201 Practical Business Blog Ideas You can Write and When to Use Them

  • January 18, 2016

    There are lots of lists of business blog ideas out there. I’ve done one before, myself. But I realized there was something missing from those ubiquitous lists:

    WHEN are you supposed to use each kind of post?

    I suppose, if you’re just out trolling the Internet because you have blogger’s block and have no idea what to write about, a straight up list of a bunch of business blog ideas might be useful.

    But what about those of you who want to do more with your business’ blog than just post something every week? (If that’s you, you’re one of my peeps. HELLO!)

    That’s why I decided to not only update my previous list of business blog ideas — and more than triple it in size, in the process — but also group and categorize them for you based on where you are in your sales cycle.

    Business blog ideas based on your sales cycle — the short version.

    I could spend entire blog posts talking about this (oh wait — I have), but here’s the short version of choosing business blog topics based on your sales cycle:

    There are two cycles you need to be aware of. First is your sales or launch cycle. I like to think of your business’ blog as a long-form sales letter dripped out over time. You’re leading people down a predetermined path, grabbing their attention, holding their interest, generating desire, and asking them to take action. If you do this regularly with your blog you will sell more. Easy as that.

    The second cycle is the customer awareness spectrum or process. Each potential customer out there goes through the same process of increasing awareness of the problem you solve and how you solve it. They start out completely unaware that they have a problem or that there is even a solution for that problem, then move to problem awareness, solution awareness, and finally awareness (and hopefully brand loyalty) to you. The very last stage happens after they have become a customer.

    If you plan out and write your blog posts based on these two cycles, you will make more money with your blog because you will be reaching out to people with the information they need, when they need it.

    Customer is Unaware — Use Attention Posts

    When your potential customer is unaware, they may not even be aware that they have a problem, or the problem may not be top of mind for them. Even potential customers with urgent problems may not know that help exists.

    That’s why you want to use ATTENTION posts at this stage to draw attention to the problem, your business, your brand, and your solution.

    Posts at this stage should: Entertain, engage, and empathize with the reader.

    1. offer a white paper/special report [EPIC]
    2. share your manifesto [EPIC]
    3. write connection content — makes a connection between you and another post/blog
    4. see things from different angle/different audience — try to interest someone else’s audience with what you have to say
    5. interview frenemies (or profile bigwigs) [EPIC]
    6. write a link round-up
    7. share reviews of other products/services
    8. host blog carnivals/linkups
    9. host a challenge
    10. influential people round-up post — ie: 35 graphic designers to watch in 2016
    11. share an over-the-top generous free-resource post — make a list of all of YOUR free resources, or of all the free resources you can find out there [EPIC]
    12. share an (almost) too good to be true results post — this is like a case study, but with a crazy click-bait headline like, “How I Grew My Email List 1547% in Two Days!” (could also be a desire post)
    13. write a soul-baring personal post
    14. write the “Ultimate Guide” post — create the ultimate guide to *something* that your audience is interested in; Neil Patel of Quicksprout is the master of this [EPIC] (also an interest post)
    15. create controversy — not my personal favorite, but if you can stir the pot, you can garner a lot of attention
    16. answer a question no one else in your industry is answering
    17. “What other people are saying about X”
    18. What if X? (try to find something outrageous to draw attention, like what if the Internet had never been invented) [EPIC]
    19. write a parody post
    20. cheat sheets and quick reference guides
    21. create and share a checklist
    22. create and share an infographic
    23. moderate a debate between two experts — if there are two experts in your niche who disagree, lay out both of their arguments and compare [EPIC]
    24. share your data (traffic stats, expenses, income, whatever) [EPIC]
    25. host contests, drawings, etc.
    26. give away freebies (logos, icons, printables, checklists etc.) [EPIC]
    27. share a presentation you gave (SlideShare, audio recording, etc.)
    28. share “where I’ve been” or “where I’m going to be” post of your speaking/blogging/whatever schedule
    29. live-blog a conference or event
    30. give kudos — X people doing it right, brands I love, etc.
    31. create an arch enemy for your industry [EPIC]
    32. write an opinion / editorial
    33. riff on things happening in the cultural zeitgeist: memes, holidays, current events, pop culture
    34. create sharable images
    35. share your autobiography
    36. answer a question from your email, comments section, or social media
    37. confess a weakness
    38. showcase a new product, app, or tool you purchased for your business and how you plan to use it
    39. profile an employee or partner
    40. answer your fan mail or hate mail
    41. explain a law or regulation that your reader needs to understand
    42. describe a law or regulation you wish existed for your industry
    43. share about legislation you support or oppose
    44. expose a scam [EPIC]
    45. share cool photos or videos (memes) that your readers will appreciate and want to share
    46. ask a question and start a discussion
    47. gush about your personal heroes
    48. raise awareness for your favorite charity
    49. share what you’re reading or what’s on your bookshelf
    50. do a “Cliff’s Notes” or executive summary of a book your readers would be interested in
    51. describe a local or industry event you attended (with photos!)
    52. create a wish-list of tools you wish were available for you or your industry
    53. transcribe or imagine a typical conversation between you and a customer
    54. …or a typical conversation between you and a vendor
    55. …or a typical conversation between you and a competitor (etc.)
    56. describe some changes you’d love to see in your industry
    57. talk about what you’ve learned in the past year
    58. answer the first question most potential customers ask you
    59. write an open letter to someone in your industry, in politics, in the media, etc. [EPIC]
    60. describe your typical day (or an employee’s typical day)
    61. make predictions — about your industry, trends, etc. [EPIC]
    62. revisit past predictions — did they come true?
    63. recap the past year
    64. if customers don’t know your solution exists, why or why not?
    65. list what you wish people knew about your product or service
    66. share and answer the five questions you get asked most often when you tell people what you do
    67. describe your work/life balance
    68. share who you are outside of work
    69. share the questions your children ask you about your work
    70. create a music video for your business or product
    71. draw or commission a cartoon about your business, industry, or work
    72. offer a weekly or daily round-up of interesting or important articles in your industry
    73. round-up your most popular content from the past month/year
    74. ask a question on a social media platform and share the answers
    75. conduct a poll and share the results
    76. feature guest posts from industry experts
    77. create a list of trends to be aware of or watch
    78. practice radical transparency — share secrets others won’t [EPIC]
    79. explore a hard truth or controversial idea [EPIC]
    80. add your thoughts or opinions to someone else’s popular post
    81. go behind the scenes somewhere readers don’t normally get to see — anywhere from your office to your factory, to the red carpet etc. [EPIC]
    82. create and give away an award
    83. be inspiring: share quotes, stories, videos, etc. that are inspiring to your readers
    84. write an A–Z of your industry [EPIC]
    85. create a quiz that gives your reader some insight (fun or useful)
    86. compile a glossary of terms in your industry
    87. share how your company got its name
    88. share a timeline of something in your business or industry
    89. craft a cheat-sheet that makes a difficult task easy
    90. EPIC posts—this one really straddles attention and interest if you do it right; please note that I’ve marked posts that could be [EPIC]

