Contrary to what you may have heard, content marketing (and in particular written content) isn’t dead. Rather, it’s as powerful a marketing channel as ever:
- 70% of people would rather get information from blogs than traditional ads
- How-to articles are the most popular content formats (77%), followed by news and trends (49%), and guides and ebooks (47%)
- 44% of buyers say they typically consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a vendor
If you’re struggling to find content marketing success, the problem isn’t the channel. It’s your ability to leverage it to capture your audience’s attention and, over time, convert them into customers.
To paraphrase Shakespeare: The fault is not in our marketing channels, but in ourselves.
So how do you best leverage written content to engage your customer base and drive revenue? Read on for 15 content marketing ideas and tips that we’ve learned from years of experience in the B2B space.
What most business leaders get wrong about content marketing
First, I need to do a bit of mythbusting. If I convince you, keep reading. If not, feel free to click away.
Despite what many “experts” claim, great content is not all about SEO, organic traffic, & quick lead generation.
Don’t misunderstand me: SEO isn’t dead. But if you’re expecting to rank overnight and start getting thousands of leads tomorrow, you’re thinking about content the wrong way.
Why? Because you’re not Coca-Cola, Nike, or Apple. The vast majority of prospects don’t know you. And if they don’t know you, they certainly can’t trust you.
To build that trust, your audience has to get comfortable with three things:
👉 Reputation—show that you don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Use stories and insights to inspire others to learn more about your company.
👉 Expertise—give away the secret sauce. Don’t wait until they get on a demo to show them what you have to offer. Because without some understanding of your expertise, they won’t even make it to that point.
👉 Culture & Values—you’re not just a faceless entity. You have a personality, culture, and, yes, quirks. Put them front and center.
This can’t happen overnight. So if you’re looking for quick wins, you’d probably be better off hiring some SDRs or BDRs vs. investing in content.
But if you’re already generating business and want to take the next step toward building consistent, predictable, and scalable revenue funnels, content marketing is the best way to demonstrate those three pillars. (And these 15 content marketing ideas & tips will help you get started!)
Why do business leaders fall for this myth?
So why does the SEO misconception persist? In my (perhaps cynical) view: a lot of content agencies make a lot of money on it.
These firms farm out cheap copy—generated by either inexperienced writers or AI—and mark it up as having “SEO value.” When, in reality, their clients would probably save money just writing it themselves.
But these agencies convince enough people in-market to buy the myth, and enough new clients come in to offset the high churn. And somehow, that’s a “sustainable” business model.
I’m not interested in building a business like that. I’m here to tell you the truth—a truth that, for many of my clients, has led to long-lasting relationships and high levels of satisfaction regarding their content.
15 content marketing ideas & tips for your company’s blog
If you’ve bought into the myth above, success with these 15 content marketing ideas will require a mindset shift. Specifically, you need to stop measuring content success solely based on SEO value.
While, yes, SEO is important, it only addresses one problem: getting new prospects to your website. This ignores the inevitable next step: Once they visit our website, what happens next?
If your content attracts prospects but doesn’t compel them to take further action, then how valuable is that traffic? Traffic, pageviews, and search engine rankings are all leading indicators—if they don’t lead to revenue, they won’t help your bottom line.
🚫 So don’t ask: will this content help us rank?
✅ Ask: will this content help us convert?
Once you make this mindset change, then you’re ready to implement the 15 content marketing ideas and tips listed below.
1. Write niche content to a specific ideal customer profile (ICP)
If there’s a dominant trend in the creator economy right now, it’s that content creators are niching down.
Think about it: if you have a problem in your business or life, you don’t go to CNN or Wikipedia. You find an expert who has proven experience solving that problem and working in your industry or niche.
While, yes, niching down does cap your audience size, you’ll end up with a more captivated and committed audience—one that’s ready and willing to take action on the information you provide. In other words, leads that are primed to make a purchase.
To do this, you need to:
- Understand your ideal customer profile (ICP)
- Tailor all of your content directly to that ICP
- Ignore ideas and references that don’t relate to them
- Have opinions and perspectives that they can relate to (or even disagree with)
It may seem counterintuitive, but you go big with your content by going small.
