B2B content creation can feel like a treadmill, can’t it?
The constant need to feed social channels, websites and newsletters can zap creativity and have you scrabbling around for good ideas. And how do you make those dry topics interesting?
In the July edition of the B2B Comms Breakdown with my fabulous co-host Ayo Abbas, we went live on LinkedIn to talk about how to come up with cracking content ideas and get more creative.
Here are the edited highlights; scroll to the bottom to watch the video replay.
How do you find ideas when you have none?
Ayo Abbas: There are ideas all around you. I take stuff from my life, as I walk along, I might see an ad that I think: ‘Oh, that’s smart’.
Or what are they doing? How did they do that?
Also, think about the questions that clients are asking you right now: How do we do this, or I’m finding this really tricky.
Those answers that you’re giving are topics that become content.
There are tools you can use, like Answer the Public, where you search for keywords, and it’ll give you lots and lots of variations and questions around those keywords.
Also, when you start writing in Google, it comes up with suggested questions. If you look down, they normally give you about ten different variations on that question.
You can use that for ideas or inspiration for content and what people are searching for.
There are also tools like Google Trends where you can see what the search trends have been for the last 3-9 months.
Me: Go back to your goals and what you want to get out of your content, and look at what content you are already creating.
What have you already done? How does that match your goals, and can you identify missing areas?
Is there a customer group that you’re missing? Is all your content aimed at a particular area of your business? Is there another area of your business that you aren’t looking at?
Other ideas that I would throw in: Are there seasonal ideas?
Are there particular times of the year when you’re getting a certain number of inquiries or doing certain types of work that you can hook content around?
One of your goals might be recruitment. If people are interested in working for you and you’re hiring, they’re going to have a look at your social content.
What can you tell them about what it’s like working for your business? Is that an area of your content that you are missing out?
How do you mix things up and break out of boring B2B content ideas?
Ayo: Don’t be scared of saying what you think; there is this whole thing that you’ve got to be corporate, got to be professional, got to toe the company line, got to be vanilla.
It’s really dull.
Stacey, you post regularly about not saying, ‘We are proud to announce’. Can you tell us something actually interesting and not boring, like everyone else?
Subvert what everyone else is doing. If everyone’s using carousels, do something else.
We are on LinkedIn most days and see the same thing. Sometimes it’s like people are chasing the algorithm rather than thinking: What do people want to hear?
What can you bring to the table that’s different?
Me: If your main type of content is written content, then there are things that you can do to mix it up.
If you’re writing content that is going out under somebody else’s name, listen to particular words and phrases they use which make writing sound human.
You don’t have to go crazy, but it can elevate it and make it stand out and a bit more interesting to read.
Bring in anecdotes and analogies. You can explain dry, potentially dull topics in an interesting way by making them relatable.
This works for technical topics as well. I was writing a piece for a client on Wi-Fi security, which is not the most interesting topic, but I found an analogy, I compared it to car security, so it became relatable.
It made it more easily understandable because I was relating it to something that was every day.
Use stories, use something that happened to you or something you’ve seen or experienced to bring in a human angle and make your thought leader and content more interesting.
How do you build B2B content ideas around campaigns and services
Ayo: I’ve done some really successful project campaigns, finding different stories, different milestones and telling the story about the people in that project.
It could be: We found this part particularly tricky, or this was coming up, and we had to bring in the stakeholders and what we had to do.
There are all kinds of story ideas and nuggets you build in under a bigger umbrella.
Me: When a client comes to me for help with building content around a particular service, I first find out who the target clients are and put myself in their shoes.
And then we discuss: What do they come to you about? What do they need to know? What are the mistakes they make? What are the questions they frequently ask?
What are their concerns? What’s in it for them? What are the downsides of this?
Then use that to generate a series of content around a particular service.
Start from the perspective of the people you want to reach, rather than this is what we want to talk about.
You can watch the full live here on YouTube (captioned version is here on LinkedIn):
The next B2B Comms Breakdown online event will be on 18 August; sign up for my newsletter to get the details plus tips, ideas and inspiration for improving your content.
More B2B content goodness:
- B2B content marketing: How to think like a journalist and get more readers
- From sceptic to supporter: The case for B2B content marketing
- Summer content ideas for B2B businesses
- B2B press release lessons from the world of theatre
- From yawns to yehs: Refresh your B2B content ideas and banish the boring