By Rachel Foster published November 10, 2011

3 Ways to Break Out of a Content Marketing Rut

Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If your content marketing is on autopilot and you’re not getting the results you want, I wouldn’t say you’re insane, but you could certainly use some fresh ideas.

Unremarkable content can also be a big problem if you’re in an industry, such as technology, that relies on innovation.  If your marketing does not reflect the innovation that goes into your products or services, it can put you at a disadvantage by making you look either boring or too complex.

Here are three tips to help you break out of your content marketing rut.

Look outside your industry

One of my friends, Krister Shalm, works in quantum physics — a topic most people would say they don’t understand. However, Krister has a gift for making physics accessible and entertaining. He recently held a talk called, “Quantum Physics and the Magic of Harry Potter.” By showing how quantum physics was used in the popular series, he sold out his two-night show and educated people of all ages about his field. Krister even timed the talks to coincide with the release of the final Harry Potter movie,  which also helped increase his audience.

If you can relate your content to something that is popular or newsworthy, you may attract more publicity and a larger audience.

Try a different medium

Does your organization always publish data sheets when your audience really prefers white papers? If your content isn’t reaching your ideal audience, you may need to change your delivery method. Determine what kind of content works best for communicating with your audience. For example, if they are auditory learners, you may want to record podcasts; if they typically spend a lot of their time on YouTube, you can consider using your content as the basis of a video series.
You can also repurpose your content in ways that might attract an expanded audience. For example, you can turn one of your webinars into a white paper, video series, blog posts, or social media updates. This means that if people missed a live webinar you offered, they could still find the content through their favorite social media networks or other channels.

Try something new within an existing medium

I recently wrote an article for Chief Content Officer Magazine called “Reimaging the Tried-and-True White Paper.” The article explores how new technology, such as interactive white papers and video white papers, is helping marketers improve the ROI from their lead-generation campaigns.

Experimenting with newer content features and options is a great way to put a fresh spin on the content you offer through a reliable medium like print. For example, try adding interactive components to your next white paper such as video or custom content that is relevant to each reader’s industry or role. You can also make your existing content more social by encouraging comments and adding social sharing features. This can make your message more exciting or accessible while giving you an opportunity to share more information about your organization.

Remember: Although there are endless ways to make your message stand out, you must always keep your focus on creating content that is relevant to your buyers’ needs. If your content is not relevant, all the extras will be a waste of your marketing effort and budget.

What about you? Have you tried (or do you want to try) anything outside the box for your content marketing? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Author: Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter and CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting. She helps her clients improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages and generate high-quality leads. Rachel has taught white paper, sell sheet and case study writing for MarketingProfs. She is also one of the Online Marketing Institute’s Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014. You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or check out her B2B marketing blog

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  • Nick Stamoulis

    It’s very easy to get stuck in a content marketing rut.  There are only so many topics and so many ways to present similar information.  The key is to think outside the box a little bit.  I like the strategy of relating content to something that is popular or newsworthy.  It changes up the feel of the content and can bring in new readers.  

  • Nick Stamoulis

    It’s very easy to get stuck in a content marketing rut.  There are only so many topics and so many ways to present similar information.  The key is to think outside the box a little bit.  I like the strategy of relating content to something that is popular or newsworthy.  It changes up the feel of the content and can bring in new readers.  

  • Lucinda Brook

    I always find that if you’re out of ideas, actually it’s about changing the way you look at it. And the simplest way to achieve that is to take yourself out of your ordinary surroundings. Many a creative department decamps to the park, the design museum etc etc for inspiration. Personally I find that I’m guaranteed fresh inspiration simply by putting my running shoes on and heading for the woods….

    • Rachel Foster

      Hi Lucinda,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, sometimes stepping away from a project is the best way to come up with a great idea. I like to exercise or go to a movie. I also keep a notebook next to my bed for those sudden ideas.


  • Adam Barber

    Just to follow on from Nick’s point, industry news can be a great source of fresh material for content marketing campaigns. Every niche has its news agenda, its trade magazines and specialist blogs. This stream of events, announcements and comment can be a great source of original content ideas. It can also help brands associate themselves with relevant themes that are of interest to their target audience.

    • Rachel Foster

      Great point. I like to subscribe to Google Alerts to get the latest news in my industry. 

  • trendspottr

    Another way to “break out of the rut” is to get inspired by timely and relevant content from across the social Web. At TrendSpottr ( we identify the most trending content for any topic or search term. So, if you’re writing a blog about Social Media or Healthcare and need ideas that are going to resonate and engage with your audience now, try entering these keywords at TrendSpottr. Because we “spot” the most trending content at its earliest acceleration point, we know that this content is not only timely and relevant now, but will continue to have high resonance and engagement value for the next 8-48 hours. Many media companies, PR agencies, journalists and social media users use our site to get “ahead of the curve” to find and publish timely, relevant and engaging content. Hope you give it a try! 

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