business world. For example, you could list sales strategies or bear hunting strategies your audience hadn’t considered. The key point of interest in this title is the “hadn’t considered,” leaving your readers to feel like there are strategies they haven’t been able to come up with on their own, further enhancing your expertise and value.
As we’ve seen a number of times already, “strategies” are almost always a good angle to go. You can come up with strategies or approaches for almost any subject matter, and people will eat them up because they’re valuable. Here, the differentiator is the word “underrated,” which implies two things—first, that these strategies aren’t used or appreciated, which makes them rare and appealing. And second, that these strategies are highly effective.
The blank here can be anything, but is best served as one of your top products or service offerings. For example, you could reference the most popular types of cheese, or the most popular forms of advertising. People have a vested interest in knowing what other people think—it’s the whole reason things go viral. People tend to value popular things more, which drives their popularity even further.
This is a variation on a buyer’s guide, except there may not be any purchasing involved. For example, you might write a blog post about “which management style is right for you?” or “what type of pants are right for you?” You can also vary this based on specific situations, like “what type of pants are right for a wedding?”
This certainly isn’t the first post idea on this list that’s targeted toward beginners—we’ve also seen “101” and specifically designated “beginner’s guides.” But this one takes the approach from a slightly different angle, reducing the entire process to a specific number of fundamentals that people need to know. The article also has an appeal for more experienced members, who can use the article as a refresher or even as a teaching aide.
There’s never a magic formula for anything, no matter what you might have heard. Common clickbait titles use this gimmick to try and get people to buy weight loss supplements, but you can use it as a way to draw people into your products or solutions. The only drawback here is that it can come across as a gimmick—so be sure to explain yourself in the body of your content.
This goes along with the “alternative” angle I’ve mentioned a few times already. Finding creative approaches to solving problems or creative ideas in general is appealing, because it implies a break from the norm. It’s also a fun title to write (in most cases) because it forces you to think outside the box.
People are always striving for more efficiency. More efficient work can lead to more money, while more efficient lifestyles can lead to more satisfaction and less stress. That’s one reason why life hacks are so popular—but here, you’ll be explaining how to make something more efficient in a number of steps. These should be able to apply to anyone even close to your target demographics, so use it wisely.
It’s good to talk about subjects, but sometimes it’s better to simply demonstrate them. For example, rather than writing a blog post about what makes a great music video, you could write a blog post containing some of your favorite music videos, and why they work. This title gives you a good platform to showcase items within your realm of expertise and offer commentary about how they do or don’t work. There’s a lot of flexibility here, so you can showcase ads, foods, performances, products, or anything else you can think of.
You know how the For Dummies series got to be so popular? Part of the reason was the excellent content in their books, but an almost bigger reason was probably the title. Like it or not, we’re all “dummies” and “fools” about some things, even ones in our own field of expertise. Few people feel like they’ve truly mastered their respective niche, and this article title calls upon that. The tactics and tricks you present will all be “foolproof,” meaning anyone can use them to their greatest potential, which is highly appealing for novices and fools alike.
This is a pretty thin title as it stands, so as you can imagine, its power comes from what you choose to fill in. There are limitless possibilities here, but a few broad categories to consider. You could imply a danger such as “ways to stretch without hurting yourself” or imply a lack of resources such as “ways to market your business without a massive budget.” Or you could imply that this is a list of alternatives such as “ways to find leads without cold calling.” It’s a differentiator, and can be highly appealing based on your direction.
I’ll be the first to admit that the word “supercharge” is buzzy, and borders on the clickbait line. However, people love the idea of taking something effective and making it even better. Supercharging implies that it’s already achieved some kind of baseline; for example, if you’re “supercharging” your social media following, you’ve already got a respectable, active following to work with. This suggests there is a “next level” to achieve, and that this guide will give you the means to achieve it.
As we’ve seen in dozens of titles so far, it’s effective to imply that your readers don’t have the knowledge you’re about to provide. That effect is amplified when that lack of knowledge is causing active harm to something valuable to them. Self-sabotage is a real phenomenon, and can manifest in a number of ways. So how is your audience of readers sabotaging themselves? Are they failing to learn enough to move forward? Are they running with cheap, ineffective solutions?
People look to successful individuals in all areas with a sense of grandiose admiration. These people have already done something impressive, but the simple advice of “work hard and be persistent” isn’t as appealing as the idea that there’s some kind of secret or shortcut that got them to where they are. This allure will draw readers into your post immediately, and you don’t have to worry about these being actual “secrets.” They can just be habits, pieces of knowledge, or approaches that are not commonly known.
This title will help you guide users in a direction of your choosing before they take some action relevant to your brand. For example, you could tell users X things to do before buying a house, suggesting they contact a real estate agent (you or your contact). Or you could tell users X things to do before starting a workout regimen, suggesting they work with a personal trainer (you or your contact). The sequence of steps here is informative, and seems highly significant to the average outsider.
Disaster can strike anywhere, whether it’s fire damage to your home or a negative ROI for your latest marketing campaign. Big disasters, small disasters, and disasters of all varieties can make you feel defeated, but there’s always a path to recovery. This title offers that path, and does so in a quantifiable number of suggestions—which is extra appealing to those dealing with stress and confusion. You could also vary this title by making it “how to recover from ____ in X steps.”
Not everything in your industry is pretty, and this title instantly implies that. Listing the harsh realities about your situation, your industry, or even your brand is a way to prove your integrity, transparency, and honesty to your readers. Not all businesses are willing to disclose these less-than-perfect details, so the fact that you are instantly makes you more trustworthy. Plus, there’s something irresistible about learning the “dirty” details behind a business or industry you respect.
Embarrassment often triggers a sympathetic response, but it also calls upon our senses of humor. Other brands and consumers have already made some powerful mistakes, so why not take advantage of them to give your readers a good laugh (and some helpful information along the way)? Be careful who and what you list here—if you tell the embarrassing story of someone who takes it personally, they could go after you—but otherwise, try to have some fun here.
There’s always something to look forward to, in every industry, in every community, and in every subject. It could be a convention or gathering, a new technology coming out, or a fundamental change in how you’re doing business. In any case, this change is accompanied by some kind of monumental shift, and your readers know it. Behind this title, your readers will find out whether or not they’re truly ready for the changes to come.
This title is specifically targeted toward team leaders, entrepreneurs, or other professional roles responsible for managing individual employees. If that isn’t your demographic, you may wish to alter it in some way (for example, you could change “employees” to “students” or “children” without altering the main idea of the title too far). Either way, this article title implies a couple of things that draw readers in; first, that your employees don’t know something, and that this article will tell it to them. Second, that your employees should know this, increasing the perceived significance of the work.