2. Research keywords, but don’t be beholden to them
As I mentioned earlier, it’s hard to separate “content marketing” from “SEO” in most people’s minds. While I certainly understand the connection, limiting your content objectives to this one channel clamps down on your reach and impact.
Here’s a specific example: keyword research. Most marketers do find a list of relevant keywords, pick off the ones that have higher search volumes and low competition, write content optimized for those keywords, and—voila!—watch the traffic come in.
But here’s the problem: keywords only indicate two things:
- Search terms people are actively looking for
- Search terms that enough people are looking for that there’s measurable volume
Now, as an inbound marketer, this is a gold mine of potential leads and customers. However, if you limit yourself to only these topics, you’ll end up becoming a market follower, not a market leader.
Leaders set the terms of the conversation. They engage in the topics that no one else is discussing. They aren’t afraid to be unpopular. Followers do the opposite.
By writing content outside the popular keyword options, you can drive attention to your website that no one else is getting. Do this enough times, and you could even create new keyword categories for your competitors to chase.
3. Don’t over-optimize your content
And while we’re on the topic of SEO, let’s talk about on-page optimization. Specifically, this involves incorporating keywords into various elements of your content:
- Meta titles
- Meta descriptions
- Headings & subheadings
- Keyword density
Again, SEO is important. But over-optimization is a real problem, and results in content that sounds stilted and unnatural. As more marketers rely on generative AI tools like ChatGPT to create their content, that problem is going to only get worse.
If you rank #1 for 100 search terms, but your content is so bad that no one takes further action and your reputation as a brand is damaged, is that content actually helping you?
Remember: your goal isn’t to rank on Google, but to generate business. Ranking on Google is just a means to that end.
4. Be strategic, but don’t let strategy hinder action
Strategy matters. And I don’t want to discount the importance of a solid content plan. But often marketing leaders spend too much time planning their content and don’t execute it.
Recent data from SEMRush shows that while a solid content strategy is certainly a factor in content marketing success, consistent execution is equally important:
- 45% of marketing organizations are publishing more content and publishing more frequently
- 44% said improving the quality and value of their content has led to success
- 42% said updating existing content has boosted their content marketing value
- 40% said creating more visual and video content improved their content marketing
So, yes, be strategic. But also, don’t overthink things at the expense of execution and getting your message out into the market.
5. Engage in directional education
“Great content educates. It doesn’t sell.” My response: Yes, and…
I agree with the overall sentiment. If your content is a less-than-subtle sales piece, only the most qualified, bottom-of-funnel readers will read it.
But this is a nuanced issue, and I think it’s time to move beyond the binary sales-not-sales conversation:
- Great salespeople educate. The modern sales rep doesn’t use a slick pitch to manipulate people into buying. They help buyers make the best decision for their business and don’t pressure people they can’t help into buying.
- Your business gives you authority. People who shy away from talking about their product, service, or the customers they serve lose the foundation of their authority: the business.
- Education is directional. No one gives “just the facts.” Every piece of information directs the reader to change their mind or take action. Remember: you’re a business. Your content should naturally direct people toward your product and away from competitors.
Now, depending on the topic (and your ICP), how overtly you engage in this directional education is going to change. But you’re not a neutral observer. Your customers know you’re not a neutral observer. So don’t pretend to be one!
State your perspective. Speak about your experiences. Educate your buyer directionally so they come to share your point of view and buy your product.
6. Use stories & interviews—not just from your customers
Recently, I came across an article from BEAM Content featuring an interview with Kathleen Booth from Pavilion, a membership platform with 10,000+ SaaS CEOs & GTMs. In the article, Booth discussed how Pavilion decided to turn off paid advertising and go all-in on community-led growth.
As great as the article is, I want to talk on a meta-level about the tactic itself. As far as I know, Pavilion isn’t one of BEAM’s clients. Yet they still interviewed Booth and used her story to their mutual benefit.
Too many content marketers think the only stories they can tell come from customers. And while, yes, those are an excellent source of stories, they’re not the only ones you can tell.
There are a plethora of potential sources out there for you to mine: from influencers to thought leaders to that random person who has valuable experience and a fresh perspective.
Another great example of this: our own client, Great Recruiters. Their CXO Adam Conrad regularly hosts LinkedIn Live events with staffing industry leaders, sharing their insights and experiences with his audience.
