So, you have decided to commit to writing a blog for your business. A blog can be a great tool — it lets you communicate directly with your customers and can really boost your online presence.
But it does take time and effort, like all good things; and I know well that it’s not always easy coming up with fresh ideas.
I’ve been writing this blog for four or so years now. I don’t update it as often as I should but it is an important part of my communicating with clients about what my business does, what we know (this is important for a service provider) and a bit about who we are.
So, where can you get ideas for regular and effective content? Brainstorming will bring up a few, but it pays to have some resources on hand for when you hit ‘blogger’s block’.
Here are some thoughts on what to do to keep those creative juices flowing and to stop you heading off on the wrong track.
Write about your business
It seems so obvious, but not many people do it. Is there a part of your business that customers may not know about, and that they would find interesting?
Perhaps you could blog about a manufacturing process, a raw material source or how your company is addressing sustainability? Another idea is to create a post around how your product or service provided the solution to a problem that a customer had.
Don’t forget that you don’t necessarily need to write all the blog posts yourself. Enlist the help of colleagues, especially those with expertise in a specific area.
Customer feedback and testimonials
Make use of the information that customers give you about your business. It’s hard work to obtain feedback and testimonials, so use them as a starting point for a blog post. If a customer has a particular query or issue, it’s likely that others will have it as well, so post the answer on your blog for all to see.
While your own business and experiences are usually the first port-of-call for ideas to blog about, the web hosts a myriad of resources to get you writing.
Don’t dismiss the time you spend reading the blogs of others as wasted. Whether it’s blogs from competitors, affiliate products, or other topics that you’re interested in, all can provide ideas for your own blog.
Use the blogs you read to generate your own ideas and interpretations. While you obviously cannot copy someone else’s blog post, it is possible to ‘link-back’ to a blog you have found relevant — simply write an introductory paragraph and link to the blog.
If your idea for a blog post seems too similar to someone else’s, put it on the backburner for a while and revisit it later.
Really stuck for ideas?
If you’re really struggling for ideas, here are some people that have put together lists of blog post ideas — heaps of lists, hundreds of ideas:
Magazines and newspapers
While many hours can be spent searching the interwebs for ideas, don’t forget the more traditional sources of inspiration. Industry magazines, newspapers and books are a good source of ideas – even the advertisements can be helpful.
Keep an eye out for ‘evergreen’ topics, ones that magazines and newspapers cover year after year and see if there is something you can relate to your business.
Evergreen topics are those that retain their relevance over time — ones that people will be interested in long after they are first published. They are topics that are considered informative rather than current news. For example, how-to and DIY articles are evergreen, as are articles about holidays and celebrations.
Link to an online newspaper ‘evergreen’ topic in a relevant way — perhaps a how-to on one of your products, or recipes if you’re in the food industry.
A good idea is to have a selection of evergreen topics planned out in advance, for when time is tight or inspiration is running low.
Keep your blog on the message
Remember, you are writing for an audience of customers and potential customers. Make sure your content is relevant to them.
Here is an article that has a good summary of five things not to do when writing a blog post.
Don’t be like me and wait 13 months to write your next post!