Content Marketing: 20 Spring Hooks Any Business Can Use
Do you face your blank computer screen praying it’ll magically fill with words?
Do you wish you were one of those people wearing headsets crunched over their laptop fingers flying over their keyboard in your local Starbucks?
I feel your pain.
You’re probably thinking that since I write 5 blog posts a week and generate other content as well that content creation inspiration strikes me regularly. While I’d love if that were the case, it’s not.
Just like you, I need to work hard to keep the words flowing. There are times that it takes a lot of bad writing before the really good stuff starts to peak its head out like the green tips of the crocuses in Madison Square Park.
There are times that I wind up cutting a lot of crap out of what I’ve composed. It would be great if the words in the first iteration were the exact ones that made the final cut. But they rarely are.
My writing takes shape during the editing process. It’s refined with additional iterations.
When I’m at a loss for what to write, I skip what my third grade teacher taught me about writing.
Instead, I use writing hooks for inspiration. These hooks are events and other activities that get my creative juices flowing. I use them even if I don’t ultimately write about that topic.
One favorite inspiration tool of mine that’s an easy option is the calendar. It’s amazing how many different holidays and events there are.
Don’t take my word for it. Watch Google. Their Google Doodles continually highlight well-celebrated holidays, obscure events, milestones and birthdays on their homepage.
3 Super easy places to get content marketing inspiration
To tailor your content marketing inspiration to meet your specific needs, here are 3 super easy places to seek writing inspiration:
- Examine your promotional calendar. Face it – you need content related to your promotions and products. Consider how to provide the 5 basic types of content your audience actively seeks, namely, product information, customer FAQs, how-tos, styling, and ratings/reviews.
- Check the calendar for holidays. Google can uncover creative ideas related to your niche. Check bizarre or obscure holidays. There’s one almost every day of the year. This is especially useful if you’re in the food business since almost every type of food is celebrated.
- Incorporate happenings in your niche or local community. Include conferences and other special events that matter to your readers. For small businesses or those with a local audience, integrate community events such as the various local sports teams.
20 Hooks for spring content marketing inspiration.
Here are 20 ideas for content marketing inspiration this spring.
- National Crafts Month (March 2014) Even if your business isn’t focused on crafts, consider how you can leverage the power of your customers’ craftiness. How about featuring a customer a day with their crafts project in an environment related to your business?
- Dr. Seuss Birthday (March 2, 1904) Dr. Seuss is a perennial favorite. Every book is chock full of quotes. Want some inspiration, here’s how I used Dr. Seuss’s quotes.
- International Scrapbooking Day (March 4, 2014) This is a holiday commemorating remembering our past. Again you don’t need to be in the scrapbooking industry to take advantage of this special day. Use scrapbooking techniques to discuss your organization’s history. Even tools like Pic Monkey have scrapbooking flourishes.
- National Grammar Day (March 4, 2014) This is a must-have event on every content marketing editorial calendar. E.B. White is calling you!
- Spring training (February 26 through March 29th) While this is a reference to baseball practice that takes place in Florida and Arizona, it can be applied to other products and activities as well. Think getting in shape. This is good for nutrition, exercise as well as clothing companies. Who doesn’t want to look good in a bathing suit?
- National Check Your Batteries Day (March 9, 2014) This is a public service associated with the time change to ensure that your appliances don’t go dead when you need them most. Since this is the day to change your clocks, it’s a good hook for talking about timing or watches.
- National Panic Day (March 9, 2014). Really I didn’t make this up! (Check the link.) What would put your target audience in a panic? Answer this question and work backwards from there.
- Pi Day (March 14, 2014). It’s 3.14. This useful for math fans. (BTW—There’s a Museum of Math in New York.) Alternatively, bakeries can use this for a fun spin on the word pi. (BTW—You can use this image in your posts if you link back to this post and credit it to Heidi Cohen.) Here’s our post celebrating of Pi Day.
