One of the biggest challenges B2B marketers have is coming up with new content. Boring white papers and boastful case studies are common pitfalls. So how do you find new content that engages audiences? Try these six surprising B2B content marketing ideas.

  1. Branded Tool – Create a branded tool for prospects and customers that provides a customized analysis, report, product recommendation, or plan. For example, a manufacturer of fuel density sensors can offer an estimation tool that calculates how much money commercial fleets can save annually by using fuel density meters on their trucks.
  2. Widget – This is a small web application that provides a simple function – such as weather, news headlines, sports scores – without requiring the user to visit a website. A widget is a good way to extend a brand into a customer’s everyday life. Tradeshow organizers can use a widget to help promote attendance at an upcoming conference with a countdown timer to the date and include an RSS feed with event updates, sponsors, ticket sales, etc.
  3. Company-Focused Community Site – Instead of reaching your customers on a 3rd party social network, build your social network. The main point is to cultivate a loyal community and bring people together with similar interests and similar problems. Do not pitch your products. Archer Technologies is an example of a B2B company that built their own community for customers to interact, share best practices, and provide feedback to help product development. You can use a tool like Ning to create a custom social network. Or, build a microsite with community features like discussion forums and message boards. Or, create a LinkedIn Group around a shared interest of your customers.
  4. Photo Sharing – Let customers share how they’re using your B2B product with photos. Flickr is the primary channel for this, but Picasa is also good. Supplement the photo sharing with discussion threads and other content. Let customers dominate the spotlight. You may find new or interesting ways customers are using products.
  5. Virtual Trade Show – A virtual trade show is a great way to overcome the time and travel costs of hosting an actual trade show or conference. Consider a mix of live and pre-recorded content – videos, slideshow presentations. Companies like INXPO have platforms to power virtual trade shows for organizations large and small such as Forbes, Hilton, United Business Media, and TechTarget. As a plus, you can sell opportunities to sponsors. A virtual trade show would be a good application for a global B2B supplier that has a new product and wants to share it with sales, business partners, and distributors at one event.
  6. E-Learning Series – Create a carefully planned curriculum of educational content delivered via a series of webinars, slide show presentations, videos, or other platform. It’s a good way to educate potential customers on complex topics and gradually introduce them to your solutions. Imagine a supplier of test and measurement equipment compiling a series of videos showing how their complex machinery works in the lab.

Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

As you create new content, consider repurposing old content into new forms. A white paper can become a series of blog posts. A product fact sheet can become an online video. Different people consume different types of content. Some like to read, some like to listen, others like to watch. Breathe new life into old content by reimagining it in different forms and presenting it to buyers (via social media and other channels) at the right stage of the buying cycle for maximum impact.