Recently, I’ve been having a lot of Blue Seedling sales calls. I’ve noticed that, in every single call, I end up mentioning at least one of our blog posts at some point in the conversation —like why we don’t believe in online advertising for early-stage enterprise B2B startups, why you shouldn’t hire SDRs, and whether it’s better to hire an in-house marketer or work with an agency.
In my last two sales calls, the same topic came up about where your first customers will come from and how to find them. I didn’t have a blog post about it, so I wrote one. Which led me to thinking about this blog post…
Why sales and customer calls are your best source for content marketing ideas
I have it easy. I’m a marketer, I run sales for Blue Seedling, and I’m also involved in a lot of client engagements, making me a Customer Success person as well. I have direct access to prospects and clients, and my marketer mindset immediately translates what I hear into blog posts.
Your early-stage startup is not a marketing agency like Blue Seedling, but it’s likely that your situation is similar: the CEO is probably doing sales, and maybe also Customer Success. Maybe there’s one Sales person, one Success person. In a small team, it’s easy to connect with your clients and prospects. And even if your company is bigger, it’s still relatively easy to get on sales and client calls or listen to recordings. If these are not available, picking the brains of the Sales or Success team members definitely is.
Forget about reading “thought leadership” pieces and industry blogs to figure out your content strategy. Make no mistake: Yes, I do read analyst blogs and I definitely follow my share of industry blogs, and you should, too. What you should not do is use them as your primary source of content inspiration and your way of figuring out what your audience cares about.
Exclusively listening to this industry echo chamber will result in fluffy, unoriginal, irrelevant content for your audience. The most effective content? Find out what your customers’ problems are, and then share your opinion – ideally, an original one. And the best source for finding that out is hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth, on calls. 🐴
Another advantage of going on sales calls? You’ll hear the precise lingo and nomenclature your audience uses. Nothing makes you seem more like a true insider than using the right jargon.
Five client-driven content themes that always work
Here are five themes you’ll often hear about from clients that make excellent fodder for your content.
- Problems your prospects / clients have (and your thoughts on how to solve them)
Our examples: should I go to this conference?, what should be my target CPL?
- Myth busting: something everyone believes, but you know is actually wrong. We personally love being contrarian (we have an entire crash course on it), and being controversial is popular with any audience.
Our examples: why segmentation is overrated, why paid online advertising doesn’t work, why you shouldn’t outsource content, why most product launch campaigns fail
- What’s been really working in their space: new tech or tactic that has worked for them, something they’re excited about.
Our examples: “The Reader,” the most effective B2B marketing email you can send
- Benchmarks and best practices in your audience’s industry
Our examples: Past results do not guarantee future performance: 4 questions to ask before you double down on a high-performing marketing tactic, a short guide on email deliverability for early stage startups, the guide to getting started with email prospecting
- Team building: no matter the industry or function you’re selling to. For example, if your audience is e-commerce marketing executives, they’ll be very interested in your insights about how to structure an e-commerce marketing team and how to find the best e-commerce marketing talent.
Our examples: 10 signs your new CMO is failing, where fractional CMOs fall short (and the five questions to ask when hiring one), should I hire an in-house marketing employee, or work with an agency?, should my first business hire be marketing or sales?, building your first B2B marketing team
💡For more ideas, check out our crash course: Winning with Content Marketing.
The bottom line
As always, the key to successful content marketing is creating valuable, informative, educational, non-sales-y content addressing your audience’s pain points and what’s keeping them up at night. Going on client and prospect calls is one of the best ways to discover these pain points.