15 Content Marketing Ideas and Strategies with Examples to Rank Higher

Danni Roseman
November 21, 2022

Inside this article:

If you're reading this article, you're probably looking for ways to breathe new life into your content marketing strategy. Perhaps you'd like to repurpose existing content or you're simply on the hunt for fresh, killer content marketing ideas.

In this blog post, I'll detail 15 content ideas you can apply to your content strategy, ways to wow your target audience and leave the content slump behind! Creative marketing ideas keep your audience entertained and informed and show your company's personality and influence. So, let's get creative, shall we.

1. Adopt a unique angle with your content

With so much content out there, it can be easy for your voice to get lost in the shuffle if you have the same take as everyone else. Uniqueness is key when it comes to standing out from the crowd. So, how can you ensure your content marketing strategy is as unique as your brand?

Know Your Audience

The first step to crafting a unique content marketing strategy is understanding your audience and what they want to see from you. What are their pain points? What kind of information are they looking for? 

Find Your Niche

It's important to find a niche for your brand and play to your strengths. There's no need to try and be everything to everyone; focus on what makes you unique and build your content strategy around that. By finding your niche, you'll be able to focus your efforts better and produce higher-quality content that will resonate with your target audience.

Be Authentic

Finally, it's important to be authentic in your approach. People can spot inauthenticity from a mile away, so don't try to be something you're not. Instead, be true to your brand and let that shine through in your content marketing strategy. If you're genuine and honest in your approach, people will appreciate it.

Here’s an example of taking sides on a controversial topic that got a bit of attention. 

In this blog post, the author doesn’t just side with a hotly debated topic for the sake of eyeballs. Instead, he summarizes the history of pizza and explains why pizza on pineapple might be a worthy topping. 

Adopting a unique angle with a contrarian view like this has several benefits that are perhaps harder to achieve with regular content. For one, controversial topics generate more buzz and exposure because they’re shared widely and are the subject of animated discussions. 

As a result of being talked about, this kind of content begins trending and has a relatively high backlink potential. 

2. Tap into current trends

Taking the unique angle content marketing idea a little further, you’ll see much more mileage when you take sides on trending topics. These are already being spoken about and favored by the algorithm so why not ride the wave? 

Google Trends is a great place to start. This tool lets you see how often certain terms are being searched for on the world's most popular search engine by region and how search interest has changed over time.

Find the most popular trends

  1. Head to Google Trends 
  2. Select the country whose trends you want to check in the top right corner

Google trends will then show you several panels you can explore to find current events. The Recently trending section will show you the most popular searches in that country. 

Monitor search trends

To monitor search trends for a topic you’re considering, enter the search term or topic in Google trends. For example, the trend for “pineapple pizza” is pretty consistent throughout the year with a slight peak between March-August.  

For a list of popular content marketing ideas related to your search, scroll down to the Related topics and Related queries panel. In my example, “Stuffed crust pizza” seems like a win with a 700% hike. Maybe I can combine the two and write an article discussing the viability of “pineapple on stuffed crust pizza”.

Remember though that the interest in these keywords is only temporary and might not be trendy next week or month. Most of your efforts should be focused on creating evergreen content. However, trending content has its place in your content marketing strategy, especially as link bait and to draw exposure. 

Get inspired from the actual calendar! 

Another great trend-based content marketing idea is seasonal marketing! This means keeping a consistent publishing schedule and making sure to touch on the major holidays and the fun, maybe not real ones too like "National Pizza Day." You can create a whole content marketing campaign using things that already exist!

3. Build evergreen content

The great thing about search engine optimization is that unlike ads and social media, your content, at least theoretically, has the potential to draw in traffic for months and years after it has been published. 

The bulk of your content marketing strategy should therefore be focused on creating evergreen content. Of course, you may still have to revisit it every few months and add or edit things, but for the most part, your pages must be evergreen. 

To find a list of content marketing ideas for evergreen content related to your topic, follow these steps. 

  1. Open Surfer Content Planner
  2. Enter your target keyword and country
  3. Click Create Content Planner

Content Planner will present you with a list of keyword clusters grouped by topics related to your primary keyword. 

To understand which topics are evergreen, click on a card and note the Monthly Search Volume (MSV) metric. 

