B2B content marketing has peaks and lulls, and one of the things that elevates a senior
content marketer above a junior content slacker is knowing how to make yourself useful
during those lulls. And the more of these methods you keep in mind, the more useful you'll
be, not only for as long as the lull lasts, but in the time after.
Review The Content Calendar
The first thing you should do is go back to your content plan/calendar. See if there's
anything scheduled for later in the year that you can get a headstart on now. A lot of B2B
content is time-sensitive, so it can be hard to create full content pieces ahead of time,
but you can look for research sources, create outlines, or write out partial documents
with sections to be filled in later.
Read The News
For whatever industries you focus on, it's best to stay up to date on the latest
developments, so read the trade publications. And if there are any, look in on any social
media groups or threads or sub-Reddits where your industry hangs out. This will give you an
idea of what's on your industry's mind, and what questions you might want to have your SMEs
answer in your content.
Another helpful information source is analyst reports, if you can get access. Content
people often are not offered access to such reports unless they ask for it, though a lot of
businesses do have subscriptions. Ask a marketing leader if they can make something
available. And finally, HARO (a website that aggregates journalist queries) is a useful
resource for knowing what content ideas might be pitchable to journalists.
Being up to date on what your competitors are talking and writing about is also useful.
Study what they're covering in their content, and look for any gaps. Also look for any
content that covers a useful topic but is perhaps old, out of date, incomplete, or could
otherwise be improved upon. Covering a topic better than they did often isn't that hard,
and it can be quite effective.
Survey Old Content
Go through your brand's old content (two years back or more). See if there's anything
that's embarrassingly out of date (it may be time to take that stuff down). And see if
anything can be updated, revamped, or rewritten. And this is surprisingly easy to do.
I've managed to rewrite 70-80% of certain articles that were barely a year old with new
perspectives and only modest effort.
Study Best-In-Class Brands
By this, I'm not talking about your competitors. I'm talking about brands considered
the best at what they do in terms of content, or that you at least consider the best.
And if you don't have any, find some (job interviewers will sometimes ask you about
this and not having an answer looks bad). Study their tactics. How they do things. What
new things they're doing. See what's worth emulating.
Do An Informal Audit
A formal content audit is too complex to do spontaneously, but you can do an informal one.
And don't be intimidated by the word "audit." At most businesses, an informal audit will
only take a few hours.
Create a list of all major content topics your business needs to cover. Add to that list
any of your company's business units that have no overlap among those topics. Then go back a
year or two in your content. Count the number of times each topic/business unit is addressed.
See if any vital topics are being neglected, or if certain topics are being overprioritized (a
common problem when content is often created in response to ad hoc requests). Once you have
the results, present them to your boss. They'll applaud your initiative, and let you know if
anything is being ignored on purpose.
Talk To Your Digital, Social, Or Web People
The content that you write/create may be published on many channels. However, unless you
have KPIs tied to them, information regarding how those channels perform is not always
shared with content people, unless they ask for it.
Talk to your web people. Ask about what's getting viewed and not getting viewed. Ask about
heatmaps and bounce rates. Talk to your social people. Ask what they're worried about. Ask
about how your brand is performing versus competitors, or against benchmarks, or targets.
Talk to your digital people. See how their ads are performing. Make suggestions if you see
issues with the copy or creative the agencies are giving them. Be useful to them, and
they'll be useful to you.