Again, this title’s relevance is partially dependent upon your chosen target audience. If you’re targeting employees who have bosses and supervisors, this will work fine. Otherwise, you may need to find a substitute, such as “teachers,” or “mentors.” This one has an extra appeal because there’s an incentive in presenting new information to a higher authority; not only are you providing interesting reading material, you may be helping along their careers by helping them impress their boss. If you can provide this information, these readers will be much more likely to stick around.
The blank here is an open gateway to almost anything you can imagine. Maybe it’s an event your company attended. Maybe it’s a current event in the national news. Maybe it’s an experiment your company performed. There are only a few stipulations here; the blank must be recent, it must have given you some new information, and of course, it must be relevant to your audience. From there, you’ll come up with surprising lessons you didn’t expect to learn; this can help you pique the interest of readers who have already heard about your “blank.”
The magic of this title is that it implies there’s a best way to do something. The very first entry in this list was a “how to” blog post, which can tell you how to approach a given task (let’s say cutting a pineapple). It may get the job done, but is it the most efficient way to do it? Is it the fastest? Is it the easiest? The word “best” implies that this is somehow better than the “normal” way, and therefore has mass appeal for readers. But you can also substitute almost any superlative here for the same effect; i.e., the “simplest way to cut pineapple.”
Here, the first blank is going to fill in with your target demographic; this gives you the opportunity to speak directly to your audience, not to mention optimizing for related keywords. The second blank is going to refer to your main area of expertise (or your current target). People are enthralled by their own identities, and if you imply that they’re doing something wrong in their own area of expertise, they won’t be able to resist clicking through to find out.
Even though you might have established an impressive reputation in your niche community, you aren’t the only influencer out there. People love to see different influencers because they need different perspectives, different viewpoints, and even different voices to get a complete experience. That’s why this simple list blog post can be so effective; all you have to do is identify some key influencers in your industry and list them out—or if you want to get fancy, you can hit them up for some quotes that best represent their opinions on a given subject.
There’s nothing psychologically special or subtle about this headline, which is a big reason why it works; it simply lets readers know they’re about to see a timeline on a given subject. This implies it’s a start-to-finish history on a given subject, explored in some graphic or visual way, which readers always love to see. You could easily turn this blog post into an infographic and reap even greater rewards.
Depending on your industry and target audience, this could be an immensely fun blog post to write. AlternateHistoryHub has developed its entire brand around providing information on alternative histories. The NFL has a fun video series dubbed “N ‘if’ L” that explores alternate realities about players, games, teams, injuries, and the like. You could also approach this as present-day experimenting; what would happen if your customers suddenly did something to their cars? The what-if model is appealing because it strikes a chord with our imaginations. It forces readers to come up with a hypothesis before clicking through, and encourages them to see if it’s right.
Remember what I said about influencers? Here’s your chance to call upon them again. Only this time, instead of listing them, you’ll be interviewing them briefly on the subject of your choice. This is a fantastic opportunity if there’s a new technology or an emerging trend in your industry that your peers are worried about. Gather up a bunch of quotes on the matter from some of the most respected influencers you can find, and if you can, try to hit the problem from multiple different angles.
People love to read—and cite—statistics relevant to their interests. They tend to be objective, enlightening, and hard to obtain, which makes them valuable. But you don’t necessarily have time to conduct all that original research on your own, so the next best thing is to round up statistics from a bunch of other sources and collect them together into one, convenient document. The “need to know” in the title adds a bit of extra flair, implying extra importance for the piece.
This is less of a full-fledged article title, and more of an important post you’ll want to make to your readers eventually. You’ve spent a while looking over these last 100 suggestions for titles, but there’s an even better resource for finding new titles your readers will love—your readers themselves! Reach out and ask them what they want to read, and you’ll probably get plenty of responses to keep your content strategy moving in a solid direction.
There you have it! Like it or not, you now have zero excuses not to have a full editorial calendar. Swap out some keywords and phrases, and you can easily use each of the titles on this list multiple times over.
Assuming you’re posting twice a week, this alone can keep you going for several years—not even counting the other great creative ideas you have in the back of your mind. Dedicate yourself to ongoing refinement and new idea generation (even if you use this as a backup plan), and you’ll never run out of awesome headlines to use in your content marketing campaign.
Success in content marketing depends on creating lots of content—and not just any content. You need good content, that people want to read/watch/listen to, and you need to keep things fresh enough that they keep coming back for more. That’s a lot of pressure to come up with new ideas and new applications, and unless you’re some meta-human idea-generating machine, eventually, you’ll run into writer’s block, unable to come up with something new, cool, and exciting.
That’s why I’ve compiled this massive list of 101 content marketing ideas you can use to keep your website and/or blog running.
Without further ado, here are 101 content ideas for your website or blog:
Ah, listicles, the marriage of ‘articles’ and ‘lists.’ Where was content marketing before the age of listicles? The premise here is simple; take a concept and turn it into a numbered list. Being able to call out a number in your headline makes the piece instantly more attention-grabbing; it implies a degree of conciseness and skimmability that’s appealing to modern web users, plus serves as a tease that piques user interest. There’s no limit to what you can apply the listicle format to; you can create “top 10” lists for items or concepts in your industry, or go the Buzzfeed route and find any excuse to throw a number in your headline.
(Image Source: Buzzfeed)
Checklists are pretty straightforward too, though they tend to have a more practical side than listicles. Here, you’ll create a rundown of requirements for a given task or event, which users can adopt for their own personal purposes. For example, if you’re a travel company or a hotel, you might include a checklist of commonly forgotten items while traveling. If you’re an SEO agency, you might include a checklist of all the tasks you need to complete for on-site optimization. If you can make the checklist interactive by including actual check-able boxes, this is even better. It’s smart to make them printer-friendly, too. Interactivity makes any content better.
How-to posts instruct users how to complete something, and that something can be almost anything. For example, you can walk users through the steps of changing a flat tire, how to cook a frittata, or how to tell when a sales strategy isn’t working. Here, make sure your title explains what you’re instructing clearly, and try to choose a topic that’s as specific as possible; most general how-to’s (like the three examples I gave) have been done to death. For bonus points here, make sure you include images and videos of the process. If you can’t get real photography, rely on sketches.
“Tips and tricks” articles are all about providing helpful tidbits about a given subject, process, or task to readers in an effort to make their lives easier. The line here can be blurry with other forms of content; for example, you could have a listicle of tips and tricks, or a how-to post with a section of tips and tricks at the end. The point is to give your users bite-sized pieces of useful information. This whole concept, when applied to general life, has evolved to become known as “life hacks,” so feel free to use the “hack” terminology to catch some extra attention in your title.
You may also want to publish a post of best practices, which outline some bigger-picture concepts and procedures to follow for a given subject. For example, best practices for running may include keeping proper form, staying hydrated, and eating properly before and after a run. The usual problem with this type of content is that it’s general, so if you can, try to make your topic more specific to a niche audience, or drill down into one specific section of the topic you’re covering.
