list portraying ideas to create contentIf you are trying to recruit social ambassadors for your business, you will undoubtedly run into the challenge from your colleagues that they don’t know what to write about.

If we accept the Social Business imperative, you know we need to grow our army of storytellers in order gain a greater share of voice, to attract an audience of interested parties and ultimately to convert that traffic into quantifiable business.

We have already established that content marketing is seen as important but marketers have been slow to act. We need more than just content, we need to ignite our employees to create great content that moves our prospects to the next stage in the buying cycle.

Well, the big secret in content marketing is that it is not that hard to begin creating a steady stream of relevant content. And you don’t need to sacrifice quality. The objective is to simply answer your customers’ top questions, to rank for the top keywords and to generate enough value in each post that your readers want to share it with their connections and come back again.

So with that in mind, here are 31 ideas I came up with to help you get started. I would love to hear which ones you have found most successful and let me know which ones I’ve missed?

31 Easy Ideas To Create Content Your Customers Want

  1. Take all the best written content you already have (such as whitepapers) and summarize it
  2. Take all the best video content you already have, write a summary, then embed it into a blog post
  3. Take all the slideshare decks you already have and copy the notes into article format and embed it into a blog post
  4. Take any research reports you have released and summarize the key points and charts
  5. Ask the project manager who is marketing your webcasts and ask them to send you the notes from each webcast
  6. Find all your employees who are already blogging on your topical areas and ask if you can syndicate their posts
  7. Live-blog any events you can attend or ask your team to live-blog any events that cover your industry topics
  8. Live-tweet the events and create a blog post of the best tweets
  9. Ask your PR team to send you a transcript of any press releases or executive speeches and turn them into a blog post
  10. Search Klout and Twitter for the most influential people on Twitter for various keywords where you are trying to rank and use it to create a “list post”
  11. Create a list of the top blog sites for each keyword group
  12. Define the top “terms you need to know” for each keyword group
  13. Debunk the greatest myths for each keyword group
  14. Identify the top LinkedIn groups for each keyword group
  15. Curate the top slideshare presentations for each keyword group
  16. Find the most shared infographics for your keyword groups
  17. Define your top keywords in a blog post (such as “What is Marketing?“)
  18. Define the top questions your customers face for each solution area and answer them
  19. Define the main customer benefits of your solution category (without naming your product)
  20. Ask your customer service team to answer the frequently asked questions (FAQs) they get
  21. Interview an external expert for each keyword group
  22. Interview internal employees and ask them to answer simple questions (by email even) such as who they are, what they do and how it serves your customers
  23. Ask experts what they think is “the future of” each keyword group
  24. Ask experts what they think is “the greatest challenges of” each keyword group
  25. Ask experts what they think is “the number one benefit” of each keyword group
  26. Define “7 steps to success with” your solution category without naming your product
  27. Interview customers on what their biggest challenges were, what benefits they achieved and what steps they recommend to anyone considering your solution category
  28. Identify the top solution providers for your solution category. List yourself last and you can rank for your competitors keywords
  29. Identify the greatest barriers to success with your solution category
  30. Curate your own posts and create summaries such as “top articles this year” for your keyword categories
  31. Identify a recommended reading list of books in your keyword category

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

35 Comments

  1. Sue Neal said…

    Hi Michael – this is a great list, which I will definitely be bookmarking and sharing.

    How about a list of “mistakes to avoid” or “simple ways to….”or “secrets of successful……” – or a story post with your own experience as a starting point, such as “how I managed to…….”

    Really helpful content – thank you,

    Sue

  2. Emily Foshee said…

    Hi Michael,

    Thank you for a very informative post on creating content customers want. I think every business blogger runs out of ideas from time to time, and using your tips should eliminate writers blog for a very long time!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Emily, Part of my objective for writing this post was to document some of the ideas I have used but also to try and come up with new ones! I am so happy that you found it helpful!

  3. Nick Stamoulis said…

    Take a look at what content is performing well in analytics. See if there is a trend. For example some topics may get much more traffic than others. Use that information to create similar articles/blog posts going forward.

  4. Ananta Kashem said…

    Good stuff Michael. Thanks a lot for your hard work.
    I am book marking the list.

    I am promoting some restaurant website businesses. Your ideas would definitely help me.

  5. Darlene Cary said…

    A year’s worth of Post ideas!
    #30 is worth doing right now for end-of-the year wrap-up.

    I would add to post something humorous (within your niche and appropriate to your branding) once in awhile to break things up.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Darlene, And great tip about humor. My good friend @TimWasher (aka “the Corporate Comedian) and I are on a crusade to convince serious B2B brands to start using more video and especially humor to be more personable and human. It’s a great way to truly connect with people. Google him to see some great examples!

  6. Rachel Miller said…

    Great post Michael. Very comprehensive list of executable ideas. I would like to hear more about #18: Define the top questions your customers face for each solution area and answer them. How would you solicit this information? Simply polling customers?

