So here we are…January 2016 and I am staring at an empty sheet of paper wondering what my next series of blog posts will be for the new year. I am sure I am not alone. Most editorial calendars likely end in December to follow the calendar year. Now you are wondering what to write and where to start.

So here are some B2B content marketing hacks to get you started on your content marketing plan for the new year…

1. Look for gold in email correspondence

Many times you are writing to a customer or a prospect about a particular challenge or how to solve a business problem. What you likely don’t realize is that your email content would make a great blog post if you took it, made it generic and expanded on the business problem. There is often gold sitting in your personal email to clients and prospects. The reasoning being that if one customer is asking about something, there are likely lots of other people interested in the topic.

2. Ask your sales reps

Talk to sales people and find out what conversations they are having with prospective customers. We always recommend that the top 10 questions that are asked in a first sales call, make excellent fodder for blog posts. You can help people self-serve and self-educate when you make commonly asked sales questions easily available on your website.

3. Search on SlideShare

Find a topic that customers are concerned about and see who is posting about this topic on SlideShare. SlideShare is an often overlooked social media tool that has lots of great content available as Power Point presentations. See who is covering a topic, read about their angle on the problem and then review your latest corporate presentations to see if a topic your company presented could be introduced in a blog post with a link to the posted presentation on SlideShare. Not only will it help you present a topic, but it is a great process for sharing and socializing content. Even if you presented something more than a year ago, there is always a way to update and re-purpose content,

4. Learn on Skillshare

Skillshare has really come a long way and for only $9.99 per month for a subscription, you have access to a whole bunch of great courses that last anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours. I searched it extensively over the holidays and found a bunch of new courses to help people structure content, find new ways to be creative and advanced search engine optimization classes to help you think about content. If you don’t have a lot of time and money, SkillShare is a great way to learn something new and apply it instantly to your business or marketing program.

5. Use Google Trends

I often forget about this tool, but it is so bloody powerful as a B2B content marketing tool. You can really get your creative juices flowing when you start to slice and dice data and look for ideas and trends that relate directly back to what people are actually searching for and doing online. I love it.

Here is a great example of how you can use it:

  • Search a topic that relates to your products or services. I used “content marketing” and here is what I found…

b2b content marketing

Now I have to confess something. About six months ago when we were redoing the keyword strategy for Marketing CoPilot we had a big internal debate as to whether to position ourselves online around the term “digital marketing agency” or “content marketing agency” so we used Google Trends to settle the argument. Although content marketing was a relatively new term in the marketplace we noticed that search trends were on the rise and that we were more interested in helping direct people’s digital marketing strategy using content than talking about SEO and SEM types of things. So we landed on B2B content marketing keywords and content strategy for our own business. The Google Trends exercise helped give us direction and ideas.

  • Here is what else we see in Google Trends that direct content….

b2b content marketing

The regional view gives us great insight about which countries are interested in a topic. This helps if you sell globally or locally. You understand the relevance of a topic or term by country, which can really help you be specific about the next round of content.

  • And lastly, but certainly not least is related topics…

b2b content marketing

This is the real gold as far as I am concerned because this data basically gives you the headlines for your next five blog posts. Look at how topics are trending. We can fit this data nicely into our buyer persona interests and our keyword strategy.

6. Ask your best customer

This should likely be #1, but because I think it’s obvious I have it further down the list. To develop truly customer-centric content, the best person to ask is your best customer. Shoot them a quick email and ask them to list three things they wish they could magically solve in their business. Don’t ask about you – ask about them and see what comes back.  These three things could end up being your best blog posts of the year.

7. Find an industry report to discuss

Lots of people are investing a lot of money in research. We are no exception. Shortly, we are going to be running a series of posts about what makes a good website (Sign up here if you want to get a copy…) based on the research we did with Georgian College and the National Research Council of Canada. Find a report that you think is credible and well done and discuss it in your next email campaign or blog post. Clients and prospects alike will thank you for bringing research to their attention that they may not know about.

Hope this helps you on your content marketing way for 2016. If you need more ideas or direction, shoot me an email at Marie[@] Our team is always happy to help.

Happy New Year!