Your blog’s all set up, so no doubt you’re keen to get blogging. But how do you decide what to write about?
If you’re sat at your computer staring at a blank screen, don’t worry – help is at hand.
I’ll be honest, if you pick the wrong topic to blog about your blog could die very early on, so it’s important not to go in all guns blazing. Remember – you can’t blag business blogging.
Ask yourself a few questions
Sit back, think about what you know and what your customers want to know. It sounds strange, but if you think about you and your business, you should get some ideas. What are you passionate about? What’s your background?
You need to choose topics that generally interest you and which you have extensive knowledge about. Your first blog post could just be a simple introduction to the company. Give your business an injection of personality by profiling each member of staff in their own post. How casual or funny the post depends on the relationship you have with your customers. People like to work with companies that are personable and real, but also professional – find a balance and you’ll be all set.
Think about other business websites that have a blog that you admire. What is it that you like about it? What topics do they write about? There’s nothing wrong with modelling your blog on another one, as long as you don’t pick the same topics.
Also look at blogs you don’t like – what is it about them that you dislike? Are the topics too complex or too vague? You can learn a lot from websites within your industry, so do some research and see what everyone else is writing about. It’s also worth thinking about companies you partner with – do they have a blog? Why not see if you can guest blog for each other so that your content reaches a wider audience and provide additional insight to your customers.
Listen to your customers
Your posts are aimed at your customers, so picture your key demographics and tailor your posts to each of them. Think about what people use your products and services for and go from there. If you’re a bakery, you could blog about parties, recipes, key baking products or even give insider information about baking. A mechanic could offer simple car maintenance and road safety advice or review the newest vehicles on the market.
If new customers always ask you the same questions, then why not write a series of blog posts that answer each one in detail? This not only proves to your customers that you value them and their insight, but also gives you ready made answers the next time one of those questions comes up. Another option is to look at your FAQs page (if you have one) and find inspiration there. Could any of your answers be explained in more detail in a blog post?
Stick to a format that works
Nobody wants to read an essay that is too convoluted or confusing. Online content needs to be easily digestible and inform the audience of the key messages as soon as possible. Consider writing blogs in list format, e.g. “10 tips for completing your tax return” or “5 things not to do when painting a wall”.
Seasonal content is another great way to increase your readership. Plan posts around Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter – plus the less publicised dates like National Talk like a Pirate Day (if they tie in nicely and your customers will appreciate your sense of humour). While it’s OK to be a little bit tenuous when jumping on seasonal trends (e.g. “10 reasons why DIY is better than Valentine’s Day”), avoid any that are completely irrelevant as you’ll just confuse your readers and you might even upset the search engines.
Listen to your industry
Read relevant publications and blogs as often as you can. Are there any trending topics that you could write about? If you read an article that you disagree with, write a counter argument or alternate point of view and try to encourage debate. Think about key members within the industry that might be willing to give you an interview for your blog.
Look out for the latest stats and research within your industry. Starting a blog post with relevant stats gives your posts authority and can provide you with a good angle to write about. If you go to an event or conference on behalf of your company, write it up as a blog post and link to any speakers, companies or products you were impressed with. There’s nothing wrong with using your blog to network and acknowledge those you admire in the industry.
Blogging, not blagging
Spend some time planning a few blog posts that you think your customers will be interested in. Once they’ve been published, monitor the reaction from the audience. See how many people read the post and if anyone shared it on social media or comment on it.
It might take time to find your blogging niche, but content is still king and it’s essential to get it right. Once you nail it however, your readership will grow, more people will come to your site and you’ll have attract potential customers.