Buying guides have a handful of advantages as a content type, and they come in a variety of different forms. The general purpose is to help users make an educated decision when buying a certain product; in the example below from MacRumors, the buying guide compares and contrasts different categories of Apple products to help unfamiliar users decide precisely what they need. Be sure to cover general descriptions of the products you’re covering, but also delve into top considerations; let users know what factors are most important in making a good decision here. This is especially advantageous if you’re listing products you sell on your site.
(Image Source: MacRumors)
Opinion pieces are some of the most open-ended pieces of content you can produce. All you have to do is find a topic that matters to your audience, formulate an opinion on it, and write about that opinion. For example, you might come out in favor of a new technology that’s shaking up your industry, or you might list the drawbacks and consequences of a popular business strategy that isn’t frequently criticized. There are a few keys to being successful here—your opinion should be strong, well-researched, and at least somewhat debatable.
Prediction pieces are similar to opinion pieces, but with a specific focus; here, you’ll attempt to make a prediction (or multiple predictions) about your industry, or a topic that’s important to your users. For example, if you’re in the automotive industry, you might predict that a certain model of car will be discontinued by a certain date, or if you’re in the culinary industry, you might predict the rise of a certain trend revolving around a specific ingredient. These tend to capture user interest because they appeal to the imagination and are future-focused.
Once your prediction piece is written, you can actually capitalize on it for another powerful piece of content; the prediction follow-up. As the name suggests, this is a way to reflect on the predictions you initially made and determine whether they proved true or false—as well as why. Moz has been known to do this annually, making predictions about the coming year in SEO and evaluating the past year’s predictions, complete with a numerical ranking system. You don’t have to go that in-depth, but revisiting your predictions shows your commitment and could rejuvenate interest in your previous work.
(Image Source: Moz)
“Why” pieces are exactly what they sound like; they’re your chance to explain the mechanics behind something specific in your industry. You have a wide diversity of potential angles to explore here; for example, you could explain “why” from a functional perspective, taking a look at what makes a product work or why a strategy is effective, or from an historical perspective, evaluating how this product evolved or how this strategy came to be what it is today. The “why” question is an especially interesting one—and a satisfying one if you’re in-depth enough with it.
Tutorials may seem like just another term for “how-to” posts, but while the two share a common goal—instructing a user how to do something—tutorials tend to take a more in-depth, step-by-step, “showing” approach. In a written tutorial, you’ll have some difficulty establishing this level of immersion. Depending on the subject matter you’re covering, you’ll need to go into special detail to make sure your message is understood; for example, merely describing what the inside of a clock looks like won’t be nearly as effective as demonstrating a visual. Be sure to include photos and illustrations, or change forms to a video tutorial instead.
Video tutorials are a bit more difficult to produce, just because they require some camera work and editing, but they’re generally more powerful forms of instruction, since users can see exactly what you’re doing. Throughout the video, make sure you keep the camera focused on the action, but don’t just go through the steps—take your time narrating everything you’re doing, and clearly so that users can understand. In fact, it might be a good idea to include both a video and written version of your tutorial to help audiences with preferences for either one. Punished Props has built a successful Youtube brand around video tutorials on how to make realistic-looking costumes, weapons, and armor.
“What not to do” posts can be fun to write. They function as a practical opposite to “best practice posts,” outlining some of the worst choices or strategies you can follow in a given subject. For example, in the realm of link building, you might focus on black hat tactics like sneaking links into forum comments or participating in link exchanges and other schemes. Depending on the severity of the consequences in your particular field, you could turn this into a cautionary tale, or make it humorous. Either one can be made more powerful with the inclusion of specific examples.
Mistake analysis posts are similar to “what not to do,” except rather than outlining general “worst practices,” they delve into one specific error in an attempt to figure out what went wrong. For example, if you’re a marketing agency, you might have a client whose ROI plummeted before they met you; your mistake analysis post could explain how you went about figuring out the root cause, as well as the steps you took to correct it. In this way, mistake analysis posts can serve as both “what not to do” pieces and helpful tutorials.
There are myths, misconceptions, and false assumptions surrounding practically every industry. Being in the SEO industry, I’ve been exposed to quite a few of these myself, such as people still believing that manual link building is a dangerous strategy or following keyword-stuffing strategies that haven’t been relevant since 2011. Talk to your customers and see what your competitors are posting about—odds are, sooner or later, you’ll come across some persistent myths about how your industry works. Gather them up and work on dispelling them in a single post; just make sure you back up your claims with specific examples or hard evidence.
Quizzes are a fun, interactive way to engage your users, and they offer more user participation than most of the other entries on this list. If you need more users participating on your site, this is a good bet to see higher rates. When you think of content quizzes, your mind might turn to popular “which [fictional franchise] character are you?” quizzes on Facebook; and while you can use these, you can also go a more customer-focused route, such as exploring a topic like, “are you saving enough for retirement?” or “is it time to update the design of your website?” Make the quiz short and easy to take, and if you can, leave users with some call to action.
Calculators are like simplified, numerically-based versions of quizzes. Here, you’ll ask users for a selection of information regarding a subject, and you’ll produce an answer that gives them meaningful data to move forward with. In the example below, users can enter their projected home costs and interest rates to calculate how much they’ll pay per month in a mortgage, but you can design a calculator for almost anything. You can even embed a calculator in one of your other blog posts to make it more functional or more immediately practical for your readers; there are many WordPress plugins that allow you to do this.
(Image Source: Bankrate)
Through the process of gamification, you can turn almost anything into a game, or create a game for your users. You can make this purely fun, such as making a game out of a task associated with your business; if you’re a retail store, you could post about a scavenger hunt your shoppers can play in your store. You could also make it more instructional, such as presenting a complex strategy in a game format to help users understand it on a more instinctual, conceptual level. As usual, this can be as casual or as in-depth as you’re willing to make it.
This is a beneficial approach because it allows you to generate multiple posts on a conceptual level simultaneously; it’s also powerful for your audience because it gives them something consistent and relatively predictable to look forward to. As you consistently execute your work, your readers will become more and more invested, leaving you with higher rates of engagement and, eventually, returns. Take the series approach to some of your other post ideas; for example, you could find a mistake to analyze every week as part of your “this week’s biggest blunder” series or explore a different use for your core product every week with your “how to use ____” series.
Though your tutorials and “why” posts might briefly explore the inner workings of your core products (or other items related to your industry), it’s more powerful to see it outlined visually. Include detailed schematics outlining what your product of choice is made out of, and offer written explanations for why it is the way it is. It’s a good way to circulate more information about how your products actually work, and will certainly appeal to any engineers in your crowd.
Flow charts are interactive visual creations that help guide users through some kind of process, usually related to a decision. Each node on the chart provides a user with a branched set of options, followed by more nodes which lead the user further down the chart. You can use a chart like this to help guide them through a buying decision, such as deciding which model to go with, or have more fun with it. For example, you can use a flow chart to lead a user into a punchline or poke fun at the complexities of your industry.
