11 ideas for B2B articles
Having a continual stream of valuable articles helps your marketing in many ways:
- It provides value and interest to your target audience
- It gives you reasons to email contacts
- It adds to your social posts
- It keeps your website content fresh
- It builds your SEO (should you optimise)
A fundamental part of any content marketing strategy, articles help to shorten your sales funnel and build your brand. Try not to see them as sales tools though. Articles exist to build relationships with your audience and help them discover how to achieve their goals. Your primary focus should be on them, not you.
Of course, before writing a thing you must understand your audience and know what matters to them. You must also be clear on your own marketing priorities. For example, are you building authority or accelerating your lead funnel?
For THIS article though, we’re going to focus on the “what”. So, here goes.
#1 Question articles
Think of all those questions prospective customers ask. If you’re one step ahead, you’ve already noted them down.
Most can form the basis of an article other prospects would value. Whether that’s “Why do I need X product?” or “How does X product help with Y problem?”
So, collate your questions. And get granular. Both broad and specific questions matter.
Alongside questions are hesitations and objections. These make fantastic articles too. Add them to your list and consider how you could respond in a helpful article.
Once created, your ‘question’ articles will soon grow legs beyond marketing. For example, your sales team will find them a Godsend as they can refer to them in sales conversations.
#2 Comparison articles
What would your customers do if they didn’t have your product?
You might fear drawing attention to such things, but comparing your product to alternatives can help them make an informed decision. After all, they know they have options.
Maybe you run a cloud-based SaaS platform that can transform their operations. The alternative might be a series of spreadsheets or adapting existing in-house software. So, have a helpful discussion around the pros and cons of each option, depending on their business type and challenges.
By doing so, you’ll educate them faster and make it easier for them to decide their next steps.
Tip: Several alternatives? Create an article for each one. Many people search for this type of information: “X product vs Y product”
#3 Advice articles
Many B2B products and services are complex. The decision to buy them takes time, and prospective customers must work out what they need and research options. So, help them.
These articles can take many forms. “How to choose…” is a common framework. But don’t underestimate its importance.
Always remember where your reader is likely to be in their head. For example, you could create an advice article around a likely challenge they have, giving them quick-fix and longer-term ideas about how to resolve it (they might not be ready to invest in your product yet).
Another handy format is to advise them on the mistakes they should avoid. The pitfalls. And how about helping them with the essential terminology in your sector? An article that translates it into plain English would be welcome.
#4 How to articles
This category of articles can also develop in several ways. “How to [achieve] X” is a much-loved angle. And useful when the topic matters to your audience. Think about the outcomes they would dearly love to reach.
You might also create ‘how to’ articles around the features of your product. Let’s say you have a SaaS product, and it has some amazing functionality. Breaking this down into things the user could achieve using your product prompts many article ideas:
“How to reconcile 100% of statements received”
“How to access parts data in seconds”
“How to manage your overtime needs on one screen”
You get the gist. By taking a specific need they have and showing them how to achieve it with your product you have a compelling article.
#5 Thought leadership articles
Every business has “experts”. But for most, that expertise remains in their head. Imagine if you could extract this knowledge and translate it into articles…
Thought leadership is about the unique insight of that individual. What they believe, what they advise, what they predict. It’s a great way to build your brand’s authority.
Many experts lack time to write. But they’re happy to talk. So, have the right questions or topics to discuss with them and hit record. From there, you have incredible potential for articles.
#6 Upcoming trend articles
People always love to read a bit of crystal ball gazing. Especially when you’ve focused on a topical trend. That’s why everyone’s talking about AI and what the future might look like.
What trends matter to your audience? And can you provide your thoughts on them? Or sum up the main thoughts in your sector?
You might need to research the trends first or talk to your experts. Either way, these future-centric articles add huge value to your content and position you as a business in the know.
#7 Opinion articles
We all have them. And sometimes, we’re happy to air them. Standing on your soap box can make for great content. But be careful you don’t alienate your audience.
Sometimes, being opinionated can repel those you DON’T want to sell to. And it can pull others closer to you. Polarising can be effective.
In the right place, opinion articles make good sense.
#8 Research articles
You might collate the research for them or use research you’ve undertaken yourself. Both methods provide routes to valuable articles.
To create something unique, try a customer survey. Don’t get stuck asking for positive feedback though. Consider a state of the market survey or a top tips survey. Remember, you want to give your readers relevant value and interest.
#9 Product feature articles
You might have updated your product or revamped your service. Now’s the time to get into the detail. But don’t do this with your sales head-on, focus on how it’ll make your reader’s life easier.
Maybe there’s a story behind your update. A frustration you’ve uncovered that many are experiencing. Tell them where you’re coming from and how you believe this new feature will help.
#10 Industry event articles
Have you hosted or attended an event recently? That warrants an article. You could collate your key learnings, discoveries, or insights from it. Again, consider what would be most valuable or interesting to your audience.
You could even go to the event with an article in mind. Try asking attendees topical questions to create your own survey. Or ask other exhibitors for comments on a subject of relevance.
#11 Company articles
I’ve deliberately put this category of articles last. Yes, they can be worthwhile, but many overdo the “look at me” articles when they’re of little interest to readers.
So, when you opt for a company article, play the cynic. Ask “So what?” before you create it.
- Will it be genuinely interesting or valuable to your target audience?
- Will they WANT to read it?
- Will it serve your content marketing objectives?
If you can answer “yes” to all three questions, then go ahead and create it. If, after some cynical pondering, it feels a bit salesy, or cheesy, think again.
Finally, I’ve not mentioned customer stories. That’s because I consider them a separate type of content altogether. Yes, they also help to nurture your prospects and shorten your sales funnel, but they’re too important to lump into an article list.
Have I helped you fuel your article list? I hope so. Find a spare hour and ponder each article category in turn. Your flashing cursor will be amazed at the transformation.
And should you need someone to CREATE all your lovely article ideas, let’s chat.