Tablet with a stack of books being clicked on and downloaded

Creating a major piece of content – such as an ebook, guide, or white paper – can be a daunting task.

Although these in-depth resources are ideal for educating leads, they are also time-intensive. Many B2B marketing teams are overworked and don’t have the capacity to get these projects off the ground.

According to a study by Ascend2, the biggest content marketing challenge is the lack of internal resources to get it done.

Bar graph illustrating biggest challenges for content marketers

If you invest in a major content project, you don’t want to waste all of your effort on something that falls flat.

Before you commit to your next ebook, guide, or white paper, you’ll want to be sure that it will help you achieve your marketing goals.

To do this, you must start by picking a topic that resonates with your audience.

Here are four keys to ensuring that your next ebook, guide, or white paper topic will attract leads: 

Test before you invest

If you’re not sure if your audience is interested in a particular topic, you can run a test.

For example, write a blog post about your topic and see how it performs. Are your ideal readers commenting on the post and sharing it on social media? How is it performing, compared to other posts on your blog?

Find the top-performing content for your keywords

One of my favourite content marketing tools is BuzzSumo. After you enter your keywords, the tool will show you the most-shared content for those phrases. Using BuzzSumo helps you learn which topics are trending and which headlines draw in the most readers.

Here’s a screenshot of a search that I did for “content marketing”:

Screen shot showing Buzzsumo's website

It shows you shares across the top social channels. If you upgrade, you can also see the number of links for each post.

According to BuzzSumo, one of the most popular types of B2B content is in-vogue and trending topics. For example, content about artificial intelligence is currently getting a lot of shares.

An ebook about a trending topic can help you increase your opt-ins. However, trending content won’t have as long of a lifespan as your evergreen content. You may need to update it or replace it with something new when its information grows old.  

Stick with what works

An easy way to find your next ebook topic is to mine your current content for ideas.

Review your metrics to determine which pieces of content perform the best. Check your blog, webinars, case studies, and social content. Which pieces of content get the most views, shares, and downloads from your target audience? Do you have any topics that you can expand into a longer ebook, guide, or white paper?

Once you identify a potential topic, locate all of your related content. How much of this content can you repurpose in your ebook? 

Mind the gap

Another way to pick a topic is to find the gaps in your current marketing.

For example, are you about to launch a new product but don’t have content to support it? Are your competitors talking about things that you also should address? 

Also look at the questions that your customers ask. Do any of these questions fall into a common theme that you can turn into an ebook? For example, are customers in the early or middle stages of your sales funnel asking questions that you haven’t yet answered in your content? What are their most pressing challenges that you need to address? 

Next Steps 

1.Download The Ultimate Content Library Checklist: 9 Items You Need to Share with Your Team to Create Better, Faster and More Effective Content. 

2. Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.

3. Subscribe to the Fresh Marketing Blog to receive weekly B2B marketing tips, trends, and best practices.