5 Content Marketing Ideas for January 2022

Content connects a business to consumers not just for selling but also for sharing information, humor, and skills. But generating content ideas can be challenging.

Remember that content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and promoting articles, podcasts, and similar that attract, engage, and retain an audience of customers.

What follows are five content marketing ideas almost any business can use in January 2022.

1. Start a Podcast

Podcasting has moved from a fringe medium to a common way to share ideas.

In the U.S., there are approximately 120 million podcast listeners, according to Statista. If all of those are adults, something like 45% of Americans older than 18 listen to podcasts.

So podcasts are popular. They are also versatile.

A podcast can cover any topic. At the time of writing, Privycast, an entertainment show about toilets and bathrooms, had 42 episodes on Apple Podcasts.

Screenshot of Privycast page on Apple PodcastsScreenshot of Privycast page on Apple Podcasts

Privycast is an entertainment podcast about bathrooms.

If a podcast about the restroom can exist and even attract an audience, so can a podcast about fashion, tools, do-it-yourself products, fitness, and so on. Every business can find an opportunity to start and maintain a podcast. Make it a New Year’s Resolution.

2. Public Domain Day: January 1

In the United States, January 1 marks when creative works such as music, films, and books can enter the public domain. This means that the works’ U.S. copyright protections have expired.

Drawing of Winnie the Pooh by a fire from artist E. H. ShepardDrawing of Winnie the Pooh by a fire from artist E. H. Shepard

First published in 1926, the book “Winnie the Pooh” will enter the public domain in the United States in 2022. This illustration by artist E. H. Shepard comes from the 1926 version.

Creative works enter the public domain in America after one of three timeframes:

  • 70 years after the death of the author,
  • 120 or 95 years after creation or publication of a work with multiple authors,
  • 95 years after publication for works created from 1923 to 1977.

All of these groups were given an extension in U.S. copyright protection in 1998 with the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). The bill was nicknamed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” since the famous character was first seen in 1928 and, therefore, Mickey’s copyright was extended by 20 years with this legislation.

Another interesting fact about the CTEA is that Representative Sonny Bono sponsored the bill. Bono was an entertainer before he was a politician and is the first member of the U.S. Congress with a number one pop single.

Public Domain Day gives businesses a few opportunities for content creation. The most obvious is with booksellers, music-related companies, and art merchants, but many companies will find ways to connect with great works of the past.

For example, a seller of used books could publish a series of reviews. Each would feature a book entering the public domain in 2022. The series might start with Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” Next up could be A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh.”

3. Walk Your Dog Month

Photo of a female walking a dog by a parkPhoto of a female walking a dog by a park

Get out and walk your dog in January as part of Walk Your Dog Month. Photo: The Creative Exchange.

January is National Walk Your Dog Month in a few Northern Hemisphere nations. This event encourages folks to get outside despite the weather.

Content marketers at pet supply or pet food companies could have the best results with this topic, but Walk Your Dog Month might also appeal to outdoor lifestyle brands.

The idea could also be well suited for a listicle. Here are some example titles.

  • “21 Reasons to Celebrate Walk Your Dog Month,”
  • “15 Ingenious Ways to Walk Your Dog,”
  • “9 Health Benefits Associated with Dog Walking,”
  • “10 Mood-boosting Benefits of Walking Your Dog,”
  • “8 Ways Dogs Are Good for Your Health.”

4. King Tut Discovered: January 3

On January 3, 1924, archeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter and his team found a large stone containing a solid gold coffin and the mummified Pharaoh Tutankhamen.

Photo of gold statue of King TutPhoto of gold statue of King Tut

Tutankhamun’s golden mask is one of the most recognizable Egyptian artifacts. Photo: Roland Unger.

Cater had been working in Egypt since at least 1907 and had discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in November 1922. But it took two more years to find the remains of King Tut himself.

King Tut was not a well-known pharaoh in Carter’s era. But because of the wealth of the tomb and several Western museum tours, Tutankhamen is now, perhaps, among the most recognizable Egyptian pharaohs.

The anniversary of King Tut’s discovery (recovery) is a content opportunity for many businesses, including any apparel, furniture, or home decor retailer with Egyptian or Eastern-themed products.

5. Tweetstorm a Listicle

The term “tweetstorm” can have a negative connotation, but in this context, it describes a long-form Twitter post extended as a thread.

