Part of being a great content marketer is keeping track of the activities of other content marketers – to predict the future, you start with what was before.

I'm a really curious person and luckily a big part of my job is researching and consuming a lot of content.

When I do concept work, I usually start by reviewing my files of saved content, campaigns, and ideas.

If you don't have an everyday book, start now as it's the best resource for ideas and content creation (I run a digital version with Pocket, Instapaper, and Evernote).

Inspiration can be found everywhere.

A good idea will inspire you, whatever the medium.

Rather than sharing the usual suspects of content that everyone else seems to share, I'm going to show you some random examples of creative ideas (and some old ones) that will hopefully inspire you to create better content.

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"If you are just reading the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." – Haruki Murakami

1. Google

I know I said I'd share random examples, but I had to start here because Google produces some of the best content on the web.

Well they would, right?

I mean all the money.

Being a minimalist is difficult because the more elements you remove from a page, the more the remaining elements have to justify their existence.

I am a big fan of clear design – I like it when a strong concept is elegantly implemented.

And Google is the master of sleek, clean design.

This is how the search works

6 brands that will inspire you to create better content - Google

Unfortunately, the original content of this page has changed.

The animated infographic that used to be here inspired me to encourage my programmers to create the best interactive work possible.

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And I can tell you it's hard.

The existing page is still a perfect example of displaying information so that the eye is focused on the content.

Animated graphics in the distinctive Big G style make the site more interesting and provide a rich visual experience that will keep the eye in suspense.

Google has also mastered online typography, delivering content with such impeccable spacing and white balance that it's easy to read.

As someone who has studied classic typography, you won't appreciate how hard it is to do unless you've tried.

Phishing quiz

6 brands that will inspire you to create better content - Google

An interactive quiz to teach you how to avoid being scammed by phishing. Here, too, an elegant design that highlights the most important information and is intuitive to use.

Too many interactive pages are confusing or over-designed to make up for a weak concept and poor quality research – I see this all the time.

The concept and quality of the content are still of paramount importance, and the technical structure of the content is important in getting a user to the page.

However, the second stage of content marketing is to involve the user so that they will want to keep coming back. And this is where a great presentation will help build your brand and develop a relationship.

Google inspires better presentation of content.

2. New York Times

Where do you start with the NYT? Without a doubt, they are world leaders in traditional content production.

But they have also managed to use digital to further improve the presentation of content and information.

A game with sharks and minnows is my favorite piece of content that I always quote because 2013 was as groundbreaking as the way content is presented.

Other similar pieces are Snow Fall and Camp X-Ray, to name a few.

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6 Brands That Inspire You To Create Better Content - NYT

SBS was clearly inspired by NYT to produce The Boat, but this goes in the direction of style over ease of use.

6 brands that inspire you to create better content - Das Boot

It looks stunning, but isn't great as a practical content delivery option. However, it has received multiple awards and attention, so it was successful for brand awareness.

In addition to elongated content, NYT also excels at data journalism and has created a number of amazing data visualizations and tools:

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6 brands that will inspire you to create better content

One race, every medalist When Usain Bolt set the new world record in 2012, the world was amazed.

When NYT created this visualization of Usain about 116 years of Olympic sprinters, I was really amazed.

This piece is 7 years old but still looks great.

Like Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk is one of the most popular digital interactive pieces for NYT.

This interactive map shows you how to talk about your origins.

Is it Better to Rent or Buy? is a calculator that breaks the convention to show that in some cases it is better to rent, not buy.

3. HSBC

We are not an island

At the beginning of 2019 I saw a billboard in the city center where I live.

I was impressed with how brilliant this concept was – and that doesn't happen often.

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By targeting cities known for their high levels of local pride (Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham), the ads are fed into the heart that beats inside us all.

Bam, it's connected emotionally.

The wording of the ads matched those from each city – HSBC had clearly done its homework.

We were still (still are) struck by the shock of Brexit and these ads perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the need to be part of it once we drifted away.

And the genius of this campaign was how many people passed pictures of the posters on to their friends.

HSBC knew its audience and localized its ads in regional cities.

By applying the same approach to online campaigns, we can deliver content tailored to different regions to create an emotional connection.