(Image Source: Mental Floss)
With templates, your job is to provide a basic outline or representative set of content that users can then leverage for their own purposes. For example, if you’re helping your clients develop a social media strategy, you might provide them with a sample outline of a strategy that they can modify for their own needs. Depending on the nature of your template and what your customers actually need, you can provide these in a few different ways. Most notably, you can offer them as downloadable PDFs, which users can then print, savable documents and spreadsheets, which are editable on local devices, or embed the template directly into your post.
Worksheets are similar to templates, but they serve a more specific purpose, and allow the user to work through some kind of problem. For example, a template for a social media strategy might give the user starting points for outlining their goals and objectives, but a worksheet would allow a user to work through the brainstorming and planning process that leads them to those conclusions. Worksheets often feature questions that force a user to think through a specific problem, such as “how many customers do you currently have?” and may also include quiz or calculator elements. Again, you can make this printable with a PDF or editable with a digital file.
Infographics exploded in popularity when they first started gaining momentum as a content medium a few years ago, and it’s no mystery why. Infographics visually represent data, which makes them aesthetically appealing, informative, interesting, and best of all—easy to share (as long as they’re executed correctly). They were once powerhouses for generating links and shares, but because they became so popular so fast, users began to grow tired of seeing the same infographic tropes over and over again. If you’re going to do an infographic, make sure it’s a topic really worth exploring, and present it in an original, interesting way. Check out this infographic-based infographic for a quick rundown on how you can do it:
(Image Source: Dash Burst)
Comics are extremely easy or extremely hard to make, depending on who you ask and what kind of mood they’re in. If you want to get involved, paneled, illustrated storytelling can be a deep and immersive way to present a complex idea or present a sophisticated idea of humor. But if you’re looking for something to create quickly, you can also make something simple using rudimentary stick-figure skills. The goal is to present something in both a written and visual format, and preferably in a way that users can either engage with directly or share. Humor’s a big win for comics—but they don’t have to be humorous to be effective. WaitButWhy.com’s Tim Urban is a master of using comics within his content. You can see one of my favorites in this post.
Memes are even easier to generate. Now, the actual definition of a meme is an idea that evolves and distributes itself, much like a gene in the evolutionary sense. But since its coinage by Internet dwellers, it has since evolved (ironically) to refer to any image macros, colloquial phrases, or in-jokes that circulate virally, usually due to some kind of humorous element. Oftentimes, this includes placing text over a person’s image, but it doesn’t have to; you can hijack an existing meme or create one of your own to add a bit of flair to your post. If you need help, you can seek out a meme generator online.
(Image source: Memegenerator.net)
It’s hard to take sketches or illustrations and make them standalone pieces of content in their own right, but they serve as excellent ways to complement a piece that already exists. For example, if you’re working on a written tutorial and you don’t have any photos, you can use illustrations to better communicate your intentions and descriptions. You could also use sketches to present ideas before they’re fully baked, as a way of teasing your audience regarding your final design. Remember, it’s helpful to have a skilled professional designer working on these, but it’s not necessary.
Photography is another visual medium you can use to gain visibility for your content marketing campaign, and there are a few different ways to harness its potential. If you have a professional photographer, or a standout image that says something significant about your brand or your audience, you can use it as a standalone piece –perhaps with a thoughtful caption. If they’re of a lesser quality, or if they don’t have that much impact, you can use them to supplement an existing piece. Again, these pair excellently with how-to articles and tutorials, but don’t be afraid to show off with just photos and some accompanying captions.
If you don’t feel like doing any writing, or producing any new images on your own, you can offer a kind of compilation of images you’ve collected previously. The best part is, they can come from any of the image-based categories I briefly recapped over the past few entries. For example, you can create a post about your “10 favorite infographics” from the industry, or highlight some of the “best photography” from a recent tradeshow or industry-related event.
In the same way you aggregate images, you can also aggregate videos—even some of your own. For example, you can create a kind of YouTube playlist of some of the most influential videos in your industry, or you can embed your most popular videos in one collective post. It’s still a good idea to annotate them in some way, for SEO purposes as well as giving users a preview of what they’re about to see.
Simple monologue videos can be effective, especially if you’re explaining a complex topic or having a conversation with your audience (more on that in subsequent entries). However, you can take it to the next level of aesthetic appeal and interactivity by including some illustrated elements. For example, you can use a whiteboard to make doodles that represent what you’re talking about, or you can make sketches in advance and use them at key points during your talk. For a good example of how this can be done in a fun, engaging, and branded way, check out Minute Physics’s video series about physics-related concepts. This doesn’t have to be exceptionally complex or involved to be effective.
Video graphics are essentially the animated versions of infographics. Rather than hosting a stagnant collection of visual data bits, you’ll have the freedom to animate them; for example, you can have your bar charts grow into life, or gradually reveal a list of top entries, one by one. This format is far more original and engaging, and there will be less competition clamoring for attention here. However, the flip side is that it takes more time and expertise to develop. Unless you have a basic concept and mode of execution, you’ll need a video specialist or at least a graphic designer to help you execute this work.
Much like your written post series, you can have a regular video series as well, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to topic potential. Releasing a new video on a regular interval will help you earn more YouTube subscribers, and generate more ongoing attention for your brand. You can even create a specific channel (or sub-channel) dedicated exclusively to that series. Have the same personal brand hosting the video every week, and you’ll have an instant recipe for greater reader loyalty. Consider exploring the pros and cons of a given tactic or topic every week, or visually showcasing something about your business.
You could also use the video marketing approach to show off the products and/or services that you want your customers to buy in the first place. You’ll have to be careful here, because there’s a fine line between this type of content marketing and straight-up advertising, and if you cross that line, you’ll fail to build an audience. Remember, your goal in content marketing is to give your users something valuable, so make sure the potential customers can walk away from your demo videos with some new information or a fun experience—even if they don’t end up buying from you. If you have fun products, like toys, this is easy; otherwise, you’ll have to get creative.
If your business hosts regular events, or if you plan on attending events in the future, hosting an updating calendar on your site is a great way to generate more content and keep your users informed. Try to include a brief description of each entry on your calendar, both to inform your users and to optimize for search engines; you can even use a Schema markup to increase the chances of getting featured in a Knowledge Graph entry. If you don’t have a calendar on your site, you can do a month-by-month entry in your blog.
(Image Source: Grog Shop)
You can also use timelines as an interactive, visual way to project the history of your company (or of your industry). This is especially effective if you’ve been around for a while, such as manufacturers that have been around for decades. Show off the major events that helped shape your industry and your business into what it is today. The unfortunate thing about timelines is that you can’t rely on them for an ongoing series; once you cover most of the major events of the past, you’ve already tapped them, and you’ll have to move on. However, you can also have timelines projecting into the future, charting out your company (or industry) goals, vision, and predictions.
