B2B Content Marketing, Content Marketing, Marketing Strategy, online content marketing

5 Tips for Choosing Content Marketing Topics

November 17, 2021 | 11 minutes to read
Choosing Content Marketing Topics
Summary:Summary: Choosing content marketing topics goes beyond the basics of defining what content you’re going to create. You need to determine why you’re creating it, who you’re doing it for, what channels you will use to promote it, and how it supports your overall content marketing strategy. Are you feeling unsure about what content to …

Summary: Choosing content marketing topics goes beyond the basics of defining what content you’re going to create. You need to determine why you’re creating it, who you’re doing it for, what channels you will use to promote it, and how it supports your overall content marketing strategy.

Are you feeling unsure about what content to create, or how to choose content marketing topics for your audience?  Do you find it difficult to come up with a constant stream of new ideas? It can be a challenging task to constantly think about new content your audience wants. Don’t get frustrated—we’ve all been there! There will always be times when we start running out of new ideas. When this happens, take a few minutes to pause, and take a step back. Use those minutes to look at, and re-evaluate the content marketing strategy you’re using before you proceed.

Contents

Define and Document Your Content Marketing Strategy

  1. Define and Understand Your Organizational Goals
  2. Ask Your Audience 
  3. Use Your Analytics Data 
  4. Define a Digital Marketing Goal for Each Content Piece 
  5. Be Prepared for these Challenges 

Additional Content Marketing Ideas 

Video Ideas 

Conclusion 

Define and Document Your Content Marketing Strategy

The foundation you really need to have to guide your selection of content topics is a content marketing strategy. You need to define one!

Document your content marketing strategy

Defining your content strategy goes beyond the surface of the kind of content you’re creating.

You need to ask yourself:

  • why you’re creating that content;
  • who you’re creating it for;
  • which channels you’ll use to promote it, as well as
  • how it supports your content marketing strategy.

According to a 2020 article from Smart Insights, only 41% of all B2B marketing respondents surveyed document their content marketing strategy. Compare this to the most successful B2B marketers — 69% of  them do. This suggests that having a documented content marketing strategy is linked to success. It also suggests that failing to plan really means you’re “planning to fail” when it comes to content marketing!

And Now, As Promised!

If you’re feeling stuck, here are 5 tips to help you choose the right topics for your content marketing strategy.

1. Define and Understand Your Organizational GoalsDefine Organizational Goals

Choosing the right topics and setting the right goals for your content starts with developing a strong foundation and solid understanding of your organization’s goals. Your strategy should help you achieve those goals.

 

So, ask yourself what goals you are trying to achieve. For most B2B companies and brands, the leading goals may be lead generation, promoting brand awareness, and increasing engagement, just to name a few. This is a great place to start, and depending on the goals and needs of your organization, there are various kinds of content you to use to achieve those goals. It can include blog articles, videos, eBooks, and pointers to resources, as well as social media posts.

 

2. Ask Your Audience

Ask Your Audience

Asking your audience is another tip that will help you choose the right topics for content. Since your audience are the people engaging your content it’s important to know what type of content they would want to see.

The are many ways you can learn about this. It can be as simple as asking your current clients about what type of content they would like to see the next time you’re on a call with them, leaving room for open ended replies. Another option is to post the same questions on one of your social media channels to see what your followers say.

Another option is to use the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) your clients ask to help you choose the right topics for your content marketing strategy. During those times when you feel like you’re running out of content ideas, the questions you hear most frequently from your clients and social media followers tend to evolve along definite trends. As time passes, FAQs will change, and shed light on new developments, issues, and concerns you can address.

Since the concerns of your customer are constantly changing, you need to allow your audience to paly a part in shaping your content marketing strategy.

3. Use Your Analytics Dataanalytics data

Besides reviewing the organizational goals for your content marketing strategy, make use of your analytics data to help determine what has been capturing your audience’s interest. Analytics can help guide your decision making process when it comes to implementing a content marketing strategy.

When looking for content topics, select your top-performing content pieces and try putting a new spin on old favorites, or expanding further on them. There is nothing wrong with taking a topic that was previously covered and updating and expanding on it. You can look at an old favorite from another angle, maybe relate it to a popular topic of discussion in your industry. As long as you build on, and not just copy another blog post, you can come up with a winning piece of content that resonates with your audience.

You can also take a look at any insights and analytics you can glean from your social media to make informed decisions when trying to come up with new content ideas. When you have identified your top article posts, see if there is a common thread between them. Is there a particular type of content (e.g., text, image or video) that consistently performs better than the others? Also look at the level of engagement in terms of likes and/or comments on these posts.

