Trying to come up with an idea isn’t easy. You’re probably familiar with this common scenario:

“I’m hungry. Want to get something to eat?”
“Sure. What do you feel like?”
“I don’t know, what do you feel like?”
“I don’t know, I’ll do whatever. You think of something.”
“I don’t know either. Maybe tacos?”
“Nah I’m not in the mood for tacos.”
“Well, then YOU think of something.”
“I don’t know I can’t think of anything.”

content marketing is hardFeeling defeated and giving up like…

Ideas, much as we wish they did, do not come easily. Content marketing ideas come even less easily.
Until now.
You may have already thought of a couple. But what other content marketing ideas haven’t you considered?
Spoiler alert: A lot, and we have all the ideas you need. But even more than that awaits you.
To have content marketing, you need content (and more). To use content, you need a good sense of what content marketing will mean (and what makes it hard to do it).
In this post, you get to learn about it all:

  • How to come up with killer content marketing ideas – minus the brainstorm headaches
  • 16 killer content marketing examples that your content marketing strategy will die for
  • The 10 biggest challenges you’ll face in content marketing (no one is immune, but you CAN be prepared)

How do you come up with content marketing ideas?

Good content marketing will result in loyalty and trust from an audience you want. Once you have that, more good content gives you strong customer relationships, increased profits, and an engaged subscriber base.
Content marketing extends past the actual content to cover the content marketing strategy. You have to consider things like:

  • Distribution tactics
  • Defining your target audience
  • Budgeting time, manpower, and money for projects
  • Getting the resources to create what you want to create, like editing or design programs

Just to name a few. Content marketing is an equal partnership of content and distribution of that content, all towards a common goal.
Content marketing takes a lot of work, and a huge part of that is coming up with actual content marketing ideas.
So…how the heck do you do that?
As content marketers, we not only have to come up with ideas but keep coming up with them—so here are are 6 things to help you keep the creative rivers flowing:

#1 Look at your analytics
#2 Know your audience
#3 Ask the audience
#4 Use research tools
#5 Keep up with marketing trends
#6 Learn from other content marketing veterans
We’ve written about blog content ideas before—and you’ll see great examples of the first 5 methods in this article.
Right now, I want to call attention to number 6. Because there are some really smart people who can help you come up with great content marketing ideas.
Even Picasso was inspired by others. As he famously said:

“Good artists copy, great artists steal”

Obviously, don’t steal ideas. But DO get inspired by great content marketing.
For example, one thing I struggle with is writing headlines. A great blog headline needs to:

  • Be intriguing enough to get someone reading
  • Be clear enough (so they know what they’re reading about)
  • Be SEO-friendly, and look good to Google

So, a fellow content marketer sent me this COPYHACKERS article.

marketing headlinesMy thoughts were exactly the same as that microcopy.

At first, my eyes popped out of my head reading the headline (which honestly should have been my first clue at it being a great resource) because WHO DOES THIS?
Geniuses, as it turns out. Because whenever I’m struggling to write a headline, I refer back to this article (it’s now one of my bookmarks) and use it to help bolster my headline creativity. No shame.
Taking notes from other content marketers is a huge help, so let’s give it a shot.
Here are XYZ, blah, blah, blah, some teaser copy goes here.

15 great content marketing ideas (with examples)

The world is your content oyster.
And if you think oysters are gross and don’t want to associate them with your content (plus they are REALLY small), then the world is your content pizza. You can any size and type of content pizza you want.

examples of content marketing ideasLarge content pizza with blogs, videos, and infographics. Hold the mushrooms.

You can create blogs, whitepapers, videos, podcasts, infographics, electronic and print books, online courses, social media, even memes and GIFs and so much more to deliver great content to your audiences.
In this section, we will look at the best-done creative content examples of content pizzas ideas as shown through 5 content categories:

  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Infographics
  • Electronic and print media.

Video ideas

Videos are interactive, entertaining, and easily consumable in today’s content scanner world. Here are a few of the best video content examples around.

Show the inside scoop of your day-to-day (like Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

I scream, you scream, we all scream for a great video marketing example!
This is a perfect (and delicious-looking) example of video content done well. For a smaller business, it’s not always easy to get your hands on expensive, top-notch video equipment or amazing editing.
Jeni’s proves you don’t have to.

