In my last piece I wrote about how a blog can help your small business. The next step to consider is the content and subject matter that will make up that blog. Occasionally in my career I’ve had the ‘What new/fresh topics am I going to write about this week?!’ question nagging me for days, especially during quiet times of the year where not much is happening industry wise. When that happens, I look to a few different methods to get my brain in gear when I feel like I might be lacking in subject matter.
Firstly, I always check other blogs around me. What are people in the same industry talking about? What’s the trade news and can I offer opinion on what is going on there? I also subscribe to competitor blogs as well, just to know what they are discussing. That tends to help you stay on the cutting edge of your field, and at the same time keeping one up on your rivals. Taking that one step further, depending on your social media strategy, you could even interact with that blogger through your own blog – whether you agree, disagree, or even want to add your own perspective.
Google alerts are a fantastic tool for keeping you abreast of what is in the news and being said by relevant figures in your industry. You can set up topics to be regularly alerted to relevant material and monitoring news and online conversation in this way can introduce you to new content sources.
I also like to use polls on any issues that might encourage some reader interaction, and at the same time this gives them a reason to come back to vote and share with colleagues. What can be great with polls, is not only do they encourage a more direct level of interaction from your reader, they also give you fresh material in terms of your analysis of the results. This can even be taken past blogging into a press release or similar if the results are newsworthy in your opinion.
Never be afraid to use your press releases as the basis for a blog post as well. My preference is to strip away a lot of the more formal language and make the information in the press release more informal and accessible to your blog readers.
As helpful as these different methods can be for finding some new subject matter to blog about, the most important step is to implement an editorial calendar in the first place. This can help you with blog preparation and always ensure you have set your subject matter in advance – but additionally it helps you set your blog content around you company plans for the year, allowing for a much more streamlined and targeted strategy when it comes to blogging.