Want to increase site traffic and engage potential customers in February 2019? Consider creating articles, videos, and podcasts that entertain, inform, and just plain help out.
Content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and distributing content with the goal of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers. Content marketing works best when the articles or videos you make are useful, informative, or entertaining.
In a sense, content marketing uses principles of persuasion, such as authority, likeability, scarcity, and reciprocity. Done well, content marketing will engage prospects and improve search engine optimization.
But sometimes it’s hard to know what to write about. Here are five content marketing ideas that you can use for your business in February 2019.
1. Use Wikipedia
No matter how many blog posts or articles you’ve written, there are always ways to improve your composition skills. For this reason, despite having written and published several thousand articles, I started taking the “Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing” course from MasterClass.
An exercise from the fourth chapter of that class inspired this first content marketing idea for February 2019. Here is your challenge.
Visit a random Wikipedia article using Wiki Roulette. The “Next” button will allow you to step through random articles until you find one that interests you. Read that Wikipedia article completely, following important links to learn more about the topic.
Then make a list of ways this Wikipedia article might relate to the industry your business serves or topics that could attract visitors to your site. Use your list to compose an article, blog post, or similar content.
I used this method to create an article about entrepreneur Edwin Perkins. Perkins had a moderately successful business with a shipping problem. His solution resulted in Kool-Aid, one of the best-known beverage mixes in America. I thought his story might be of interest to ecommerce business owners and managers, so I wrote about him.
For additional ideas, I clicked through a few dozen random Wikipedia articles looking for possible connections to ecommerce and retail businesses. Here are two examples.
- Lakewood Speedway. First opened in 1917 as a site for agricultural fairs, Lakewood Speedway would go on to host hundreds of automobile races, including the 1959 NASCAR Grand National Championship when Richard Petty won his first NASCAR title. An online store selling NASCAR-licensed or automobile-related products should be able to find a connection.
- The Game. You’ve just lost. The very act of reading (and therefore thinking) about the Game forced your defeat. Invented either out of boredom or as an attempt to thwart game theory, the Game has few rules. First, to play, don’t think about the Game. If you do think about it, announce that you have lost. Saying so on social media will do. After a loss, you have a few minutes to forget about the Game. Everyone in the world is playing and will continue to play the Game until the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister announces on television that “the Game is up.” Peculiar, right? This topic should make a good article for online game retailers, geek-themed ecommerce stores, and shops focused on pop culture.
2. Pillar Page
Some savvy content marketers have begun organizing their content and search engine optimization around topic clusters.
This approach to SEO and content marketing recognizes that search engines have become sophisticated enough to understand semantic relationships. Thus, Google and other search engines may be able to associate related keyword phrases and comprehend topics.
At the center of a topic cluster is a pillar page. This pillar content should be some of the best available on a particular topic.
As an example, an online men’s clothing shop might want to rank well for the topic “men’s casual fashion.” That store could then create “The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Casual Fashion,” describing everything from the best fabrics for a pair of men’s joggers to available styles of men’s casual footwear.
Supporting blog posts and subtopic pages would all link back to the pillar page. If you employ this approach, use February to review and update your pillar content. The very act of updating could spark creative ideas for additional posts and articles. If topic clusters are new to you, do a bit of research and create your first pillar.
3. Black History Month
The United States first celebrated Black History Month in February 1970, after members of the Black United Students at Kent State University had proposed expanding Negro History Week (which started in 1926) to a month-long remembrance.
Six years later, during the American bicentennial, Gerald Ford became the first president to recognize Black History Month. It has since become popular in the United States and expanded to Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
For your company’s February 2019 content marketing, celebrate the contributions that African-Americans have made to your industry. Profile inventors, entrepreneurs, and leaders from the black community. Here are a few examples.
- Tactical gear retailers such as Army Navy Sales, Military 1st, and Army Navy Outdoors, could profile Garrett Morgan whose many inventions included a “safety hood” that became the prototype for the World War I gas masks.
- Lighting and home improvement shops such as Lumens Light and Living, Lamps Plus, and Build.com might write about Lewis Howard Latimer, who, along with Joseph Nichols, patented an improved carbon filament light bulb and later improved carbon filament manufacturing. His contributions were vital to the modern lighting industry.
- Hair product retailers including stores such as Sephora, Bath & Body Works, or Koils By Nature could write about Madam C. J. Walker, who was a cosmetics industry pioneer and “one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire,” according to Biography.
4. ‘Look-back’ Article
Take any event, pop-culture trend, or work of art related to the products your business sells and create a “look-back” post.
A look-back article (or podcast or video) reviews something from the past, adding a perspective that only time and distance can create. The article may generate long-tail traffic to your site. These new visitors can then learn about your store and its products.
Read Colin Biggs’ article “20 Years Later, ‘The Game’ Is Still David Fincher’s Most Underrated Movie” from ScreenCrush. Biggs wrote the post in September 2017 as a 20-year look at the film’s original release in 1997. Imagine how a company that sells movie memorabilia or licensed movie products could use a post like Biggs’. Could you do something like this for your business?
5. Customer Videos
“We look for and act on (even if subconsciously) social proof in all areas our life — including how we behave and the purchasing decisions we make online,” wrote Sujan Patel in a June 2017 Content Marketing Institute article about customer testimonials.
“It doesn’t matter if that social proof comes from friends or strangers. What matters is that we’re seeing evidence from our peers — in this context, other consumers — that the decision we’re about to make is the right one.”
For February 2019, create customer videos to place on your website. As Patel suggests, these videos should set new shoppers at ease, helping them feel comfortable about buying from your business. The videos could include a testimonial on behalf of your products or a feature that spotlights your customers.
For inspiration, check out Alameda Fire Department’s GORUCK story and video.
Bonus: Valentine’s Day
February 14 is Valentine’s Day, likely the most important retail event in the month. Any list of content marketing ideas for February should at least mention the holiday. But, I have covered Valentine’s Day extensively in previous content marketing idea articles.
So check out last February’s content marketing ideas, which included suggestions around Valentine’s Day gift guides, love stories, and Valentine’s Day facts and history.
And here are “5 Facts You Don’t Know About Valentine’s Day” from Good Mythical More.