How to Find Material for Your Business Blog
The anxiety of writing a blog post is immense. What should you write about? Oh…the burning question! And often a paralyzing one, delaying the first, or next, blog post for months. Deciding what to write about is important, right? Yes and no.
Your Blog Topic is Important…Or Not
Yes, it’s important that you write something, but no, it’s not worth agonizing over. Some people say “What should I write about?” and what they really mean is; “What’s the perfect topic I should write about?” And that’s when paralysis sets in
Not every blog post has to be an award winner. Not every blog post has to make the reader say; “That could possibly be the most amazing thing, I’ve ever read.” The only criteria for your business blog should be: “Is it useful?” And I’m betting most of what you have to say to your customers and potential customers is useful. What should you write about? Sometimes it’s as simple as the next thing that pops into your head.
That doesn’t mean you don’t’ need a plan. Over time, you will want to cover the important things your customers want and need to know. We’ll cover how to do that below. But for today, right now, just write something.
“If you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”
~ Steven Pressfield – The War of Art
Finding Your Blog Subject Matter
The reason I’m writing this blog post is because graphic designer Jeffery Shirley asked the question on my Facebook Page. Jeffery understood the value of blogging, “buuuut… I have no idea what to say!”
Thanks, Jeffery, you provided me with a blog post idea!
Source #1: Scan your Facebook Page, or your competitors’ Facebook Pages, for customer questions and concerns.
As the conversation with Jeffery progressed, he realized that he didn’t have to do much brainstorming for blog content, his customers could do it for him! “I would say half my time is spent educating my customers, I could create a dozen blog posts from last weeks emails.”
Source #2: Emails and direct contact with customers. What questions do they ask? What concerns do they have? What mistakes do they make?
Next, you can turn to Google. What are people searching for on Google? There are a couple of techniques here. The first is using Google’s instant search, which automatically predicts what you are going to type based on the most popular search queries. For example, I started typing “marketing” and Google suggested “marketing mix.” To which I added a space and Google suggested “marketing mix definition.” As I continued Google finally suggested “marketing mix definition 4 p’s.” That’s a possible blog post.
You can also use Google’s Keyword Tool and type in a search term, such as “marketing mix,” and see related keyword popularity. When I did that, I noticed that “what is marketing strategy” gets a lot of search activity, but has low competition. Therefore, “What is the best marketing mix for your marketing strategy?” is a possible blog post.
Source #3: Material people search for on Google.
I asked my friend, Judy Dunn, blogging coach and copywriter extraordinaire, to weigh in on finding subject matter for your business blog:
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself into your post. If you are writing a how-to post, turn the camera on yourself. You have ways of looking at an issue or problem that the next blogger can’t duplicate. Ask yourself this: How can my own life experiences relate to a post topic in story form, in a way that drives my point home in a unique way?
Ideas and topics are right in front of you—if you watch and listen. When I was a marketing-focused blogger, a trip to a grocery store for a box of cereal gave me an idea for a post on customer service. Once we lost power for an extended time on our island. As we pulled together and formed a circle of support, it occurred to me how much we islanders were functioning like a well-built online community. I wrote a post on that. Carry a notebook and record what you see and hear. You might be surprised at what you dig up.
Bloggers should be avid readers. It improves your vocabulary. It helps you find your voice. It shows you how to touch the senses and emotions when you write. And it helps you tell your stories better.
And write, write, write. I am a big fan of stream-of-consciousness writing because it brings me some of my most unique ideas. Try journaling for fifteen minutes a day and see what happens.”
Source #4: Ask your friends for ideas.
Source #5: Your personal experiences.
It Will Get Easier
When I decided to start this blog in 2007, I was in the exact same place as Jeffery. What do I write about? I agonized for one good idea to write a month. Six years later I have written more than 750 posts, and I have a list of 39 ideas for unwritten blog posts. The more you write, the more you will write. You will get tuned in. But you have to start.
So, get in the game, get tuned in. Just blog. Don’t wait for the perfect post, or the topic everyone is dying to hear about. You are going to write some stinkers, but you are going to write some incredibly insightful posts too.
Write, learn, write some more.
Then One Day….
You will get a call from a customer who says they want to buy from you because they were reading your blog post. Or you will Google something and your post will be the top result, or you will receive your first insightful comment. And you will,
and know that it was worth it.
…Oh, but one more thing. You will at some point, still wonder “What do I blog about?” I don’t think that ever goes away.
What do you blog about? What are other sources of blogging content?
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