    Customer is Problem Aware — Use Interest Posts

    When your potential customer is PROBLEM AWARE, they know they have a problem, but they don’t know if there’s a solution or not. They may be actively searching to find a solution.

    Posts at this stage should: educate, inform, and build a relationship with the reader.

    These are INTEREST posts.

    1. raise your customer’s problem
    2. profile your typical customer or several different typical customer types
    3. agitate the problem—what happens when it doesn’t get addressed?
    4. describe how to identify if people have this problem, or how to self-diagnose the problem [EPIC]
    5. talk generally about the kinds of strategies people use to solve lower level problems
    6. convince people they have a problem
    7. “news at 11” posts
    8. new research and how it supports your product [EPIC] — Tim Ferris does this all the time, insinuating that new research supports what he knew all along.
    9. do hypothetical client work “how I would do SEO for J-Lo” or whatever (also attention) [EPIC]
    10. the problem is worse than you think
    11. list the benefits of solving this problem
    12. list things you should avoid if you have this problem
    13. tutorials/how-to articles — depending on your niche, you could write these til judgement day… [EPIC]
    14. describe what you have learned about the customer’s problem from building or iterating your product or service
    15. describe what you know about your customers before you work with them — and/or what it’s difficult to know
    16. list some products or services you’d like to create and ask for feedback
    17. share some ways that others in your industry are behind the times
    18. tell a story of a time when you referred a customer to someone else (and why)
    19. if you were to retire or sell your business today, what advice would you give the incoming boss?
    20. describe a “horror story” or close call and how you handled it
    21. share how you’ve addressed complaints — about your business or your industry — and changed someone’s mind
    22. before and after post
    23. ask me—solicit questions from readers and answer them
    24. start a debate or discussion post
    25. show examples of what not to do
    26. ROI reports based on actual customers [EPIC]
    27. community oriented posts: customer stories, ideas, feedback, lifestyles
    28. case studies [EPIC]
    29. explain how to choose a _________ (what you sell or do)
    30. personal discovery story: how you discovered/learned a lesson
    31. success story — how you or someone else succeeded [EPIC]
    32. failure story — how you or someone else failed (and learned from it) [EPIC]
    33. share the most common myths in your industry
    34. share the most common misconceptions about your product or service
    35. mistakes customers make when choosing a product or service in your industry
    36. good and bad habits of business owners in your industry
    37. common mistakes of other people in your industry — especially if you’ve had to clean them up
    38. describe how your business is different in other regions or countries
    39. explain different schools of thought in your industry, and highlight your own
    40. numerate the differences between someone just starting out in your industry versus someone with years of experience
    41. tell the story of the best suggestion you ever got from a customer and how you implemented it
    42. share the best advice you ever got from a mentor and how you implemented it
    43. tell the story of the “father” or “mother” of your industry and what you have learned from them or how the industry has changed
    44. explain how or why a current news story or media event is important — “What ____ Means for ____.” “Why _____ Matters for _____.”
    45. present original research [EPIC]
    46. showcase results of a comparison test, stress test, real-world test, etc. [EPIC]
    47. create a regular feature readers can count on: a tip of the week, customer of the week, review of the week, etc.
    48. write a series that breaks a complicated topic into multiple parts [EPIC]
    49. conduct and share market research [EPIC]
    50. describe how you came up with your product idea
    51. share the story behind your newest product or service from idea to launch
    52. share some statistics about your customers or people who share this problem
    53. describe an analogy or illustration that explains a difficult concept