If it’s high enough, plug in the same keyword phrase into Google trends and adjust the date to show from 2004. This will help us observe a trendline to see if interest is stable (evergreen) or fading and temporary. For example, it seems like my search query “how to cook frozen pizza” has been gathering interest for over a decade now so it would be classed as evergreen content. 

Recommended Reading: Ultimate Guide to using keywords

4. Nurture your email subscribers

Email subscribers fall into one of two categories, right? 

Either they're customers or potential customers. One way to nurture those relationships is to always mind the ratio of give and take. Imagine if you had a friend, who every time you saw them, had their hand out asking for something. 

Boring, huh? Maybe even annoying!

So, one content marketing idea is to offer your subscribers something periodically. If you don't have the budget to do a big giveaway, you can, for example, offer time in the form of consulting or a simple 1:1 to get face time with your audience. They'll feel seen, and you'll get all the ideas! Win-win!

You could also create a weekly or biweekly newsletter filled with original research, industry news or predictions of future trends to share with your audience. Morning brew for example, began as a newsletter summarizing business news and just turned $50 Million in 2021!

Not only will your readers appreciate the content format of having news hand-delivered and in one place, but they'll also see you as a reference and industry leader. Apart from trending topics, you can also use this weekly newsletter to share new tools, unusual but valuable tips, online courses, and other relevant industry topics.

5. Create original research

An original study that uses data can help establish your company as a thought leader in your industry. It can also be a great way to acquire backlinks, as other websites will want to cite your study in their content.

By conducting original research and sharing your findings with your peers and audience, you can prove that your company is at the forefront of innovation in your industry and stand apart from your competitors.

Conducting original research can be time-consuming and costly, but it can be extremely valuable for your business. If you don't have the resources to conduct a full-scale original research study, consider using publicly available data to create smaller studies that can still be helpful in establishing your company's credibility. 

For example, our big data study on identifying search intent earned a decent number of backlinks from popular influencers in the SEO industry. 

Ask your customers and subscribers if you’re curious about how to create original research without access to proprietary or consumer data. 

Create an interactive survey using Google Forms or Typeform to get to know your audience and engage with them. Once you have a good understanding of their responses, think of creative ways to present that data in a manner that is relevant to both them and your business.

6. Write your case studies

Don't forget case studies as a content marketing idea! Case studies are usually adored by the sales team and the marketing team alike as they showcase the solution to a problem that one or more of your customers or users have had. It's a great place to compile social proof, stats and show off your product!

Customer case studies are real-world examples of how your product or service has helped solve a problem. They offer valuable insights to a potential customer to help make decisions about your product.

For example, here’s a case study from Userpilot on how they helped this customer improve user onboarding by 10% within 30 days of using their product. 

If you're looking to create case studies from your customers, you can do a few things to ensure they're effective. 

First, choose customers that have seen success with your product. This will help validate your product’s value and create a story that other potential customers can benefit from. Then, insert names, screenshots and direct quotes with pictures if permitted. Enriching your study with data and numbers that will hold up under examination will aid your credibility. 

Finally, promote the case study on your website and social media channels once you have the case study. This will help create more bottom-of-the-funnel content that can drive conversions.

Using customer case studies can act as the bottom of funnel content that helps move prospects closer to becoming customers.

7. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to build exposure for your business. By writing guest posts for other blogs in your industry, you can extend your reach to a whole new audience and earn some high-quality backlinks simultaneously. 

To increase your chances of having your guest post proposal accepted, pitch topics with meaningful search volume. Include this metric when you’re submitting potential ideas for guest posts. To find the monthly search volume of a specific keyword as well as related topics, do these steps. 

  1. Head to Surfer Keyword Research 
  2. Enter your keywords and select the country of choice
  3. Click Create Keyword Research

The Keyword Research tool acts as an idea generator for my guest post by showing me several related topics and their associated search volumes that I can pitch to an editor. 

You can also install Surfer’s Keyword tool as a Chrome extension to pick up keywords with decent search volume while you’re browsing. 

To find websites in your niche that accept guest posts, use advanced Google search parameters like the following. 

  • Primary keyword + “guest blog” or “guest post”
  • Primary keyword + “write for us”
  • Primary keyword + “submit an article” or ”submit a guest post”
  • And other variations you can think of

It takes effort but if you're up for the challenge, guest blogging can be one of the most effective content marketing ideas to grow your blog or website.