- St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2014). To honor the patron saint of Ireland, it’s the day to paint the town green, at least if you’re located in Ireland, New York, Boston, Chicago or several other cities. Use green as your theme color regardless of what your business is.
- March Madness (March 18 through April 7). College basketball has gotten bigger. Think about a tie-in to this sports event or create another hook for March Madness.
- First day of spring (March 20, 2014). Spring cleaning is a good hook for seasonal products. Put together some evergreen content. Think checklists, whether it’s cleaning your garage or taking care of your pets. The great part of this content is that it’s evergreen.
- April Fool’s Day (April 1, 2014). This depends on how serious your audience and management are about your content. But understand that your audience loves to have fun and be entertained.
- World Health Day (April 7, 2014). This is useful for not-for-profits as well as pharma companies.
- National Garden Week (Second week in April). Use this hook to highlight real gardens or plants. Alternatively put the spotlight on products that you offer that are garden related or incorporate images of plants. At a minimum, show your products in different gardens or feature your customers’ gardens. It’s a major US pastime.
- Passover (April 14 through April 22, 2014). This is one of the major Jewish holidays. Feature special recipes for unleavened food. I’ve written about the 10 plagues of social media.
- Tax Day (April 15, 2014). This is a good time to get your finances in order. Use this hook for anything that requires planning.
- National Pet Owners Day (April 17, 2014) Pets are important to their owners. Get your readers to submit their funny pet photos related to your product.
- Easter (April 20, 2014). Who doesn’t love colored Easter eggs and candy? What kind of fun can you have with your readers?
- Earth Day (April 22, 2014). Think about how your offering is can green. Beyond recycling, there’s upcycling, taking used products and turning them into something new. I’ve written about repurposing content.
- Take Your Child To Work Day (April 24, 2014) For many businesses, this is a good time to celebrate your employees and their children. Before you use any photos of children, make sure that you’ve got parental approval.
Accept that you’re not the only one who fears the blank screen when they sit down to compose content. The trick is not to let that immobilize you or you’ll never get a word on the page.
If the words aren’t flowing, assign yourself a topic because it will inspire you. (BTW—when I started writing this piece, I got inspired for 2 other pieces.)
Either you’ll find yourself writing on the topic or once you start pushing on the assigned piece, you’ll get at least 3 other ideas that you find more exciting. Make sure you write them down before they disappear!
Nike has it right: Just do it! Don’t think about it.
Just start putting the words down and they will flow.
Just believe in yourself.
Do you feel uninspired? If so, what do you do for inspiration?
For those of you in Raleigh, NC, please join me for Internet Summit November 11th through 13th.Use the code HEIDI50 to save $50 OFF any pass level.
Even though Content Marketing World is finished until next September, you can still get all the content from 2014's exciting conference. The CMWorld On Demand package includes: Audio and video from the 2014 keynote sessions, audio and PowerPoint presentations of all the breakout sessions, over 40 audio sessions from the leading B2B and B2C brands, as well as keynote video performances.
According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.
Join the CMO Council on Wednesday, October 29, at 10am PST/ 1pm EST for a one-hour webcast that will invite industry experts in content marketing and user-generated content who are effectively leveraging authentic storytelling as part of their content marketing strategies. We will also feature an interactive Q&A session at the conclusion of the speaker presentations.
Now there are two ways to get Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Content by Email:
Subscribe to receive the full text of each new actionable marketing post delivered free, five days a week to your inbox.
Signup for the weekly Actionable Marketing Newsletter and get a roundup of of the week’s posts, plus extra content you won’t find on the website, plus a free e-book: What Every Blogger Needs to Know – 101 Actionable Blog Tips
- Light bulb: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julia-bickerstaff/5058005687/
- Crocuses: (c) 2014 Heidi Cohen – all rights reserved
- Pi: (c) 2014 Heidi Cohen – all rights reserved