In my last article on blogging, I wrote about why I believe blogging should be part of your B2B marketing strategy, and the role it plays in transforming your inbound marketing. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, here’s the “four bullet point” version:
- Blogs drive search engine optimization (SEO) by providing keyword-rich content for search engines to index
- Blogs provide interesting content for you to share on your social networks
- Blogs help establish your authority in your niche or industry
- Blogs give your visitors information they need before they buy from you
As anyone who has managed a blog will tell you, blogging can still be one the most difficult marketing tactics to execute well and consistently.
In fact, I was on a call yesterday with a Xerox channel partner (I really was) and they told me that they had… “Tried blogging in the past but had struggled to keep it going”. When it came to budget time, it was one of the first things that got dropped.
There are many reasons why this may have happened. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t conduct an autopsy on the call. But, I did get a sense that coming up with ideas on what to write about was a key contributor.
Here are four suggestions on where you can look for inspiration – and keep your content (and blog) flowing.
1 – Look to your entire organisation
I’m in a marketing role. I belong to a marketing team, in a marketing group. It would be very easy to sit here and fill this blog with nothing but marketing topics. But, you need to write for someone, not about something. So tip number one, connect with everyone in your organisation who has any form of customer contact.
Customer support, call centre staff, service technicians, your receptionist, showroom staff – and of course your sales team are talking to customers all of the time. Ask them to keep a tally of questions that customers ask them – these are excellent, and most importantly, useful and relevant topics to write about on your blog.
Take the whiteboard challenge
I bet you have a whiteboard in your office. Use this to capture those top questions each week. Then make sure that everyone in the team can see the board. Ask team members to put their name to a question that they think they can answer and then interview them for your blog.
The magic is in the edit
Not everyone feels comfortable about writing – so don’t put pressure on them to do so. It’s the blog editor’s job to find the story – and the magic from the raw text. When someone puts their name against a question, interview them (record it if you can), and then turn that raw stream of consciousness into a coherent story.
2 – Look to the competition
Competitor blogs can be a fantastic place to look for topic ideas – and of course, you can see which ones have the most comments or search for the blog title on social media to see if they’ve been shared (or not).
Caution: never plagiarise – not only is it ethically wrong, duplicate content can be an SEO killer, so don’t copy and paste blogs from other websites. Instead, use their concepts to build your own.
3 – Look to your customers
Interview your customers about their business and write articles that feature them. What are their challenges, achievements and points of view about doing business in your community? Giving exposure this way positions you as a community champion, the business you feature will appreciate the attention and if they share your content it will help your SEO and drive awareness of your business farther and faster.
Tip: Search engines like Google make it easy to find blogs covering your chosen topic. Use this format on search engines – blogs:[insert keyword]. To find blogs on copiers type – blogs:copiers, to find blogs on printers type – blogs:printers.
4 – Look to the internet – for (free) tools
If you are still stuck for ideas then there are free topic generator tools. Just remember to use the words and phrases your customers use when running your searches.
Hubspot Topic Generator: This can be fun! It works by filling in three blanks fields with relevant nouns. Doing so will generate a week’s worth of topics.
Portent Content Idea Generator: Portent is an SEO, Pay-Per-Click and content strategy company with a one-topic generator that comes with an added bonus; they explain why the chosen topic will appeal to your audience.
Link Bait Title Generator: is a free tool from Content Row. Like Portent’s topic generator, you only need to input one keyword but the program then returns a list of about 25 topic ideas.
Choosing the right topics means more demand
Consistently maintaining a blog can be hard work (trust me I know). However, finding relevant topics doesn’t need to be. By talking to your team and your customers, plus a little “competitive benchmarking”, you can find topics that your audience cares about. And if all else fails, there are plenty of free tools that you can use to inspire you.
By choosing the right topics, you stand a better chance of growing an audience, of driving awareness of your business, of building trust in your abilities – and demand for your services.
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