Some of these are Great Recruiters customers, but many are not. It doesn’t matter. If they have an interesting perspective on recruiting and staffing, Adam puts them on the air.
So don’t limit yourself to case studies or customer stories. There are plenty of valuable perspectives you can gain from all kinds of people across the industry. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find your next customer this way.
7. Use video content alongside written words (and vice versa)
Great copy can and should draw your reader in by telling a compelling story. But that doesn’t mean you should rely exclusively on the written word.
Video content is a tactic marketers simply can’t ignore. Just read these key takeaways from HubSpot’s State of Video Marketing Report:
- Marketers feel more positive about video’s return on investment than at any point since 2015, as they report an unprecedented level of influence on KPIs such as traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding
- More marketers credited video with increasing dwell time, traffic, leads, sales, and reduced support queries than in any of HubSpot’s annual surveys since 2015, while an all-time high number of marketers (92%) said video delivers a good ROI
- Driving all of this is the fact that consumers continue to use video as an integral part of their journey with brands. They expect to see video content from brands and use it as a key part of their research and purchasing decisions
Rather than say much more about this, here’s a video with some tactical advice for converting video to written word (and vice versa).
8. Guest post on other reputable websites
I have to be completely honest with you: guest posting is an area where I’m woefully lacking. Part of the reason is that between client work and content for my own site, I reach my creative limit far too often.
However, if you’re going to take the time to create highly original content, you should get the most bang for your buck. This means, among other things, submitting content to relevant publications within your industry.
By generating content to post on someone else’s website, you can capitalize on their audience. And many of them are going to naturally flock to you and join yours. In other words, you leverage their reputation to build your own.
9. Experiment with interactive and custom content
Like guest posting, this is an area where I have limited experience. However, I recently built and configured a custom content project with a client, and, when executed well, it can be a serious value-driver.
There are many ways to create interactive and custom content:
- Use automation to generate custom results based on a prospect attribute—lifecycle stage, vertical, role or job function, etc.
- Create quizzes and assessments that generate custom responses & recommendations based on their inputs
- Engage in targeted account-based marketing toward specific, high-value companies
The more you can tailor your content to individual problems, needs, and challenges, the more value you’ll provide. Custom content takes this idea to the extreme, enabling the creation of content that targets the individual themselves, rather than an aggregate persona.
10. Repurpose content to maximize reach & value
A blog post is just a blog post. Except when it isn’t. Once you create a piece of content, you’ve got anywhere from 7-10 ways to repurpose that content and maximize its reach and value.
Take this blog post, for example. Now that it’s published, I’ll convert it into:
- 5-10 LinkedIn posts
- 30+ Tweets
- 3-5 email newsletters
- 3-5 automated email drip campaigns
- Feature article for guest posting
- Combine with other blogs to make a pillar page or eBook
And that’s just written content. Add in video, podcasts, infographics, etc. and the possibilities are endless.
One word of caution: you should never just “copy and paste.” Keep a consistent core message, but edit each post with appropriate context for the channel.
11. Incorporate social proof into your content
In high-trust sales, social proof is critical. Not only should your content demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, but that you actually have experience making it happen. This, in my opinion, is what separates “influencer” content from “marketing” content:
- Influencer content is written by talkers and social media gurus whose only skill is building a “personal brand” on a particular channel
- Marketing content is written by (or on behalf of) practitioners and business operators who have a skill and want to share the secrets of the trade with an eager audience
You’ll find that influencers are really just good at that—influencing. Their advice is good for people who want to follow that path, but not much else.
By including testimonials, reviews, ratings, and case studies in your content, you can build social proof and credibility as a practitioner within your industry.
12. Partner with other reputable brands
Co-authoring content with other brands (personal or business) only heightens your own credibility.
One great example, especially common in the B2B space, are industry data & benchmark reports. Often you’ll have several sponsors and co-authors who put their name to the report—each of them elevating the reputation of the other.
For example, when we worked on Mediafly’s Future of Revenue Enablement benchmark report, they enlisted a reputable research and analysis firm to capture and analyze market data. Mediafly and Fearless, then, worked together to contextualize that data, surface the most meaningful insights, and tell the best story.
