When you’re in a brainstorm for content marketing ideas and the creative juices are flowing, it’s easy to get carried away. Before you know it, you’re pitching ideas about cats in tuxedos and wondering if there’s any room in your video budget for a Michael Bay-style explosion. And while that all sounds great in the room, those ideas may not get you the results you really want.
The best marketing ideas serve both the people you’re trying to reach and your content strategy. If your great idea doesn’t do both, it might not be so great after all.
How to Know If You Have a Good Content Marketing Idea
The secret to creating consistent, quality content is to vet your content marketing ideas to make sure they’re aligned to your larger goals. Next time a light bulb goes off, ask yourself these 5 questions to find out if you should move forward or go back to square one.
1) Will it interest your audience?
Just because you think something is interesting doesn’t mean your audience will. Ultimately, you’re trying to connect with people through content, demonstrate that you understand who they are, and show that you’re there to enhance their lives. Whether you’re educating, entertaining, or inspiring them, identify exactly how your idea will speak to their wants and needs.
- Focus on value. Here are 9 ways to know if you’re providing something worthwhile.
- Teach them something. Here are 5 ways to educate your customers through content.
- Be human. People want to interact with people, not faceless corporations. Follow these tips to create empathetic content marketing.
If you’re not entirely sure who your target audience is or what they’re interested in, follow our guide to create marketing personas.
2) Can it be distributed effectively to reach them?
In an ideal world, people would magically stumble upon your content and become an instant fan. In reality, you need to do the legwork to make sure they see it. That means identifying the channels that will help you reach them—and tailoring content for those channels.
- Know your channels up front. Distribution can influence the way you craft your content, so it’s important to know where this content will live before you’ve brought the concept to life. Follow our guide to choose the right distribution channels, and see our guide to craft a content distribution strategy if you don’t have a plan in place.
- Choose the right format for the channel. Different channels are better suited to different types of content (e.g., Instagram for photos or LinkedIn for longer thinkpieces). Consider which presentation might work best for your particular content idea.
- Know how you’re going to measure success. You won’t know how good your idea really was if you can’t measure its impact. If you’re not sure how to determine success, see our guide to choose the right metrics for your content strategy.
Once you’ve chosen the best channels, follow our guide to promote your content like an agency would.
3) Does it align with your engagement goals?
A good idea connects with your audience, but a great content marketing idea inspires them to take action. The long-term goal is to turn people into lifelong customers, but they need to take the first step. If the story you’re telling doesn’t offer a clear next step, it’s probably not worth telling.
- Deliver the right messaging. The right marketing ideas support your brand’s benefits or key messaging. Use our brand messaging framework to make sure your content tells a cohesive story.
- Say the right thing at the right time. Map your buyer journey to make sure your content moves them to the next stage seamlessly.
- Engage people at different touchpoints. Find out how a divisible content strategy helps you reuse assets across channels to maximize your content’s reach.
Note: A one-off piece of content won’t be as effective as a strategic campaign. Find out how to run great campaigns that get results.
4) How is this an original idea?
It’s easy to imitate what you’re used to seeing, but the most effective content provides something unique or different to your audience. That’s not to say you have to be a visionary; there are plenty of ways to put an original spin on an old subject or come up with interesting new ideas.
- Dig into your data. Proprietary data is a great way to translate your unique insights into interesting content. Whether you’re sharing surprising findings or debunking myths, there are all sorts of stories hiding in your spreadsheets. Here are 9 places to look for data, as well as our best tips to find the story in that data.
- Try something new. Experiment with a new format or design style to mix it up. Here are 5 formats to try now.
- Survey your customers. Talking directly to your customers about their challenges can inspire new content ideas. You might identify a content gap to fill, or even turn those survey results into an interesting industry report (which might even get you coverage in an industry publication).
If you’re having trouble brainstorming, use these 9 prompts to come up with fresh content marketing ideas.
5) Does it fit your brand?
Just because another cool brand is doing something doesn’t mean it will translate for your brand. Similarly, just because something is trending in the news doesn’t mean you need to hop on it. Good content marketing ideas are a natural extension of your brand.
- Consider your expertise. What subjects do you have the authority and credibility to speak on? What unique insights can you share? How can you add to the conversation? If you want to touch on a timely topic, find out how to newsjack without being a jackass.
- Consider your resources. Is this idea something you can execute and execute well? If you can’t, it will only hurt your credibility. It’s always better to create something smaller (of quality) than half-ass something big. To work more efficiently, find out how to optimize your production process.
Remember: Good brand content reflects the brand in voice, personality, and visual identity. To make sure your brand is consistently applied, craft strong brand guidelines (or even a content checklist) to make sure content is cohesive and consistent.
Don’t Get Complacent
Above all, the key to good content marketing is experimentation and iteration. The more you try, the more you learn, and the better your results will be. Just stay focused, and keep educating yourself on best practices. In the meantime, here are a few final tips to help you get the best results from your work.
- Strengthen your strategy. See our guide to create an effective content strategy from scratch.
- Get inspired. See our roundups of great examples of marketing infographics, e-books, videos, and motion graphics.
- Work smarter. Bookmark these 120 content marketing resources and tools to make your life easier
And if you need a little support, turn to expert help. Follow our tips to find the right content marketing agency for you. And if you want to know how we can bring your ideas to life, see our FAQs or holler at us.