You’ve put it off long enough. It’s time to post something on your blog. But that dreaded question looms as you stare at a blank screen—what do I write about that I haven’t already covered? Fear not, it is possible to come up with new ideas that will engage your followers. The trick is to start long before you sit down to write. Use these tips and you’ll never run out of blog topics again.
Writing doesn’t begin when you put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard). The seed of an idea comes before that. These five techniques can help you gather ideas to plant later when it comes time to write:
1. Collect questions from customers.
You created a blog to connect with new and existing customers. So why not reach out to them for ideas? Gather the questions you and your staff get every day. If you’re not hearing any, just ask—at the checkout stand, on your website, at installation, or on post-purchase surveys. Some businesses offer an incentive to followers whose question is selected for a blog post.
Here are some questions you might get: What’s the best way to ___? What do I do if I make a mistake? It’s not working, now what I do? Can you show me how to ___? How long do I have to wait before I go to the next step? Will I need any special tools to do that?
You’re already answering these questions individually. Now you can share the answers with everyone else by turning it into a future article.
2. Twist a topic.
Sometimes, two plus two can equal five. It happens when you take two unrelated ideas and put them together. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily put the topics “Star Trek” and “small business” together. Yet thinking of them together can help you present a subject in a new way. And it appeals to your readers’ curiosity.
So what can this iconic TV series teach you about running a small business? Take a look at this example from TheWire, “5 Tips from the Crew of the Starship Enterprise.” What other TV series, movie, or sports team can you use to connect two unrelated things together for your next blog article?
3. Curate other voices.
Who said you have to be the one to write all of the posts? Ask others to guest blog on your site. You can cover a wider range of topics by tapping experts in related areas. And as a bonus, it can expand your reach. If your guest shares it, their followers will see it too.
Think broadly about possible guests. Your list might include: customers, suppliers, business owners with complementary products/services, community leaders, local celebrities, or faculty at your hometown college.
4. Dive deeper
Just because you’ve written about a topic doesn’t mean you can’t revisit it again. Go deeper into the subject. For example, an auto repair business may have blogged about how often you should have oil changes. Now they’re offering longer lasting motor oil. This new information is fuel for an updated post.
Another idea is to take an old subject and create a theme around it. For example, a dentist may have blogged about preventive care for children under age five. But what about care for mom and dad? For grandparents? Either could be a series of related posts expanding on the preventive care theme.
5. Pay attention to breaking news.
Follow news sources that are related to your business. They often uncover new trends that your followers might find interesting. Each can be developed into a post. For example, turn a news item about the health benefits of eating kale into an announcement of a new menu item you’re offering.
Beside traditional news sources, add more targeted sources of information to your reading list. One of these might be a LinkedIn interest group where members post related articles and comments. Here’s a list of popular LinkedIn groups for entrepreneurs.
Coming up with new blog topics doesn’t have to seem impossible. Start generating a list of ideas using these techniques and you’ll have a ready-made source of future posts.