Imagine this scenario: A client wants you to write a meaty, interesting article for their blog every two weeks. They may post other content on their blog as well, but they want you to plan and write an article for their blog every two weeks.
How are you going to come up with those topics? Well, of course, you’re going to brainstorm topics with your client. You’re going to collaborate with your client to come up with some topic ideas.
And, to help you out, I’m going to give you a tool for coming up with ideas for content and then writing that content so it’s very effective.
The Four B2B Content Master Topics
Even though there are hundreds of different topics that you could pick for your content, when it comes right down to it, all content really falls into four basic master topics.
It’s almost like Hollywood movies. If you ever read a book on screenwriting, you’ll find out there are only seven types of plots for Hollywood movies. And every movie ever made is a variation on one of those plots.
We’ve got the same thing with content. There really are only four types of content — or four master topics for content. Any content piece you write is going to be a variation of one of these four master topics.
So, if you know what these four master topics are, and you know how to approach writing each type, then that’s very helpful in coming up with topic ideas. And that will help you in planning and in writing your content.
Now, let’s take a look at these four B2B content topics…
#1. Making the Case
This is content that tends to be very serious. It tends to be arguing for a particular point of view, or recommending a particular solution, or providing an expert opinion on something important.
Think of a columnist for a newspaper who is a little controversial. They’re going to challenge the status quo and shake things up. They’re going to have a very specific point of view. That’s what this type of content is.
Let me give you an example…
Many years ago, I had a client who had created a brand-new type of keyboard for computers. This keyboard was completely different from anything else you’ve ever seen. It looked like it came from another planet. And his argument was that this keyboard will make people much more productive.
He was really challenging the status quo. So a lot of the articles he wrote for his blog, and a lot of the content he developed for his business was around making a case for this new type of keyboard.
He was challenging the traditional keyboard and what’s wrong with it. How it makes people less productive, and why his new type of keyboard makes people much more productive. So he wrote a lot of heavy-duty articles and blog posts in the category of building a strong business case.
When you write a piece like this, whether it’s in a form of a blog post, or article, or even an e-book or white paper, what you need to do is build a persuasive case based on facts and examples.
So articles like these have a lot of proof, a lot of facts, a lot of quotes from other experts, and a lot of examples that illustrate your premise. They’re designed to change people’s minds.
This is a great type of content to write. This type of content gets shared most often within an industry. It’s making a strong business case for a particular point of view, or a particular solution or a particular way of doing things.
#2. Giving Advice
As the name suggests, this is content designed to give you advice on something. This is also known as a how-to type of article.
So one of the distinguishing characteristics of this type of content is that it’s often in the form of a bullet list or numbered list of tips. It can also be instructions on how to do something.
Let me give you an example…
Let’s say your client is a forklift truck manufacturer. Well, on their blog, you may plan an article for them along the lines of “Six mistakes your forklift drivers may not know they’re making.” This will obviously be a listing of six safety mistakes the forklift truck drivers are making.
It’s providing information and advice. This type of content tends to feature tactical tips and ideas, sound and practical advice, and how-to advice. That’s the approach you take with this type of content.
#3. Providing Helpful Information
This tends to be lightweight content that’s designed just to convey information.
Let’s say you have a client that’s participating in an upcoming trade show. And they want to announce that on their blog. So they want to list some of the products they’re going to be featuring in the trade show.
By describing some of the features of their exhibit, hopefully more people will be interested in visiting their booth. So it could be an article like that, just providing information.
Or it could be industry news that’s important to your client’s audience.
It could be even a soft promotion. For example, if your client is launching a new type of product, it could just mention something like, “Congratulations to our product development team. They’re launching our new forklift truck in March. Here’s a picture of them with the new forklift truck.”
It’s a very low-key promotion, but still in the form of content. It’s not going to be a heavy-duty promotion. Simply delivering helpful information in a clear and relevant way.
#4. Customer Success Story
The fourth content master topic is sometimes a little more difficult to arrange. This is the same as a case study or a customer success story. Sometimes they could be in shorter formats, like blogs or news releases.
But this type of content is terrific when you can arrange it. If you know anything about writing case studies, the challenge is that the client has to convince one of their customers or clients to participate in the success story.
So it’s a more complex process to get this kind of content together. But it’s a valuable and effective type of content.
A success story is a story about a customer: how they used your client’s product and the success they achieved as a result of using your client’s product or services.
If your client has success stories on their blog, in their articles, or featured in their other content, it will gain a high readership. It’s a very powerful type of content.
So those are the four master B2B content topics.
Now, when I plan content with a client, I’ll create a spreadsheet and I’ll list these four master topics on the top of the spreadsheet. Then I’ll brainstorm ideas under each category with the client.
And the idea is to mix things up a bit. So one issue, you have an article that’s making the case. The next, you give insightful advice. The next post, you feature a customer success story. The next, you provide helpful information on something. Then you go back to another making the case topic.
You’re mixing up the different flavors of content. That makes your client’s content much more interesting and engaging. And that variety will be more likely to resonate with a larger percentage of their target audience so it will work well for them.
And obviously, when you get better results for your client, then they’re going to love you for it and use your services again and again. And that’s the name of the game when you’re building your B2B writing or copywriting business.