Writing a list of blog post ideas is not the same thing as creating a content development strategy. Lists of ideas are like potato chips – nobody can eat just one… and no amount of potato chips can add up to a high quality meal. You’re getting the loose list before the focused strategy because the real vital nutrients of written material are easier to come by if there is already real writing going on.
Love the Topic
It’s very hard to make good progress on something that you do not like. Remember what is wonderful. If you can’t think that way at the moment, devote a few seconds to getting up and stretching like a cat who hasn’t quite found the right place to settle in. Seriously – actually get up, stretch, walk around and stretch again before writing.
A Preamble: Perspective, Passion and Quality
Start by getting out of your head and envisioning the perspective of the viewer. Rattle off some typical characteristics of your target audience. Are they early adopters who are willing to pay a premium? Fans who will devour and evangelize good information? Are they kids who eat cell phone connectivity for breakfast, or “older” folks like moi who had to be dragged into getting a cell phone? Are they professional bloggers who have a high tolerance for marketing speak, or are they of the sort that expects all email marketing to be spam? Notice what characteristics seem to co-exist within the same demographic. Then, use that insight to create imaginary users, otherwise known as personas. Writing, even writing abstract poetry, is all about the reader.
Put yourself in the user’s shoes. Write about what users are interested in – don’t count on them reading anything else.
Blog Topic Ideas for Business Blogs
- Keep a running list of keywords that show up in your web traffic logs.
- Take keywords a step further. Look for interesting issues connected with super-specific search terms like model numbers or book titles.
- Notice dinner table conversation topics. Is “how was your day?” followed by questions?
- Mine and keep customer email correspondence – each customer issue can be at least one blog post.
- Save and re-use customer service type answers.
- Write about other people’s complaints
- Write about your own pet peeves.
- Write for the reader. Customer service contacts and search traffic both come from users who already know what they hope to find.
- Write for users who are about to make return trips through your sales funnel
- Write for the curious who are in the first stages of research
- Write about what makes you curious… and why
- Write about research in your niche
- Describe bleeding edge research
- Don’t forget to have fun – tell jokes or funny stories!
- Share a list of top tools
- Write a checklist for how to tell it’s time to get a new one…
- …or how to tell that what you have can work until the new model comes out.
- Describe a need.
- Describe how to tell which model will fit a specific customer type’s needs
- Get seasonal – September may be a good time to send a college kid off with a new laptop, June may be a good time for a cute write-up about novelty ice cube trays. It all depends on what you have.
- Describe a trend
- Survey the facts
- Write case studies
- Imagine the future of your industry
- Speculate about current developments in your niche, both good and bad
- Make predictions
- Report on new, real-world research
- Announce when something will be on the market
- Describe the thrill of getting your hands on the first iterations of something new
- Write a review with first impressions of a new thing.
- Write another review once you know how the new thing holds up
- Compare the pros and cons of something
- Write about the history of your niche
- Share a personal story about how you first became interested in your niche
- Describe the coolest thing about getting a new (fill in the blank,) speaking not as a marketer, but as a fan.
- Did you just get a big shipment of the new Brand X Widgets? Describe one, from stem to stern. Imagine you are describing it to a Brand X Widget enthusiast.
- Describe a problem. Tell people why they should care.
- Describe a worst case scenario – is it likely?
- Describe misconceptions.
- Solve a product-related problem.
- Write about how your product or service can solve a well-known person’s well known-problem
- Make public service announcements – find a bug, help to publicize a product recall, warn about a scam.
- Ask questions. Imagine the “why.” This would be a fun place to tuck in some tightly targeted search terms.
- Answer questions. What would the Brand X Widget enthusiast want to know? Is it backward compatible with last year’s model? Is it a must-have for this particular customer? Is it a better bet for the casual user? Is it an entry level thing? Is it a good first purchase for someone who is new to Brand X widgets?
- Tell the story of how you and your organization solved a problem.
- Think of different ways to describe solving problems! Challenge yourself to show, don’t tell.
- Give kudos to others who have done something admirable
- Describe how a nonprofit has benefited from your goods or services
- Describe differences between now and then, here and there
- Describe what you like
- Make a wish list
- Invite others to share their wish lists
- Interviews! Interview fans, experts, customers
- Diversify. Write for now, while also keeping track of ideas for the future. To get new ideas, work at using existing ideas. For example…
- Analyze the past. Let’s say that some of a gift shop’s hand-crafted jewelry is created using ancient techniques. People who are interested in the jewelry may enjoy in-depth information on topics related to ancient techniques. In the future, that information may draw in search traffic from people who are interested in those ancient techniques – those same people may be interested in buying that sort of jewelry.
- Help readers do research. Compare and contrast products.
- Write a tutorial
- Propose a change
- Discuss a possible code of ethics
- Describe ideal customer service policies
- Describe a customer’s crisis resolution
- Give thanks
- Describe a dream
- Describe philosophical values
- Assess monetary value – analyze and give a cheer for getting a bang for the buck
- Tell a story of satisfaction – what are your most favorite experiences in this industry?
Post 3 in my series will be about putting the content development strategy into business blogging. Personal blogs don’t have to have a content development strategy beyond whatever it takes to keep the writers going. Business blogs can totter along without a cohesive strategy, but with goals, interesting, targeted useful goals, so much more is possible.