Content marketing is an important aspect of your B2B digital marketing strategy because it performs various key functions. Producing relevant content establishes your B2B company as a thought leader, and shows prospective clients that you are the experts in your area. Content also plays a crucial role in your SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy. Targeting relevant keywords in your content can help drive traffic to your site.
With many conflicting demands on their plates, B2B companies often grapple with finding the time required to consistently create content. If you do find time to sit down to work on some content for your site, it can be difficult to come up with imaginative ideas on the spot, especially when you’re already under pressure.
The best approach is to block out some time to come up with content ideas. That way, you can create a list to refer to for your future content. When it comes to creating the content, you could even set aside another block of time to create as many content pieces from your ideas list as you can. If you can do so, you’ll have developed a bank of content to populate your content calendar, ensuring you have enough content to post regularly for the upcoming period.
We’ve got some ploys that you can use to come up with content marketing ideas when the well of inspiration has run dry.
Create Customer-Centric Content
Your content should be valuable. There’s no need to repurpose material that someone else has already created. So when you’re thinking of content ideas, think about your ideal customer.
What would they like to know more about?
What would they need help with?
Maybe you know your clients really well, and you can instantly think of topics that would appeal to them. If you’re struggling, think about your interactions with your customers:
What’s a question that comes up again and again with a client?
What information could you provide to deepen their understanding?
Use Keyword Research as Inspiration
Have you completed keyword research as part of your B2B digital marketing strategy? Keywords are an important aspect of your content creation and you’ll want to factor in their inclusion in your finished content. Even before you begin writing the content, you can use your keyword research as topic inspiration.
The keyword research will likely give you a sense of the most searched topics relevant to your business. Of particular interest are search terms that take the form of a question. You could structure your content around answering these questions. This should help your SEO and is also providing a valuable answer to these questions for your readers. You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner to generate new keyword ideas for even more content ideas.
Need Ideas? Google It
Your keyword research will give you some concrete stats on what search terms are most popular in search engines like Google and Bing. A somewhat less scientific, but still useful, approach is to type the beginning of questions into Google and see what phrases Google suggests as search terms.
Google will suggest endings to your questions based on what people are likely to search, so this can provide some great insight into potential content ideas which are based on what people really want to know. To do this:
Clear your cache
Open an incognito window (this ensures that the Google suggestions are skewed by your past Google searches)
Type the beginning of the phrase into the browser bar
Press ‘Enter’ to open up a page of search results
On the search results page, click into the search bar and your suggested search terms will show here.
Another handy tool is Answer the Public. You can enter keywords to be instantly provided with content ideas.
Differentiate Your Customers
Think about your customers - are there different groups you could focus on? Perhaps you serve 3 or 4 different sectors.
What makes the sectors you serve different from one another?
What makes them the same?
What unique questions would one sector have that wouldn’t be relevant to the others?
If you can split out different categories of customers you serve, thinking about the unique challenges for each customer type can allow content ideas to spring up naturally.
If in Doubt, Ask
You are already thinking about what your customers would like to know so that you can fill in the gaps for them. It might seem crazy, but sometimes if you want to know something, you should just ask!
If you communicate with your audience via social media, this is a casual forum where you can put the question straight to your audience: ‘What would you like to know about?’ This shows that you are interested in their needs and that you will follow through on this by providing the information they want. Just make sure that you don’t do this too frequently. Part of knowing your audience, is understanding their needs without needing to ask them all the time.
Improve on Past Content Creation
If you’re having trouble getting the creative juices flowing, take a look at content you created in the past. Can you expand on this in any way? Perhaps you did a blog post on a particular topic, and you mentioned a related topic in it. It would be nice to address the related topic in a standalone blog post of its own - you can even link the two blogs together, making it even more useful for readers. This has the happy side benefit of creating internal links on your website as well.
Maybe some content your created previously has become outdated due to changes in your industry. Could you produce an updated version for this year? This is good in that it provides new content for your site, but also it ensures that the content your produced previously continues to be valuable.
Check Out the Competition
As part of your research, you should take a look at what similar companies are doing, and what they’re producing in the way of content. This certainly isn’t where you should get your content ideas. It’s more about submerging yourself in the industry and thinking about the types of questions that can be answered by content, rather than looking for help with which specific questions to address.
What you might find is that when looking at competitors, you notice a topic that no one has really thought to cover yet. If anything jumps out at you as a key topic that your competitors seem to be glossing over, this could be an indication that there’s an opportunity for you to plug that gap.
Set Aside Time to Brainstorm Content Ideas
Sometimes, really amazing ideas present themselves to you. It’s a magical thing when inspiration strikes. Sadly, this doesn’t tend to happen when you’re busy with a million other responsibilities. If you wait for inspiration to strike, you’ll be waiting.
Take half an hour out of your other activities and try to come up with a list of content ideas. If you’re drawing a blank, try some of these tactics:
Step away from the laptop - grab a whiteboard and try ‘stream of consciousness’ style ideas
Draw a spider diagram of topics that are relevant to your industry
Race yourself. Take some lined paper and give yourself only 10 mins to come up with as many content ideas as possible.
With this type of brainstorming approach, don’t worry about the quality of your ideas for now. This is all about getting ideas down on a page – you can edit and refine them later.
Keep Your Ear to the Social Media Ground
You likely follow similar companies and relevant industry-related social media accounts. Have you seen anything recently on LinkedIn that could spark a content idea? Or, you could look up related hashtags on Twitter to see what conversations people are having around your topics of interest.
By staying in touch with industry developments and conversations, you’re much better placed to generate useful content ideas.
Create a Folder for Content Ideas
Open up a folder for adding in future content ideas. This means if you ever do get struck by inspiration, you have a safe place to keep your idea until you can implement it.
You might also find that once you start thinking about producing content in this way, the creative cogs will start turning in the background all by themselves - and those Eureka moments may happen more frequently all on their own!