Posting consistently to your blog (or social media accounts) is one of the best ways to connect with your customers, rank better in the search engines, and establish yourself as an authority or resource. What should you do when you simply can’t think of anything to write about? Here are some tips to help you generate useful post topics whenever you need them.
Address Your Customers’ Needs
With a business blog, your main goal is to deliver content that’s useful to your existing and potential customers. Do as much as you can to answer their most pressing questions, solve their problems, and anticipate their needs. To a large extent, you probably are already familiar with your customers’ greatest needs. What need or problem does your business address?
If you have a restaurant or bakery, your blog or social media posts could include cooking tips, recipes, advice on choosing wines, or more detailed information about your specialties.
If you own a salon, you help people look and feel their best. You could write about hair care tips, the benefits of massage (or other salon services you provide), and maybe branch off into diet and exercise tips to help people look their best.
If you’re a real estate agent, write about moving with pets, highlight local businesses, list area events and places for children to have fun. You might include advice on decorating, gardening, lighting, and tips for first-time homeowners.
Here are some guidelines for finding out more about what your customers would like to see:
- Conduct polls and surveys. You can post these on your blog, on social media, or in emails.
- Ask questions. End your blog posts with open-ended questions such as “Have you had similar experiences?” or “What’s your biggest challenge?” or simply “Do you agree or disagree?” Monitor your blog for responses and always reply to encourage more dialog.
- Monitor news and social media. You can learn a lot about your audience by keeping up with the latest news, trends, social media discussions, and other online content about your industry. Set Google Alerts for keywords that are related to your business.
Sources of Inspiration for Blog Post Topics
In addition to directly addressing your customers’ biggest concerns or needs, there are several strategies for coming up with good ideas for blog or social media posts.
- Use Amazon, Etsy, or eBay for research. Keep up with the latest bestsellers in your industry. If lots of people are buying a certain type of book, you can be sure your readers are interested in this topic. You could review books or magazines in your niche or just use the book or article titles as inspiration for blog ideas. You can also look at physical products to learn about popular trends. Don’t forget to read product reviews as these tell you a great deal about customers’ needs and complaints.
- Branch off into related areas. Think beyond the obvious. For example, if you sell cars, don’t limit yourself to only writing about vehicle makes and models you carry. You could discuss road trips and attractions within driving distance, the benefits of car-pooling, tips for getting better gas mileage, or choosing your teen’s first car. It can help to create a simple flowchart to help you think of related ideas.
- Follow experts. Read leading blogs in your industry, follow social media accounts, watch videos. This helps you keep up with the most popular topics. In addition to following influencers, you can take it a step further and build relationships with them. You might then interview experts for your blog or ask them to write guest posts for you.
It can be a challenge to consistently come up with engaging content for your website blog or social media account. However, if you stay current with the latest trends in your industry, ask your customers about their needs, and do your best to answer their questions, you can come up with a steady stream of topics. And don’t forget to write for real people, not search engines for engaging content.
One last tip, all businesses should have a website: it is the only “asset” you truly own and is indexed by search engines, unlike social media accounts. Keep in mind a lot of potential customers are not on social media. New Bern gets a lot of tourists; how would they know about you if your only presence is on social media? Your second greatest asset is your email subscriber list. By offering information-only emails in addition to sales emails, you’ll show your list members you’re not just another business trying to sell them something. Instead, you’ll be seen as a valuable source of information (and your open rates will improve, too).
By Cyndi Papia, Office To-Go