The more local you can be with your content, the more likely it is that an audience will connect and tend to share with others.

4. Studio 188

Studio 188 is a group that produces parody-style, low-budget versions of major films and TV series such as Game of Thrones, Men in Black, Star Wars and The Matrix.

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The guys who do this are clearly having a lot of fun.

Saying something is a unique idea to say something since not much has been done, but this is really a fresh creative concept.

The low-cost version “The Matrix” on YouTube has almost 1.2 million views, so the idea is resonating with many people.

I love fake videos.

I talk a lot about brands like Poo-Pourri and Old Spice that disrupted stale markets, and I love the use of humor in marketing.

But it's so difficult to get it right, and for any Studio 188 there are many failed attempts.

If you know your audience and have seriously good writers or a great creative idea, give it a try.

The idea of ​​the low budget version is why it works – don't spend a lot of your marketing budget, just spend ages trying to come up with an idea that might be crazy enough to work.

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5. Greggs

Greggs lived in the brand's wilderness for years until someone came along and shook up its advertising.

Taking a cheeky approach to court advertising, inciting outrage for replacing Baby Jesus with a sausage roll in the manger, they turned a confrontation with Piers Morgan into social media gold.

They also made a fake Apple advertisement on their new vegan sausage bun:

The wait is over… 3.1.19 #vegansausageroll 🌱😍 pic.twitter.com/UWcXFCtxdE

– Greggs (@GreggsOfficial) January 2, 2019

The pasty brand burns.

In Newcastle (UK), Fenwick & # 39; s department store is respected every year for its outstanding Christmas window display.

It's a bit like a northern Harrods.

It's so good that lines of people are standing in line and waiting just to go in front of them and watch it – it's a day with the kids.

There is a Greggs store across from Fenwicks, and last year people were amazed to see they had reversed their signage on the store front.

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Realizing this wasn't a mistake and was intentional is the best marketing idea I've ever seen.

While thousands of shoppers are taking selfies in front of Fenwick's windows, they accidentally upload thousands of pictures to Instagram and Facebook with a Greggs shop sign reflected.

That year, Fenwick & # 39; s had picked The Snowman's Most Popular Theme for its display theme, possibly the most popular Christmas theme of all time.

#Greggs reversed their logo for free advertising in Fenwick's window reflection 😂😂😂😂

Iconic. pic.twitter.com/iOHX0qS52N

– Steven (@steveythunder) November 2, 2018

Being able to leverage someone else's success or notoriety can give your brand a boost.

For example, if you have a newsletter, try to get a mention or edit another successful newsletter that is relevant to your audience.

It has been a tactic for years to feature influencers in your content to take advantage of their social media shine – but not as easy as it used to be.

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Interviewing the influential people responsible for making a significant brand or business success is a great case study people want to read.

6. Leeds City Developments Map

This last piece I want to share is an example of content that is understated and can often be the most powerful.

I came across this content by chance and was impressed with the significant amount of information it contained.

6 brands that will inspire you to create better content - Leeds urban development plan

It looks a little overwhelming at first, but when you start clicking on it you'll find that every planned development in the city of Leeds is listed.

Not only is it listed, but you can also quickly see where the proposed site is and what it might look like. The map can be segmented according to ongoing developments, submitted plans and proposed ideas.

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For someone with an interest in real estate development, this is an incredibly powerful and valuable card.

Google Maps is an easy way to create useful and good-looking content. Once you get used to the API, you can put some really creative things together (I made a lot of content with Google Maps).

Curating a collection of information that is not generally available and presenting it in an engaging manner (e.g. a map) is usually very popular with a niche audience.

You also get a great response from the public relations.

Take that away

Here's what we can take away from the six brands to inspire better content:

  • Presenting content to engage your audience is just as important as traffic to the page.
  • Think like a journalist to produce well-researched content or long-form data visualizations.
  • Provide content tailored to different regions to create an emotional connection.
  • Humor-based concepts can be on a budget and produce massive results.
  • Piggyback on someone else's idea or success to take you away.
  • Curate hard-to-find information to create a valuable piece of content.

Photo credit

Selected picture: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots made by the author

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