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For many businesses and organizations, a blog is a great way to deliver fresh, topical and relevant content to an audience. A successful blog keeps users coming back (or subscribing) to see what you have to say next. The trick is, however, finding the time to plan and write content on an ongoing basis.
Many organizations are not only challenged by finding the time to write the content itself, but also simply identifying what to write about. Oftentimes this can lead to gaps in content being published, or even complete silence from a blog for months and months.
Well that stops now. Let’s stop twiddling our thumbs figuring out what to write, and let’s put a process in place to quickly come up with great ideas.
What’s the Point?
Before you even start thinking of ideas, remember why you have a blog in the first place. This may be different for different organizations, but it typically includes some combination of the following goals:
- Establish your organization as a thought leader in your industry
- Drive traffic to your website by answering prospect/customer questions
- Engage your audience or the community through content
- Share company, product or service news
- Improve their site’s overall search engine optimization
Always come back to the goal(s) you have for your blog. If you’re attempting to provide educational content for your audience, sharing information about the most recent company picnic might not be a good fit.
Can You Monetize It?
This is a quick but important point. In for-profit companies, the likely primary goal of the blog is to support lead generation and sales. When considering blog topics, ask yourself the question, “can I monetize this topic?” Here are some quick questions to help you answer that question:
- Does this content attract prospects that would be interested in my product(s)/service(s)?
- Can I identify a call-to-action to lead a prospect to the next step in the sales cycle?
- Does this content give a prospect the information they need, without “giving away the farm”?
The last point may only be situational, but consider an IT consulting firm. If they write an in-depth article with step-by-step instructions on how to set up a network, they unintentionally take themselves out of the equation. A better approach in this case would be to write about the benefits of leveraging an IT consulting firm for setting up a network.
Answer Customer Questions
One of my favorite ways to identify blog topics – make a list of your top 5, 25, 100 (however many you like) questions that your prospects and customers ask you. Rank them by most popular/common. Answer these questions. Rinse. Repeat.
Now there’s a chance that your competitors are leveraging this exact same strategy, so you’ll want to make sure your content is more thorough and does the best job of answering these questions. Just remember, make sure you can monetize the content.
If you don’t have a good concept of what customers or prospects are asking, you likely have some great resources internally that do – most of the time, customer service or customer-facing employees can provide a wealth of ideas.
Quickly Research Content Ideas
If you need some additional ideas for topics, there are some great tools that make it incredibly easy to take something simple and turn it into a content idea with one wave of the magic wand (or button click).
For the sake of example, let’s pretend you’re a mortgage lender. One of the things you may want to write about is…you guessed it. Mortgages. Sound too simple? It’s not. Here’s what to do.
Take the keyword, mortgage, and plug it into a few of these tools:
- LSI Graph – my favorite tool that provides ideas based on latent semantic indexing
- Infinite Suggest – a great tool that shows you autosuggest results based on a keyword
- Answer the Public – shows you questions that people ask based on a specific keyword (just went to more of a premium model, but you can still get some ideas for free)
Five minutes later, you’ll have ideas like:
- Mortgage lending definitions
- Mortgage interest deduction
- Why do mortgage rates go up?
Now go take a nap, because you just saved yourself a ton of time.
Putting It All Together
You’re in a time crunch and you need to plan a month’s worth of content in just 15 minutes. Let’s say you’re writing one blog post a week – 4 blog posts total. Here we go:
- 5 minutes: Re-visit the goal of your blog and think about your goals before brainstorming content
- 5 minutes: Write a list of 2-3 questions that your customers or prospects constantly ask
- 5 minutes: Pick 1-2 keywords, plug them into the content tools above, and walk away with 2-3 more ideas
And there you have it. No magic. No hacks. Just simple, effective blog topic planning.
If you’re ready to develop a more strategic plan and goal for your website, or need assistance producing enough content for your blog, get in touch with us!