What should I write about? It’s a question many small business owners and marketing managers ask themselves. Finding interesting blog post ideas isn’t always easy. We’ve all sat and stared at a blank screen with an equally blank mind. Which is silly really. Because there are so many things to write about. No matter which business or market you are in. You just have to dig a little.
Before thinking about blog post ideas take a step back. Ask yourself what you want the article to achieve.
There are basically five reasons to write a blog post:
- To increase awareness of your brand.
- To solve a problem or answer a question.
- To inform.
- To build trust.
- To promote a product or service.
There are other reasons to write. To gather links for example. But the five listed above will inspire most of your blog articles.
Once you’ve decided on the purpose of the post deciding what to actually write about becomes so much easier.
The five gateways to blog post ideas
There are five gateways which will provide all the blog post ideas you need. Using these gateways will provide you with enough article ideas to keep your blog busy for years. And each gateway relates back to one or more of the five reasons to write a blog post we listed above.
I’ll discuss each gateway and I’ll include examples of the blog post ideas they can generate for a fictional business.
Ace Loft Conversions are a building company based in Yorkshire. They have a blog but have no idea what to write about. Let’s help them.
Gateway #1 – What are the questions my potential customers or readers are asking which are not answered, or are answered poorly, elsewhere?
This is the most fertile ground for any business blog. People interested in your products or services have questions. Lots of questions. And they look to the internet for answers.
Your keyword research should throw up dozens of great blog post ideas. But if you haven’t done any research or don’t know how to do it (get in touch and I can do it for you) just think about the questions your past customers have asked.
What do they ask on social media? What do they email you about? What do they complain about? What don’t they understand about your business? You can guarantee if one customer has asked you a question, no matter how daft you thought it was, there will many more people asking the same question online.
If you can provide a great answer to questions your potential customers are asking you are immediately building trust, promoting your brand, and are pre-selling the reader on your service or product.
For Ace Loft Conversions this gateway provides more blog post ideas than they will be able to cope with. A moment’s keyword research reveals:
- How long does a loft conversion take?
- What is the cost of a loft conversion?
- Can I convert the loft of my bungalow?
- Does a loft conversion need planning permission?
- What are the loft conversion building regulations?
- Do I have to tell my neighbour I’m converting my loft?
- How do I choose a builder for my loft conversion?
The list goes on and on.
Gateway #2 – What’s in the news?
The news and current events are treasure troves for great blog post ideas. Especially for financial, technology, educational or legal companies.
But any business in any market will be able to draw on news stories for inspiration.
Comment on the news, provide your own opinion, and reassure customers if the news is bad, speculate on how the news will affect your market. As an example a 2% rise in VAT would provide articles for most business’s blog.
Where do you find news? It’s all around you. Check out the news aggregator sites, monitor Twitter and Facebook and make sure you set up a Google Alert for your industry.
Ace Loft Conversions will find blog post ideas every day from the news. They will have set up Google Alerts for ‘loft conversions,’ ‘building regulations,’ ‘planning permission,’ and ‘builders.’ A quick news search on the day I wrote this article generated these blog post ideas for our fictional company.
- Are you ready for changes to the building regulations?
- What does higher energy performance standards mean for new loft conversions?
- Are the building regulations fit for purpose?
- How the fire alarm in a loft conversion prevented a disaster.
- Why homeowners are turning to small builders.
Those blog post ideas literally came from a two minute search on one particular day.
A topical post is informative and will demonstrate your business is current. These kind of posts always have a chance of gaining traction on social media and could be a great source of traffic to your website.
Gateway #3 – Your own data and expertise.
Use data you have gathered or research you’ve commissioned for articles. An estate agent for example will have stats coming out of their ears. Write blog posts on local property prices, rent levels, how long houses take to sell. And so on.
Gather data from existing customers using social media. Or you can access publicly available data and disseminate it for your readers. But don’t just think of statistics and data. Think about expertise.
Every business has in-house experts. Use their knowledge. Picking the brains of the sales team is a great way to find material for blog posts.
For example a technology reseller may have a specialist in storage. This person can provide material for blog posts on how to set up NAS, the difference between an SSD and hard drive, different uses for a flash drive.
Our fictional loft conversion company will be able to use their in-house expertise to generate lots of great blog post ideas. They could decide to use the fitter who has worked there for 15 years as a guru. They could write a weekly ‘Ask the Expert’ blog post. They would invite questions from people on social media. The posts would establish the business as experts in their niche and would be a great way of attracting new customers.
They could also use their industry expertise for a series of ‘how to’ blog posts. For example:
- How to get planning permission for your loft conversion.
- How to find a builder for your loft conversion.
- How to plan a loft conversion.
- How to convert your loft into a bedroom.
- How to save money on your loft conversion.
Ace loft Conversions could also use their own data to write a blog post on how much it costs to convert a loft in their local area. How many people are converting their lofts and why. How much a property’s value increases after a loft conversion. And so on.
By the way you should always leverage your proprietary data by issuing a press release. It’s a great way to build your brand. A press release also positions you as an expert in your industry and can be a handy SEO boost.
Gateway #4 – Personal experience.
There is a reason great copywriter’s use storytelling to craft their sales letters and advertising campaigns. Readers identify with the story and connect to the story teller. Which is exactly what you want when are building your brand or looking to attract new customers. And some of the best blog posts are stories told from personal experience. Not enough businesses use this technique in their blog posts.
For example a financial planner could write an amazing blog post on how she helped a client with a poor credit history obtain a mortgage. Or how she helped a customer consolidate their debt into a single affordable monthly payment. Personal stories are basically case studies but with a real human touch. They are ideal for targeting a niche audience.
You could also use social media conversations with customers as inspiration. Did a customer reach out to you and you resolved their issue? Write a blog post about it. Use photos or videos to showcase the services you have provided. Images are always powerful.
This is a technique our fictional loft conversion company could use. They could do a weekly blog post chronicling a loft conversion through a series of photos with a glowing testimonial from the happy customer. Great PR and an ideal showcase for their work.
Gateway #5 – Keyword research.
We mentioned this earlier but keyword research will unearth some great blog post ideas.
If you don’t have access to specialist software or don’t want to pay someone to do the research for you use the Google Adwords tool. It’s a little cumbersome but will deliver lots of keywords. And it’s free.
The idea here of course is to discover what information your customers are searching for. And exactly what they are typing into Google. Other search engines are available of course.
Keyword research will reveal the questions people are asking. The concerns they have. The information they need to know before making a purchase. The help they need.
Analyse the data from your research and build your content around it. But, don’t target a keyword just because it’s popular. But if you can create interesting and compelling content around the keyword. Go for it.
Keyword research threw up plenty of blog post ideas for our fictional business. Potential titles included:
- Step by step loft conversion.
- How to install loft boarding.
- Bungalow loft conversion.
- Design a loft conversion.
- Fire regulations for loft conversions.
Hopefully, you will now have loads of blog post ideas. If you need any advice on actually writing your blog posts you need a copy of my eBook ‘how to write awesome blog posts.’ I’ll send you a FREE copy simply for subscribing to my newsletter. Click here to get your eBook.
If you prefer a hands off approach to writing consider my blog management service. Not only will I write all your articles but I will also manage your blog, source photos, upload content and even manage user engagement. You can read more about my blog management service here.
If have any questions or would like a chat about how I can help your business please call me on 07722 431483.
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