    201 Business Blog Ideas and When to Use Them

    Customer is Solution Aware — Use Desire Posts

    When your potential customer is SOLUTION AWARE, they know that solutions exist to solve their problem, and they may be researching their best options.

    Posts at this stage should: build trust and persuade.

    These are DESIRE posts.

    1. eliminate objections in this phase
    2. describe an experience when you turned an unhappy customer into a happy one
    3. share testimonials
    4. X mistakes [your ideal customer] makes
    5. show the benefits of YOUR approach
    6. features — how your solution is different
    7. comparison post — compare how two solutions work (yours and someone else’s) and how they’re different (yours is better, right??)
    8. let them know that a more powerful tool exists than what they already know about
    9. illustrate what life would be like with your product
    10. watch for questions in emails or comments that indicate they might be willing to buy—and answer those questions in a post
    11. “What if you had the perfect solution to your problem?” post
    12. FAQ post
    13. SAQ (should-ask questions) post
    14. product demos (videos, photos, case studies, etc.)
    15. explain what you do is an art/science; why fewer people are doing it the way you do; why up and comers in your niche aren’t as experienced
    16. describe how close you are to your “10,000” hours (people believe spending 10,000 hours at something makes you an expert)
    17. describe your training in detail
    18. describe your story and how you got to where you are now
    19. describe your attention (obsession?) with customer service, attention to detail, safety, quality, etc.
    20. call out your competitors; what changes would you like to see in your industry (and how are you different)? [EPIC]
    21. lay out exactly how your customer could justify the investment in your product or service to herself, a spouse, or a business partner
    22. compare the cost of your product or service to something else the customer may be buying (my favorite example of this is a stylist who compared the cost of her course to 6 outfits you never wear)
    23. explain exactly why your costs are higher or lower than your competitors (be sure to lay out the benefits)
    24. list the pros and cons of working with a specialist vs. a “jack of all trades” (and make sure you come out on top — whichever you are!)
    25. list the questions you ask your customers
    26. describe the toughest part of the job for you
    27. describe the easiest part of the job for you
    28. describe what your customers struggle with — and how you help them overcome it
    29. describe your worst customer
    30. describe your ideal customer
    31. explain if you ever barter for your services and why or why not
    32. interview a customer
    33. share photos from a recent event — especially good if you have an event-based service or you can show your product in action
    34. publish guest posts from customers about their experience
    35. share your passion or vision, especially as it differentiates you from your competition
    36. share a sneak peek or announce a VIP experience
    37. record or transcribe and share a conversation or discussion your team is having

    Customer is Aware of YOU — Use Action Posts

    When the potential customer is aware of you and your solution, they’re almost ready to buy, you need to ask them to take action and make a purchase.

    Posts at this stage should: engage the reader and convince them to become a customer.

    These are ACTION posts.

    1. announce that a product is available or shopping cart is open
    2. direct them to a landing page
    3. remind people of all the steps leading up
    4. clear CTA post
    5. announce an event (like a webinar, conference call, etc.)
    6. describe your busy season (best paired with an offer to purchase before the busy season starts)
    7. explain when you turn away a potential customer and why
    8. describe any insurance coverage or guarantees for your product or service
    9. explain financing options for your services
    10. share an excerpt from the product
    11. share an excerpt from a webinar

    Customer is a… Customer — Use Engagement posts

    Of course, there are people in your audience who have already purchased from you, and you don’t want to neglect them, so continue to engage them with your brand and products.

    Posts at this stage should: encourage two-way communication and advocacy.

    These can also be DESIRE posts, if you remind people who are not customers why they want to become one.

    1. tip sheets
    2. user guides
    3. how-to guides
    4. care and maintenance of your product
    5. showcase unusual ways other customers are using your product
    6. ask for feedback
    7. introduce or showcase a loyalty program
    8. ask for referrals
    9. tips to get more from your product or service
    10. the most innovative or astonishing use of your product or result of your service you’ve ever seen

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