Recommended Reading: Step by step guide to effective guest posts

8. Build Interactive Tools

Building online tools like calculators, responsive reports and quizzes can be a great way to attract traffic and bring potential customers to your blog or website. Websites like Pingdom and GTMatrix allow users to check the performance of their websites in a matter of seconds and act as content marketing bait to attract potential customers. 

For example, Hubspot attributed $64 million in sales to an online email signature generator they budgeted $6000 for!

To develop a list of content tool ideas with sufficient search volume, perform these steps. 

  1. Head to Surfer Keyword Research tool 
  2. Enter your primary keywords into Keyword Research and select the country of choice
  3. Click Create Keyword Research
  4. Select Having same terms on the left panel

Surfer Pro tip: If you don’t have an exact idea of the tool you’re looking to build, type in a partial keyword. 

For example, I typed in a partial keyword “generator” before selecting the “Having same terms” report on the left to see search queries with the word “generator” in it. 

I could create any of these tools - they all have generous search volume but I’d be better off adding a more relevant term like “seo generator” or “seo tool”

You don’t have to have a developer team or the marketing budget of Hubspot. Once you decide on a tool, you can then head to a marketplace like Fiver or Upwork and contract a developer to build a simple tool for your website. 

9. Offer lead magnets in exchange for email

While we’re on the topic of building online tools, you should also consider offering downloadable content in exchange for emails, especially if it isn’t possible for you to create an online tool. Your audience will take you seriously if you can offer them something valuable before pushing a sale. The good news is that you have a ton of content formats to choose from when it comes to lead magnets. 

Checklists and templates

The easiest of lead magnets to create, checklists are popular and widely searched for. Just look at the search volume from the Having same terms report I generated with Surfer’s Keyword Research tool

You can quickly create a checklist around your niche and have it ready in no time with tools like Canva or even MS word if you can get a little creative. 

Templates are similarly simple to create with available online tools. You can even export a template you’re using for your audience. If you’re inclined for it to look a certain way or don’t trust your design instincts, head to Upwork or Fiver where you can have a professional-looking template within a day. 

Convert long-form content into ebooks

If you’ve got long-form content on your website, offer it up in the form of ebooks. People love getting free content that they can read at their leisure. Plus, you can pack a lot of valuable information into an ebook or pdf. 

To find the most popular articles on your website that you can adapt into ebooks, head to Google Analytics and the Site Content reports under the Behavior tab. You can also find your most popular pages in Google Search Console under Search Results sorted by Clicks

Create a free course

Offer a free online course to build relationships with potential customers. Video is a great platform for courses because they provide value in an easy-to-consume manner, and showcase your personality more than other media. In addition, your audience can watch the videos and learn from them immediately. 

You don’t have to get particularly fancy with this if you don’t have a large budget. Building a video playlist on Youtube around a topic can act as a great lead magnet to build your brand and gain exposure. For example, Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income leads subscribers to a playlist on Youtube.

If you prefer a traditional lead magnet form, host a video series on your website that is gated behind an opt-in form. Hubspot for example, offers a CRM but has a free online video academy that offers all kinds of courses for its target audience. 

Email courses are another option to serve as lead magnets. You can provide value over time with an email course by drip-feeding lessons and tips to your subscriber list. This keeps people engaged and builds anticipation for future emails. You can also offer a PDF version of the course as an opt-in bonus. 

For example, Close.io offers an online course on startup sales that is delivered one email a day for 30 days.  

Host a webinar

One of the most popular content marketing ideas, webinars are also a great lead magnet, incentivizing people to sign up for your email list. In addition, you can establish yourself as an expert on a topic by hosting a webinar because you will speak directly to your audience and share your knowledge on a subject. 

Webinars are a great way to interact with your audience directly and answer questions they may have. You can also increase your reach by inviting guest speakers or co-hosts like I did with Emilia Korczyńska, Head of Marketing at Userpilot!

10. Create videos on social media

Putting out videos on social media platforms is a great way to showcase your personality and create a connection with viewers. Plus, it’s highly shareable and is a better medium than blogs or ebooks to capture attention.

