Your business generates content all day. However, my guess is that it doesn’t always capture leads and you may have trouble making it useful for customers. As content marketers, part of our job is to identify and capture content, make it useful and publish it before it fades out of existence. Therefore, in the spirit of exposing the content being generated all around you, and as a follow up to Brianne’s post over on the Slingshot SEO blog, here are five more top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content marketing ideas you (probably) haven’t thought of yet:
Instigating a brainstorm with someone or a group is a great way to generate a bunch of content. With that in mind, a recent email chain about an industry trend between Slingshot’s leadership team generated more than 5,000 words of exciting, clever and well-written material. Without planning, we produced roughly 10 blog posts worth of material that was compelling enough to keep a dozen busy managers periodically engaged over the course of a weekend. Chances are your business is generating content in similar ways and that it may just be hidden inside email. When you find it, publish and expand your TOFU.
Do you have a manual in your desk that could be turned into a blog post or two? Is there a step-by-step guide you created for a co-worker that could be helpful to customers? In my experience, most businesses have produced a wealth of materials for training, sales and/or marketing purposes that can be tweaked by an editor and published to the web.
The thought of numbers and accounting may not sound all that interesting. However, if your business is like many others I’ve worked with, the line items you pay for every month can turn into a few pieces of interesting content. For example, is there a slick industry specific tool or software application that your business pays for monthly? Are you sponsoring an upcoming event? Future and current customers may find your experiences with these expenses helpful, which may make spending some time with your accounting worthwhile to your TOFU. (Pro tip: talk to your vendors and see if you can write for their blog!)
Have you seen “Batman Begins” or “When Harry Met Sally?” Are you looking forward to "The Hobbit" or hoping for a prequel to “The Notebook?” The recently released "The Amazing Spider-Man," in addition to being one of the highest grossing reboots ever, let alone films, is also an origin story. Humans seem to find a lot of entertainment in stories about “what came before” and “how did this all happen?” With origin stories in mind, think of some of your own or that of your business and whether they could help someone make a decision to move further down the funnel.
A couple of my favorite job interview questions are: “What do you do for fun?” and “Tell me about a victory.” A recent and new favorite answer someone gave me to this combo question was: “I write a comic book and got Jimmy Fallon to come to my school.” If I were to interview my own company it would probably say, “We like to race Go-karts and we totally demolished last year’s food drive record. Yeah!” If you were to ask your business the same questions, what would it say? When it answers, publish.
Every time you meet someone, laugh, get super excited about a victory or new idea or talk for 30 minutes over lunch about your position on an industry trend, you’re creating content. The ideas above have been useful to me as a content marketer, and I encourage people to take advantage of them. However, what’s really important is to understand that content is being generated all around you and it’s up to you to find clever ways to capture and publish it.
If you’ve got other creative content marketing ideas, let me have them in the comments.
Phil Golobish is the Director, Search Media: Placement & Promotion at Slingshot SEO, which helps clients to shape online conversations and increase their search engine visibility. Follow them both at @saintphilip and @slingshotseo.