Fear of an empty page is a common problem for writers.
But if you work in content marketing for B2B, you'll know that the industry has its equivalent affliction: fear of the empty content calendar.
If you're staring into the void for the next quarter and wondering how you'll put your calendar together with everything that's already on your plate... take a breath and read on.
I’ve also struggled with idea generation — and sometimes, I still do! But now I'm ready to present these 16 actionable ways to come up with relevant B2B blog topics (and content) with less stress.
Just follow these tips and get that calendar filled, starting today!
Before we get to the meat of the list, a word about where I’m coming from.
Robots vs. humans is a well-known content marketing battle. In a very broad sense, we can divide content into two types: SEO-focused and people-focused.
This type of content aims to drive website traffic from search engines. Keyword research, link building, and optimizing scores on Semrush or Ahrefs are typical SEO practices.
The problem is, content writers often don’t welcome SEO requirements such as keyword insertion. Why would they add some oddball phrase just because it has a high search volume? Mindless SEO compromises content authenticity and often contradicts its intent.
Of course, people are more likely to find you if your blog is optimized for search engines. But what comes next? Writing exclusively for machines will limit your marketing efforts, so SEO is only helpful when you keep the reader in mind.
Even Google's search algorithms have begun to prioritize people-first content, so it’s a no-brainer for content marketing in B2B.
Good topics and posts no longer target obvious keywords and aggregate everything on Google’s front page into one mammoth skyscraper. Instead, companies publish in-depth content to showcase their expertise and differentiate themselves from the competition.
The takeaway of robots vs. humans? Your content calendar has to sit in the middle, with topics people like and writing that machines see. This is what’s influenced this list of ways to get started with topic generation.
Here are my tips and tricks for every aspect of content ideation. Pick up a pen and get ready to jot down some ideas for your next-quarter blog calendar.
1. Check your strategy
Asking the right "what," "where," and "how" questions is a good way to get your topic generation neurons firing.
What kind of content do you want to share and why? Is it blog posts and articles to inform and educate, case studies to build trust, webinars to demonstrate your SaaS product demo, or something else?
Where are you going to reach your audience? Don't limit yourself to your website: consider other channels such as email newsletters, partner blogs, press releases, Facebook ads, and Q&A platforms like Quora and Reddit. The source you will write for can also help you choose your next topic.
How will you stand out from the crowd? Invent something catchy that will be your dress for success. Capture your audience's attention with compelling headlines and use original imagery.
Your answers to these questions will clarify your B2B content marketing strategy and determine the next steps.
2. Repurpose old content
The statistics and topics you used in 2018 won't seem reputable in 2023. Consider breathing new life into your old blog posts with a few simple tweaks:
Conduct new keyword research to see how you can add to the topic
Update your article with new relevant data
Use LinkedIn or Twitter to remind your audience that the article is still relevant
Repeat this exercise every quarter to increase your reach and ensure your posts don’t become obsolete.
3. Turn webinars and podcasts into blogs
Let's say you've delivered an impressive webinar with lots of details. Sure, you can share the recording with your email list, but not everyone will have time to watch it. Instead, you can turn it into a short summary and present it as an article.
The same applies to podcasts — one person might listen to podcasts in the car while another will read articles over coffee. Make your content available in different formats to satisfy everyone in your audience.
4. Hunt down B2B sales influencers and competitors on LinkedIn
Love it or hate it, you can’t really do without the big daddy of professional social networking. There are more than 10,000 B2B software product pages before you even count personal and company profiles.
The upside? You don't have to worry about not getting invited to a private business party. You can see all your competitors and niche influencers in full view as they talk shop. Scroll through your feed and read comments — that can be all it takes to inspire your next blog article or e-book.
LinkedIn is also a great place to connect with non-competitors for content collaboration. You can interview together, voice community or niche concerns, and publish thank you posts at the end. Everyone loves a backlink!
5. Use your partnerships for guest posts
Once you’ve established some warm connections, you can build a stronger partnership and consider guest posting. This is a great way to increase your brand recognition and get a backlink from an authoritative source.
6. Browse Quora — One man's confusion is another man's content
Quora is another useful platform for digging up B2B content marketing trends. People use it to ask questions, find answers, research, rate products, and share their experiences. With a huge range of audiences, you can be pretty sure to find your customer persona there.
A Quora profile is also beneficial for content distribution. You can become that knowledgeable person who comments on questions and drives traffic to a more detailed source — your B2B sales blog.
7. Interview your B2B sales team
Sometimes the best ideas aren’t so far away. Internal research can give you much more practical experience and help you see where your content gaps lie.
