“I know our company should have a blog, but what do I write about?”
I hear this from clients all the time, it’s definitely up there as a major barrier to companies heading blissfully into the blogosphere.
We all know we’re meant** to be blogging right?
It’s a great way of communicating with your customers, growing a community and improving your SEO. All that lovely fresh, original, relevant content – yes please!
**What the stats say:
B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI – HubSpot State of Inbound.
I Want To Start A Blog, But What Do We Blog About?
Perhaps you’ve written one or two blog articles and now you’re stuck for ideas. Or maybe you’re still waiting to put up that first post (scary huh? If not knowing what to blog about isn’t what’s holding you back maybe it’s one of these reasons?)
In this article I’m going to share some tips to help you come up with a jammed packed list of blog ideas.
6 Pick n Mix Ways to Come Up With Blog Ideas
Just like the pick n mix sweets at the cinema, you can dip into these in any order you fancy. If you find one you really like, go mad and take a whole bag full. It’s probably good to mix it up once in a while though, just so you don’t get bored. My bag is pretty much always full of fizzy cola bottles, mmm…
1) Cola Case Studies –
Write about real life clients and how you’ve helped them. What were the challenges they came to you with, what did you do to address these and what were the outcomes. If the customer is happy to provide a testimonial about the work then great, we always pay attention to what others say about a business.
Always check with your client about how public, or anonymous, they’d like to be. Most of the clients I’ve approached have been grateful for the added exposure, but occasionally there’s a shy one.
2) Fizzy FAQ’s –
FAQ blog articles provide a fab opportunity to expand on the answers you give to the questions asked most often by your clients. Think about the type of questions you get asked in meetings, via emails or through your website.
If people are asking you in person, or via phone and email, then chances are they’re asking Google as well. The way people search in Google is changing, with more and more people asking it questions. Making your blog title the question people are asking, and answering it in the article, gives you a good chance of popping up in Google when people type it in.
This is a double-dip type of blog post, not only does it do all the awesome things a normal post does but you can also direct people to it in the future when they ask the same question.
3) Lollipop Listening –
In the same way as FAQ’s make great blog articles, looking out for questions on social media is another excellent way to generate blog ideas.
Are people posting questions on LinkedIn Groups, Facebook pages or on Twitter about your industry? Write an article answering the question and share a link to it in the comments, this isn’t spamming – this is adding value. They’ve asked, you’re answering. Don’t be shy, why be the best kept secret!
4) Assorted Ask Your Customers –
Perhaps you don’t have a list of FAQ’s, and you’re not really sure what you’re customers want to read about. The solution is pretty simple, just ask them!
In ‘The Surprisingly Simple Secret to Knowing What Your Readers Want’, Linda Formichelli suggests an online survey. A tool like SurveyMonkey is ideal (it’s free for up to 10 questions and 100 responses. If you get more responses than that, you can upgrade for $26 per month).
Helpful advice on how to prepare the questions (and encourage people to actually answer them) is all in Linda’s article. Once you’ve got your questionnaire sorted you can put it out via twitter & Facebook, as well as emailing it to your customers and subscribers email lists.
5) Cherry Content Curation –
Just as I did in the above point, it’s perfectly acceptable to use other people’s content. You don’t have to write everything from scratch; it strengthens an article if you can share other people’s opinions on a subject. It shows you’ve done your research!
Add value by putting your own unique spin on it and be sure to give the original author credit.
6) Sherbet Sharing Your Personal Stories –
People connect with people, not companies. Getting to know the people behind the brand helps build a sense of familiarity and trust. If your community start to feel they know you, they’re more likely to engage.
Getting the balance right can be tricky though and I think this is the one people struggle with the most. The articles still need to be relevant to your business and on brand, so if your brand is fun and funky then your stories can be, if its practical and profession then the articles need to mirror this.
It’s important to set parameters so you only share what you’re comfortable with. I’ll happily talk about the collaborative barn space I work in, or share stories about my dog and cat. However I don’t tend to include stories about my adorable son or fantastic family. It’s all down to personal choice.
Examples of personal stories you could blog about; that funny thing that happened at work today, the misunderstanding that you resolved, the potential disaster that you did (or didn’t) stop from happening (we’re only human after all!). One of my favourite articles of this type is Kapost’s How We Screwed Up a Brilliant Marketing Campaign.
Hope the above has given you some aha moments and that you’re now bursting with blog ideas. In our next article we’ll give you some helpful hints on capturing your blog ideas and creating a schedule.
Have we missed anything? Let us know any other ways you come up with article ideas in the comments below. Oh and don’t forget to share your favourite sweets, we’d love to eat, I mean hear, them!