4. Define a Digital Marketing Goal for Each Content Piece

digital marketing goalsFor each piece of content you create, evaluate the topic and see how it measures up to each of your organizational goals. This will help you select the right key performance indications (KPI’s) to track and measure it.

For example, if lead generation is your top organization goal, the goal of your content should be aimed at appealing to the customer at different stages in their buyer journey. In this case the content should include blog posts that are focused on promoting awareness, consideration and/or decision, as well as other content such as white papers, e-books or case studies.

If sales is one of your top organization goals, it is important to develop content that moves the sales needle. Good content that moves the sales needle doesn’t just inform and clearly articulate the benefit to the potential client, it also builds trust and credibility. Nothing builds trust and credibility more than openly addressing potential short comings, pitfalls and issues alongside your selling points.

If brand awareness is another one of the organizational goals of your company, your content goal might be to generate referral traffic. Potential content types to consider are guest posts or influencer content. For example, collaborating with influencers in your industry can help you cast a wider net to increase the visibility of your brand.

Keep in mind that to be successful, the topics you choose must align with your content marketing strategy, which in turn must align with your organizational goals.

5. Be Prepared for these ChallengesBe Prepared for Challenges

Keeping the content you develop relevant and compelling can be challenging since there are virtually unlimited supply of content available, across a wide range of topics. When you work to make content that stands out among the hundreds or thousands of other posts, look out for the following challenges and take action to overcome them.

Not Thinking Outside the Blog

While your blog can be an effective platform for your inbound marketing promotion, it can also be somewhat of a limiting formula. For both established and new businesses, blog posts could pose the risk of being lost among thousands of others.

Try to think outside of the blog and offer alternative content specific to your industry niche that can disrupt your audience’s usual browsing and reading routine.

Offer different types of in-depth information and insights in different formats that would be relevant to your audience. These alternative options could include videos, case studies and white papers based on your own research.

The Battle of Quality Over Quantity

How do you keep the quality of the content you produce high, while still producing sufficient content to fuel the engine of your digital marketing strategy? It seems inevitable that either your quality will suffer, or you will have to slow down and write better quality content, which means you won’t be posting as regularly. It’s possible to find middle ground, and strike a balance by remembering that good (or exceptional) content makes all the difference to both your audience as well as Google. You don’t need to slow your posting schedule to a trickle to produce good work, but you can take the time needed to hone your writing skills to produce quality content.

Lack of Resources

Producing good quality content takes time, knowledge and research. However, if your audience’s demand for content is insatiable, and the need to create content comes with tight timeframes, your own internal creative resources may not be enough. The only way to produce the kind of content that will set you apart in volume is to accept the fact that it will come at a cost–either in terms of the time it takes you and your team to create it, or the financial cost of outsourcing the work. This can still be done cost-effectively — really great content can reward you with benefits worth many times over your original investment.

Unrealistic Expectations

One of the biggest challenges around content marketing is that people expect it to work right away. When a digital marketing plan is proposed to a new client or management team, the expectation needs to be set that it usually takes at least six months, but could take up to a couple of years before it starts to producing results. All stakeholders need to understand that content marketing takes time to produce tangible results, and that goals and expectations need to be set based on a long-term time frame.

Once a certain threshold is overcome and your business credibility has been established, it becomes much easier to expand by leveraging the trust and reputation you have established, and is much more economical in the long run compared to constantly paying for online ads.

The Competition Never Sleeps

Your goals of producing exceptional content within a reasonable time frame and cost is complicated by the fact that your competitors are also trying to do the same thing. There is a good chance that your competitors might either work faster than you or have additional resources to produce better content some of the time. While you can check to see what digital marketing content they may be producing, don’t get caught up in what they may be doing.  Focus on your own digital marketing strategy by developing content for your targeted audience that serves them best.

Harnessing the Power of Organic Content Effectively

Depending on the level of competition in your industry niche, making organic content can become quite a challenge. While it is easy to get visibility for Google paid ads, organic content needs to draw an audience based on its own merit. A highly competitive market can make it increasingly difficult to get you content in front of your targeted audience, especially when paid advertising is pushing other content off the top of the page. Other ways to effectively harness the power of organic content is to promote it on your social media accounts and use email marketing to promote new content to your existing client base.

Getting Burned Out

Content producers create thousands of words and brainstorm hundreds of topics every day. Eventually they will likely hit a wall and their ideas will dry up. Deadlines can get harder to hit and the quality of the content produced can begin to suffer. The best solution is to pace yourself and set realistic deadlines and goals. Focus more on content quality rather than quantity.