Videos can help you reach new audiences on social media and encourage viewers to visit your website. Here are two ways to use social media videos for content marketing. 

Go live! 

Content marketing strategies don't need to be complicated or expensive to be effective. Something as simple as going live on your platform of choice--YouTube, Facebook or Instagram-- is enough to engage with your followers.

Now, what do you talk about once the camera is rolling, you may be wondering? That's completely up to you! Here are some ideas to help. 

  • Product updates
  • Behind-the-scenes look at your processes
  • Introduce your team members, you can make this a whole content series
  • Show off your toolkit
  • AMA, or Ask Me Anything, is another great way small businesses can engage with their users via their social media accounts!

Cross Collaborations and Partnerships

By partnering with another business or influencer, you can tap into their audience and gain new subscribers to help grow your brand. Crossovers are common these days and aren’t just limited to brands and influencers with overlapping content. We see celebrities use this all the time to reach new eyeballs. 

Seek out other companies and content that might appeal to your target audience. They’ll be more likely to partner with you because you’re not a competitor and the other party will also see the benefit in reaching your audience.

Add video content to your blog post 

So, this is one way to repurpose your social media posts! If you're already creating video content, you can take said content and breathe new life into your own content, but the written version this time!

Visual content is engaging and can be repurposed super easily into short, quippy clips. Not everyone is a fan of long form content, so using what you produce for your social media channels on your blog post is a great example of engaging content!

Moz has adopted this approach for a few years with their whiteboard Fridays blogs. 

11. Host a podcast

This is an idea that many people stay away from because they assume that if you don't have the whole professional podcast setup then it's not worth it. Content creation goes beyond the written word.

You can turn some of your long, more in-depth content into scripts for a podcast! Then you can turn those podcasts into Youtube videos. See? It's all connected. If you don’t have any podcast ideas, just interview interesting people! 

Podcasts indeed are one of the most underrated content marketing ideas. But don’t waste time looking for people to interview and decide if they’re interesting enough. Instead, find folks who’ve already been on podcasts and reach out to them. They’re already open to the idea and have something interesting to say. 

To find “interesting” folks, follow these steps. 

  • Search for relevant podcasts in your niche
  • Make a list of their podcasts
  • Sort this list by most downloads/played in descending order

Now you know who the most “interesting” people are based on how many people downloaded their podcasts. You can also use ratings and reviews to help inform your decision. If you don’t have access to data, use Youtube to get a reasonably good idea of which podcasts resonate the most with viewers. 

12. Encourage user-generated content

Another one in the list of often overlooked content marketing ideas is user-generated content. You can host competitions and get your audience involved to create content for you. The videos or shorts they create will be an awesome way to get the word out about your brand but also fill gaps in your content calendar. 

Not a lot of online content has the potential to generate leads, but one thing for sure is publishing content for your users, by your users, is one way to gain new customers, get new eyes and break up the monotony of content marketing.

Your target market will feel included and involved and, well, invested. That's one benefit to user-generated content versus, say, print media. Social media is a powerful tool because it goes directly to our mobile devices and basically has unlimited 24/7 access to our attention! Start Facebook groups as another way to add value and communicate directly with your market. 

If you want to do something outside social media online communities and forums are a great way to gather up your users and have them engaged with one another. They can also help your SEO efforts if you have a forum for questions. Webflow, for example, has a great community and a lot of helpful answers for its users. 

13. Testimonials and Reviews

One of the most powerful content marketing ideas is to show off your 5-star testimonials and reviews. Positive reviews can be highly influential in helping potential customers make purchase decisions. Suppose you're not using customer testimonials and reviews as part of your content marketing strategy. In that case, you're missing out on a valuable opportunity to build social proof and boost your business in the eyes of potential clients. 

Customer reviews are excellent pieces of content to provide social proof that your product or service is valuable, trustworthy and worth purchasing. Customer testimonials can come in many forms, such as written testimonials, video testimonials, or even customer photos or quotes shared on social media. 

Review aggregators

One of the best content marketing ideas in the SAAS industry is to collect customer reviews using review aggregators like G2 or Capterra, depending on your industry. Using a review aggregator, you can get a complete picture of what people say about your business or product and use this information in your content marketing strategy. 