Start with a catchy post. Then fill out the topic by replying to your own post.

The tweetstorm format is a good way to promote a listicle. Imagine you have a 10-item list. Write a “title tweet” that pitches the concept. Then reply five times where each is one of the items from the listicle. Then post a link to the full article.

Here is an example from the “Phil from 4 Day Week” Twitter feed.

The title tweet reads, “I started publishing SEO blog posts at the start of the year. Now ~200 people visit my site organically each day.”

Phil follows this up with eight replies to make the thread. The first five are listicle points:

  1. Identify topics to write about,
  2. Write an outline,
  3. Outsource the writing,
  4. Refactor,
  5. Wait patiently.

Phil also links to an article on his site.

One of the replies in the tweetstorm thread should link to the listicle you want to promote.

For your January 2022 content marketing, find several of your company’s top listicles and promote them with a tweetstorm thread.

Barbell Logic Rides Shift to Online Fitness

The pandemic has upended the fitness industry. Having no access to public gyms, millions of folks turned to at-home workouts. According to Matt Reynolds, the founder of Barbell Logic, an online strength coaching company, the shift is permanent.

“As the world has slowly opened back up,” he told me, “there’s been a change of mindset, a paradigm shift in personal fitness training.”

Reynolds and I first spoke on the podcast a year ago. He was facing unprecedented demand and the operational headaches of managing it. In our recent follow-up conversation, he addressed the challenges of hiring remote trainers and skilled staff while servicing clients worldwide.

The audio of our entire discussion is embedded below. The transcript that follows is edited for length and clarity.

Eric Bandholz: There’s now a huge demand from people exercising at home.

Matt Reynolds: We’re an online strength coaching company focused on barbells. At the time of the lockdowns, about 40% of our clients trained at public gyms. Those clients lost access to the barbells, and they couldn’t train.

Plus, folks joined Barbell Logic amid the lockdowns and had no access to gyms and no access to barbells. Some had access at home to sandbags, a kettlebell or two, dumbbells, even dog food bags.

We did what we could with what we had. So despite all the gyms being closed, 2021 has been a pretty good year for us.

We’re up about 24% in revenue over last year. As the world has slowly opened back up, there’s been a change of mindset, a paradigm shift in personal fitness training.

Traditional exercise training is you go to a big box gym and receive instruction from a 19-year-old fitness enthusiast. He’s not a professional. We’re connecting clients — no matter where they are — to professional, expert coaches who are right for them. If they have a cell phone, they’ve got access.

Plus, the price for online coaching is about 25% of the typical in-person rate.

We’ve met the demand. We have about 80 coaches — 60 are contractors. The other 20 are employees in leadership roles.

Bandholz: How do you find the right trainers and talent?

Reynolds: There are two parts to how we hire. First, our academy teaches people how to coach and become better barbell enthusiasts. If someone does a great job in the academy and is working towards our professional barbell coaching certification, we’ll bring them on as an associate coach. They get paid, but not much.

Then, we’ll monitor how they work with the team, coach clients, service customers. They’re an associate coach for six months, maximum. They have to earn their certification during that time, or they’re out.

We don’t typically hire, for example, a chief operating officer or a human resources person who hasn’t spent time in the company. They’ve worked their way up.

Bandholz: What do you do when someone is a good performer, and you promote him into a role where he’s unsuccessful?

Reynolds: We don’t have a lot of experience there. Sometimes we place people in a new role as a temporary position. We’ll say, “You’re doing great here. We’re going to hire you for a temporary three-month position to see how it works out.” It’s vital for me, as a founder and CEO, to be patient. It takes time for folks to learn a new role.

The goal is to give them control. You can have control, or you can have growth, but you don’t typically get both. So we want people to take ownership. If they’re still asking you about every detail after two or three months and seeking permission, they haven’t taken control. We assume they’re not able to handle the additional responsibilities.

Then we have a conversation. Sometimes we place them on a performance improvement plan with a list of what to improve. However, putting somebody on a performance improvement plan is usually foretelling — they’re not going to last long-term.

But most of the time, within the first month, we can tell if it’s going to work.

Bandholz: Have you moved someone into a prior position because the new role didn’t work out?

Reynolds: Yes. Or, we might divide a position among several folks. Again, we’re careful to avoid mistakes in hiring.

