Brainstorming outreach strategies for growing businesses can feel like an exhausting and seemingly endless task.
Even after years in the industry, coming up with a long list of content marketing ideas each year can feel like flinging spaghetti against the wall — throwing content out there and seeing what sticks.
Many small- and medium-sized business owners struggle to find the time to plan ahead with their marketing efforts. But it’s a powerful practice to create a dedicated content calendar with topics, timely campaigns, and delegation of work well before deadlines occur. When you spend time planning innovative content marketing ideas, you’ll be ahead of the curve and better positioned to focus on what’s important: growing your business.
Content marketing broadly describes the use of text-focused products published online to organically attract new customers while deepening your relationship with existing customers. It should be a separate section in your comprehensive marketing plan from paid advertising even though there may be some upfront costs.
Here are more than 25 effective content marketing ideas for 2022 to fill your calendar for months to come.
If your business doesn’t have a blog on its website, check out this article about why blogs are vital to your success.
In short, writing short or long-form content and making it available to anyone positions you as an expert in the industry. You attract new customers through search engines, facilitate conversations, and strengthen relationships with existing customers.
When deciding on your blog post, you should do SEO research and identify the search intent of your post. Typically, search intent includes:
Here are some ideas to kickstart or refresh your blog:
If you’ve published long enough, consider handing it over to other experts in your industry. Think complementary — for example, if you own a personal fitness gym, consider collaborating with a nutritionist. If you want to expand the clientele of your family law firm, perhaps connect with nonprofits focused on children and families.
Everyone can be a life-long learner. Talk to your current customers about what they want to learn and go from there. Chances are others will have similar interests, and you can provide value for your target market with an informational piece of content.
What truly sets small businesses apart from giant corporations are the faces behind the brand. Personalize your work by sharing a blog with your:
Blogs that answer frequently asked questions are especially effective because you can structure them with plenty of sub-headings and bullets to make them fast and easy to read. During content creation, use People Also Ask sections and websites such as AnswerThePublic to find out what common questions people ask.
Blogs tend to run somewhere between 500 and 1,500 words. White papers are longer. These content marketing ideas can be free goodies for customers who sign up for your email list, a lead generation process that drives sales.
If you’ve done any research or studies within your business, your potential and current customers want to know. Share what you’ve learned and watch how you transform into an industry expert.
These proof-of-concept articles highlight specific examples of customers who have benefited from your products or services. Case studies also happen to be excellent evergreen pieces that stand the test of time.
Let’s say a consumer is searching the internet for the best ways to prepare a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast. If you, a kitchen appliance company, happen to have an in-depth tutorial on everything they need for success, they may provide my email address in exchange for it. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to tell them about that Black Friday sale in a later email.
Analysis of Third-Party Work
Content marketing ideas for small business owners don’t have to start from scratch. If you have an opinion on another person’s work, use your platform to discuss it. Encourage your customers to engage in critical thinking as a means of demonstrating your transparency.
Blogs and white papers are especially powerful due to their length — a higher word count and SEO keywords make it easier for Google and other search engines to find quality content in organic searches. But it’s also smart to shake things up. Try creating some checklists and other quick hits for great content marketing business ideas.
People search the internet because they are looking for solutions to their problems. Often, you can offer that solution. Keeping search intent in mind — and always thinking of your target audience first — can help you figure out tools and checklists that will attract the attention you seek. Wrap-up listicles of your favorite tools (like these great blogging tools) are helpful and appreciated.
In industries like legal marketing and real estate, people are always searching free templates for contracts. Don’t think that offering this takes away from your business — often, it does the opposite. People may start with the free template and realize they need professional help. That’s when you follow up with an offer they can’t refuse.
- How do you replace your RV refrigerator power board?
- How do you file a claim in small claims court?
- What's the best organic way to keep pests off a plant?
Free instructions from your business can be the answer customers are searching for. Helping people for free can have a surprising return on investment when you know your target audience. If they can't figure it out themselves, you might just be the trustworthy person they'll call — and it makes you a trusted source for later avenues.
Reading isn’t the only way to connect with customers. Videos posted publicly on YouTube or another video-sharing site can make a big impact. Just ensure you have adequate lighting, sound, and a concise and engaging script. Also, include the script for search engines to scan.
Introduction of Team
Potential customers want to know more about the people they are working with, so show them with a short video. This can live on the “About Us” section of your website. Don’t be afraid to share fun facts, like how your CEO loves black licorice and your director of operations once played professional basketball in Italy.
Overview of Company Values
Video is also an excellent medium to share your company values. This is at the heart of creating a strong brand identity. Remember, your prospective customers may be able to purchase your products or services elsewhere — tell them why they should be working with you in a short video.
