When it comes to marketing, content is king. It’s easy to understand this mantra when branded content is literally around every virtual corner online. However, when you break down content marketing by the numbers, the results are pretty substantial. On average, a company that invests in content marketing can see a 67 percent increase in leads, a 97 percent increase in inbound leads, and a 55 percent increase in visitors to their site.
But coming up with content is a bit harder than you might expect. Before going all-in on content marketing, it’s imperative to address these questions:
- What Does Your Audience Want?
- What Does Your Audience Expect?
- What Do You Want From Content Marketing?
- What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Answering these questions will give you a decent foundation upon which to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy. However, when it comes to the last question (what are your competitors doing?), it’s crucial to break away from the pack. If your brand is just doing what everyone else is doing, you’ll seem late to the party and boring overall.
So, we’ve curated 10 innovative content ideas to help you spice up your marketing and differentiate your brand from all others. When these tactics are utilized correctly, you should see some incredible returns.
Interactive Content Experiences
Most content you’ll find online, including blog posts, videos, and social media posts, is passive. The goal is to relay information to the audience, who receives the information at their leisure. While there is some interaction in the form of comments, it doesn’t affect the content itself.
Interactive content is much more engaging because the user is affecting the outcome of the piece. A perfect example of interactive content would be a quiz or survey. The results of the quiz depend on the answers the user gives, so if they don’t interact with the content, they won’t know the outcome.
This type of content strategy works well because it can help qualify leads and validate customer engagement. With a static content post, it’s hard to know whether the post resonated with the audience. With interactive posts, you can see the engagement happen in real-time and gather valuable data from it.
User-Generated Content Campaigns
The average person is a brand ambassador, whether they realize it or not. Every time someone posts a picture of their meal at a restaurant, takes a selfie at a concert, or shows something they just bought, they’re advertising a brand.
User-generated content is valuable for companies for a few different reasons:
- First, it offers social proof. The more people who share their experiences online, the better the product or service looks to new leads.
- Second, it’s remarkably cheap and delivers an exceptional ROI. This is because you don’t have to spend any money on advertising—your customers are doing it for you.
- Finally, UGC can help enhance your brand reputation and build brand awareness. Since people are sharing these experiences on their own social profiles, you can reach more leads organically than you could through targeted advertising.
You can also be proactive about getting customers to create user-generated content. For example, you could have a photo area where guests can take pictures or selfies at your business. This area could have excellent lighting, some props, or decorative elements that help make a captivating image.
Incorporating Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality is when digital elements blend into the real world via technology. One of the most recognizable examples of AR is the mobile game Pokémon Go. In the game, players will “see” Pokémon in the real world via the app. The software adds digital renditions of the characters into a live video stream, so it can appear as if the animal is right there next to the player.
AR can be a lot of fun when it’s done correctly, but it can also feel cheesy when done incorrectly. As you may imagine, not all businesses can take advantage of this technology. However, there are some creative ways to make AR work, such as:
- Travel – Agencies and booking sites can transport their guests to the destination of their choice by using a 360-degree video of a resort or landmark at that location.
- Home Decor – Users can see how a particular item will look in their home before buying. Similarly, customers can see what a certain color of paint will look like on their wall before making a final decision.
- Real Estate – Guests can take a tour of a property virtually by moving their phones around and seeing what each room looks like.
- Beauty and Fashion – Customers can see what products look like on their face or body before buying.
Overall, AR is still a fledgling marketing strategy, but it can also yield some incredible returns. In many cases, these interactive experiences make guests more likely to finalize a purchase.
Gamification for Engagement
Gamification is exactly what it sounds like—turning an experience into a game. When it comes to marketing, this process can take several forms, depending on what kind of game you want your users to play.
For example, let’s take the concept of a loyalty card. The traditional method involves having customers get a stamp or punch every time they visit, with the promise of a free item after a certain number of visits. This concept can easily be gamified to make it more interactive and engaging for your audience.
So, instead of having a physical card and getting stamped with each visit, customers may try to earn points. Once they reach a certain number of points, they get something for free. The great thing about gamification is that it can incorporate virtually anything. Liking a social media post can be worth one point. Buying a product can be worth one point for every dollar that item is worth. Visiting the store can be worth 10 points, and so on.
The goal of gamification is to make the interactions between your brand and your customers more fun and exciting. Customers enjoy playing the game, and you get better returns on your marketing investment.
Webinars and Workshops
Educational marketing is valuable because it establishes your brand as an authority within your industry and helps your customers achieve their goals and/or solve their problems. Two of the best options for education marketing are webinars and workshops.
