clapping audience

According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B peers overall cite producing enough content as their biggest challenge. In todays online world a steady stream of fresh content is crucial to long-term success. However, coming up with enough new topics to keep your blog up-to-date is a lot harder than many think. Its easy to get in your own way when it comes to content marketing and feel like you have nothing to say. If you ever find yourself struggling with content creation here are three ways you can look for new topics:

1. Turn to your customer service and sales teams.

Customer services and sales agents, any customer-facing employee really, are a great source of topics for your content marketing efforts. Think about it"these employees deal with your customers day in and day out. They answer questions (some of which they may not even know the answer to initially), solve problems, calm down frustrated customers, find ways to connect with new and return customers, and more. Great customer service/sales agents know how to create a strong rapport with the people they interact with, so why not tap into their brains for topics?!

Have your customer service/sales teams to keep a little notepad on their desk and ask them to write down every question they get asked in a given week. Chances are youll start to notice a theme when it comes to the most commonly asked questions, which indicates there is a gap in information out there that your content marketing efforts can fill. For example, if you sell a cloud computing product does your sales team field a lot of questions about security concerns? You could turn those concerns into topics for future blog posts, or even a whitepaper. Your customer service team might even find gaps in your own product information. For instance, do a lot of customers call in with installation or updating issues? Chances are they tried to resolve the issue on their own before they called your team, so maybe a new user manual or online support center needs to be created. That branded content can help grow your organic presence just as much as the general information blog posts will.

2. Check out what the competition is saying.

While Im not saying your competition is going to hit the nail on the head with every blog post, they are trying to reach the same audience as you, right? Which of their blog posts are real standouts? Which ones get the most social shares, the most pickups, and the most citations from around the web? Something about those posts really resonated with your target audience and it might be worth figuring out what they are doing and youre missing out on. Do certain topics of themes seem to do better than others? Have they adopted a certain point of view that better connects them with your audience?

While you should never copy your competition, by seeing what they are writing about you can also get a good idea of what they are NOT writing about. Where are the gaps in their content marketing efforts that you can fill with your own? There is a lot of competition out there for search space, as well as eyeballs, and finding a spot to claim as your expertise is crucial.

3. Do a little keyword research.

Pick some of your top keywords and plug them into the Google Keyword Research Tool to see if there are any variations youve missed that would be great blog topics. Remember, there is no guarantee that everyone is going to search for the same thing in the same way and you want to appeal to as broad a base as possible. For instance, a search for cloud computing security pulls new phrases like cloud computing security challenges and cloud computing security risks. These keywords could then be turned into blog posts like 5 Cloud Computing Security Challenges for SMBs or How to Protect Your SMB from Common Cloud Computing Security Risks. Its not every day that you get to present ground-breaking, earth-shattering, never-before-heard information to your audience, but you have to remember that to someone just entering your niche it is all fairly ground-breaking and mind-blowing. You can take different approaches to the same information to keep it fresh and interesting for your readers.

Sometimes the best thing to do is take a break, be it a few hours or a few days, from your content marketing efforts and come back with a fresh eye. Pretend you knew absolutely nothing about your industry/products/services but needed to. What kind of information would you be looking for? Think broad as well as specific and youll come across a great idea sooner or later.