5 Offbeat Content Marketing Ideas For Retail & eCommerce Business Owners

October 8, 2020 - 11 minutes read

Content marketing off the beaten track.



Seventy percent of marketers actively invest in content marketing—and for good reason. 

Not only do the likes of articles, blog posts, branded videos, eBooks, and social media posts boost brand awareness, but content marketing done the right way offers an excellent return on investment (ROI).

However, while content marketing is essential to eCommerce and retail success, in our digital age, the competition is fierce. It doesn’t matter what your niche or sector is—if you want to stand out from the crowd, being original is key.

Let’s explore five offbeat content marketing ideas.


1. Host a social media or brand takeover

One of the most effective ways to expand your audience and make an impact with your content is by hosting a social media takeover.

A social media takeover is a branch of influencer marketing where a notable industry figure posts content on your behalf for a predetermined period.

Branching out with an influencer in your niche will encourage a wider audience to tune into your social media channel and interact with your brand.

In one of the earliest and most impactful social media takeovers, influential photographer Sam Heroine became a “guest Instagrammer” for the brand during a trip to Rome.

During his adventure, Sam (who had 80,000 followers at the time) cross-promoted his culinary images on Food Republic’s Instagram account. As a result, the brand earned droves of new fans, growing its audience significantly.

To run a successful social media takeover of your own, you should:

  • Branch out to the right influencer in your niche.
  • Select your social media channel.
  • Create a guide of basic rules (dos and don’ts when guest posting content).
  • Set a timeline and give your influencer a mix of content concepts or ideas.
  • Promote the social media takeover (cross-promote with your influencer) via your blog and social media channels on the lead-up to the big day.


2. Try a cross-promotional content marketing collaboration

Cross-marketing—or co-marketing—is another effective way of boosting the reach of a piece of content.

If you’re looking to create a piece of content or launch a campaign that has a specific focus, two things will happen when you work with another brand or business loosely related to what you do:

  • You will ensure your content travels further and resonates with a wider audience. This will grow your customer base and increase your sales.
  • By teaming up with someone else and combining talent, expertise, and resources, your content will be more thought-leading while standing out from the crowd. This will build trust and brand authority—both of which are great for your eCommerce or retail business.

Team up with the right partner (one that is relevant to your respective customer bases), create a concept, choose a medium, and start creating. Once your content is ready for public consumption, start promoting it together for a mutually beneficial content marketing campaign. Airbnb and Flipboard’s co-marketing collaboration is an excellent example.


“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan


3. Create a niche content library or publication

It’s likely that you understand the value of blog posts—you probably create them on a regular basis. But, how do you make your blog posts and articles stand out?

The short answer is: by being super-specific. If you become one of the go-to places surrounding tips, ideas, lifestyle, and culture in your niche, your content will become more visible on search engines. You will also be seen as an authoritative oracle of information, which will drive traffic to your business.

Take Rip Curl’s “The Search” publication, for example:

To position itself as the world’s expert retailer, Rip Curl created its own ezine-style publication that offers invaluable advice on finding and catching the best waves on the planet while offering exclusive insights from those who live and breathe the lifestyle.

By using its YouTube channel to create supplementary videos for the publication, Rip Curl has attracted over 132,000 keen subscribers as well as over two million Facebook followers consuming regularly.

If you treat your blog as less of a blog and more of a publication, you will be able to offer your audience more valuable, engaging, and inspiring content related to your niche. And by creating videos to bring some of your best-performing written content to life, you will stand out from your competitors.


4. Get your customers involved in the process

Almost 50% of customers believe that user-generated content is a great way to discover new brands and products.

When it comes to content marketing, one offbeat and powerful way of creating maximum impact with your target audience is to turn the spotlight on them. User-generated content offers an excellent ROI while creating a sense of trust and transparency.

One original way of doing this is by hosting an immersive contest across your website, email, and social media channels. If you host a contest that encourages people to create content and share it on your behalf, your brand awareness is likely to go through the roof. And if you create a blog post, email, or video showcasing the best entries, you will build additional buzz around the contest.

Here are some offbeat immersive contest ideas for your consideration:

  • Ask your followers to come up with a name for your new product.
  • Ask your followers to come up with a tagline for your new product.
  • Get your followers to share three interesting facts about themselves, along with an image.
  • Set a challenge asking your audience to document it with pictures and videos.
  • Launch an art-based contest asking people to draw a picture based on a specific theme and share it via social media.

Create a catchy hashtag for the contest and ask your participants to tag you in their creations—you can get as creative as you wish with immersive contests.


5. Host a virtual event or experience

If our current situation has taught us anything, it’s that hosting virtual events or experiences is possible.

As the world begins to open up again, many businesses will feel less of a need to create digital or virtual experiences. But these initiatives are here to stay, and they will help you stand out from the competition.

The great thing about virtual events or experiences from a content marketing perspective is that there’s so much scope in terms of coverage. By taking an omnichannel marketing approach (using all of your platforms and touchpoints to promote an event or experience), you will entice more people to take part while expanding your promotional reach.

Not only will a creative virtual event turn heads, but it will give people a chance to interact with your business on a deep, personal level. When that happens, your sales are likely to increase.

Your virtual event or experience could be as simple as a Q&A session, a product workshop, or a webinar, or it can be as “out there” as a nocturnal virtual tour of a place related to your business or a multiple-choice quiz hosted on a specific date and time.

By promoting your event or experience in advance and making it easy for your customers to get up close and personal with your brand, you will reap great rewards from your efforts.


“You’ve gotta be original, because if you’re like someone else, what do they need you for?” —Bernadette Peters


For eCommerce or retail business owners looking to yield real results from their content marketing activities, a little effort does a long way.

You don’t have to be a creative genius to produce content that stands out—you simply need a little direction, the right platforms, and a will to deliver value to your customers. Try out these offbeat content marketing tips, and you’ll start to see your content engagement rates soar.

We hope this guide helps steer you towards content marketing success. For more promotional pearls of wisdom, check out our definitive guide to offbeat local marketing strategies that will drive traffic to your business.