Pipedrive, for example, has uploaded several customer video testimonials to its G2 profile to help potential customers favor itself over other alternatives.  

Maintaining a solid online reputation on these websites is important because they rank well in search engines and cater to potential customers. You can also ask customers to leave positive reviews on other review sites like Google My Business or Yelp or share directly on your website or social media channels.

Head to Google My Business

One of the best ways to test your marketing plan and the viability of your product is to put it out there for people to, well, buy! Use this free platform to connect with your customers and get a feel for their thoughts on your product. Ensure you have a strong GMB listing with as many reviews as possible. GMB doesn’t just rely on customer reviews, so you can gather reviews from employees, vendors, and customers.  

14. Repurpose content

One of the simplest but most neglected content marketing ideas is to repurpose content you’ve already created into other formats. To make the most of your content marketing efforts and attract more prospective customers, you should amplify your content's reach by sharing it in different formats across multiple channels.  

We’ve already touched on this a few times, and repurposing your existing content is a great way to expand your content’s reach. There are many different content formats that you can repurpose content to reach your audience on several social platforms. 

Research the formats your customers tend to engage with most and repurpose your existing content into their favorite forms.

Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so you'll need to tailor your content accordingly. For example, blog posts are great for in-depth analysis, but they might not be the best format for a quick update. On the other hand, email, Instagram or Youtube Shorts might be perfect for a quick update, but will it be as effective?

For example, we repurposed our blog post on how Surfer SEO helped ClickUp increase its traffic by 85%. 

Into a Youtube podcast interview. 

15. Update old content

Last but not least in our suggestions of content marketing ideas is to revise your content periodically. If you've been blogging for a while, you may have noticed that some of your older posts don't get as much traffic as they used to. One reason for this is that over time, the information in those posts can become outdated. 

If you want your blog to remain relevant and rank well in search engines, it's important to revisit your pages every few months and update them. Here are some tips for updating your old blog posts.

  • Take a look at the date of your post and see if any of the information is no longer accurate. If so, update it! 
  • See if there are any new studies or data that you can include in your post. 
  • If you include links in your post, ensure they still work and go to the right place. 

Updating your old blog posts doesn't have to be a huge undertaking. Even making small changes can help keep your information relevant and fresh. Take, for example, this post on Backlinko. I know this wasn’t updated in 2022; even the date says so.

But it’s more than likely that a content marketing guide that was published in 2020 is still very relevant in 2022. And so perhaps Brian changed a few things in the guide, along with the year in the page title. 

How to create engaging content

Here are 3 suggestions you can apply when framing what is and what isn't considered engaging, quality content:

1. Talk to your customer support team

These rockstars are on the literal frontlines and know exactly what your customers and users want, care about and also, complain about! Depending on how large your team is, this may be a step that you forget.

You can either set up a weekly or monthly sync with your customer success team, or find a way to automate the process using Notion or a spreadsheet. Content marketing often comes down to research and asking the right questions! When you show up to the call, make sure you've prepared a list of questions that you can then turn into content marketing ideas!

2. Source ideas from social media comments

Great content marketing ideas might be hiding in the comment section! The best (and worst) part about social media is how honest people can be. If you're a content marketer and you're not reading the comments, you might be missing opportunities!

People, especially when they're behind a screen, have zero problem telling you what they want and don't want. I'm not promising that you won't get your feelings hurt, there will always be trolls, but if you find 3 good ideas to incorporate into your content marketing strategy, that's a win!

3. Check out Google Trends

Most content marketers have already done the groundwork and create content based on the needs, likes and future desires of their target audience. Perhaps you've created surveys to get to know your readers better, or you've gather information from the upon sign-up. If you didn't do this, or haven't done it yet, one of my favorite content marketing tips is to head to Google Analytics, check out your most engaged countries and/or cities, and then head on over to Google Trends.

By using Google Trends, you can sort by location what is happening in the world to get a few ideas for creating content! You can also update existing blog posts with new information and make sure that they keep showing up the way you want them to on search engines.

Conclusion

Coming up with killer content marketing ideas isn't an exact science. Some of these ideas may work for you, others may not. It's all about testing, staying flexible, and being willing to evolve. One thing I know for sure is: as long as you stay tapped into the needs of your audience, you cannot go wrong!