More popular content marketing ideas include videos that simply focus on what makes each product or service noteworthy. From instructional videos to highlighting product uses, viewers are more likely to take the next step in their customer journeys if they can see it in a video format.
Online Profiles and Reviews
Neglecting your online presence beyond your website means you may miss opportunities to connect with potential customers who rely on social media platforms and review sites when researching small businesses. Consider adding online profiles and reviews in content ideas generator work.
Make time at least once a week to scan your Google Business page.
- Confirm all the fields are complete and add updates on specials, events, or changes that your customers want to know.
- Look for new reviews (both negative and positive) and respond to them professionally.
- Add keywords to your replies.
All links to your blogs or videos should also be posted on your Facebook Business page. But take your social media posts a step further. Plan entertaining or educational posts to publish throughout the week. This work can be scheduled in advance, too.
Industry-Specific Online Profiles
If there are other industry-specific online profiles, integrate them into your content marketing strategy. The more targeted you are when crafting the content within your profile, the more likely your audience will respond. Offer time-based discounts or special package deals for those who find and contact you online.
There may be people in your organization who have a lot of valuable things to say that can't fit into a blog post or white paper. Schedule some free webinars as part of your content marketing ideas.
Free Live Events
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are the most popular platforms that allow users to “go live.” Don't just wing it — this free outreach tool works best when the facilitator is prepared with a script and bulleted talking points.
Another effective way to increase your email newsletter list is to offer limited spaces for webinars. Whether they are pre-recorded or live, these video talks or tutorials serve to engage your potential customers on a personal level.
Another method of video outreach that can fall under content marketing is paid online lessons. Perhaps there are crafts or recipes that dovetail nicely with your business model. Get creative, and be sure to write the storyboard before you roll your camera.
Social Media Campaigns
An estimated 4.26 billion people were on social media in 2021, according to Statista. Are you maximizing this opportunity? To avoid getting overwhelmed, pick one or two social media channels where your target audience is the largest and plan your campaigns.
Create an editorial calendar with a rapid succession of Twitter blasts to get attention with a specific goal. While this is easy to overdo, be strategic and timely. Write the blasts in advance, so the campaign is ready to go before you even start.
Everyone loves a challenge, and Facebook is an ideal platform to host one. These types of content marketing efforts can turn this lead generation project into a lucrative sales conversation, so include plenty of:
- Educational blogs
- Live events
This will help keep your audience excited and engaged.
Instagram Story Takeovers
If you’ve worked to grow your Instagram following, use the Stories feature to your advantage:
- Use talking points and links to landing pages on your website.
- Offer influencers or your employees an opportunity to “take over” your page.
- Grow your reach to a specific demographic.
Some businesses benefit from a LinkedIn-focused social media campaign. Use the News Feed feature to showcase your blogs, updated web pages, infographics, or other free content marketing ideas.
Podcasts are another powerful platform where you can leverage audio pulled from a video format or gathered directly with a high-quality microphone. Podcasts can be edited with simple software, often reserved as content ideas for marketing agencies. Don’t forget to transcribe the broadcast so it can rank for certain search terms when you post it on your website.
Consistency is the most important thing with a podcast. Create a schedule of topics and commit to publishing it on a schedule. Your first “season” could last anywhere from a few episodes to dozens. What's most important is to publish on a regular schedule.
Interviews with Thought Leaders
Much like a guest blog, interviewing experts on your podcast adds to your credibility. Find creative ways to connect with different communities while staying focused on your target audience with this content strategy.
Email newsletters have one of the highest returns on investment of all content marketing ideas, in part because direct email recipients have already agreed to receive what you send. Again, be consistent when publishing. Add special loyalty discounts and other tools to encourage new sales.
Finally, don’t forget your website! It should always be refreshed with new, interesting content.
Create a new page for every campaign so that you can track your success. Include keywords and enough writing the page is optimized for search engines.
Mixing graphics and text is a great way to capture the hard-to-reach attention of your target audience. Infographics simplify information by breaking it into scannable concepts and words that are attractive, memorable, and creative.
Content Marketing Ideas: Plan and Create
It may take some experimentation to determine which of the many content marketing ideas work best to connect your business with your future and current customers. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with your most loyal customers. Offer them a discount for filling out a survey about their online habits and what topics they are most interested in.
Then, start creating a content plan! Decide on a realistic publication schedule and create an editorial calendar. You may want to work with a content writing agency if you or your employees don’t have the time or talents to create consistent, clear, engaging writing. Remember, quality is even more important than quantity when it comes to content marketing.