Here are some examples of reputable potential partners for content collaborations:
- Publications (online or print)
- Research & data firms
- Professional organizations
- Industry & trade associations
- Integration partners
- Clients & customers
- Competitors (shocking, right?! Show that you play nice in the sandbox)
Often companies miss high-value marketing opportunities because they go it alone. Content collaborations can help build much-desired credibility.
13. Leverage user-generated content
The best marketing is the kind that requires no time and money. That’s why many SaaS startups have found and continue to find great value from user-generated content:
- 60% of consumers believe user-generated content is the most authentic form of content
- Ads built on user-generated content get 4X above average click rate
- Visitors to websites with user-generated content spend 90% more time on-site
Of course, getting users to actively promote your business can’t be just a “share on social” ask after Week One post-purchase. If you’re going to get people to promote you, there has to be value in it for them:
- Celebrate achievements. People will celebrate your brand if it means celebrating themselves. Look at what G2 does with their awards—every certification elevates both G2 and the user brand.
- Build certifications. Although a heavy time commitment, certifications and online courses not only give people something to celebrate, but also showcase your brand’s expertise in your field. Just look at what HubSpot has accomplished with their certification program.
- Run contests and giveaways. More common among B2C brands, social media contests and giveaways can be a great way to get users talking about your brand while generating additional content for your company feed.
- Host Q&A, Twitter Chats, LinkedIn Polls, etc. By engaging your social media audience in conversations on social media, you may inadvertently get someone to post an insightful comment that you can then leverage in your content.
- Drive product reviews. Although they may seem banal, product reviews are a great way to get people talking about your product. Pitch it as a way for users to help others get value out of a product they love!
Success with user-generated content doesn’t happen overnight. But by intentionally building systems for capturing and capitalizing on UGC, you can seize each moment as it happens.
14. Always learn, evolve, and grow
Unlike ads, content works in perpetuity. But it’s never static. People change. Markets shift. Algorithms get updated.
Which means that if you’re going to remain relevant, you need to constantly evaluate where you put your attention and what you do with your content:
- Before 2015, keyword-stuffing was the key to creating an SEO blog—now it’ll get you penalized
- In 2018, people were talking about Snapchat as the future—and now it’s hardly part of anyone’s marketing strategy. Facebook, similarly, is in decline.
- Before 2019, LinkedIn was just a place to post resumes—now it’s the biggest online networking community for professionals
- Before 2020, few had heard of TikTok—now its potential for organic growth is legendary
- Before 2022, no one was talking about ChatGPT and generative AI and its implications for content marketing—now if you aren’t actively using AI, you’re behind the times
Marketing, as a discipline, is ever-evolving. You’ll find articles you wrote more than a couple of years ago just don’t read well today. This requires you to update them.
This is also why monitoring metrics like:
- Bounce rates
…can help you figure out which content resonates and which ones don’t. Don’t just set it and forget it. Always learn, evolve, and grow.
15. Always include a call-to-action
Now, for the last of these 15 content marketing ideas and tips: your content should never end without a call to action. If you’ve engaged someone enough to get them to read to the end, odds are they’re interested enough to consider taking the next step toward deepening their relationship with you.
However, in many cases, they aren’t sure how. It’s up to you to put the guideposts in place to help them take that step.
Depending on your strategy and the marketing resources at your disposal, your CTA can be any number of things:
- Email newsletter subscription
- Demo request
- eBook or report download
- Social media follow
- Sales sheet or video
Generally, I like to apply three principles when choosing a call-to-action on a piece of content:
- What’s the logical next step a reader could take after reading this piece?
- Will that next step help further qualify a user into a prospect?
- Is the size of the ask proportional to the value you’ve just offered them?
Final thoughts on these 15 content marketing ideas and tips
So there you have it. 15 content marketing tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your marketing efforts.
None of these work overnight, of course. And you shouldn’t try to do all of them at once—you’ll burn out and likely not do any of them well.
But pick one or two as a place to start. You’ll find that even small actions to improve your content quality can go a long way toward moving the needle toward success.
If all of this seems overwhelming, don’t fear! With an experienced content marketer at your side, you can figure out which of these 15 content marketing ideas will work best for your SaaS startup.
Our team is standing by and ready to help. Contact us to get started.