Creating and maintaining an active blog is one powerful way of marketing your business. Numerous articles have been written about the benefits of blogging for business and marketing. At this point, most if not all marketers understand the value of blogging as part of their content marketing. The challenge comes with what to write. Every small business owner who endeavors to blog on a regular basis quickly runs out of ideas and in doing so, stops blogging. Below are some great content ideas for your blog so you never run out of topics to write about again. Read on…

Answer the questions you get asked all the time

When it’s time to start brainstorming about what to write about, don’t sit in a room by yourself and come up with random topics. Remember, content marketing is about being helpful, providing the information people are looking for, NOT what you want them to know about you, your company, or your products or services. One of the best ways to be helpful is to provide answers to questions people ask you all the time about your products, services or even your industry. Sit down with your employees, your vendors, your clients, and even your prospects and find out what questions are getting asked on a regular basis. Even if you have a list of 10 questions you get asked all the time, guess what? You now have topics for 10 new blog posts. And don’t be concerned if the questions you get asked really can’t be answered in a blog post; people write blog posts addressing questions that never really get answered all the time. The big one is, “how much will it cost to….?” (fill in the blank). How much does it cost to build a wine cellar? How much does it cost to repair a spa? How much will it cost to renovate my garage? Another question might be, “How long does it take to….” (fill in the blank). You likely get asked this question all the time and depending on your business, your answer is likely, “It depends”. THAT is what you write about. Talk about all the issues to consider in order to determine a cost or how long something is going to take. Here’s an example:  “How much does it cost to build a wine cellar?” Well, it depends on quite a few things, such as the space, what kind of wine bottle capacity you want, what kind of climate control system you want, etc.  Write a blog about all the things you need to consider to even begin to answer that question.

Take a cue from David Letterman

Even if you don’t know who David is (::sigh::) you’ve likely heard of his Top Ten Lists. The Top Ten List was a regular segment of the Late Night With David Letterman show. Each night, he would present a list of ten items, compiled by his writing staff, that circulated around a common theme. People LOVE lists, especially ones someone else went through the trouble of compiling so that they have a handy reference of something important, ranked by importance (at least according to the writer). So how does that apply to you?  Take your business and choose a topic, and then provide the top 10 ways to….or the 5 most popular….or the 7 worst things to…..  This can apply to any business. USA Today is well known for their handy lists. Are you a business process specialist? Write about the top 7 things you can do right now to organize your email inbox. Are you a sales consultant?  Write about the 7 most common objections during a sales process. Maybe you sell web design services. Write about the 5 most popular WordPress themes. How about 7 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Blog? Once you get started, it will inspire all kinds of lists you can create based on your business or even your industry.

Use someone else’s creativity

Your blog should always offer up original content, but sometimes that “original” content is simply sharing someone else’s brilliance. Here are a few ways that you can use someone else’s fantastic ideas and make them your own:

1. Content curation – Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. Maybe you write a weekly blog about the best industry articles of the week or the 5 most amazing news items about your industry. Similar in concept to lists, you’re pulling together great content from all over the web, adding your own insights, and of course giving credit where credit is due.

2. Guest interviews – every industry has thought leaders that are happy to share their expertise for a little time in the spotlight. Find some of those folks in your industry (or even your own company!) and pose 5 to 7 questions for them to answer in a blog post or a video. Just like that, you have great content for your website that’s providing helpful information.

3. Share great industry resources – a bit different than sharing industry news, sometimes you can be the resource when people want to know how to find great information about your industry. Build a list of top blogs in your industry, or find videos of subject matter experts in your industry and write about those. Even writing about best industry podcasts can be really helpful for your readers.

Look at a calendar for ideas

There are lots of blogs out there that take advantage of the holidays by weaving the topic into their own blog, even if your product or service has no relation to the holiday at all. Check out 5 Halloween Marketing Ideas So Good They’re Scary for inspiration. Blogging in January? It’s about starting over, being new, etc. February? Love, romance, etc. March?  Springtime. You get the idea. Use the calendar to inspire a new spin on your blog posts.

Content marketing takes work and blogging can be hard when you’re struggling for fresh ideas. Borrow a few of these content ideas for your blog and start to get inspired!

Patty Hughes
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