By now, business owners have heard it said over and over again: If you want to engage your customers and potential clients—and if you want to achieve maximum visibility on Google—then you need to have a good business blog. Many of us are happy to agree with this, but not too sure of how, exactly, it is practically implemented. Indeed, regular business blogging is easier said than done, especially for those who are not trained writers and who are not always sure of how to come up with new ideas.
In fact, that’s probably the biggest obstacle that business owners run into as they think about developing a blogging campaign of their own. What will I blog about, they wonder, and certainly, coming up with new themes for a daily or weekly blog post is a challenge.
With that said, online marketing pioneer Rich Gorman says there are a few steps that business owners or marketing leaders can take as they seek to develop fresh ideas for their business blogs. He lists seven of his favorite solutions.
Use Your Keywords—Along with an Editorial Calendar
The first tip that Gorman offers is a two-parter. The first step is to come up with a list of keywords that relate to your industry, your niche, or whatever your business does. You probably need somewhere between three and six keywords, and all of them should focus on a general theme, or a broad facet of the industry. For example, a plumbing company’s keywords might be: Green Plumbing, Plumbing FAQ, DIY Plumbing Maintenance, and so forth.
Next, take these keywords and apply them to your editorial calendar. Let’s say you’re going to blog every Tuesday and every Thursday. Our plumbing company might assign Green Plumbing as the topic for the first Tuesday of the month; DIY Plumbing Maintenance for the first Thursday; and so on.
The benefit of this, according to Rich Gorman, is that it ensures the content remains variable. You’re not writing about the same basic concept, week after week—but at the same time, you have some focus. When you sit down to blog, you already have some direction as to what basic topic you should cover.
Utilize Buyer Personas
A second tip from Gorman is to look beyond topics, or services your company provides, and instead think about the people who you are trying to reach. You might even come up with formal buyer personas, writing out a description of the kinds of buyers you are looking for. Who are these people? What do they care about—and what kind of blogs would they like to read?
A particular consideration: Where are these people in the sales funnel? Some may know nothing at all about the products you are selling. Others may be well-versed, but require a few further details, or some specific answers to their questions. As you brainstorm blog ideas, think about how you might address each of these demographics.
Directly Address Customer Concerns
Are there any questions or concerns that your customers bring before you on a consistent basis? If so, they will surely make for engaging and much-read blog topics. Keep a list of the questions that you regularly field, and address them in posts—as full-length posts, devoted to different questions, or simply as one long, catch-all, FAQ post.
According to Rich Gorman, there are two merits to this approach. The first is that it provides you with content fodder. The second—and perhaps the more important—is that it allows you to prove to customers and clients that you care about them, that you hear them, and that you really wish to help them and engage them.
Incidentally, the questions you field here can come from anywhere—not just questions you receive directly from customers, but even questions left in the Comments section of your blog, or posted to social media sites.
Some bloggers are overwhelmed by the very thought of keeping abreast with industry trends and happenings—but of course, there is no reason to let this daunt you. There are many tools you can use to stay current on industry buzz, and to pick up on news stories that you can repurpose for blog topics. The most obvious ones? Google Alerts and Bing Alerts. Set up alerts for industry-related keywords, and when news happens, take that as an opportunity to opine.
Twitter as a Tool
Twitter is another great resource for topic ideas. Here is how Rich Gorman recommends using it: First, find the authorities and leaders within your field; chances are, you already know who these people are. Head to their Twitter accounts, and check out the hashtags they are using. Researching blog ideas on Twitter is as simple as that—and of course, you can click on the hashtags to get some further ideas or context.
Pinterest as a Tool
Pinterest, too, is useful for gleaning blog topic ideas. Find some niche boards related to your field and look at what people are pinning—whether it’s tips, strategies, statistics, infographics, or something else altogether. Once more, the ideas you can gain here are really quite numerous.
Strike Up a Conversation
Finally, Rich Gorman says that, when you feel like you are running out of things to say, you can always ask other folks what they think. This might mean engaging an industry authority—a peer, or a mentor—in a Q&A, then posting the highlights on your blog. You might even solicit feedback from your blog readers, and compile the best comments into a new post.
Getting topics and ideas for a business blog is not always easy—and yet, the inspiration sources available are numerous. According to Rich Gorman, the tricky thing is simply figuring out how best to use these inspiration sources for all they are worth. By casting a wide net, though, business owners should find that blog topic ideas are far from scarce. Find our more here.