Providing Content that has Legitimate Value, Not Just Marketing Fluff

When you are constantly chasing tight deadlines, or focusing just on the quantity of content, it’s easy to fall into the trap of creating content simply to fill the page rather than providing content that offers any real value to your reader. This is a trap you need to be aware of and be careful to avoid. Step back and assess the content itself and your plan on a regular basis. Be sure the material is compelling, demonstrates your expertise, and provides valuable insights and information that your readers will appreciate.

Balancing Creative Insights with SEO Needs

It can be tempting to focus only on certain keywords for SEO purposes and to make the quality of your content a secondary priority. Both your audience and Google will notice this and will demote you for doing so. Its possible to produce great content that also contains the keyword you need to improve your ranking. Focus on the topic and related subtopics in your content. Google will be assessing the quality of your pages, so great content will also translate into great SEO performance.

Planning and Tracking Results

While you and your team are putting the work into producing great content, it is important to track and measure results on a regular basis. Are you getting more views from visitors reading your content? Is this increasing your qualified leads? Analytic tools will help answer these kinds of questions, but you need to have something you can compare your results against.

Having a plan and a set of goals is very important–don’t just start a content marketing campaign without direction. First decide what you want to achieve from the campaign; then check your analytics data against the goals you set to determine whether your strategy is actually working.

Additional Content Marketing Ideasadditional content marketing ideas

If you’re looking for some specific ideas to improve your content marketing, there are many other things you can try out. Below are a few tips to consider:

Turn Top Posts into a SlideShare

Select the best performing posts on your site and turn these into a SlideShare deck. This is a good way to breathe new life into older dated content.

Highlight a Question of the Week or Month

Review the questions you received from customers during the past week or month to find ideas for content marketing. The chances are if one customer asked a question, many others are wondering about the same thing. These questions can provide a great topic for a blog or social media post.

Create a List of Things to Avoid

Rather than posting a list of to-dos, try posting a negative list of the things your customers should absolutely NOT do. These kinds of posts do a good job of arousing curiosity because most people tend to be very concerned about avoiding major pitfalls and mistakes.

Speak with Industry Experts

Many content marketers have not even thought about harnessing the power of doing interviews with industry experts. This is a major oversight, as those interviews can be used to create content for posts that is highly effective and easy to generate. Content created in this way can be posted in a simple transcribed question-and-answer format, or possibly even a video or podcast, and tend to generate high levels of interest.

Video Ideas

Video is an effective and powerful method of delivering content that will grab and hold the attention of your audience. Consider that not everyone has the time and inclination to read blog posts, but almost everyone will spend a few minutes watching a video.

Below are some ideas you can use to build your video content.

Add a Little Fun to What Normally Seems Mundane

You may not think of your products as movie-star quality; or maybe, you have no problem talking about the quality of your work, but making it appear fun and exciting is another matter. Video marketing gives you the opportunity to do just that. It takes a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, but when you hit the mark, great video content has the power to bring any product to life.

Provide a Sneak Peek into Your Day-to-Day Work

Just like snapping and posting a photo or two of your team, or sharing one showing one the procedures you step through to do something can draw attention to your platforms, posting a quick video of some interesting aspect of your business is a great way to build rapport. Something that your audience would normally not have access to works best, and also helps to nurture a deeper appreciation of your work and products.

Don’t just “show” content to your audience–immerse them in it!

The use of media should have the aim of immersing your audience in what you’re doing. If you want your audience to feel like they’re a part of what you do, create content that draws them in. You don’t need to use virtual or augmented reality to do this. Effective video content that is focused on generating customer engagement will go a long way towards growing and maintaining your audience.

Conclusion

Creating a plan and choosing the right topics for your content marketing strategy requires strategic thinking. Determine what content platforms work well, and what your audience engages with the most. Remember to document your content marketing strategy and make tweaks along the way as content trends evolve. Choosing the right topics is essential for developing and driving an effective content marketing strategy. If you need help developing an effective content marketing strategy, contact us at WSI Smart Web Marketing today!

 

 

 

About the Author

Howard worked in the technology industry for over 20 years as product marketing engineer and project manager, and has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing. He is an entrepreneurial digital marketer with a track record of success in creating and developing profitable revenue streams for small and medium sized B2B businesses. His experience and expertise in product marketing, project management, business management, digital marketing consulting allows him to provide the best in class services and measurable results to clients.

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