130-Plus Content Marketing Ideas For 2012: Part 1 of 4

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There is absolutely nothing that can top the power of great content on your website. Content that engages and excites, that provokes a reaction, and calls for action is the most powerful sales tool at your online disposal. And with Google working harder than ever to understand and rank original, unique, trustworthy and useful information higher up its search results pages, 2012 is set to be the year that you write and upload more press releases, news items, blog posts, and articles than ever before.

If you’ve been guilty of not updating your site often enough with fresh new content or of taking the easy way out and just rehashing the same old story, you’ll probably agree that the hardest part of the entire content creation process is not putting finger to keyboard and writing something, but finding a constant stream of relevant topic ideas.

To get you started and make 2012 your most successful content year ever, we’ve compiled more than 130 ideas. There are enough topic suggestions to update your site at least twice a week for the next year. Take them in the order they are presented, pick and choose as the occasion demands, or just use them as a starting point and add your own twist – however you use this list, it should provide enough inspiration to raise your content game over the next 12 months. Not all of the ideas may be applicable to your site/blog, but the majority are workable for almost any item, topic, product, or service.

We’ve divided the ideas into four parts so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed. Come back twice per week for the next two weeks and grab them all (or sign up for our RSS feed and have them delivered direct to you).

Here are the first 21 ideas for compelling content to add (or update) to/on your site in 2012:

1.  New Year’s resolutions – A recap of the last 12 months and a preview of what business plans you have for 2012. How will you better serve your customers? What exciting new developments are there in the pipeline? How will you set yourself apart as the business to do business with this year?

2.  New hires – Do your plans for 2012 involve recruitment? The creation of local jobs, however many or few, is always newsworthy. And announcing your intentions with a press release or news item means you’ll get the pick of applicants.

3.  New product(s) – What new products or services do you have in development or ready for launch? Announce them to a fan fare, including how long you have spent perfecting them or sourcing them, what the usefulness is for clients new and old, and how this product or service differs from what competitors offer or previous incarnations.

4.  Social media – Write a piece on your social media presence, tying up all of your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media accounts into one piece. Invite users to connect with you, highlight how you’re investing in social networking to get closer to customers, and be proactive about gathering their feedback. Mention special offers or exclusives only available to those connecting with you on a social network.

5.  Competitions – Mark any giveaways, competitions or prize draws with a news release, detailing start date, what the customer can win, end date, and entry terms.

6.  Competitions Part 2 – Follow up with a second release when the competition or giveaway has ended. Include statistics such as how many took part, the value of goods or services given away, a quote from the winners, and comment from a board member or company exec.

7.  Investment – Are you investing in new machinery? Upgrading premises? However you invest in your business this year, write a PR about it. Include the reasons behind the investment, what has been invested, and how it will benefit the local community and your customers (old and new).

8.  Community Involvement – Whether you offer a local student a work placement, give a careers talk at a local school or sponsor the local football team, advertise your charitable endeavors with a PR or news release sent to local press and posted online. This can be the starting point for other releases throughout the year as you follow up on your student’s placement progress or post match reports after every game for the team you sponsor.

9.  Charity – Volunteer your business as a collection point for a charity or arrange a charity car wash. However you contribute to helping others, raise awareness to make your activities even more successful with a PR detailing how people can donate.

10.  Seasonal Sales – Prepare a quick and easy news release to announce product markdowns or the dates of your annual or seasonal sale.

11.  Promotions – If you’re offering free shipping, “buy one get one free” deals, money off, money back or free gifts with every sale, advertise your promotions on your site with a news release outlining all of the ways clients can save.

12.  Promotions Ending – Just a few days left on your promotions? Follow up Number 11 with a new piece creating a sense of urgency that there are just 5,4,3,2 or 1 days left.

13.  Buying Trips – Buying trips present great opportunities for new content items. Team members can keep a diary of their trip highlights to appear as blog postings complete with pics or videos on the website. A piece before or after the trip also makes for good blog post material, setting out the lengths you’ll go to to find the best products and materials for clients.

14.  Exhibitions, Conferences, Seminars – Reserving exhibition space,  booking special guests, being invited to speak at a seminar, special promotions or product unveilings – anything related to an exhibition or conference presence gives ample food for blog posts, articles and press releases.

15.  Post-Event Summary – As in Number 14 above but a summary of the event after the conference, exhibition or seminar has ended. What was the feedback on your presence? Any notable new deals made? A record visitor number to your booth? Even pictures of your booth can be turned into new blog content.

16.  Question of the Day – Get everyone in your company involed and have one member of staff each day write a blog post on their most frequently asked question and their offered solution.

17.  Questionnaire – Launch a customer service questionnaire. Asking your clients and social media users what they think and want makes for great content. Invite them to submit suggestions and feedback. Compile statistics from their responses and follow up with blog posts on your findings plus any changes implemented as a result.

18.  Create a List – Do the top 10, top 50, top 100. The number doesn’t matter, but make the list interesting or even provocative.

19.  Tip of the Day – Write a quick and easy blog post with a useful tip, money or time saving idea based on your product, company or service.

20.  Predict Future Trends – No one really knows what will happen 3 or 6 months down the line but a considered, insightful article predicting future trends in your field of expertise can help establish your brand as a thought leader.

21.  Follow Up On Future Trends – Three or six months later revisit the Future Trends blog post and see how right or wrong you were.

Watch for the second part of this post in a couple of days, where we’ll reveal another 20 ideas for great content in 2012!

About the Author

Rebecca is the managing director of search engine optimization agency Dakota Digital a full-service agency offering SEO, online PR, web copywriting, media relationship management, and social media strategy. Rebecca works directly with each client to increase online visibility, brand profile, and search engine rankings. She has headed a number of international campaigns for large brands.

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4 Comments

  1. Great list. One of the biggest issues people have with creating content is developing an idea to write about. They tend to over think it when content topics really are limitless.

  2. It may be worth mentioning that many of these great ideas can also be combined with time or seasonal related events. Perhaps another idea is to apply these techniques to certain events and periods within your particular market or industry? Great post.

  3. Nicely done!

  4. Thanks for the info. A great way to brainstorm for content ideas is to put your main keyword into the Google keyword tool and variations thereof. You will get some great ideas for content writing and also know if it's a searched for topic too.