How Any Business Can Generate Compelling Blog Topics
Writing a compelling piece of blog content for your website is a great way to connect with your audience and expand your organic reach – yet sometimes, it can be difficult to allocate time in your busy schedule or think of topics to write about.
In this article, we’ll consider some strategies to help you create a content calendar and leave writer’s block in the rear-view mirror.
By now, many of us know the benefits of blogging on a regular basis. Providing your expertise on a topic allows you to connect with your social followers on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, in addition to providing search engines like Google with great content and consequently expanding your organic reach.
The concept is straightforward. The results are obvious. So why don’t more businesses have active blogs?
Reasons why businesses don't blog
When I speak to small business owners, there are a few typical responses when I ask them why they don’t have an active blog on their website. Although I frequently hear that they don’t have the time or they aren’t confident enough in their writing ability, many business owners actually recognize that creating content on their website is a worthwhile investment of time. But one of their biggest barriers to committing to regular blogging?
“I don’t know what to write about.”
It’s a classic case of writer’s block. They know they should be producing blog content for their website – and they know why, too. They just don’t know the topics to focus on.
I often equate the content planning process with exercise. As an analogy, it might seem like a stretch – but think about training for a marathon. You don’t just wake up every morning and randomly decide to run a few miles here or there without thinking. Instead, with your focus on the bigger goal in mind, you might outline a running schedule in preparation for 26.2 grueling miles. Your plan increases your self-motivation and ensures you have the required level of fitness before the big race.
Content creation is similar. It’s very difficult to be successful if you just decide what to write about on a whim. Without a plan, your focus is all over the place, your enthusiasm drops, and there’s no easy way to know if your work will actually bring success in the long run.
Taking some time to put together a plan – and thinking about what you should be writing about – is the best way to stay motivated and produce content your readers will engage with.
A content calendar for your blog also removes the “I don’t know what to write about” barrier from your thinking. As with most things, research and planning can make the process easier. Creating a schedule helps to keep you on track.
Let’s take a look at a few ideas to help you get the ball rolling with filling a content calendar.
Blog topic ideas
The first thing I would encourage you to do – before even thinking about what you’re going to write about – is to allocate sufficient time in your schedule to write your blogs. You should consider how long you estimate it will take you and how that fits in with the other tasks you have to take care of. This should give you an idea of the frequency of your blogs – and it’s important to try and keep to a regular schedule. Whether it’s weekly, fortnightly or monthly, consistency is key.
When it comes to deciding which blog topics to write about, there are three main categories I tend to focus on.
Human interest/brand values
This is often overlooked, but you can create a compelling piece of blog content simply using the stories around you.
Talk about your business. Talk about the people in your business. Talk about your customers and what makes them special. Talk about the values your company has at its core.
Some businesses – and many owners – have interesting backstories. As the owner, what convinced you to start your business? Which problems were you trying to solve? What obstacles did you face?
How about the people who help to make your business a success? What stories can your employees tell? Would your customers be willing to offer up some comments?
Which values are important to your business? Do you have examples of how they have contributed to the decisions you have made? Can you point to how this may have benefited the community?
These articles can really take any form. They can be uplifting or poignant; funny or serious. Through this content, you are humanizing your business. You are offering up personal stories which are unique to your brand – stories which only you can tell. This content tends to work well on social media, strengthening the connection between your business and its audience.
Keyword-driven ideas to boost your SEO
The cornerstone of a lot of successful SEO campaigns is great blog content. The power of content marketing is a tried-and-tested avenue for growing your business by positioning your brand as a trusted authority in its niche.
If you have no prior experience of SEO, it can be difficult to know which topics are likely to resonate with your audience and which are likely to rank well on search engines. It’s also hard to justify investing dollars in SEO tools if you don’t know how to use them to their full potential.
If you intend to go it alone, here are a few resources for keyword discovery I would recommend to get yourself off the ground:
- AnswerThePublic – takes autocomplete suggestions from Google and creates a stunning mindmap of questions around a specific keyword. Although the free plan is limited to a couple of searches per day, this is a great starting point to see which questions your potential consumers are asking.
- Google Keyword Planner – this tool – part of Google Ads – can be used to generate keyword ideas. Be conscious that keyword volumes are provided as a range as opposed to precise figures.
- Google Trends – shows you the relative popularity of search terms, allowing you to see which topics are increasing (and declining) in interest. See how we utilized Google Trends to identify how the coronavirus pandemic affected the popularity of various search terms in North Carolina.
- Ahrefs’ Keyword Generator – this free, slimmed-down version of Ahrefs’ SEO toolset offers you search volumes, keyword difficulties and question suggestions for any keyword you input.
- KeywordsEverywhere – this browser plugin provides instant keyword volume and CPC data for commonly searched websites like Google, YouTube and Amazon. Although it is no longer free, you can purchase 100,000 ‘credits’ (1 credit = 1 keyword) for $10 – a great way to dip your toe in the SEO water without breaking the bank.
The eventual topics you choose to write about will vary based on your business goals and the areas you may wish to focus on. Additionally, the information these tools provide may highlight content opportunities for you. Using any of these resources is a great way to refine your approach to blog content and provide you with certainty that the keywords you target are actually being searched for by users.
Look around you in the wider world. Are there events taking place you should be talking about? Can you use these as a base for a piece of blog content?
- Holidays – think about how you can tie national holidays like July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas into a blog piece that is relevant. There may also be ‘holidays’ directly relevant to your business or its niche.
- News stories – if there have any been newsworthy stories in your industry, think about how you can provide expertise or your opinion on the topic.
- Local/community events – participating and commenting in local events can help to boost your connections with the community.
Your blog content should reflect your business
There are three guiding principles I would urge you to remember when it comes to formulating a content strategy for your business.
By following these principles, you ensure that your business is producing regular blog content which is targeted to your audience – and importantly, reflects the ethos and values of your business.
All too frequently, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to write dozens of SEO-focused articles to capture as much organic search traffic as possible. True Boost is a business which believes great content is a cornerstone of a successful SEO strategy, so I wouldn’t disagree with the obvious value of this – but there is a balance to be struck.
For me, when I’m looking at an organization’s blog output, I want to see a mix of information and personality. The information showcases your expertise; the personality helps to foster a stronger connection with your customers. Creating those ‘human interest’ stories – bringing the stories of your business, your employees and your customers to life – is a superb way to engage your audience.
More than anything, getting into the habit of writing blog content based on a schedule helps you to build up a base of content on your website. With a steady stream of output on social media and fresh, relevant pages to attract the attention of search engines, you will be able to harness the power of your blog content to reach new customers and continue to grow your business.
We strive to help small and medium-size businesses achieve their goals through a combination of digital strategy, brand optimization and high-quality content.