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Rachel! While you could do some formal research, you probably already have that knowledge inside your social interactions, your web metrics (top web pages, search queries, etc) and inside the top keywords that people are using in your solution category. You could also ask your customers what their top questions were before they bought from you…there are many ways to get this information without formal research but those are hopefully a good start.

  7. Anushree said…

    B2B Marketing has totally evolved over the years as correctly pointed out here. Here’s another expert article from the Marketing Head of Nokia Siemens Networks on B2B marketing & its evolution: http://www.strategycentral.in/evolution-of-b2b-marketing/

  8. Richard Cure said…

    Thank you so much ! I am very new to the business and don’t understand all of the terms but if I knew how, I would book mark this article and refer back to it when I know more of what to do with the info.
    I am a fast learner.
    Thanks again ,
    Richard

  9. joe wozny said…

    Hi Michael

    Shared your post with Twitter followers and come of Concentric’s customers today.

    Hey, a few Insights, Tips and Advice from the Field to support your article:

    Start looking around at what you like to read and understand why. Incorporate this into your thinking. If you don’t “live the life” then you can really have context for what is required

    Prior to leaping create a content plan

    Understand what it is going to cost you to enter into content marketing and ensure you have the budget (time, resources and $) to sustain

    Joe Wozny
    Author, The Digital Dollar;Sustainable Strategies for Online Success

  10. PHOENIXSTAR9 said…

    This is one of the most innovative and powerful posts I’ve read on valuable content creation. A lot of people pump out garbage when it comes to writing something that people want to hear. Thank you for the tips and taking the time to post this article!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      My pleasure. And you are completely right. It’s not about quantity and it doesn’t even have to be about deep-thought quality. It just has to be helpful content.

  11. Fleur Bayley said…

    A great list, Michael. In my experience, getting experts to pen their first blog is often a problem. They’re not sure they have any subject ideas, and they lack confidence in their writing abilities. However, once they get the first one “under their belt” they gain in confidence and can quickly get a taste for the task and a kick out of the response from readers. Marketing can help by offering topics, editing skills and help with links, images, etc.

  12. rhonda hurwitz said…

    Michael, this was a terrific post and I will use many of your ideas in my editorial calendar for a new B2Bclient.

    Keeping up w content is a constant challenge, so here’s a question about your suggestion #6 (syndication) …

    ” Find all your employees who are already blogging on your topical areas and ask if you can syndicate their posts”

    Does this have to be from employees blogs, or can you syndicate from elsewhere?

    Also, if you republish content (with permission) from elsewhere on the web in your niche, what are the SEO issues with this?

    Is it your opinion that it doesn’t it matter if there’s no SEO benefit, as long as your readers benefit from the content?

    Would love your thoughts on this (and who does it well, if you know of an example)

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Rhonda, first, I would recommend syndicating from a wide array of sources, including your employees but ONLY with their permission. On your second question, you can syndicate without SEO issues as long as you use the proper “canonical” link attributing the article’s original source. Additionally, I highly recommend using Google author=rel attribution. These are somewhat technical SEO things that you can look up but for our purposes here, the bottom line is that you can offer the original author the benefit of reaching your audience and also you get the content.

  13. Emily Foshee said…

    Hi Michael,

    Very informative post…thank you! On number 27, when you’re interviewing your customers regarding their biggest challenge, you can get more mileage out that conversation by putting it on video and sharing it on your blog. Seeing an actual person talk about the success they’ve gotten by using your product or service enforces the content that folks read, which makes your message resonate even more.

  14. Chuck Kent said…

    Helpful post, good ideas – my one quibble is with your claim of “easy” and “not that hard to begin creating a steady stream.” It may not be brain surgery to start creating a steady stream of high-quality content, but, particularly for less-than-Fortune-500 players who can (more) easily allocate and acquire the requisite human resources, committing the time and money to the endeavor is not easy at all, particularly when you are first trying to get a client to embrace content marketing. I would submit that substituting “practical” or “do-able” for “easy” would be a more realistic and helpful posture here. All that said, thanks for the good, clear ideas!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      It’s a fair point Chuck. I really meant that the ideas were easy. And honestly, I created this list of ideas on a train ride from NYC to Philly. (Actually in half that time.)

      I do believe that any business could gather some folks around and generate this list in an hour.

      But to your real point, creating the content is not easy. That’s the real sticking point for businesses of any size!

  15. Maxwell Stinson said…

    Well THAT certainly is a long list. Still, tips are good.

    One thing I hear from other business pals I have is that they aren’t able to come up with good content all of the time.

    Well, I told them that maybe it’s because your guys aren’t exactly the people you want to be working on your content. Here in our company, we’ve got people who are just amazing in creating content.

    +1 for content marketing!

  16. Rosie said…

    Great post Michael, that’s a fairly long and inspiring list. While some of these are fairly obvious, when you’re suffering from writers block sometimes you need to be reminded of the obvious.

  17. Jean Wolfe said…

    Thanks for this extensive list. Extremely useful. It is surprising how much information can be stored away in a forgotten folder!

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