Editor’s Note: Meet Armando Roggio at Ignite 2015, our conference on Sept. 16 and 17 in Dallas, where he’ll co-present three sessions: “How to Build an Ecommerce Brand (and Reduce Reliance on Paid Traffic),” “Content Marketing Essentials: Attracting and Engaging Shoppers, for Higher Conversions,” and “Ecommerce Opportunities for Brick-and-mortar Merchants.”
Your August content marketing could be a blend of real-life seriousness, product promotion, food, listicles, and drones.
Content marketing is durable stuff. The useful or entertaining articles, images, and videos you publish in August 2015 can last for months or years on your site and in social media, helping your business to engage and retain customers now and for the future.
Here are five ideas to inspire your business’s content marketing for August 2015.
1. Take on a Serious Topic
On July 22, 2015, Oscar-winning film composer James Horner died in a plane crash. The 61-year-old wrote the film scores for many popular movies, including Avatar, Braveheart, and Titanic.
Interestingly, Mondo, an online store that sells movie-related products, posted a short tribute to Horner on its blog. The article was simple and sincere. It made it clear that the folks at Mondo are not just selling movie soundtracks or posters, but rather they are part of the community of movie lovers.
This month, don’t be afraid to publish something serious and sincere of your own.
2. Interview Suppliers, Users about Products
Great content marketing must first be useful, beneficial, or entertaining for the audience. That should be its main goal. But it is also acceptable for content marketing to be related to the products or services your business provides.
One way to strike the balance between utility and promotion is to publish video or audio interviews with suppliers or users that are related to the products you sell.
For example, a retailer that sells, among other things, vaccines, interviewed a rep about vaccinating horses.
Similarly, interviewing users can also make for good, product-related content. Here is another video that shows a user describing how he uses products the retailer sells.
3. Pick a National Food Day
Oddly, August is home to a long list of food-related holidays. Regardless of what industry or segments your business serves, it may be possible to create good, humorous, and entertaining content around one or more of these nourishing dates. Here is a list of possibilities.
- National Mustard Day — August 1
- National Raspberry Cream Pie Day — August 1
- National Watermelon Day — August 3
- National White Wine Day — August 3
- National S’more Day — August 10
- National Filet Mignon Day — August 13
- National Creamsicle Day — August 14
- National Lemon Meringue Pie Day — August 15
- National Bratwurst Day — August 16
- National Rum Day — August 16
- National Vanilla Custard Day — August 17
- National Potato Day — August 19
- National Pecan Torte Day — August 21
- National Spumoni Day — August 21
- National Eat a Peach Day — August 22
- National Spongecake Day — August 23
- National Peach Pie Day — August 24
- National Waffle Day — August 24
- National Banana Split Day — August 25
- National Whiskey Sour Day — August 25
- National Cherry Popsicle Day — August 26
- National Pots De Creme Day — August 27
- National Banana Lovers Day — August 27
- National Cherry Turnover Day — August 28
- National Toasted Marshmallow Day — August 30
- National Trail Mix Day — August 31
Marketers promoting retail businesses that sell kitchen- or food-related products should have fairly straightforward opportunities to post content, perhaps recipes, around any of these dates.
As an example, Williams-Sonoma already has 63 recipes on its site that include mustard. The company could easily put together a National Mustard Day meal plan post, describing an entire dinner featuring that ingredient. In fact, since National Mustard Day is on a Saturday, the site might even suggest a mustard-themed dinner party.
Articles inspired by these foodie dates are not, however, limited to purveyors of foods, knives, and spaghetti strainers.
- An online garden supply store could publish seasonally appropriate articles about potatoes, peach and cherry trees, or even harvesting grapes to make your own white wine.
- A store that sells men’s suits could easily write audience-pleasing articles about rum or whiskey sours.
- A sporting goods store might create a post about the best blends of trail mix for football camp, long distance running, or taking a hike.
- Even a site that sells t-shirts could post a funny video relating celebrity birthdays to any one of these food holidays.
4. Publish High Value Listicles
Since at least 2004, the term “listicle” has been used to describe an article formatted as a list. Early on, it was implied that listicles were relatively easier to write than “real” articles, and, therefore, less valuable or useful. They were also considered to be a low form of click bait, not real journalism.
In spite of the critics, listicles are actually a good way to communicate ideas quickly. Listicles are frequently a better format than large blocks of text.
This article, the one you’re reading right now is, in fact, a listicle. When you clicked to open the page, perhaps you scanned the five suggestions an one or two resonated, so you decided to read the article.
This month, try to create a few high quality listicles that will be meaningful, helpful, or entertaining for your customers and potential customers.
As inspiration, check out these listicles from the REI blog.
- 21 Appalachian Trail Statistics that Will Surprise, Entertain, and Inform You
- Six of the Best River Parks in the U.S.
- Five Great Summer Road Trips
- Four Ultimate National Park Road Trips
- Five Tips for Camping in the Rain
- Ten Thru-hikes that Aren’t the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail
- Six Tips for Cycling in a Group
- Five Outdoorsy Date Ideas
- Five Best Climbing Campgrounds in the U.S.A.
5. Create Visually Engaging Videos with a Drone
In August, some content marketers will have an opportunity to be innovators and produce video content that includes cinematic perspectives that previously required a helicopter or a large crane and a film crew of ten.
Flying drones — such as 3D Robotics (3DR) Solo drone — which began shipping recently, make this sort of innovation possible.
The Solo flying camera platform sells for just under $1,000 and requires a GoPro camera. If you buy an extra battery and the three-axis gimbal, and a tablet to control it, you will have, perhaps, $2,500 invested when all is said and done.
From the content marketer’s perspective, a flying camera platform makes your videos significantly more interesting to watch. As an example, consider 3DR’s promotional video shot in Malta. Shortly after minute 1:00, you may find yourself enthralled.
The secret here is to use this new capability to improve your content, without forgetting that you need to be useful or entertaining in order to engage viewers and, ultimately, sell more. Here are some examples of how you might interject drone-enabled video.
- An outdoor apparel retailer could show models in dramatic environments.
- A store that sells fishing accessories might use drone-based footage in how-to videos.
- An online tools store could fly over worksites and zoom in, to show new tools in action.