Charts and graphs are ideal ways to help your users visualize otherwise hard-to-approach data points; you may have already included some in your infographics and video graphics. Make sure you’re including these in an image format, so your users can share and cite them (and include a watermark to ensure you get credit for your work). It’s best if you use these charts and graphs to represent original data you’ve researched yourself, but you can use them for outside sources of data, or you can use them to illustrate general concepts. This post at WaitButWhy.com is chock-full of charts and graphs, and is an excellent example of how to illustrate the points being made.
If you want to become known as an industry authority, you need to post your thoughts and opinions about the latest news in the industry. Start by subscribing to influential blogs and forums, and networking with other influencers in the industry. When you see a story that piques your interest, news-jack it by presenting the facts of the story (in your own words, of course), followed up with your own reactions and opinions. Doing so will build your reputation, and provide you with easy material for ongoing content work. Even if your industry isn’t one that updates or changes often, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of material anytime soon here.
Industry news stories aren’t the only ones you can news-jack for your own purposes, especially if you’re pursuing a local SEO campaign. But even if you don’t consider yourself a “local” business, there are some real advantages to noting, sharing, and repurposing local news stories; you’ll gain more relevance in your chosen area, and you’ll connect on a deeper level to the population there. You may even learn of new opportunities for promotion, such as finding local events that need new speakers or discussion leaders.
Taking things one level further, you can also capitalize on national and international news stories for your news-jacking efforts. This is especially powerful if you select topics that are at least marginally relevant to your industry or your customers; for example, with the launch of a new technology, you could post about the possibilities it holds for your industry.
You’re probably already aware of the benefits that influencers have when promoting and distributing your content, but don’t underestimate the power they have when collaborating with you on a shared piece. One of the best ways to collaborate is in an interview format; you can ask your chosen influencer a series of questions about your industry and their opinions on it, and the two of you can mutually benefit from the exposure. Chances are, your interviewee will be just as likely to share the published piece (especially if it’s available in different formats). Beyond that, you can even reuse some of your initial questions in future interviews, saving you work on similar content in the future.
Interviews are powerful forms of content, but they don’t have to be exclusive to industry influencers. You can also look inside your organization to find people to interview, such as your CEO, or heads of various departments in your business. Ask them about their positions, including what they do for the organization, as well as their thoughts on the industry and where they see the business going from here. Your focus should be on providing valuable insights for your audience, but this is also a good chance to show off the personalities and talent that make up your business.
You can use your blog as a platform for debate in a number of different ways. For starters, you can use it as a way to list the pros and cons of each side of an argument, much in the same way that ProCon.org does for major and controversial political issues (see my example below). If you’re feeling a little bolder, or if you already have a strong stance on a given issue, you can post your side of the debate and invite commenters and audience members to debate you on the issue. In yet another application, you can pit two industry influencers against each other by giving them the opportunity to hash it out on your blog.
(Image Source: ProCon.org)
Roundtable discussions are a bit like a debate, and a bit like an interview. In them, you’ll invite a number of different influencers in your industry to openly discuss a series of topics, especially if they have a bearing on your future development. There are a few different ways to host this, but one of the best is to collect them all in the same room and ask them group and individual questions, making sure everyone gets equal time to make points and share their sides. This is especially useful for exploring a topic thoroughly, and usually does a good job of generating discussion afterward.
Don’t forget that you can use your blog (or perhaps a news section) to announce major points of company news; these are excellent opportunities to write up and syndicate press releases, so why shouldn’t you also host that information on your site? It’s a good way to let your audience know what you’ve been up to (as well as where you plan to go from here). Just make sure what you’re posting about is truly relevant, such as moves, rebranding efforts, new products, or major changes to your offerings.
You can also collect a series of common customer or user questions and answer them, one by one. This is especially powerful if you answer questions that were posed by actual users, either in the comments sections of previous posts or from social media followers. Whenever you hear an interesting question, flag it and write it down—that way, you can draw up a collective post with all of them at a later date. As a side note, this is an excellent strategy for optimizing for long-tail keywords.
Pay close attention to what your users are saying in your comments sections, as well as how they’re responding on social media. As you saw in the last content idea, this is an excellent way to mine for user questions that you can subsequently answer, but you can also use other comments as jumping-off points for new posts. For example, let’s say you wrote an article about SEO and a user told a brief story about his/her bad experience with an inexperienced SEO agency; you can reach out to this user to get permission, then use that story as the basis for a new post.
Comments, social media, and user surveys are excellent ways to figure out what your followers and fans want to read next. You can ask them directly what types of content and topics they’d like to see in the future, and they’ll probably tell you. Some will probably come to you with topics without even being prompted. These are golden opportunities for development, handed to you on a silver platter. Don’t pass them up; you know your users want to see it, so give it to them.
The “whiteboard” trend is one that’s caught on with a ton of businesses, who usually sport regular whiteboard sessions to brainstorm something, explore a complex topic, or otherwise illustrate something that isn’t easily articulated with words alone. The whiteboard comes into play as a simple and convenient way to make illustrations, recap points, and hold users’ attentions. One of the most popular examples of this is Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series, hosted by Rand Fishkin as he explores some significant topic in the SEO world. There’s no right or wrong way to host a whiteboard session, so tap your creativity.
You can also create PowerPoint or slide presentations to share with your audience; this is especially cost-efficient if you created these decks for a real-life presentation opportunity and get to reuse them as collateral for your content marketing campaign. Be careful how you present these, though; it’s wise to offer some means of interaction, allowing users to click through your slides on your site, but you’ll also want to offer a downloadable version in PPT or PDF format.
Podcasts are seeing a resurgence in popularity, though they never really fell out of style. Done in an audio format, it’s typical for brands and hosts to produce content on a weekly, or at least a predictably regular basis. However, one-off productions aren’t uncommon either. Your podcast can include discussions, interviews, or even just extended monologues, but you’ll need to get creative if you want to hold listeners’ attention spans for an extended period of time with just your voice. If you want to build an audience of loyal listeners, make sure you’re using a powerful voice, consistent each time, with decent recording equipment.
People are often curious about the origins of the products, services, and even trends. Content that explains the origins of these objects of fascination, then, are powerful opportunities to gain public favor. Take a moment to explain how your founder came up with the idea for the business, or how your top-selling product evolved from just the spark of an idea to the form it exists in today. You can even examine a current trend in your target audience, and trace it back to its main point of origin. You’ll need to do your research here, but it’s worth the extra effort.