Make your sales team your first target. Ask them about the most common inquiries or objections they hear. In many cases, the same questions come up over and over again, which suggests that the answers aren't readily available online.
Unite your sales and marketing efforts. This is an opportunity to add helpful content to your website and free up your sales team. And your prospects will love the result!
8. Talk to Customer Success (CS)
CS could be your second target. Customer success is another team that lies close to your customers, particularly existing ones. What's your clients’ user experience like? Maybe they need additional guidance on how to use the product? Or maybe your FAQ is missing some answers?
9. Look at what your company is currently overcoming
The state of your business can also be a valuable source of new ideas for content.
Consider posting a story of how you’re overcoming an obstacle or a roadmap of your company's success. How did you get started? Where's your business expanding? What does your company culture look like?
Don’t be afraid to boast about your accomplishments. There's nothing wrong with them if they're earned. Start with a small blog post, and maybe a book about the history of your business will become a bestseller one day.
10. Elaborate on your best-performing social media posts
If you’re a frequent social media user and have been doing account-based marketing for a long time, you’ll probably have some popular posts in your profile. What topic did you address there that prompted your subscribers to leave comments, like, and repost?
Don’t take this tip lightly: it’s a great way to get the most value from a topic. Describe the theme more clearly and see whether it works.
You can also create other social media content that links to your high-ranking posts, with a small teaser like "We’re currently working on an in-depth article with more insights on this topic." Interest sparked!
11. Watch the latest Google Trends
Google Trends is another powerful tool you can use for your content marketing. With its help, you can determine the popularity of any search query.
In addition to showing hot marketing blog topics, Google Trends lets you view the popularity of keywords worldwide, by country, or by city. The latter can be useful if your content targets a particular region.
12. Take a course
Getting out of your comfort zone by learning something new can help you brainstorm content, ideas even if you're already a seasoned content pro.
For example, I recently took a Semrush course on content. After all, the top result on Google receives over 27.6 percent of all clicks, so I wanted to find out how to get there. The lesson was about long list posts. The main point was that people rarely read an entire list post: they usually bookmark the best B2B sales blogs thinking they'll come back to it.
This was interesting, so I pitched an idea to my manager. We could use our Leadfeeder tool to check our top list posts to see if IP addresses return to those blogs more than once (and also examine the bounce rate to see if the theory is true that they bookmark the post and come back).
13. Use internal stats to get backlinks
What if you could turn all of your company's internal data into an interesting blog post? You can easily use success statistics from a case study, such as the impact of integrating a one-step checkout on conversion rates.
You can also use company research to create unique content. At Leadfeeder, we used a survey of 600 B2B professionals to write about current marketing trends.
As a bonus, authentic stats on your blog not only prove that you're a knowledgeable expert but also get you backlinks.
14. Increase visibility with long-tail keywords
Since long-tail keywords have lower search volume than their "head" counterparts, they tend to be less contested. In fact, 91.8 percent of all search queries are long-tail keywords. These keywords can lead to more conversions: you just need to find the right ones!
Choose a keyword or two for which you want to increase visibility using your preferred SEO tool. Then dig around for long-tail keywords. I'd also do some googling here to see if anyone is talking about new trends or what stance your competitors are taking.
15. Take advantage of keyword gaps
Analyzing your keyword gaps is another way to be more competitive. Are there keywords that your competitors are using but you aren’t? If so, there’s a chance they’ll outrank you and drive more organic traffic, leads, and even sales.
Start with a keyword gap analysis:
Identify competitors with strong organic traffic.
Open up a keyword research tool like SEMrush.
Enter your website's domain and that of your competitors, and find out which keywords your competitors rank for.
Check your position in search engine results for the same keywords.
With this simple process, you can identify your weak points and new SEO opportunities.
16. Use a tool like Leadfeeder to see what people are paying attention to on your website
Not every team is willing to participate in marketing efforts, and your sales and CS departments won’t welcome your questions if they’re very busy.
You can use a tool like Leadfeeder to see who your visitors are and what your audience is most interested in on your website. A good tool will show what your visitors navigate to, the time of the visit, and what exactly keeps them on site.
This is a great way to uncover hotspots on your B2B sales blog and get an idea of which topics you should cover in more detail.
I hope this post has made your life a little easier. Believe me, I know the struggle of content creation.
The good news is that filling your content calendar for the next quarter doesn’t have to be a beast of a task. Experiment with these methods, and I'm sure you'll find your perfect B2B content marketing strategy. I wish you the best of luck!
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