Although content marketing must be strategic and adhere to numerous best practices, content itself is an art that calls for genuine inspiration and your own unique sense of style.  content-as-art-and-scienceToo many companies create content on the same tired topics time and time again—influencing many others, including career content creators, to do the same.  This is a vicious cycle that lacks inspiration and innovative thought.  Think big; let other disciplines and industries inspire your content.

The Art

Whether you are an extreme sports enthusiast, a discerning reader of literature, an art history buff, or a living encyclopedia of music knowledge and history, let your interests be your guide.  Saturate your industry content with the influences that are meaningful to you to create inspired content.  The improvement could be astounding.  Envision always being excited to create new content, as opposed to completing your weekly blogging quota like it is a chore.

When individuals actually have joy in their work, it shows.  If you let your original ideas and unique outlook see the light of day, you will distinguish yourself within your industry.  Content should do more than simply regurgitate popular industry opinion.  Increase the engagement quotient of your content, and you could dramatically amplify your reach, website traffic, and lead generation and conversion.

Employ inventive curation, which entails collecting ideas and assembling them into original works that skillfully represent your brand.  Create art with your content by drawing on ideas from inspiring literature, poignant speakers, engaging videos and excellent online content.  When you attend a conference, take copious notes on ideas that speak to you.  Regularly creating inspired, compelling content requires listening to your muse—wherever and in whatever form she may take.  Great ideas can spring to life at any time—when working out, eating dinner or driving to work, for instance.  Life can be rushed and chaotic, so it is vital to record your ideas before they slip away.  Maintaining an "ideas list" could streamline and simplify your content creation and marketing efforts.  Create such a list in your smartphone, since you likely always have it close by.

The Science

While inspired content will make your content marketing more engaging, exciting and widely read, creating industry-leading content that gets labeled as thought leadership, should still be a top priority.  Such content creation calls for in-depth insight on industry trends, best practices and real-time information.  You must always be in the know to win at content marketing.  Routinely follow industry influencers; stay current with important industry news.  Read top-notch industry blogs, and uncover great new writers on Klout, Topsy, Social Media Today and Business 2 Community.

Highly Clickable Titles

You need enticing content titles.  Failing to come up with them can have serious consequences, including reduced website traffic and ineffective SEO.  Your titles should be highly shareable to promote must-read content.  While keywords are vital, do not overstuff your titles with keywords, as it makes them too long and awkward-sounding.  Highly effective blog titles are clear, concise, highly relevant, actionable, authoritative and intriguing.  The more clickable you can make your titles, the more your content will be read and shared on social media—increasing website traffic and lead generation.

Strategic Promotion

You need a strategy for sharing and promoting your content.  Without one, you risk missing out on a serious opportunity for lead generation.  Syndicate your content on websites, such as Business 2 Community and Social Media Today; share your content on all the major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.  Leverage your content with your professional network of industry contacts.  Identify the top influencers and thought leaders in your industry, and start communicating with them.  Klout is a great place to explore and identify influencers.

Variety

Your company blog should focus on a wide range of relevant industry topics, including commentary, industry news, trends and best practices.  You can also keep things exciting by utilizing a variety of content forms, including blog posts, video content, webinars, presentations and infographics.

SEO

Keyword research and SEO are essential.  Do not waste your time writing about topics that no one will want to read or share.  There are three places that are most important to optimize for keywords: the page title, the header or H1 tag, and the blog title.  For example, if you are blogging about small business lead generation, you need to include these words in the same order in all three places.  However, do not let these guidelines get in the way of creating highly clickable, must-read titles.

Ultimately, your aim should be to collect, curate and then create content that has more breadth of knowledge and depth of meaning than anyone else out there.  Rise to the challenge.  Do extensive research; read a great deal of industry content.  A dynamic, informed take on an industry topic could help you distinguish yourself from your competitors and win at content marketing.