You can write more content when you know your blog topic ideas in advance. Having a list of blog topic ideas scheduled in an editorial calendar or content plan will also help you be more productive and consistent with posting blog articles.
As small business owners, we all need more web content because both people and bots like fresh content. Fresh, custom content invites search bots to visit and index your site. More indexed pages mean more opportunities to drive traffic to your website.
How to brainstorm for blog topic ideas
When brainstorming for blog topic ideas, start by asking a few questions. Here are 6 questions that you can use to find inspiration:
- What problems do you solve?
- What do you want people to ask you about your business?
- What do your customers say about your business?
- What are your competitors doing?
- What’s trending in your industry?
What problems do you solve?
People ask questions when they want to solve a problem. They ask their friends, family, colleagues, social media contacts, and search engines.
So, create a list of blog topic ideas from the customer’s point of view. What kinds of questions would they ask if they were to start looking for you?
Warning: Don’t assume people will ask questions the way you would.
This is where you need to do some research. You can survey your current customers and social media contacts. You can also use tools like Google Suggest, Moz, and SEMRush to see more search options and to strategize how you want to rank for certain search terms.
What do you want people to ask you about your business?
If people aren’t asking you questions that you feel are important, your blog becomes an important tool to “manage the conversation”. Here’s why.
A website designer once said potential customers don’t ask questions that she feels are important, for example, “Is my website ADA compliant?”
She could come up with blog topic ideas based on the question, “Will my new website be safe and secure?” That’s a good question that can lead to more topic ideas.
But, we’re really looking for a topic that will protect her customers from being sued because of website accessibility problems. Therefore, a better question would be, “How can a website designer prevent a potential lawsuit?”
This exercise reveals a few issues:
- First, one question can lead to more blog topic ideas.
- Second, blog topic ideas can be easily turned into attention-grabbing headlines that compel a person to visit your site.
- Third, managing the conversation with potential customers is one of the key reasons for posting custom blog content.
What do your customers say about your small business?
You probably have a Yelp for Business Owners account and, hopefully, a Google My Business account (where you “claim your business”).
Reviews and testimonials from Yelp and Google show how you solve problems from the customer’s POV. Because you have a story that comes from a person’s heart, reviews and testimonials also make great copy for case studies, blog articles, and social media posts.
Make it a habit to ask for reviews and testimonials. If your customers don’t know what to say, have a template ready that they can fill out or that you can use in an interview.
What are your competitors doing?
Should you copy your competitors? Yes and no. To be competitive, you need to know what your competitors are doing. You may even want to write about similar topics; however, make sure your blog content is unique to your small business and website.
You can do this in a number of ways:
- Go to your competitors’ websites and social media channels and analyze their content
- Use tools like Moz, SEMRush, or Ahrefs to help you with your analysis
- Write custom content even if you borrow a blog topic idea. You have to differentiate your business from the competition. You do this through the quality of your products, services, and information. All high-quality information is custom-made
What’s trending in your industry?
People would like to know more about your industry. You can keep them up to date with blog topic ideas from a number of sources:
- Trade publications, courses, workshops, conferences, forums, and meetups
- Social media
- Online forums such as Quora and Reddit
- News aggregators such as Feedly and Inoreader
- Research and monitoring tools such as Buzzsumo
What to do with all your blog topic ideas
Create an editorial calendar or content writing plan so you can project manage your content writing.
An editorial calendar or content writing plan organizes and schedules blog topics. By following a plan, you will be able to create and post more content more consistently.
So, once you have a list of blog topic ideas, ask yourself how often you want to post or publish: monthly, bi-monthly, weekly, or daily? Then, schedule your topic ideas on your calendar.
To complete your plan, you also want to schedule a start dates and due dates. To do this, figure out the lead time you need before you post a blog article:
- When are you going to research your blog topic ideas and keywords?
- When are you going to plan your writing by creating an outline or mindmap?
- When are you going to write?
- When are you going to review and edit?
- When and where are you going to get or create images and other media?
- When are you going to upload and test your blog article?
Then project manage your writing based on your answers to the above questions.
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