So you want to run a business blog. How do you come up with good topics?
One of the big questions we get from many small businesses when we propose starting a blog is: what should we blog about? This question can be a bit of a stumbling block for many businesses. However, coming up with good business blog topics isn’t as challenging as you might think, once you start the practice of actually running a blog for your small business. Here’s our process for coming up with blog topics. We hope it helps!
Start with your personas.
Learn about your target customer, and find out what their most pressing concerns are. Make an FAQ list, and answer each question in detail. This should get you well into your first couple months of business blog topics. Talk to your sales and HR departments and get their take on frequent support questions or selling points. Speak to these in your blog, and use them to establish blog categories. Knowing frequent topics of interest will help prompt ideas later on.
Think about stages in your marketing funnel.
Some people need high-level information. Others need more detail. Some need the forest; others need the trees. Some are ready to buy this instant, and others need more information to help with their market research. Think about how you would write to each of these potential buyers.
For instance, a person still in the early stages of their buyer’s journey may need a post identifying their major pain point and different ways to solve it. Someone in the middle might want information that could help them compare your product to others on the market. And someone ready to buy might need some hard selling points to encourage them to choose your product over others. Write to each of these stages, and don’t forget to target your personas as you do.
Look back at your old posts.
Once I get a few months into a blog, I’ll look back at old posts to see if there are angles I haven’t covered yet, or if changes in the industry or my own knowledge level have made that post obsolete. In some markets, these changes happen rapidly enough for this to be a regular problem. (Think of all the tech blogs you see that write about the newest software updates or cell phone releases.) There are also times when I realize I have a new perspective by which I can approach a subject. Maybe I wrote a blog for B2C businesses, but haven’t yet covered the topic from a B2B angle. Go ahead and write from that new perspective.
Review related blogs.
What’s your competition blogging about? A lot of people are hesitant to look because they don’t want to rip off someone else’s content. And you shouldn’t! They’re likely to have slightly different personas than you, and regardless, their take is not your take. But both of those facts make it highly likely that their blog topics can inspire posts for your blog.
For instance, I’ve probably seen and read a number of other posts suggesting how to come up with blog ideas. On a meta level, it’s a very popular blogging topic. I agree with some of the points I’ve read, disagree with others, and have a few to add of my own that are unique because they stem from my experience and are directed toward my market. The same will be true for you. Your take is not the same as your competitor’s take, even if the topic is similar.
The best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to planning business blog topics is to create a list of topics for the future. Get used to updating it as more ideas come to you. Schedule monthly brainstorming sessions, and invite topics from your colleagues. I frequently reach out to other people in the office to get their input on topics that aren’t my specialty. And planning ahead can take a lot of stress over knowing what you’re going to blog about next. I keep my ideas in a spreadsheet, where I also track when I plan to post them and what keywords I plan to target.
Don’t skip a posting.
Although most of people don’t think about it this way, running out of good blog topics is another form of writer’s block. There’s always something to blog about, so being out of ideas is a writing problem rather than a topic problem. And as anyone who’s ever struggled with writer’s block knows, you can’t wait it out.
If you skip posting one week because you can’t think of what to write about, you’re likely to have the same problem the following week. And the one after that, and the one after that. A large part of this is because the process of blogging is how you come up with more blog topics. Usually, as you write about a topic you’ll remember a related point. That associative thinking is how you keep your blog running.
Do you doubt me? There are blogs out there on some of the most obscure, technical subjects imaginable. Those blogs have an audience. That doesn’t mean you should get super technical if it doesn’t fit the interests of your audience. But it’s important to remember that markets change. The needs and concerns of your customers will shift accordingly, and that will help provide new topics for you to cover.
So, to find good business blog topics:
- Focus on your customer needs.
- Think about what will be most relevant along every stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Mine your old posts for new ideas.
- Look at other blogs in your filed to see what other people are writing about,
- Write down associated topic ideas as you think of them so you don’t run out.
- Don’t miss a beat.
Need help running your business blog? Not everyone’s a writer, and even if you are you may not have the time. We can help you run your business blog. And with our content marketing plan, we can make sure it generates leads and grows your business.