An inbound marketing plan that works to grow your business requires a consistent flow of up-to-date, valuable information that your target audience cares about. Your company blog is an essential part of the mix.
Quality blog posts boost your website’s SEO by helping your site rank organically, keeping content relevant and fresh, strengthening your authority within your industry, and incorporating backlinks.
It’s not hard to launch a blog and publish a few good articles in your first month, quarter, or year, but business blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Without shared buy-in, a strategic direction, a tactical plan, and accountability, your blog can quickly go dark and fail to support your business growth.
Plus, there’s the pesky perennial question: What should you be blogging about, anyway?
If these challenges sound familiar, here’s some good news: Great business blog ideas are everywhere you look.
In this post, we’ve rounded up some of Weidert Group’s most dependable sources for generating fresh blog topic ideas.
And when it comes to B2B blogging, the first place to look should always be your customer.
Focus on Your Buyer Personas
Understanding who you’re trying to reach is essential; understanding what they care about and why, helps you create content that attracts, engages, and delights those specific individuals. Remember, while it can be satisfying to watch traffic and engagement increase, the metrics that matter most to your bottom line are conversions. Target the folks who actually need your product or service and speak to the challenges they face.
RELATED: How & Why to Identify Your Target Persona's Motivations
How do you know what’s relevant to your prospects and customers? First off, they tell you. Mine your voice of the customer (VoC) resources. Dig into CRM reports, customer surveys, reviews, and questions that come in through contact forms, website chats, ticketing systems, and customer service hotlines.
And those are just the direct sources. Consider these other ways to tap into customers, prospects, and your industry for solid blog topic ideas:
- Spotlight a new service or product and how it solves your persona’s problem
- Attend a tradeshow or conference
- Comment on an emerging industry or supply chain trend
- Highlight regulatory changes that affect your customers
- Share your thoughts on technologies relevant to your service or industry
- Bust a common industry myth
- Create an instructional how-to post
- Recognize a new key customer or client
- Invite a few experts to weigh in on a common challenge
- Give kudos to a company that’s doing great work
- Demonstrate how a major current event affects your industry
- Set up Google alerts to monitor relevant news topics
- Post an interactive quiz or poll on a subject relevant to your industry
- Meet with members of your sales and customer service teams and tap into their conversations
- Talk to your technical SMEs about the challenges they’re working to solve
- Read competitors’ blogs and take an alternative stance, if you have one
- Monitor and engage in conversations on social sites like LinkedIn and industry forums
- Visit a customer for a fresh perspective on what you do for them
- Check out online industry directories
- Thumb through a trade publication
Make Data Your Creative Muse
Dig into search data for keyword insights. Review analytics and keyword research to understand what drove traffic in the past. Explore for insights into not only subject matter, but also content formats and tone that best resonate with your target audience. Consider how well different types of blogs perform, including:
- Pro-con lists
- Side-by-side product or service comparisons
- Image-driven blogs
- Glossary of key terms
- Best-of blog compilations by subject
Blog performance data can give you an idea of what you’re doing well, and which blog post ideas haven’t hit the mark. How do you know what’s working? Consider more than traffic: time on page, conversion rates, blog comments, and social shares can all indicate value to your audiences.
Promote Your Existing Content
While your blog itself is vital content, you can also use it to promote other content pieces you’ve created to address customer interests and needs. Use internal linking and calls-to-action within your blog articles to promote related content such as:
RELATED: Content Marketing Battle: White Papers vs. eBooks — What Wins More Leads?
Tap your sales team for insights into the content that’s most timely and relevant, and create a “highlight” post that features your video or links to the selected content piece.
And don’t forget the value of updating and refreshing high-performing older blog posts. Make sure you’re delivering relevant, valuable content to your readers while you revise for structure, links, and updated best practices. A subtle refresh can boost an old blog’s SERP position.
Spotlight What Makes Your Culture Unique
While it can feel self-indulgent to showcase what goes on within your company’s (figurative) own four walls, interesting blog column topics can come from the inside, too. Customer relationships are human, and human stories can attract, engage, and delight, too.
Maybe your company history is intriguing, or your team pulled together to support a local nonprofit (which can also benefit from an online shout-out). As long as you keep things in balance, why not brainstorm a few article ideas that show your customers the human side of the people they do business with? Consider column article topics including:
- Corporate or employee events: annual meetings, employee picnics
- Holiday celebrations
- Leadership spotlights
- Promotions into key roles
- New employee introductions
- Behind the scenes or day-in-the-life features
- Community service events or team involvement
- Environmental and social initiatives
Find Inspiration Everywhere You Look
Finally, there’s always a strong case for the creative brainstorming session. Like a thunderstorm, a brainstorm involves many elements: clouds, rain, thunder, lightning, wind, etc. Each element adds a layer of intensity, interest, and complexity.
The same is true for brainstorming; if you want a whirlwind of good column topics, you need a lot of brains. Remember these tips when brewing up your content storm:
- Include people from multiple departments — marketing, sales, service, technical departments, production, etc.
- If there are a lot of people involved, consider breaking into smaller groups first and then convening to share ideas
- Bring in sources and inspiration mentioned throughout this blog post, like keyword data, industry publications, a holiday calendar, etc.
- When you land on a great idea, see if you can break it into several subtopics
- Don’t overthink it; there’s no such thing as a bad idea in a brainstorm
- When all else fails, consider an idea generator tool like this one from HubSpot
If you’ve read this far you’ve probably already compiled a list of potential column ideas for your business blog. That’s fantastic — but don’t stop there. The B2B Business Builder’s Guide to Blogging can help you develop and execute all the critical components of a successful blog that supports your website SEO and inbound growth strategy. Just click the link below to download your free copy.