A webinar is a virtual seminar at which guests attend virtually via a teleconferencing app (i.e., Zoom). The great thing about a webinar is that it’s interactive, even if you use pre-recorded elements during the presentation. Also, because it’s virtual, attendees can come in from anywhere, including places around the globe. Webinars are great for conveying valuable information to your audience and gathering feedback from attendees.
A workshop is typically a timed lesson about a specific topic or problem. The goal of the workshop is to teach skills and invite collaboration among attendees. In many cases, workshops are smaller, although they can also be virtual. Workshops are great because they’re far more engaging with the users. While a webinar is mostly passive, a workshop is very interactive.
Both of these options are ideal for marketing purposes because they generate buzz and create meaningful connections with your customers. Plus, if the event is valuable enough for your audience, you can even charge attendees and earn revenue that way.
Collaborative Content Creation
Collaborative content is when you work with other companies or organizations to create mutually-beneficial marketing materials. For example, maybe you can partner with a complementary brand to create a video series about your products and how they can work well together. To illustrate how collaborative content creation can work, let’s dive into a specific example.
Let’s say that you sell water bottles. So, you decide to partner with a local gym to create videos showing your water bottles in action. In addition to partnering with the gym, maybe you can also reach out to local fitness influencers to see if they want to be part of the video series.
In this case, everyone benefits from the collaboration. The gym can increase its online presence and get more people signed up for a membership. Fitness influencers can add authenticity to their brands and make themselves more marketable to other companies looking for collaborations. You benefit from promoting your water bottles and generating more online sales.
In marketing, a “micro-moment” is when a customer uses a device to discover more information or make a purchase. An example of a micro-moment would be if someone wanted Thai food and typed into Google Maps, “Thai food near me.” Basically, a micro-moment is when someone has made a decision but needs technology to facilitate it.
What’s great about these moments is that most people don’t have a specific brand in mind when it comes to products or services. For example, if someone needs wireless headphones, they’re likely focused on its attributes, not the company that makes it.
So, in marketing terms, it’s best to create curated content to capitalize on these moments. The best way to do that is to get into the mindset of your target customer and create something that speaks to their unique needs.
Using our headphone example, it may be a good idea to create a targeted landing page for “wireless headphones for listening to music while studying.” You can also create a landing page for “wireless headphones with long-lasting batteries that are perfect for traveling.” Both of these pages are hyper-specific, but they will connect instantly with a customer who needs headphones for those reasons.
Data-Driven Personalized Reports
Data is everywhere on the internet, and you can tap into it for marketing purposes. In most cases, the more data you have about your audience, the easier it is to market to them.
However, the primary advantage of using data-driven personalization is knowing when to market your products or services to them. The golden rule of sales is to sell the right product to the right person at the right time. When you have mountains of data about a single individual, you can use that information to your advantage.
The other fantastic thing about data-driven personalization is that it works for virtually everything, so you can get highly creative when customizing your content. You can tailor content pieces around a customer’s likes, wants, and needs, as well as present the product as a solution to a problem they’re having right now.
Immersive 3D Product Showcases
Usually, the best way to look at and review a product is in person. However, 3D product showcases are the next best thing. A 3D product showcase is a digitally constructed recreation of your product, usually within a computer-generated environment.
The primary benefit of a showcase is that it allows your customers to view the product as if they were handling it themselves. Ideally, they should also be able to see it in action. For example, if you’re selling a couch, it’s best if customers can see what the couch will look like in their living room after inspecting the 3D model.
Another fantastic thing about these showcases is that you can combine them with other marketing tactics. For example, you can collaborate with other companies to create a more immersive environment. You can also use AR and gamification to make the showcase more interactive. The possibilities are endless.
Harnessing Emerging Technologies
Technology is always advancing rapidly, so it’s hard to keep up. However, by capitalizing on new breakthroughs and innovations, your brand can benefit in a couple of different ways.
First, it shows that you’re a forward-thinking company that’s not afraid to take risks or try new things. Second, it helps you get ahead of the curve and outpace the competition.
One example of an emerging technology is virtual reality (VR). Although the demand for VR content is growing, there are still only a handful of companies producing it. If you can create meaningful or engaging VR content, you can expand your audience and develop stronger connections with your customers. Similarly, AI is rapidly becoming more mainstream, so you can utilize AI technology to provide better customer service and more curated content.
The Bottom Line: Innovation Breeds Success
Content creation doesn’t have to be an overwhelming ordeal. In many cases, a company has big ideas of what it wants to do, but it doesn’t know how to turn those ideas into tangible marketing materials.
When it comes to written content, WriterAccess makes it super easy for brands of all sizes to create whatever they want. Blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, and social media posts can be delivered in a snap, thanks to the extensive pool of talent from around the world. Best of all, you can try WriterAccess for free for two weeks to get a feel for it. Once you get the content marketing ball rolling, there’s no telling how far it can take your brand.