Case studies can sometimes border on that line between content marketing and advertising (or maybe sales in this case), so if you want to use them as strong features for your content campaign, make sure they’re focused on practical takeaways for your users. There are a few different kinds of case studies you can develop, the most common being one developed around a customer or client you did work for, examining where they were before you got involved, what you did, and where they are today. But you could also do a case study on a separately existing enterprise, such as a case study on why the Coca-Cola brand continues to be so successful.
Hypothetical studies are similar to case studies, but they don’t need to be grounded in reality. One of the strongest selling points of the case study is that it’s based on real-world events, so if you’re going to go the hypothetical route, you better have a good point to make. The ideal scenario here is to frame your work in the context of a narrative; introduce a fictional brand or fictional person, and go into detail describing the events this character runs into. Take advantage of a branching narrative here; since you aren’t grounded in actual events, you can take the story in multiple directions at once.
If you’ve been in business for longer than a few months and you have some clients under your belt, it shouldn’t be too hard to ask for testimonials. However, turning testimonials into a full-fledged blog post presents a couple of challenges. You could ask for a super long testimonial from a user, essentially having them write a post on your behalf, but that’s intrusive, and they may not write what you want them to write. You could also aggregate multiple testimonials into one post, but that can come across as annoyingly self-promotional. Use your best judgment here, and as always, focus on what your audience would like to see, not what will make you look good.
Of course, if you’re looking for someone else to do some of the work for you, you could always open your website to guest posts. There are millions of active bloggers out there, and many of them are interested in guest posting opportunities. Chances are, all it will take is a post on social media or your website asking for submissions from new guest authors, and you’ll start to receive queries and submissions. It will still take some work to get what you’re actually looking for; you can do this by asking for very specific types of content from specific types of people, or by sorting through the posts yourself, and revising them to fit your brand.
People love a good quote. A powerful quote can inspire you or motivate you in your daily work, show you an alternative perspective, or simply teach you something in a concise, immediate way. If you’re looking for a way to resonate with your audience and demonstrate your authority in the industry, work on collecting quotes from various influencers in your niche and assemble them into a single post on a topic. Be sure to credit your influencers and thank them for their participation, too.
(Image Source: Entrepreneur)
If you don’t feel like going the influencer route, it may be easier and more generally relevant to seek notable quotes from authors, celebrities, politicians, and other notable personalities that happen to fit a certain topic within your industry. For example, if you’re writing about what it takes to run your own business, you might draw from entrepreneurs, or if you’re writing about how to better communicate with clients, you can draw quotes from people talking about the power of conversation. BrainyQuote is a great resource here.
Book reviews are always a good excuse to read a book; I always encourage other entrepreneurs and professionals to read as much as possible. No matter what you read, the activity will improve your vocabulary and expand your perspective, so you have a lot to gain by reading regularly. After you finish a good book your audience might like, post a short review about it. This doesn’t have to be a critical essay; just post a short summary of the book and what you thought of it. You’ll improve your brand reputation by showing you’re well-read, you’ll do your audience a favor, and you might even win some favor from the authors you choose to read.
As another type of review, you can review products you use in your daily life—so long as it’s relevant for your brand. Some bloggers have established their entire reputation by writing up reviews on products in a specific category, such as tech devices or types of food. You don’t have to change your niche to take advantage of this; just keep your reviews to products that you use in the industry, or ones that may be especially important to your audience. However, make sure you disclose any compensation you may have gotten to write the review.
Comparison reviews are a kind of hybrid between product reviews and buyer’s guides (which I covered earlier in this list). Here, your job will still be to review products, but this time you’ll be reviewing multiple products in the same category as they relate to one another. For example, you might list all the benefits of one product because they compensate for the disadvantages of another. It’s best to pursue this in a side-by-side format that allows readers to make judgments and comparisons at a glance, such as in a grid that highlights the main features of each, relating to subcategories.
Extended metaphors are awesome opportunities for businesses that are hard to understand, or businesses that are less “fun” than others. For example, the manufacturing industry tends to be, for lack of a better word, boring, and certain tech subjects tend to be confusing and jargon-y for users. Metaphors allow you to bypass the conventional ways of talking about these things and present them in a new context—one that’s more playful and easier to understand. For example, instead of talking about two systems connecting via an integration point, you can liken them to two people having a conversation. Get creative here, but try not to mix too many metaphors together.
Storytelling has become a buzzword in the content marketing community, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective as a device to appeal to customers. Stories are natural and powerful constructs for human beings; we pay more attention and retain more information when facts or ideas are presented to us in a story format, which is why books, movies, and TV shows make up the majority of our pop culture. Almost anything can be told in the form of a story with a beginning, middle, and end, and a central character (even if that character is an inanimate object). You can tell stories on their own, or weave them into a metaphor, or even use them as one-off examples to prove a point in a different context.
Surveys are great ways to collect meaningful information on an audience, or about an industry. Use a platform like Typeform to come up with some quantitative and qualitative questions and submit them to your influencers, customers, or vendors (depending on your intentions). After getting your desired level of participation, you can collect and aggregate the results to form meaningful conclusions—such as about the future of the industry, the zeitgeist of your target demographics, or even popular opinions on a given subject. Present both the raw data and your personal conclusions for your audience.
One of the most powerful forms of content you can make is the presentation of original research; you can guarantee nobody else has done it before, and you’ll present valuable information that your audience wants to see. This combination makes it a perfect way to attract shares and likes, ultimately boosting your domain authority and brand reputation. Depending on how intensive your efforts were, I recommend using charts, graphs, and maybe even infographics to depict your results, but you’ll also want to treat it like a scientific experiment; present your method, explain your results, and discuss the potential for the future.
(Image Source: Moz)
People like other people more than they like other brands, so don’t be afraid to get personal with your audience; they’ll appreciate your sincerity, and will be more likely to trust your brand as a result. Tell a personal anecdote as a lead-in to a point, or simply tell it because you think your audience will like it. For example, you might recall seeing something interesting on the highway on your drive into work, and explain how it gave you a revelation about your business. Funny stories work well here, as well as anything that’s surprising or entertaining.
Original research is ideal, but it takes lots of time and resources to execute, and people still love statistics. So instead of conducting your own research every time, consider creating a kind of “statistics round-up,” where you collect important bits of information and takeaways from other research studies and present them in a more convenient, bite-sized way. It’s a perfect opportunity to get social shares, and you can even use it for your own purposes depending on the nature of the stats. Pew Research Center is a fantastic resource here—just be sure to cite whoever’s statistics you borrowed properly.
No matter what industry you’re in, there are some tools your audience should be using to help them make better purchasing decisions, or just live their lives easier. You can collect a list of different tools for this purpose, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each and personally recommending some of your favorites. For example, you might recommend some online calculators, management and efficiency tools, or other types of software.
Strikingly similar to the tool lists you’ve generated, you can create resource lists to help connect your readers to the assets, guides, and establishments that can help them in their endeavors. For example, if you cater to entrepreneurs, you might connect them to networking events, resource centers, or startup incubators. Don’t be afraid to look for offline resources as well as online ones.
