Content marketing is the new black for B2B marketers and many analysts predict that it’s only going to become more vital as businesses adapt to today’s social savvy buyer. According to a recent study by the Custom Content Council, 73% of consumers prefer to get their information about an organization in articles rather than advertisements.
That means it’s more important than ever to include custom content in your overall marketing mix. Generating compelling searchable content that people want to consume can help drive traffic to your website, attract and retain a dedicated following, and greatly increase brand awareness. In order to produce quality content you’re going to need a good source of raw material to continually draw upon.
Here are 10 proven tactics to help you never run out of content ideas:
#1: RSS Reader: Scan it Daily
A great way to get fresh ideas and inspiration is to sign up for a free RSS reader such as Google Reader. Then, use the Google Blogs search option and search for blog directory sites such as Technorati and Blogcatalog for blogs that are relevant to your product or service. When you find what you’re looking for simply subscribe by clicking on the RSS feed and adding it to your reader. (You can start by subscribing to the Modern B2B Marketing blog if you haven’t done so already, hint hint.)
Organize your feeds into folders and sort by category for easy scanning; you can combine topics you find in your industry’s blogs with your own commentary to create posts that stand on their own.
#2: Make Every Employee a Content Creator
Encouraging employees to contribute to your blog by writing posts on a topic of interest that relates to your industry is a great way to generate content internally. Ask your customer service and sales teams about their most frequently asked questions then have them write blog posts about the solutions. Ann Handley and CC Chapman, authors of Content Rules, have developed a fantastic blog template that is a great tool to eliminate any barriers your staff may have to writing a post.
To encourage Marketo employees to become content creators we developed a “Blogging 101” slide presentation. This slide deck was the perfect companion piece to our Social Media Month training where we dedicated an entire month to educating our employees on best practices in social media including blogging basics and how to get started. Feel free to download the presentation and customize to help jump start your employee blogging program.
3. Linkedin Today
Linkedin Today makes it easy to stay up to date with the most popular news, blogs, and articles relevant to your business. Think of it as your interactive real-time morning paper. You can easily customize your newsfeed by subscribing to your favorite blogs and news sources. What shows up in your feed is generated directly from the network you’re connected to, bringing you the most relevant news about the industries and topics based on the industries and sources you find most valuable. Checking in to Linkedin Today can spark a wealth of content ideas based around trends and hot topics relevant to your industry.
4. Visualize Your Keywords
Building a word cloud based on conversations around your brand is a great way to visualize keywords most associated with your brand. For example, find a group of tweets that mention your brand, product or industry and drop them into a tag cloud application such as Wordle. You’ll often find new keywords you may not have thought of, as well as a few surprise topics of association. This is a great way to really stretch your content dollar and find emerging trends to blog about.
5. Eavesdrop: Be nosy. Listen in on conversations offline as well as online. Tune in to conversations while waiting in line at Starbucks or by ear hustling the table next to you at lunch. Find out what people are talking about, what they care about. I use Evernote to jot down and keep track of interesting points I overhear and the ideas they spark which often turn into content and conversational blog posts.
What sources do you use to fuel your content ideas and overall content marketing strategy? Stay tuned for part 2 with 5 more fantastic tactics coming next week.