That’s why I like promoting people from the inside because they’re usually all in on the business. They know that I have a reputation for treating people fairly and paying well. So we figure out what the job looks like first. Then we give them an offer — pay and benefits. Somebody who is pushy about the compensation before discussing the role is probably not a good fit for us. That’s a pet peeve of mine.

Bandholz: How can listeners follow you, get in touch?

Reynolds: Our website is Barbell-Logic.com. We’re one of the largest online professional fitness coaching companies in the world. We have coaches for every demographic and situation.

We have a podcast on our site and a good YouTube channel. We put out a ton of free, helpful content.

I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Sales Report: 2021 Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Sales for the three big U.S. shopping days were flat or slightly lower from last year. It’s not surprising since retailers encouraged consumers to shop earlier due to expected product shortages and shipping delays. Buyers heeded the suggestion — a survey by the National Retail Federation revealed that 61% of U.S. consumers had purchased holiday gifts before Thanksgiving Day.

Adobe Digital Insights — which analyzes more than 1 trillion visits to U.S. retail websites, representing over 100 million items in 18 product categories — reported that American consumers spent $109.8 billion online from November 1 – 29, an increase of 11.9% over last year.

However, during what Adobe calls Cyber Week — Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday — U.S. online consumers spent just $33.9 billion, which is 1.4% less than last year. Shoppers shelled out an average of $301.27 for online purchases, below the $311.75 spent in 2020 and $361.90 in 2019, according to NRF.

Thanksgiving Day

According to Adobe, American consumers spent $5.1 billion online on Thanksgiving Day, the same as in 2020. Many large retail chains were closed, as they did last year, but urged customers to shop online instead. Popular online items were toys and video games. The average online discount on Thanksgiving Day was 27% in the U.S., a decrease of 7% percent from 2020, according to Salesforce. However the average order value increased 11%, even though 3% fewer items were purchased.

Black Friday

Adobe reported that Black Friday U.S. online sales came in at $8.9 billion, down 1.3% from the $9 billion spent in 2020. Some ecommerce sellers did see a boost. Globally, Shopify’s merchants registered $2.9 billion in sales worldwide on Black Friday, increasing 21% from 2020.

Smartphones accounted for 44.4% of all online sales on Black Friday, up 10.6% over last year, according to Adobe.

Software provider RetailNext reported that traffic at brick-and-mortar stores increased 61% over 2020. However in-store traffic was still 27% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Black Friday was the most popular day for physical-store shopping this year, with 66.5 million U.S. shoppers, according to NRF.

In-store apparel sales saw a big growth spurt, increasing 86.4% from last year when people mostly worked from home.

Cyber Monday

Adobe noted that American consumers spent a total of $10.7 billion online on Cyber Monday, which was down 1.4% or $100 million from last year. Nevertheless, it clocked in as the biggest online shopping day of the year thus far. Popular categories were:

  • Toys,
  • Gift cards,
  • Books,
  • Video games.

According to Adobe, average discounts for electronics were 12% on Cyber Monday, compared with 27% last year. Apparel was marked down by 18%, compared with 20% in 2020. Appliances were discounted by about 8% this year versus 20% in 2020.

Smartphones accounted for 39.7% of online sales, up 8.4% over 2020, according to Adobe.

The use of BNPL services on Cyber Monday saw a large increase, with revenue up 21% over 2020 and orders up 1% year-over-year.

Promotions

With Covid-19 still an issue, brick-and-mortar retailers abandoned “doorbuster” sales as they did in 2020 to avoid crowds gathering outside and rushing in when doors open.

Merchants began their holiday deals in October to spread out the season and prevent a crush on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which can strain personnel and logistics. Consumers took advantage and shopped earlier than usual.

Cyber Week promotions this year often overlapped each other. The Black Friday offers in my email box were valid on Thanksgiving Day, and I was still receiving them on Saturday. My Cyber Monday discounts started on Sunday.

Discounts were not as generous as in past years, perhaps because retailers had to compensate for higher costs from supply chain issues. This will likely persist through Christmas Day.

Out of Stock Items

Out-of-stock goods during Cyber Week were common. According to Adobe, the highest categories were:

  • Appliances,
  • Electronics,
  • Home and garden,
  • Personal care products,
  • Housekeeping supplies.

Throughout November, out-of-stock messages were up 169% vs. January 2020 and up 258% vs. November 2019. The situation will likely get worse in December.