No matter how good your content marketing strategy is, there are probably dozens of authors and influencers doing a better job than you are. This is a reality of the content marketing industry, but it isn’t anything to be intimidated by. Instead, you can capitalize on their abilities to boost your own on-site posts. Similar to how you collected tools and resources for your audience, you can collect a pool of influencers and authors they should be following; not only will your audience appreciate this, you’ll also earn the favor of the influencers you include in your list.
If your business develops new products or refines its services regularly, you can use it as an opportunity to give your readers a sneak peek of your new material. This is effective because it shows your readers that you’re working on new things and simultaneously rewards them for following you close enough to notice. The key to effectiveness here is to actually tease your audience—give them just enough information to pique their interest, but not so much that it spoils any surprises. For example, you could announce that you’re coming out with a new update to your software that introduces an intuitive new interface, but don’t reveal exactly what that interface will look like. When you fully release the feature, you can do a more in-depth review of it.
I already mentioned the possibility of creating timelines for your industry and company, but you can also delve deeper into the development of your industry as an in-depth feature. Rather than focusing on the surface-level highlights, you’ll take a dive into the motivating factors and influencers that helped shape your industry into the state it’s in today. For example, you could talk about rises and falls at significant points in time, and possibly even project how the industry is going to grow from here, taking some influence from “prediction” posts I mentioned way back at the beginning.
(Image Source: Internet Society)
You don’t actually have to reveal any secrets to reveal industry “secrets” to your audience. The goal here is to find facts about your industry that your audience doesn’t know—or misunderstands. For example, you could reveal that the majority of products are actually assembled from components manufactured off-site, or you could explain that most content marketers are flying by the seats of their pants, building a strategy as they go rather than knowing exactly what they’re doing from the beginning. You can use this to produce an attention grabbing headline like “X secrets the industry doesn’t want you to know”—just try not to verge too far into clickbait territory.
This option is best reserved for startups, and businesses that are undergoing heavy development. The idea here is to make periodic updates about the status of your development for your readers to follow. For example, if you’re developing a piece of software, you can announce when you’ve completed development on each of your key features, explain when you’ve started testing and how those tests go, and keep updating your audience about a potential release. This is especially powerful for businesses currently running a crowdfunding campaign, or other businesses that rely on readers and followers for ongoing support.
I’ll say it again; people love to see other people, far more than they want to see corporate brands. Consider putting the spotlight on some of the individual team members who make up your company, especially if you’re a small business. You can stage it as an interview format, but take it in a more personal direction than you would with an industry influencer or a leader within your organization. Let your team members explain who they are, what their area of expertise is, and why they’ve chosen to work for your brand. It will showcase your brand’s personality and attract better, more personable clients.
Following these lines, you could also showcase what a day in your office is like, or factory, or any other physical location that’s important to your business. For example, you could use photo and video to show off your production equipment and how your products are made, or you could give your patrons an inside look at what your kitchen looks like, where you prepare their food. Just make sure you have everything clean and in order before you start giving potential clients an impression on what your place actually looks like. Elon Musk’s tour of SpaceX is a great example of how to do this.
You have tons of options when it comes to eBooks. Essentially, they’re just longer versions of blog posts you might be making anyway; for example, if a traditional post would cover tips and tricks for developing a sales strategy, the eBook version would be a comprehensive guide on building a strategy from start to finish. There’s no rule when it comes to length or format, but generally, you should aim for 10,000 words or more, in a PDF format with plenty of graphics to make it easy to read and follow. Once created, you have many options with eBooks; you can use them as an exchange for users’ personal information with a dedicated landing page, offer them as free resources for your site visitors, or even sell them outright to make a bit of revenue on the side.
Audio books are a straightforward concept, and in most cases are just a way to transform the medium of an existing book; for example, once you’ve created your eBook and started distributing it, you can record a member of your team reading the book aloud and use that audio file as an additional piece of content to offer your readers. Like with podcasts, make sure you’re using high-quality recording equipment and speaking strongly and clearly.
Whitepapers have a broad definition, so don’t feel pressured into using them in any one specific way. They’re generally longer than blog posts, but shorter and less involved than eBooks, and they tend to cover one specific topic in significant detail. Oftentimes, marketers use whitepapers to publish the results of their original research or experiments, as a traditional blog post doesn’t always offer enough room for suitable exploration. It’s generally a best practice to offer whitepapers as downloadable PDFs, though you can host them for online perusal as well for the SEO benefits.
Polls can be used as small-time surveys; you’ll pose a question (or series of questions) to your readers as a main post, and allow them to vote on their preference. You can do something serious with this, such as allowing your readers to choose your next eBook topic, or have more fun with it, such as asking them how they feel about a recent news story and providing ridiculous possible answers. After voting, you can show your users the results of the poll and encourage a discussion about the results.
Contests are an excellent way to drive visibility of and engagement with your brand; offering some kind of reward for participation naturally incentivizes people to take action, and because contests often involve a social element, it’s natural for your participants to quickly spread the word about your campaign. Even if your contests are primarily occurring on social media, it’s a good idea to write up a content post about your contest, going over the full rules and what users can expect, as well as clearing up any potential points of misunderstanding and explaining your motivation for hosting the contest in the first place.
Webinars are an entire content medium, so you can use them however you want, but most webinars are used as teaching tools. Generally, a webinar host will lead a discussion on a given topic, giving a slide presentation and speaking audibly, or opting for full-on video. Generally, the format involves a “teaching” segment, like a monologue, with audience members sitting quietly, followed by a “Q and A” segment, where the host makes him/herself available to answer questions from participants. If you end up doing a webinar, make sure you announce it a few weeks in advance, with regular reminders to sign up, and do a dry run before going live with your presentation. You’ll also want to make the webinar available to view or download after you’re done with the live version.
Speaking of live versions, streaming video has rocketed in popularity in recent months, thanks in part to platforms like Facebook attempting to push Facebook Live to users. Attend a local event, or an industry event, and live stream a speaker or significant event there; live video is popular because it allows users to feel like they’re experiencing something by proxy, and your broadcast of the event will give your audience eyes and ears at the event.
If you want to take advantage of the live streaming video trend but you don’t have an upcoming event, you can also simply live stream a monologue or your thoughts about a recent development. Even better, you can turn it into an interactive event by getting your followers and participants to ask you questions during your session. Periscope offers a good way to this. Pay attention to what people are asking, and try to keep the conversational flow moving. This is difficult to practice, but over time, you’ll get better at it.
Thought experiments are like hypothetical scenarios, which I mentioned earlier, but they’re distinct because of their prerequisites. With hypothetical scenarios, you’ll use a fictional story or sequence of events to illustrate a concept, such as imagining a narrative that demonstrates how one of your strategies might play out. With thought experiments, you’ll be testing the validity of a certain idea; this is best reserved for service-based industries or ones with more conceptual forms of work, but it can be a powerful way to prove or disprove the feasibility of an idea.
