Do you run your company’s blog, maintain the content calendar, or regularly contribute articles? If so, how do you find the process of coming up with new ideas?
Blogging is a fundamental part of most businesses’ B2B marketing efforts, and is used to:
• Engage in thought leadership
• Improve SEO ranking
• Build relationships with new and existing customers
• Address customers’ concerns
• Announce company news, updates or new features
• Generate leads
• Manage company reputation
Regardless of the reasons for blogging, all blogs live or die on the quality and consistency of their content. Whether a company has an in-house team of experienced writers or delegates content to interns, an essential part of ensuring success is coming up with good ideas on a regular basis. And, believe me, it can be trickier than it seems—especially when you have other core marketing tasks to focus on.
So, how can you make sure you’re generating a constant stream of ideas? Here are four tips that will make it much easier.
1. Create an editorial strategy
Blogs that cover too many different topics—especially when they’re not relevant—can confuse more than captivate. The best way to make sure you’re consistent in your output is to put together an editorial strategy.
Focus on a core set of themes or ideas that are important to your business or customers. This will provide the structure and identity your blog needs. It can also help to have a starting point from which to bounce ideas around.
Once a strategy is in place, you can begin work on your content calendar, which is a timeline of what you’re going to publish and when.
2. Focus on the reader
Most businesses are adept at writing about themselves, which is fine for an ‘About Us’ page. However, your blog is all about the reader, not your company. It should highlight and solve the problems your audience face. This what your customers will find valuable.
To help, create personas that outline who your customers are and their key challenges. Spend time researching what your customers’ main concerns are and try to come up with ideas that specifically resolve these. Writers who understand their audience find it much easier to generate ideas that captivate their readers.
3. Use internal expertise
Your colleagues have first-hand experience of helping customers overcome challenges every day. Use this depth of knowledge to create compelling content that touches on real experiences that your customers face.
At large companies (and small companies to some extent), where employees can be working on separate projects in different departments, it can be hard for marketers to know exactly what everyone is doing—you may only have an overview of your colleagues’ day-to-day jobs. It never hurts to be curious, to explore the expertise that is on offer at your organisation and discover new insights and stories to share on your blog.
4. Try different styles of blog post
Another way to spark an idea is to think about the format of the posts you are writing. Trying out different styles can help you see old ideas in a new light. What’s more, alternating between format can help keep your blog feeling fresh.
Tutorial-style posts are popular, as they offer tips on how to solve a problem, step-by-step, often with good practical examples. It’s worth remembering also that lots of people search Google for how-tos.
Breaking up your content into lists is a great way to make dense content easy to digest.
An interview can offer real insight, a change of pace and add a bit of variety. Your readers will appreciate hearing from different members of your staff, and an interview with a big name from the industry can complement your usual content, or add a slightly different perspective.
News and events
Provide a window into what’s going on at your company. If you hold or attend prestigious industry events, why not blog about them?
A combination between a how-to and a listicle, a checklist provides readers with an actionable list of tasks or tips to implement.
Showcase the capabilities of your products, while demonstrating your knowledge of the industry and competition. Be honest about your competitors’ strengths while remaining confident about your own.
Banish the blank page
Follow these four tips whenever you’re struggling to generate new blog ideas. If you do, you will achieve a consistent blogging output, improve the quality of your content and, ultimately, generate more leads for your business.
Before you know it, your blog calendar will be jam-packed with exciting ideas that your writers will be thrilled to write about and that your readers will love to read.