When faced with the idea of maintaining an active blog that supports their Inbound Marketing efforts, most of our clients respond with, “But what are we going to write about?” It seems staring at a blank page is unnerving to even the most confident writers.
Here are 5 idea generators when you're struggling to find something compelling to share with your target audience:
1. Answer common questions. Without a doubt, your sales team gets asked the same few questions over and over – questions about how your product is made, how it performs, in what ways it’s superior to competitors, etc. Your customer service reps get them, too (in fact, they may get the questions that most critical to answer, because they’re often hearing post-purchase complaints). Identify the 10 most commonly asked and write a blog post for each that clearly answers it. With just a little effort, you have 10 weeks worth of valuable posts!
2. Share industry information. A blog is a great opportunity to share compelling information that persuades prospects – information your sales team doesn’t typically get the chance to share. The information you share should support your product or organization; if you manufacturer of aluminum docks, for instance, you’ll want to share data that suggests aluminum as a better material than steel, composite or wood. Collect and share statistics about your industry, images, video testimonials, white papers, survey results, etc., and make it accessible to your audience through your blog. As an aggregator of valuable information, prospects will begin to see you as an expert resource of topics that matter to them.
3. Create lists. Coming up with new blog posts is often a function of simply framing data or thoughts in an interesting way. Think of common industry issues and help solve them in the form of lists. If you were a basement repair company, for instance, you could post blogs such as, “5 Tips for Preventing Basement Mildew,” “3 Ways to Avoid Sump Pump Overflow,” “The Most Effective Foundation Crack Repair Methods.”
4. Share your opinion. Pick a hot-button topic related to your industry or your customers’ challenges and write an opinion article stating your position. A few years ago, when stories about mistreatment of diamond mine workers were coming to light, a few jewelry stores wrote very passionate blog posts declaring the practices inhumane and telling prospective customers that their inventory did not include “conflict diamonds.” Polarizing blog posts like this often attract more traffic and comments than traditional posts.
5. Break news. Think like a reporter: Has an announcement recently been made that has an impact on your industry or your customers’ industries? Summarize the news announcement and then explain what it means for your target. Beyond helping your readers, sharing breaking news regularly will help to improve your organic search traffic, because search engines place value on the first sites to discuss a particular subject.
The best way to eliminate uncertainty about your blog and its posts is to plan. One of the most critical steps in Inbound Marketing is to develop a Content Strategy that outlines (typically a year out) everything needed to ensure a consistent blog that's simple to maintain. A Content Strategy outlines who will write and what their areas of expert are, topics to be covered and how they'll be presented, a weekly schedule of actions and posts, identification of resources and more.