Unlike a personal blog, a business blog has certain goals. Not all business blogs share the same goals. Some are more focused more on reputation-building, others on building loyalty, still others on demonstrating expertise and some are focused on building links with the local community.
Whatever the goals, sooner or later you might run into a brick wall. You are due to write a post, but you have no idea what to write. Here are a few ideas that might help you.
Write about your customers. Interviewing your customers is a great way to talk about your target market, which is always of interest, to flatter one particular customer, and to subtly sneak in the benefits and virtues of your products (success stories!). If you sell to cat owners, interview a cat owner; ask many questions that other cat owners would be curious about, and include a couple questions that touch on how they use your product.
Write about your customers’ topics. If your specialty is designing menus, and your target market is restaurants, that does not mean you have to write only about menu design. Your target market is also interested in changing eating habits, in restaurant signage, in payment methods and a host of other topics.
Write about your staff. Nothing builds relationships like getting personal, so give your audience a sneak peek into the personal lives of your staff. What are their families like? How do they contribute to the community? What special talents do they possess? Take several action shots of them around the office and ask for photos of them in their personal life, to create a nice photo essay. CAVEAT: You need to have permission from the employee to do this, which should go without saying.
Write about the community. This is a great way for a local business to build a relationship with the community. And if you run a chain of stores, you could profile each neighborhood where a store is located. You can mention some of the local amenities and some of the next-door businesses, too.
Write about your products. I know, you probably never thought about that one before. But perhaps there are new angles, such as unusual uses or a visit to the factory or some other unexplored theme. Asking customers to send photos of your products in use is always a great way to get content for your blog.
Answer questions. Ask your counter staff or customer service staff what problems or questions people come to you with. You might be surprised at how many great blog posts you can write just by answering the questions that come back to you through the marketplace.
Respond to comments. If you’ve received feedback to previous blog posts, the comments people have left are golden drops of inspiration. Write a post specifically to address or build upon a single good comment you’ve received.
Respond to comments elsewhere. You have competitors. They have blogs. They get comments. That sounds like great competitive intelligence to me. Anything somebody writes in the comments on a competitor blog or any other blog in your niche is fodder for a post of your own. Don’t mention the competitor’s blog, nor the comment; just write a post around what you would say in response to the comment.
One-up the competition. Why stop at snooping around the comments on your competitors’ blogs? Read their posts, figure out what they missed…and write it yourself! If you can’t find anything they missed, then they are just so much better than you that you might as well pack it all up and go home.
Get into pop culture. Think about movies, books and songs that relate to your product or to your target market, and don’t be shy to draw analogies or pull lessons from pop culture – lessons that will be useful to your audience. I wrote a blog post around Into The Woods, the movie, and I reworded a Christmas carol to better engage my audience. I love pop culture references.
Prepare tutorials. Providing step-by-step instructions to accomplish something will always be seen as useful by your audience. This may or may not include using your product. While you score bonus points if you are creating a need for your product, sometimes you connect best with your target market by not selling in every post.
Give them a tour. You can give people a virtual tour through photos or by video. Take them around your offices, your stores or your factories. Go one step further, and take them around your suppliers’ factories, too. That should give people a good idea of what goes into making your products and also puts a human face on the whole process. It also helps you build a stronger relationship with your suppliers (and they might help promote your blog post, too!).
Read the news. There is a reason why so much happens in the news every day .It is to create plenty of good topics for your blog. OK, so there might be other reasons for the news, but those are of no concern to you, right? Read the news and write about it.
Take a poll. If you don’t have anything to write about, why not ask your readers a question? Then your next post can discuss the answers. Two posts with one stone – how’s that for productivity?
Write around a keyword. Check the search terms that people use to find your website. Then write a blog post around similar terms. This can be endless fun – just make sure that you write a unique and engaging post; no keyword is worth losing your audience over.
These are just a few ideas of how to find new topics for your business blog. There are dozens of other ways to come up with topic ideas, but these should keep you busy for a few years.
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