This is a guest post from Laura Bell, a freelance writer and social media activist.
You got the memo about blogging loud and clear. You know that blogging can improve traffic to your site, build lasting relationships and help convert those relationships into sales. You even know that you should consistently create new content and use that SEO stuff.
But, what on earth do you write about each day? How can you consistently come up with new material that your readers will actually want to read?
Take a breath. You are not alone. With minimal effort on your part, you are probably sitting on a gold mine of really great topics and you don’t even know it. When the ideas are running dry, try these 10 tips for generating blog topics for your small business blog.
1. Use the questions that your clients are asking.
The purpose of blogging is to provide information to a targeted audience. As a small business owner, you know your clients better than anyone, because you have spent time carefully developing those relationships. In your daily interactions, clients have surely posed questions about your products and services. Compile a list of the most frequently asked questions and craft your blog topics around providing answers or solutions. Not only will you solve the problem of a blog topic, but you will also have provided another invaluable service to your customers. This is also a great way to boost subscribers.
2. Draw from your peers/network.
Are you member of a small business association? You’ve paid the dues every month and bought the luncheon tickets, so use some of that valuable information that you’ve absorbed and deliver it to your audience! Many great ideas are birthed through a simple conversation about what’s taking place in your community. If social media is your primary method of networking, reach out to your “friends” and “followers” and ask for feedback. You glean some words of wisdom and build relationships with your colleagues at the same time.
3. Stop and think. No, really. Stop. Now think.
Sometimes we may be preventing our best thoughts from coming forth by being too busy to think. Grab a pad and give yourself a scheduled brainstorming session of five to ten minutes. Write whatever comes to mind and don’t worry about how well it will be written. Those details will sort themselves out. Get your creative juices flowing and be sure to jot down everything. You have good ideas. Let them out.
4. Review old topics and revamp.
Remember those first, few awkward posts that you wrote with great hesitancy and consternation? You have grown by leaps and bounds since your first encounter as a small business blogger. Consider your old posts excellent fodder for new and exciting content. Update information that may have changed and give those old posts a face-lift. Chances are many of your readers weren’t around back then and haven’t had a chance to check them out anyway. Build on the foundation you have already created.
5. Tell ’em what you do.
Every business follows a set of procedures to run smoothly. Give your readers some insight into the bigger picture of your industry. For example, a carpet cleaning company could tell readers about changes to health code that will impact cleaning products used in the future. A wedding vendor could share the importance of working closely with other vendors and assure a potential bride how well their special day will be managed. Provide more information about what you do best. Establish a genuine authority and earn the trust of those you would like to engage most.
6. Highlight your successes.
Have you recently closed a big deal or passed a significant milestone? Consider a post detailing your recent adventures with a high-profile client or a local business you would like to help promote. By tastefully celebrating the returns on your hard work, you give others a chance to see you at your best. Plus, passion is contagious. A passionate post can nudge others to confidently follow in your footsteps and spread the word about your success.
7. Turn your failures into an opportunity to learn.
Henry Ford said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”
You’ve already learned a great deal from that huge mistake you made last month. You have done the research and armed yourself with the information to never let it happen again. Share that education through a blog post! Blogging is about bringing a human perspective to the face of your business. When you admit your failures, you show that you are human. Consider how many others will benefit from the knowledge you have to share and get writing.
8. Take a good look around your office.
Talk to your team. Who interacts most with your readers? Pick the brain of your receptionist or sales representative. In the spirit of writing what you know, encourage feedback by those “in the trenches.” This will eliminate guesswork and allow you to use your best resources more efficiently. Additionally, you are showing your employees that you value them – another point for you!
9. Find a blogging partner.
Plenty of folks are struggling to find blog topics. Identify a buddy and mutually benefit by collaborating on blog ideas. This is a great strategy for those in mentor roles. A newer counterpart often has a fresh perspective and can reach those you’ve been unable to access. Take it a step further and exchange posts on your blogs. A guest post brings new insight and keeps your content fresh.
10. Subscribe to a service.
A quick Google search will reveal a number of options for purchasing a list of inspiring blog topics (e.g. Chris Brogan’s excellent Blog Topics service). You may want to consider this option if you don’t have the time or resources to spend on any of the previously mentioned tips. But keep in mind that you know your small business better than anyone else. By the time you customize a pre-made topic to fit your niche, you may have already put in the work it would take to thoughtfully craft your own.
Now, go forth and create. Your readers are waiting.
How do you come up with ideas for your blog? What do you do to keep your blog topics fresh and relevant?