It’s hard to talk about B2B marketing these days without talking about content marketing. Ideas and information communicated to prospects via blogs, white papers, videos, and more play a vital role in filling the B2B pipeline. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers employ content marketing.
CMI’s B2B Content Marketing 2013 Benchmark survey found that the top concern among marketers was creating enough content. In a world where it is increasingly necessary to produce more, the question of where content marketing ideas will come from is an important one.
The low hanging fruit for content creation is leveraging the knowledge and experience of your company’s employees. Unless you are a giant global business with tens of thousands of people, new, compelling content will quickly become harder to come by.
Using reaction to and interpretations of what others in your market are saying is also a useful approach in the short term. Since others are also going to this well for content marketing, ideas are likely to quickly get oversaturated from the constant recirculation. The result is that your company gets lost in a sea of sameness with your competitors.
So, how do you create compelling, useful, engaging content that gets you noticed and differentiates you from your competitors?
Produce content from your original research.
The CMI benchmark survey results (a great example of original research turned into content, btw) suggest that more companies are coming around to this idea. According to the survey, research reports are among the tactics with the greatest increases in usage.
Research reports are great, but they aren’t the only way to use original research as a source for content marketing. Ideas for leveraging original research beyond the report run from easily digestible infographics to using the results to identify themes and topics of interest to the market.
We’ve been seeing a notable increase in the amount of research our clients are doing primarily to generate content. We’ve seen two different approaches to selecting the research subject matter:
- Research among the content marketer’s customers. This helps the company talk directly to the issues its market cares about now, and creates a source of information for customers to learn about what peers and competitors are doing.
- Research among the customers’ customers. This sets up the company as someone who has a solid grasp on what their customers are facing and a valuable resource for information they may not have.
In both cases, clients have gone way beyond the research report to use the information. The research has provided clear direction on general themes and issues of interest, uncovered specific challenges that our clients could then discuss solutions for, and delivered a huge number of individual comments that have become jumping off points for new content. And, of course, lots and lots of statistics that could be served up in many formats.
How have you used research to generate content marketing ideas? Tell us in the comments!