Similar to how you used live streaming video to engage with your users, you could also host a user chat for a given period of time. If your website has a forum that allows user participation, sign yourself up as a user and lead a discussion during this time period. Invite any and all questions and comments as they come in, and try to facilitate discussions between users as much as you engage with users directly. This will help foster a community around your brand, and will only have positive effects for your overall brand loyalty.
Before and after posts are ideal if you’re working with clients looking for some kind of transformation; for example, if you’re in the branding and web design industry, you can post (with permission) images and screenshots from a client’s current setup, then follow up with your finished work some time later. This is obviously most effective when done side-by-side, but there’s also an advantage in posting the “before” status in real time, making users anticipate what comes next. It also serves as a veiled case study, showing off your expertise and capabilities.
(Image Source: KissMetrics)
Most industries operate on basic “theories” that dictate how things operate on a conceptual level. For example, in photography the “rule of thirds” is a popular way to frame photos to be more aesthetically pleasing. You can write up a post exploring one or more of these theories, analyzing why they exist, how they can be improved, and if they’ll ever be replaced. If there are multiple competing theories on a single topic or principle, this is a good opportunity to compare and contrast them.
Inspiration posts are simply meant to inspire or motivate your audience. While effective, these posts aren’t practical for all industries and businesses. For example, if you sell culinary ingredients, you can post recipes and concoctions that inspire chefs, or if you sell art supplies, you can post artistic ideas, or if you own a gym, you can post workout routines and success stories. This is open-ended, and not for everyone, but it is a possibility worth considering.
“Ask me anything” (AMA) is a mode of online conversation and engagement popularized by Reddit. In the mode, a user—typically someone of interest like a celebrity, or someone who has done something extraordinary—fields questions from online forum users in an effort to increase knowledge (and possibly entertain). This is best done with a strong personal brand within your organization, such as your founder, your CEO, or a leader of one of your main departments.
Help content deviates a bit from the norm of “traditional” content marketing, in that it helps users who have already become customers navigate your products and services. For example, if you sell time management software as a service, your traditional content strategy might focus on productivity tips and helping workers improve their efficiency, but your help content might help users understand how to better use your platform. This is a good way to improve user retention (not to mention easing the burden on your customer service department), and you’ll get some amazing SEO benefits too.
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of your website can also serve as an excellent opportunity for content development. It can be used by your existing customers, much like your help content, or be consulted by visitors who are almost ready to buy from you. The more thorough you are here, the more potential customers you’ll be able to please; try to make it as easy to navigate as possible, including a search function to get users exactly what they’re looking for faster.
Not everybody is on the same level of familiarity with your industry, your brand, or your products and services. Even though you might understand your target market well and focus on visitors who are at least partially informed, you’ll still have a share of your audience who is completely unfamiliar with your core topics. For those users, it’s advisable to write up “101” guides, which formally introduce these concepts on a ground level. Strip away all the jargon, all the advanced tips and angles, and speak to people as if they’re finding out about this for the first time—because they just might be.
Your ability to make an awards content post depends on your current level of authority. If you’re just emerging on the scene, or if you’re a startup, it may not be a good idea to hand out awards to influencers and other sites you think are doing a good job. However, if you have a few years under your belt, you can create whatever awards you want (keeping it relevant to your brand, of course). For example, if you’re a graphic design firm, you can list businesses who achieved some kind of graphic design excellence in the past year—much like influencer quotes and author lists, this is a good way to please your users and connect with influencers at the same time.
If you’re feeling cheeky, or if your brand is playful enough to get away with it, you can also write parody pieces. These might be Onion-style articles poking fun at new developments in your industry, or straight-up humor pieces that serve as satire for the public, such as this open letter to local directory sites. If you can make your audience laugh, you’ll probably win them over (and earn some extra shares and links in the process); just try not to go overboard or deliver incorrect information that may be taken as truth.
Parodies aren’t the only ways to inject humor into your blog or website. You can also write more directly relatable and funny pieces, such as “X times your SEO strategy will make you want to punch a wall.” If you’re looking for inspiration, peruse your friends’ and family members shared posts on social media. Find a piece there you think is funny, and brainstorm a way you can adapt it to fit your industry, or find a similar yet original angle to take that your customers might appreciate.
Original content is important, and you should be creating new content regularly, but occasionally, it’s both permissible and beneficial to look back and recap some of the work you’ve already done. For example, you can collect up some of the best posts you’ve written over the course of the past month (in terms of comments, shares, traffic, or the metric of your choice) and assemble them into a “top 10” list. This will help rejuvenate attention for these pieces and show off how popular your content campaign has gotten, giving you a boost in authority.
It’s easy to forget that there’s a physical side to content marketing in addition to a digital one. If you’re looking for a way to get more exposure for your brand and make new connections, consider signing up for a speaking event in your area. There are many ways to find these opportunities, and most of them will be happy to have you as a presenter. As an added bonus, when you’re done, you can take your slide presentation (or any other collateral you created for the presentation) and make it available to your audience.
To some, newsletters are a basic component of a content marketing strategy, but they’re also a critical opportunity to get new content to your subscribers and followers. Generally, you’ll use newsletters to distribute your top posts of the week (or month) or provide exclusive content to your subscribers to reward them for subscribing. However, you can also add some meta commentary, discussing some of the major wins you experienced and where you hope to go with your content campaign in the future. Give your readers the sense that you’re speaking to them directly, and they’ll be more likely to engage with you.
You can also turn some of your content into full-fledged coursework, provided you have enough material to truly educate someone. For example, you could organize some of your top posts into a linear, step-by-step system that walks users through the basics (such as with your “101” posts) and gradually more advanced topics. You could also include worksheets, quizzes, and other exercises for your users to complete, and offer a certificate of completion to give them an incentive to finish your program. If you’re successful here, you can expand your resources and potentially even charge for the opportunity eventually.
(Image Source: Codecademy)
“Ultimate” resource guides are like eBooks—highly detailed and lengthy—but they’re also more interactive. Here’s a great example of our massive 32K word Online Marketing eBook. They feature shorter sections, links out to other articles, and lists of outside tools and resources designed to complement the instructions and outlines they provide. The goal is to give a user a complete rundown on a given topic, providing not just the information they need to understand it, but also the motivation and the resources they need to pursue it.
Hopefully, these content ideas give you inspiration, direction, and even some practical tips to create a more diverse selection of content for your brand. With a list this long, you shouldn’t have any excuse not to have that editorial calendar filled up. Find a new regular staple, or be adventurous and try something new—no matter how you choose to use this list, do so with your users in mind. As long as you continue to provide them with informative, entertaining, and relevant content, your strategy will become a success.