Most businesses know they should blog. Many started to blog and failed. So what goes wrong? When talking to clients I hear two common excuses: 1. We don’t have the time. 2. We ran out of content ideas.
Quality and consistency are the two keys to a great blog. A great business blog should offer genuine value to the reader and showcase the company’s expertise. Executed well a great blog will drive traffic to your website, enhance your brand image, turn existing customers/clients into brand advocates and generate new business leads.
Seems simple, but most companies struggle to generate frequent “valuable” content and often end up posting infrequent self serving articles that turn off rather than “turn on” their reader. After time these posts becoming erratic as the business runs out of things to write about and after a while a dormant blog sits on business website making them look unprofessional. I am sure you have visited a business website recently and noticed that their last blog post was over a year old.
So how can businesses create valuable frequent blog posts?
Ask yourself who are you writing for? What content would they find valuable? What tone should I use? Search the web to find content ideas. I love Feedly to find articles and expert options on Social Media and Content Marketing. Finally, have a plan or content framework in place to follow.
Killer Content for Your Blog
Here are 10 ideas that should give you lots of ideas and ensure you don’t run out of content.
1. Top 10 type posts – “The top 10 mobile apps for business professionals” or “The top 100 pubs to drinking in Dublin” – As readers we love these type of posts. So look at your business offering and ask yourself what type of these posts could you write?
2. Link round ups – People are busy and quite frankly sometimes lazy. Just because the information is on the web doesn’t mean we will trawl the internet to find it. So another very useful type of blog post on the web is an article that shares third-party news/updates and links to them. One of my favourite blog posts to read every week is Cindy King’s Social Media round up in the Social Media Examiner. It provides me with all the latest news in the world of Social Media without having to read 100s of articles on the web. So ask yourself would a weekly or even monthly industry round up work for your business?
3. Reviews/ Previews – Do you have a new product/service coming out? A Blog can be a superb place to showcase that new product before it hits the marketplace. We all love sneak peeks and you may even want to consider allowing customers to sample your new product before it is released.
Another example would be if you are hosting or even attending an event you could write great blog content previewing the event , create real time content at the event and write about key takeaways after the event.
4. Interviews – Ask yourself who could you interview that would be of interest to your readers? You could interview in industry expert , a staff member or even a client that has a great success story to tell. You could publish your interview as a video, as a podcast or as a text blog. Make sure the interview ties into your brand message, but isn’t too sales orientated.
5. Crowdsourcing Posts – People are far more likely to want to read and more importantly share your blog content if they “star” in it. A great tactic is to ask your community a question and create a blog post around their answers. Many savvy content marketers use this approach to engage with brand ambassadors and influencers. So for example if I was to write a blog post entitled: “20 content marketing tips from the pros” and I asked 20 top content marketeers for one tip each. I guarantee you a large proportion of those 20 marketeers would share my article because they are featured in it.
6. “How to” and customer service posts – Turn your blog post into a customer service solution. Ask yourself – What questions do my customers ask? What problems do they have? And then start to create content that solves those problems. For example if I’m a telecommunications company I could create content entitled “How to reset your wireless modem in 60 seconds“. Not only are these kind of posts valuable to your reader they also a super resource for your customer service team.
7. Case Studies – Case studies give prospective customers confidence and are great ways to demonstrate that you know what what you are doing. So use your blog to showcase some of your finest work. If I am a prospective customer and I’ve seen some of the brilliant work that you’ve done for a like-minded company, I am far more likely to want to knock on your door and do business with you.
8. Hot News Topics – What’s trending? Create fresh content around popular trending subject matters. For example – If everyone is talking about the budget and I’m an accountant, seize that opportunity and create content around the budget. Address the concerns and conversations your exiting and potential customers/clients are having.
9. Round ups of your posts – Round up of your most successful posts. For example If you create 8 blog posts a month that is 24 blog posts a quarter. You may want to create a quarterly post showcasing your top 5 posts.
10. Showcase your staff and CSR Programs – Use your blog post to showoff the people in your organisation. As an existing or potential customer the more I get to know you and your staff the more likely I am to form a meaningful relationship with your organisation. If your company looks like a fun and exciting place to work, people are going to be more likely to want to do business with and/or even want to work for you. If you are involved in any corporate responsibility programs: Showcase them here. Tell your customers/clients about the fun run your staff did for charity and the Internet safety program that you rolling out for parents of young teenagers.
Now imagine you are planning to blog twice a week for the next 12 months using the ideas above, you could create a monthly plan of: a top 10 type post, a “how to” post, an interview post, a case study, a review or preview post, a post generated from your communities comments, a topical industry related article and an industry round up post.
Following the above will allow you to pre plan a lot of posts, give your blog a consistent feel and at the same time ensure that your content is varied.
What techniques do you have for creating content ideas?