Pushing the boundaries and coming up with new content that continues to surprise, intrigue and delight your audience can tie you in knots. So here, with apologies to a certain series of best sellers, are my 50 shades of content.
Content to teach
Potential clients come to your website to learn new things. Make it easy for them by creating:
1. Short bite-sized blogs of some of your most commonly asked questions
2. How to videos that take viewers through a complex process in straightforward steps
3. Podcasts of expert discussion
4. An infographic that makes a complex issue easy to understand
5. An e-book that summarises key points.
Content to provoke thought
Creating content that makes people think shows you are one to watch. Create:
6. Original research that demonstrates authority and a willingness to ask difficult questions
7. Visuals that turn conventional thinking upside down
8. Blogs that explode myths
9. Or blogs that use smart analogies
10. Podcasts that balance both sides of an argument.
Content to engage
The right content can start relationships. Here are some ways of using it to make the first move:
11. Interesting surveys — ask the question on everyone’s lips
12. Blogs that tackle the emotional side of an issue
13. Humour — blogs that make people smile
14. Short fun videos
15. Quick quizzes that offer an interesting reward — are you an introvert or an extrovert? Is your business social media savvy?
Content to be shared
Some types of content spread quicker than others. Here are some ideas for fast movers:
16. Topical blogs — be quick with your take on a current dilemma
17. High quality discussion paper that tackles a key industry issue
18. Video that makes a serious point with humour
19. Brilliant visuals with a strong message
20. Pictures of cats on pianos/wearing clothes (okay, maybe not that one.)
Content to get maximum exposure
If you want content that makes headlines then try one of these ideas:
21. Original research with a column inch-grabbing premise
22. Blogs with controversial themes and headlines
23. The best discussion paper anyone has ever created in your niche
24. Video of expert discussion — pull in names your clients will have heard of
25. Keynote speech that shows your ownership of your niche.
Content to lead
It’s far better to lead than follow. Show your leadership colours with:
26. Blogs that demonstrate your domination of the bigger picture, as well as your control over the details
27. White papers that tackle questions you know people want answers to, but don’t know where to turn to find them
28. Case studies that demonstrate leadership qualities
29. Video that breaks the rules — ditch conventional talking heads and try something new
30. A book – still the king of content.
Content to experiment with
Innovative companies embrace new ideas. Show your creativity of thought by investing in some content that breaks the mould:
31. Different video styles — can you say it with a cartoon, a film spoof, a music video?
32. Animate it
33. Rap it
34. Change your usual style — if you usually write 300-word blogs, try creating something more in-depth. If you like to write reams, aim for tweet length instead
35. Doodle it.
Content to reassure
Sometimes you need to show that you’re a safe pair of hands. Make sure your content mix contains some of the following:
36. A good selection of up-to-date case studies
37. Blog articles that hit the keywords potential clients will be using
38. Testimonials — video and/or written
39. Longer-form content that demonstrates depth of expertise
40. A social media profile that shows good communication skills.
Content to entertain
One of the main reasons we use the web is to be entertained. Of course, overall your content mix needs to demonstrate depth of expertise and experience, but that doesn’t mean it all has to be serious. Try:
41. Videos that use graphics with wit and style
42. Beautiful visuals that explain it creatively
43. Brilliant story-telling that pulls readers in
44. Clever animation
45. Blogs that make people laugh as well as think.
Content to sell
You are running a business. Be sure to have examples of the following in your library:
46. Blogs that get right to the heart of how you help
47. FAQs that demonstrate that you understand your clients’ concerns
48. Client stories to demonstrate your listening skills
49. “How to” product videos and guides
50. A social media feed that shows you talking easily to a range of happy clients and managing successful partnerships.
And, last but not least, think of variety. Like the book that we are shamelessly plundering, your content needs to cover a wide range of experiences. Don’t stick to the vanilla variety — break the rules for a richer and more fulfilling relationship with your content, and watch your marketing fly.