BRB just forwarding my mail to my new permanent address, Jeni’s.
Please note:

  • I’m watching this in the middle of January in Chicago.
  • A blizzard that has been forecasted for a week started moments into watching this video.
  • It’s maybe the last time anyone would want ice cream (20 degrees doesn’t inspire a desire for freezing dessert).

And yet here I am planning my afternoon with the most direct route to the Jeni’s near my apartment. I want that ice cream sandwich, and I want it from Jeni’s.
What makes this video content work isn’t fancy producing, it’s that it’s totally an authentic, day-in-the-life video of the brand – an ice cream sandwich being made at an ice cream shop. Combined with a little catchy music, this content is everything it needs to be.
Have your content show your authentic brand tone.

Make the boring fascinating (like Velcro)

As David Ogilvy once said, “tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating.”
This video content deserves all the hype I’m about to give it. The first time I saw these videos from Velcro was a week ago, and I am still thinking about them. They were perfectly done. And hilarious. And I showed them to my family for fun. HYPE.
Velcro made two videos – one about how other companies can’t call their velcro material “Velcro” for their own products because it could cost original Velcro their trademark, and another to tell people what they could say instead (which is hook and loop, if you are curious).

These guys really missed their calling…

And they’re back for an encore.
Together, these two trademark videos from Velcro accomplish the following:

  • They educate you on a topic
  • They entertain you
  • They make you remember them with an unexpected method of delivery

Now, the great (and totally clever) marketing move that these lawyers (not even marketers!) made is acknowledging that this video is in fact absurd. But that’s what makes it great and, more importantly, unforgettable.
And you get a fast-tracked lesson about trademarks. Win-win.
Let’s be honest. A lot of people probably still call it “velcro,” not “hook-and-loop,” but you will think more about the brand after getting this catchy content stuck in your head.
I’ll tell you one thing – I’m not forgetting this content anytime soon.
This is great content. Enough said (and shown).

Create an authentic, immersive video experience (like Moz)

Rand Fishkin is a marketing household name, and not just because he founded the SEO company, Moz. He also hosts regular video content on their website.
Ever heard of Whiteboard Friday videos? Now you won’t be able to say no because you’ll probably watch a few more after this.

“The Best Way to Suck at Marketing…huh what’s that?” Boom, he’s got you.
Rand knows what he’s talking about, but more than that, he makes you care about what he’s talking about. He makes it easy to understand with both visual and verbal information delivered by a real person.
From the video title to the actual video content, he keeps you watching.

Social media ideas

Although social media isn’t as scalable of a content host as other types, it has to be recognized. Nearly 1.5 billion people log onto Facebook every day, which means your target audience is probably part of that. The right content does really well on social.

Pull content personality and language right from your people (like Wayfair)

Wayfair is not only a brand I buy from, but also a social media account I love to follow.
And not just because they really get me on a personal level with Instagram posts like this:

social media content exampleAlways aim for achievable goals, guys.

Instagram (and social media in general) is a great way to show brand personality through fun and engaging content, but it’s also useful for converting customers quickly and easily, like this:

wayfair content exampleAesthetically pleasing, informative, and simple. Checkout time.

This post featured a scrolling carousel of shoppable images which took you directly to your desired product page for an easy purchase.
This content looks nice, is easy to navigate and comprehend, and ends in a potential purchase conversion for Wayfair. Bravo, Wayfair.

Use influence to spread a powerful message (like Olay)

Olay’s #FaceAnything content marketing campaign was effective for several reasons, but one of the biggest was the use of influencers. Olay enlisted the help of 9 empowering female influencers to talk about overcoming or “facing” their challenges.

olay content marketing exampleFacing skin and the world like a BOSS. 

As a company that has long celebrated and targeted a female audience, this content had a big impact in light of stronger female voices speaking out over recent issues and movements like #MeToo.
What was it that Olay did best with this content? Was it where they shared it?
Definitely helped. Given that social media has become a platform for influencers across all industries to create a platform or support a cause, this makes for an extremely effective channel to place content that speaks to an audience in their same voice.
Was is the subtle, but clever play-on-words of “Face Anything” from a facial and skincare wellness brand? That definitely kept it strong.
But that’s still not the key takeaway from this content. The key takeaway isn’t the play-on-words, it’s the play on emotions.
Emotions are like colors. There are defined emotions like happy, sad, or angry, but for the most part, emotions live on a spectrum.
One small change can lead to a different kind of happy, a mixture of sad and angry, or an entirely different e