By Michele Linn published December 22, 2013

36 Content Marketing Ideas from 2013

quote bubble with ideas in itEarlier this week, Joe released the 6th annual content marketing predictions. While it’s fun to hypothesize on what 2014 will have in store, it’s also amazing to see how much has changed across the content marketing industry in the last year. While we had dozens of savvy experts cover the gamut of the past year’s advances, nine themes seemed to have emerged to characterize the 2013 content marketing landscape.


If nothing else, 2013 distinguished itself as the year of strategy. As our annual content marketing research revealed, those with a documented content marketing strategy are far more likely to be effective than those working without one. How do you create a strategy that will guide your content marketing efforts in the right direction? Here are some essentials to get you started:


One key component of a successful content strategy is editorial planning, which was a hot topic this year. What type of info do you need to have to build a workable plan, and how do you keep it organized as your content processes take shape and start to grow? These posts address these questions, and more:

Content Ideas

Of course, you need to fill your calendar with content. If you are looking for fresh ideas to keep the pump primed, these posts can provide some inspiration:


While the notion of brands as storytellers is nothing new, it’s tough for brands to find the right story to tell, let alone become familiar with the new perspective and processes that content marketing brings to the table. To learn what it takes to excel at brand storytelling, check out these posts:


The world of SEO is ever evolving, and this year was no exception. Google underwent a lot of changes that kept content marketers on their toes, in addition to introducing a new suite of tools:


The job of content marketing is never done. Rather, smart marketers realize that they continually need to measure what is working (and what isn’t) and evolve. At many organizations, it’s also imperative to prove value on a regular basis, making ongoing measurement essential to the content marketing process. If this is your challenge, these posts can help:


Like search, social media plays a huge role in providing content marketers with content ideas and giving them a way to distribute their content. The consensus is that marketers should focus on the channels that make the most sense for their audience and customize their messages and content for those channels to make the biggest impact:


While creating original content is key to most organizations, curating content can also play a significant role — if executed in a smart way:


While there is no substitute for trying things yourself, it’s also helpful to learn from what others are doing — particularly those businesses that are finding great success with content marketing. Our readers have found these stories on what brands have accomplished through content to be particularly inspiring:

I’d love to hear from you: What are your favorite lessons from 2013 that you’ll be taking into 2014?

Cover image via Bigstock

Author: Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Mantis Research, a consultancy focused on helping brands create and amplify original research they can use in their marketing. Before starting Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's strategic editorial direction, co-developed its annual research studies, wrote hundreds of articles, spoke at industry events and was instrumental in building the platform to 200,000 subscribers. In 2015, she was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary). You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

Other posts by Michele Linn

  • Barbara Mckinney

    I will focus more on storytelling in 2014. The Fact that there are thousands of content being published online everyday,this kind of strategy will surely make your brand stand out if you execute it well.

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Michele,

    I am with Barbara on this one. Traveling the world as a gifting coach I have all types of stories to choose from. Heck, I could write 10 post daily based on the crazy stuff I just saw during my 3 week trip through India, alone. People love stories; movies, books and TV are still popular.

    Weave stories into your content, relate to your niche, keep telling stories and you will connect with your audience on a deeper level. The secret is to tell stories through each post and to make the stories intriguing.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Michele Linn

    Barbara and Ryan,
    Thanks for weighing in. great storytelling will continue to be a way to differentiate your brand. I have really enjoyed looking at what nonprofits are doing in this space as they tie their stories to their causes. So much inspiration!

  • ronellsmith


    Thanks for providing me with some awesome holiday reading 🙂

    When I look back on 2013, two things stick out as important lessons:

    1. As content strategists, we have to be active, vocal participants in the endeavors our company’s undertake. That could mean we champion an effort that’s likely to yield huge dividends, or it could mean we take on the “voice of reason” role, capable of explaining how some such endeavor does not align with the company’s overarching goals.

    2. Instead of looking for the next big thing, I’d like to see content marketers commit the resources to improvement in those areas that would have greatest impact on their core market. Maybe that’s more in the way of big content. Maybe that means more visual assets. Or it could take the form of more consistent blogging.

    Have a great holiday, Michele.


    • Michele Linn

      Great additions, Ronnell. I have been thinking a lot about #2. I could not agree more. It all comes back to your market and goals. Have a wonderful holiday as well — and thanks for being such an active commenter on CMI!

  • James Perrin

    Nice post Michele, my biggest lesson from 2013 is establishing user intent/needs. This must feed into our content strategies and could feature a variety of different content types – of which the most important has been user guides and whitepapers. This type of long-form evergreen content has proven very successful. It’s also interesting to hear what people are saying about storytelling – and is clearly something that needs to be more prominent in 2014. Thanks for the post.

  • Stuart Walker

    This is epic Michele. Not only a great resource but given me dozens of new content ideas I hadn’t considered.

    I cannot believe I didn’t know this website until today! It’s awesome!