Your lead-generating content machine runs on stories. It needs stories as fuel and lots of them. But what you write really matters. You can’t expect random blog post ideas to bring in leads and customers.
It takes 7 to 13 touches to generate a qualified B2B lead, so even a single great blog post can’t be given all the credit.
Content marketing is about how all of your content works together.
So...how do you come up with blog headlines that create meaningful touchpoints and bring people further down your funnel?
In this post, we show you exactly how to come up with blog post ideas based on your sales cycle, and we present quick wins for coming up with ideas in a flash.
Table of contents:
- How to define a blogging strategy that fits your buying cycle
- Top-of-funnel blog post ideas
- Middle-of-funnel blog post ideas
- Bottom-of-funnel blog post ideas
- Customer funnel blog post ideas
- Quick inspiration for blog post ideas
- Analyze companies you admire for their ranking SEO content
- Find out what competitors are driving ad traffic to
- Check out headlines from industry publications and communities
- Find out what prospects, leads, and customers ask
How to define a blogging strategy that fits your buying cycle
To create content that addresses every stage of the buying cycle, you first need to understand what your buying cycle looks like.
In B2B sales, you need to move your prospects through various awareness stages, all the way from not aware to considering a purchase.
Your blog post ideas should address all four of these key stages.
- Top-of-funnel content
- Middle-of-funnel content
- Bottom-of-funnel content
- Customer funnel content
Our friends at Drift break these down even further. Their content team uses the following funnel stages, and we think these are really insightful.
- Engage (TOFU)
- Educate (TOFU)
- Research (MOFU)
- Evaluate (MOFU)
- Justify (BOFU)
- Adapt (Customer funnel)
- Retain (Customer funnel)
- Expand (Customer funnel)
- Advocate (Customer funnel)
You might want to condense or combine some of these or add your own phases.
Below, we’ll look at blog post ideas for all 4 main categories, from the first interaction with your brand through to content for your most valuable long-term customers.
Top-of-funnel blog post ideas
The top of your marketing funnel is how you attract new people to your brand and keep people coming back for more, even when they’re not yet ready to buy from you.
Ideas to engage and entertain:
- Profiles of relevant entrepreneurs or executives
- Thought leadership on current industry events
- Thought leadership on industry buzzwords
Ideas to educate and problem-solve:
- Teardowns of successful companies
- Industry statistics
- How-to articles
- What are articles
- Advice round-ups
Middle-of-funnel blog post ideas
In the middle of your content marketing funnel, you aim to address people who are aware of their problems and aware that solutions exist.
Ideas to help your target audience research solutions:
- SEO blog posts that target “platform,” “software,” and “tool” keyphrases
- How-to articles about fixing important problems
- How-to articles about vetting and choosing vendors
Ideas to help your target audience compare solutions:
- Competitor alternative articles
- Competitor vs your brand articles
- Competitor vs competitor articles
Bottom-of-funnel blog post ideas
At the bottom of the content marketing funnel, you’ll want to create blog posts that target people who want to purchase your product, but still have questions or concerns (or need approval from their boss).
Ideas to help your target audience calculate the ROI for your product or service:
- How-to articles on calculating ROI of your company
- How-to articles on getting more ROI out of your company
- How-to articles on calculating ROI from your type of solution
- How-to articles on getting more ROI from your type of solution
Ideas to help your target audience sell your product or service internally:
- How-to articles on convincing a boss or hire up to pay for your specific solution
- How-to articles on convincing a boss or hire up to pay for your type of solution
- Individual articles for each decision-maker that handle their common objections
Customer funnel blog post ideas
Don’t forget about content for your existing customers. You want to keep them around. You’ll need blog posts that help them get the most out of working with you.
Ideas to help your customers transition to your product or service successfully:
- How-to articles on leaving behind manual processes
- How-to articles on leaving behind old school software
- How-to articles on switching from a specific competitor name
Ideas to help you retain your customers:
- How-to articles on using advanced features
- How-to articles on getting the most out of certain services
- How-to articles on handling related aspects that will combine to get them better results
Ideas to turn your customers into advocates for your brand:
- Case studies on the results customers have gotten from your product or service
- Advice roundups featuring customers only
- Customer-written tutorials about how they utilize your product
(Bonus!) Quick inspiration for blog post ideas
For the most part, it’s wise to think of what funnel stage you need content for, and then come up with ideas within that stage.
But you could do the ideation backward too.
You could come up with an idea, and then determine which phase of the buying cycle it goes in, so that you’re staying aware of how much content you have in each phase, and which phases deserve more attention.
Here are some great ways to come up with new blog post ideas.
Analyze companies you admire for their ranking SEO content
Checking out other company’s SEO rankings can be an easy way to come up with content ideas.
You can analyze rankings using a tool like Ubersuggest, Mangools, or Ahrefs.
Take a peek at:
- Companies you admire
- Direct competitors
- Companies that serve the same audience but aren’t competitors
When you look at these rankings, the point isn’t necessarily to find specific keywords (though that’s certainly the case with your competitors). Instead, what you’re looking for is overall ideas about the related topics they write about.
In the above example of Lucidchart’s rankings, we can see that they rank for key phrases highly relevant to their product category (BOFU keyphrases like process mapping tools) and keyphrases that solve problems for their audience (what is a gap analysis), as well as more educational TOFU content (agile software development life cycle).
Have some fun and check out brands that aren’t in the same category or market as you so you can see how wide of a net they cast with their content.
Find out what competitors are driving ad traffic to
What are your competitors driving ad traffic to? What about companies that serve your target audience but with a different solution?
If these companies are driving ad traffic to it, they’ve identified that the content is important for a piece of their funnel.
You can get tons of ideas from ads. Most ad platforms make it easy to see the exact creativity. On Facebook, just go to any page and navigate to the ad transparency section.
The third ad from Freshbooks uses the copy “Are unpaid invoices coming back to haunt you?”
That single line of ad copy can produce many blog post ideas:
- What to Do If Clients Don’t Pay Your Invoice
- How to Make It Fast & Easy for Clients to Pay Your Invoices
- How to Automate Your Invoice Follow-Up and Get Paid
Check out headlines from industry publications and communities
You can also get blog post ideas from relevant industry publications and communities.
Where does your target audience hang out? Where do they get interviewed and featured?
You can turn headlines from podcasts, summits, virtual events, forum threads, and articles into your own winning blog headlines. Just don’t copy things exactly. For example, the headline “5 Reasons Why Your Sales Contests Suck & How to Fix Them” could become “How to Run Sales Team Contests That Actually Work.”
Find out what prospects, leads, and customers ask
And for our final quick win, we suggest that you find out what people are already asking.
Get in touch with the right people at your company to pull insights from the following:
- Live chat transcripts - Ask your customer support team or chat development reps for insights into the most frequently asked questions.
- Sales calls - Sit in on sales conversations, and (if possible) get access to AI-powered reports that distill the most frequent pain points, phrases, and questions.
- Customer success sessions - Talk with the head of customer success about the most common issues. Partner together to create content that will retain customers and help them get some questions to answer in a more self-serve way.
Blog post ideas are a dime a dozen. The possibilities are endless. Make sure that you’re paying attention to what funnel your content is for, so you can do a healthy mix. When you have content that hits every buying stage, you can create personalized customer journeys and make sure that your brand is available to help your audience whenever they need you.
StoryChief is an all-in-one content marketing platform that makes it easy to create and collaborate on content, publish it, and promote it. Learn more about StoryChief.